Our planet is composed of millions of networks. The balance between the animal species and their habitats. The migrations in history. The financial flows between countries and continents. Everything that happens in the world, on a microscopic scale as well as globally, is potentially describable as a set of mathematical functions. The more accurate they are, the more useful they will be to depict not only the present but also the future reality.
Although social media helps us connect with more people in a highly efficient way, the act is still far from real human interaction. We share posts, upload photos or post status updates, looking frantically at our screens for likes, shares or comments. A group of students at the MIT Media Lab, named Fluid Interfaces Group, is working on an electronic textile that might help us interact with people based on our social media profiles.
You have a choice dear reader: spend 3 seconds scanning this blogpost, or spend the full 1:11:28 minutes listening to the interview John Brockman did with technology philosopher and founding editor of Wired Magazine, Kevin Kelly.
The interview touches upon the nature of technology, big data, surveillance society, money as a medium, techno-literacy and the question whether the universe is analog or digital.
The video is best experienced as radio, or you can read the transcript here.
Drones are typically thought of as flying spying robots, or even worse flying spying shooting robots. But could we also employ drones for good? The people of conversationdrones.org employ drones to survey wildlife, monitor ecosystems and guard protected areas.
Although there is still a ‘boys with toys’ element to the practice, the idea to employ the technosphere to support the biosphere must be applauded.
With Facebook: The Board Game, American graphic designer Pat C. Klein brings social media to the real world. The artist reinvented the most classic board game, Monopoly, by replacing houses, hotels, streets, Chance and Community Chest with the famous activities of Zuckerberg’s social network. Read more
Apes, dolphins and elephants are animals with remarkable communication skills. Could the internet be expanded to include sentient species like them?
Dolphin researcher Diana Reiss, musician Peter Gabriel, internet of things visionary Neil Gershenfeld and Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet discussed this remarkable developing idea at TED.
Ever notice how ant colonies so successfully explore and exploit resources in the world … to find food at 4th of July picnics, for example? You may find it annoying. But as an ecologist who studies ants and collective behavior, I think it’s intriguing — especially the fact that it’s all done without any central control.
What’s especially remarkable: the close parallels between ant colonies’ networks and human-engineered ones. One example is “Anternet”, where we, a group of researchers at Stanford, found that the algorithm desert ants use to regulate foraging is like the Traffic Control Protocol (TCP) used to regulate data traffic on the internet. Both ant and human networks use positive feedback: either from acknowledgements that trigger the transmission of the next data packet, or from food-laden returning foragers that trigger the exit of another outgoing forager.
A new device is appearing in the New York skyline: a free mobile charging station, powered entirely by the sun. At the beginning of this summer, AT&T, the solar technology company Goal Zero and the Brooklyn-based design firm Pensa launched the Street Charge project, with 25 solar mobile charging units spread around the city.
From the earthquake in Haiti to Hurricane Sandy to the Boston Marathon bombings, Facebook, Twitter and other social media were used to spread information and help citizens and authorities deal with the emergency. Read more