ASF Home | AC2005 | ATimes Archive| Contact Us

Strategic Insights in Accelerating Technological Change

30 September, 2005
Newsletter Permalink:
Free Signup: Tell a friend!

Also check Coming Events for conferences, seminars, and salons we recommend.

Director's Corner
“The Only Constant in the Universe is Change” — Spock, Star Trek. And, change, like technology’s advances, is accelerating, not only in the world, but also here at the Acceleration Studies Foundation. At the recent Accelerating Change 2005 Conference, I had the opportunity to introduce myself as the new Executive Director of the organization, tasked with filling the shoes of the inimitable Iveta Brigis who has worked with John and Jerry to bring the organization to the place it is today.

Without talking about myself too much, I have been managing events and businesses, both for-profit and non-profit, for over ten years. And, as I shared with the AC2005 Conference audience, I have never experienced the level of energy and excitement in a venue as I had the opportunity to experience at that show. The sheer level of engagement that the attendees and supporters of the ASF have is amazing to me and is harbinger of the great things that we can do as a community. I am honored that the ASF has asked me to help them and I am looking forward to working with all of you to better understand the future that technological change will bring. More

Call to Action
Volunteer for ASF at Robonexus ( – October 6 – 9. Seeking volunteers to represent the ASF at Robonexus, 10am - 5pm, Friday, October 7 - Sunday, October 9 at the San Jose Convention Center. You will be asked to be at the ASF table on the exhibit hall for a shift or shifts totaling a minimum of 6 hours, speak to people about the ASF Future Salons, the Accelerating Change Conference, podcasts on, and, and possibly even sell DVDs of our past conferences. A basic set-up and breakdown may also be required for the first and last shifts. John Smart will be at some of the event, and we are depending on our network of supporters to be our eyes and ears at this key community event. In return you will receive an exhibitor or exhibit only pass to the event.

Seeking Dreamweaver Expert Users for 4-8 hours weekly. If you are skilled in Dreamweaver and would like to help us in our efforts to communicate to the community, we are looking for you. The ASF is seeking a volunteer who can help bolster our web page management. We are seeking somebody who is already skilled in the use of Macromedia Dreamweaver and has minimally approximately 8 hours each week to lend to the community toward this very important purpose.
Please contact Jim Turner at if you are interested in lending your time and talents toward the successful completion of any of these items.

Washington DC Future Salon Looking for New Members
Two forward-thinking beltway residents, Ben Goertzel and Bruce Klein have convened the DC Future Salon and have scheduled their first general meeting October 5th, 7:30pm. You can sign up for their Yahoo group here to join online discussions and to receive emails about coming events. To learn more about ASF's growing Future Salon Network, check out our Future Salon Network page.

Second Life Community Convention
Second Life Community Convention, New York, NY, October 8-9
Next Saturday and Sunday, October 8th and 9th, will see the first ever Second Life Community Convention, starting with a party on Oct 8 and moving to the New York Law School for a full day of sessions on the 9th (full agenda here) This is the first significant real life gathering of Second Life residents and users, Linden Lab employees, and a wide variety of people otherwise interested in the SL platform and the emerging Metaverse — the social, media-rich, 3D Web that’s bringing together video game interfaces, high-end 3D creation tools, collaborative social software, and Google Earth-style mapspace. The Acceleration Studies Foundation is an organizing sponsor of this event and the ASF's Community Director, Jerry Paffendorf, will be delivering the opening and closing remarks. Presenters include new games journalist Mark Wallace, co-author of the upcoming Only A Game: Online Worlds and the Virtual Journalist Who Knew Too Much (O’Reilly, 2006); Accelerating Change 2005 speakers and Linden Lab CEO and VP of Product Development, respectively, Philip Rosedale and Cory Ondrejka; and a number of entrepreneurial Second Life residents, including Guni Greenstein, the co-founder of ANSHECHUNG.COM; Fizik Baskerville of Avalon, Nephilaine Protagonist of Pixel Dolls and others at work on a variety of projects, from games to philanthropy. The convention will also have an inworld component as described in a recent Boing Boing post, so join us in Second Life if you can’t make it to New York. Also check out the State of Play Conference on law, videogames, and virtual worlds, back-to-back with the SLCC.

“The Singularity is a frightening prospect for humanity. I assume that we will somehow dodge it or finesse it in reality, and one way to do that is to warn about it early and begin to build in correctives.” — Stewart Brand

``Nature is clearly intent on making humans successful." — Buckminster Fuller

"Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are." — Theodore Roosevelt

Sir Francis Bacon

Resources and Tools

Preventing Alzheimer's: The Eight-Step Plan
[Commentary by John Smart]

The Acceleration Story in Five Spaces

ATimes covers world news and insight in five "spaces," giving one to three briefs in each space. The story of accelerating change, the most fascinating story of our time, can be told as a story of movement from outer, to human, to inner, to cyber, and ultimately, to hyper space, the world beyond the present. Each of these deserves understanding for a multidisciplinary perspective on the future:

Outer Space (the world around us: science, the natural and built environment, universal systems theory)
Human Space (the human world: our bodies, behavior, minds, human systems theory)
Inner Space (the world below: energy, small tech, computer "bodies", inner systems theory)
Cyber Space (the virtual world: computer "behavior", computer "minds", cyber systems theory)
Hyper Space (the world beyond: new paradigms, phase transitions, hyperphysics, hyper systems theory)

If you have important stories to share with our 3,200 acceleration-aware readers, we'd love to hear from you

Outer Space
science (biology, chemistry, geology, physics, research), the natural and built environment, universal systems theory (developmental physics, evolutionary development, hierarchical substrates)

"Google-NASA partnership rockets web debate," CNET, September 29, 2005
[Commentary by Jerry Paffendorf] Google has announced plans to build a 1 million-square-foot campus at the NASA Ames Research Center near Mountain View, CA. Cooperative research plans includes large-scale data management, nanotechnology, massively distributed computing and the entrepreneurial space industry. In the article’s comments, Andrew King wonders: “Maybe with all of NASA's pictures of space, Google will create something similar to Google Earth (say, Google Universe) that will allows us to explore space just like Google Earth let's us do for, well, earth.”

This news comes on the heels of the GoogleNet meme, watching Google poise to build out its own US nationwide optical fiber network beyond some free Google WiFi spots already in San Francisco. Csven Concord notes this passage from a recent Business 2.0 article: "Google's interest in Feeva [free broadband Internet service provider] likely stems from the startup's proprietary technology, which can determine the location of every Wi-Fi user and would allow Google to serve up advertising and maps based on real-time data."

So as the mid-20th century saw the US and Soviet Union in a space race for the moon and stars, the early 21st century sees Google, Microsoft and others in a search race for the earth and bits. It will be fascinating to watch NASA grow into this sweep from outer space to cyberspace. Thanks to Alvis Brigis for the link.

Human Space
bodies (biology, health, neuroscience), behavior (business, education, foresight, governance, innovation, pre-digital technology, society), minds (psychology, spirituality), human systems theory (ecological psychology, memetics)

The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon, ITConversations, Jamais Cascio, May 2005 (text) (audio)
[JP] WorldChanging co-founder Jamais Cascio gave a keynote presentation at this year’s MeshForum on rapidly increasing transparency entitled, “The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon”. The talk, which makes clear that transparency is happening from the bottom-up (“souseveillance”) as much as from the top-down (surveillance), is now up for audio download at ITConversations with a text transcript available at WorldChanging.

From the abstract: “Soon - probably within the next decade, certainly within the next two - we'll be living in a world where what we see, what we hear, what we experience will be recorded wherever we go. There will be few statements or scenes that will go unnoticed, or unremembered. Our day-to-day lives will be archived and saved. What’s more, these archives will be available over the net for recollection, analysis, even sharing. And we will be doing it to ourselves.” Jamais will further explore these issues in an interactive Explorations session at Accelerating Change 2005.

Inner Space
energy, small tech (nanoengineering, miniaturization), computer "bodies" (automation, computer hardware, nanotech, robotics), inner systems theory (acceleration, efficiency, miniaturization, reductionism)

Flash Memory
Samsung's Gambit: Flash Gigamemory to Replace Hard Drives, ComputerWorld, Martyn Williams, June 30, 2005
[JS] Here it comes! Flash Gigamemory for your laptop and cellphone that is truly "instant on", is far more shock resistant, and with a battery life to die for. With flash memory you can run a tablet PC or a wrist computer that is fast and reliable enough to replace paper, but with all of e-Paper's digital storage, modification, and sharing advantages. Samsung's first large (16 Gigabyte) flash hard drives roll out this year for military and industrial markets. Expect lower cost commercial units by next year, and 100GB flash drives in 2007.

Flash memory prices have dropped 40% in the last year, and with a Sony Micro Vault 5GB flashdrive now available for $180 street price, it's now possible for bleeding edge tinkerers to consider replacing their hard drives. Give it just a bit more time and you won't need a specialist to do so. Samsung is by far the #1 leader in flash memory supply (twice #2 Intel's revenue here), while it is #5 in hard drives, so it has major incentive to make this happen soon. This will be a tremendously empowering advance. Let's hope Intel and the other leading chipmakers get into the flash hard drive game soon as well. Thanks to Jeff Thompson.

Cyber Space
computer "behavior" (co-evolution, automation, symbiosis), computer "minds" (computer software, simulation), cyber systems theory (holism, information, intelligence, interdependence, immunity)


"When Cell Phones Become Oracles" Wired News, Ryan Singel, July 25, 2005
[JP] Wired News has a great article on tracking and predicting human behavior with information collected via cell phones. The article centers around research performed by MIT Media Lab researcher Nathan Eagle, organized under the Reality Mining Project. Eagle gave out 100 customized phones to MIT students and researchers that he usedto log 350,000 hours of data over nine months including location, proximity, activity and communication of the volunteers.

According to the article, “Given enough data, Eagle's algorithms were able to predict what people, especially professors and Media Lab employees, would do next and be right up to 85 percent of the time.” The volunteers could also use the data to create diaries of their lives. Eagle notes, “"I can go ask it, 'How much sleep did I get in October?' 'When was the last time I had lunch with Adam?' 'Where did I go after that?'" On the topic of data-mining our lives, the article also mentions a book by Chris Stakutis called Inescapable Data. Stakutis says, “We want to have our life choreographed, cataloged, witnessed and archived. Now we are heading to a world where this is possible without effort … We are going to be a planet of 5 billion data magicians."

The virtualized models of our planet that Google and Microsoft are competing to build with Google Earth and Virtual Earth will progressively be used as fields to display this inescapable data. Jon Udell will give a presentation on the topic at Accelerating Change 2005 entitled Annotating the planet: Freedom and control in the new era of interactive mapping. Abstract: “The explosive innovation triggered by Google Maps produced a shock of recognition. We always knew that our meatspace coordinates would merge with our cyberspace addresses. Now that it's really happening, familiar topics—identity and privacy, grassroots collaboration and centralized control, ownership and use of data—will be newly refracted through the geospatial lens.”

Reality Machinima
[JP] Machinima (muh-sheen-eh-mah) is filmmaking within a real-time, 3D virtual environment. The majority of Machinima uses video games as the platform for their development. To see some funny samples, check out these Independent Film Channel’s shorts made using The Sims 2. T
he reality comes in with the first homemade Machinima using Google Earth, a virtual recreation of our planet. It’s only a short zoom in from outer space to just above street level, but you get the picture. It was made using FRAPS, a program that saves video from programs using DirectX directly to the hard drive. FRAPS is a common tool for capturing footage that will be edited into Machinima. You can learn more about Machinima at or check out the book, 3D Game-Based Filmmaking: The Art of Machinima by Paul Marino, 2004.

Virtual Philanthropy
Mixing It Up For a Good Cause, Terra Nova Blog, Betsy Book, July 25 2005
[JP] In a piece of breakthrough philanthropy, the American Cancer Society will hold an online Relay For Life fundraiser and community awareness event this August 27-28th in the user-created virtual world of Second Life. The event will be a cyberspace extension of the society's decades-old real world Relay For Life walkathons, and donations will be made in the form of virtual dollars converted to US dollars through Gaming Open Market.

The mixed-reality event (see picture right) is being spearheaded by Randal Moss of the ACS's Futuring and Innovation Center, prominent Second Life resident Jade Lily, and ASF's very own Jerry Paffendorf. Congratulations to Randal, who took home the National Human Service Assembly Award for Excellence in Technology Innovation for his role in pioneering this digital philanthropy project. Randal and a number of his Futuring and Innovation Center (FIC) colleagues will be colocating an ACS FIC meeting at Accelerating Change 2005. We look forward to seeing you there!

Hyper Space
new paradigms, phase transitions, hyperphysics (black holes, multiverse, string theory, supersymmetry), hyper systems theory (computational limits, emergence, phase transitions, technological singularity hypothesis, developmental singularity hypothesis)

Phase Change: The Computer Revolution in Science and Mathematics, Douglas Robertson, 2003
[JS] Doug Robertson is a U. of Colorado Geologist and Environmentalist who enjoys taking a big picture look at information technology. His earlier work, The New Renaissance: Computers and the Next Level of Civilization, 1998, discussed the transformational impact of information processing on human culture from the pre-linguistic to the modern age. Unfortunately the last chapter of this book, "On Growth", has some shortcomings with regard to its exploration of exponential growth. For one, Robertson overemphasizes the human population growth problem, which most demographers now say is on track to disappear entirely by mid century due largely to the pervasive impact of global development on birth rates. More seriously, Robertson appears to misunderstand the exponential nature of information processing growth, which is the only known aspect of universal change which has never run into resource limits to growth, as it continually jumps to new more efficient computing "substrates" over time. Yet even with these shortcomings, The New Renaissance is a valuable broad look at the developmentalist nature of our increasingly technological culture.

Phase Change deepens Robertson's exploration by examining the role of computer as a tool changing the nature of sciences and mathematics. He demonstrates that paradigm shifts, broad "phase changes" in our understanding of science, have often been triggered by the availability of new visualization tools (the telescope, the microscope), and new computational tools (the digital computer, the supercomputer, the internet) and shows how such tools allow investigators to ask questions previously unamenable to scientific exploration. A modern particle accerator, for example, is a very computationally intensive tool for peering into subatomic structure. How intensive? A particle accelerator generates more data (albeit significantly lower level data) in five minutes of exploration than was accumulated in the entire Library of Alexandria between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. Robertson notes a profusion of new computationally-aided tools our physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers, geologists, astronomers, and other scientists are gaining access to. He shows how many of these open up permanent phase transitions in the nature of the scientific environment, creating dynamics that were unpredictable prior to the computational advance, yet are predictable today within the new scientific language that has emerged. On the mathematics side, computers are becoming so powerful that specialized, computation-intensive domains of mathematics, such as cellular automata, covered most elegantly in Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science, 2002, are now opening up their modeling insights for us to discover. If you are looking for a book to update your understanding of the way computers are permanently changing the nature of scientific exploration, this is good choice.

We all deserve a little fun every day. Send your entries for the next ATimes!

Google Moon
Get ready as Google Earth reaches escape velocity! Zoom in all the way and you may be surprised. Be sure to click on the "lunar hosting and research center" in the FAQ under "More about Google Moon" if you'd like to know Google's secret plans for a moon base, and their new goal to "organize all the useful information in the universe and serve it to you on a lightly salted cracker." :)

This is prescient and poignant poem about dealing with change in our own lives. The poem comes from Hermann Hesse's Das Glasperlenspiel (The Glass Bead Game), the novel for which many critics say Hesse won his 1946 Nobel Prize in literature.

Summer Reading
Cruise over to for some cool summer reading suggestions—40 new books from members of the Edge community. Yowzers! Titles include the forthcoming The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil, Everything Bad Is Good For You by Steven Johnson, The (Mis)Behavior of Markets by Benoit Mandelbrot, and Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist by John Brockman. If you are coming to Accelerating Change 2005 and would like a free copy of The Singularity Is Near, register soon!

Call for Submissions
ASF is always seeking interesting submissions for our Accelerating Times (AT) web publication. AT is a "free and priceless" monthly newsletter covering scientific, technological, business, policy, and social dialogs in accelerating change. Anyone may submit scan hits, mini-articles, pictures, artwork, quotes and questions to mail(at) Accepted work will appear, fully credited, in future issues. Also please submit your feedback on Accelerating Times articles to the Future Salon Weblog, beneath each article as posted. Thanks!



Director's Corner

Call to Action

DC Future Salon

Second Life Community Convention


Resources and Tools


Telling the Acceleration Story... in Five Spaces

Google-NASA Partnership


Coming Events




October 6-9
San Jose, CA

Second Life Community Convention
October 8-9
New York, NY

Pop!Tech 2005
October 19-22
Camden, ME

Foresight Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology
October 22-27
San Francisco, CA

Thanks for telling your acceleration-aware friends.