Archive for February 2011 | Monthly archive page
My book, American Catfight: Political Wisdom for Women is being released in eBook for the Nook reader and the iPad for Women’s History Month which begins on Tuesday. This edition is joining the paperback that came out last March and the Kindle edition.
Now back to some science fiction writing…
Cisco is currently showing its new hologram technology at expos around the globe. There’s something about the front of the figure showing on both sides of the hologram that reminds me of those pictures of Jesus in which the eyes seemingly follow you no matter where you are.
Mark Mitchell at Front Porch Republic has a ton of questions about how this may change communications and human relations. My feeling is “not much” for a long while. Skype has already freed the public to connect pretty similarly in the visual sense without having to purchase direct access to satellite feeds. The issue is accessibility in that many do not have the means to Skype because they lack either the equipment to do so (computer with audio and video AND good lighting) or a fast and stable internet access. Hologram tech requires no less.
But probably and most importantly, the real threshold test of popular technology is portability. Video calling is sure to be coming to everyone’s cell phone fairly soon but if the hologram isn’t portable, it is severely limited.
Frankly, I like being able to make voice-only phone calls in my pajamas and no one on the other end is the wiser.
While I love science and techiness, I have to admit I somehow found IBM’s Watson beating up on the humans on Jeopardy depressing. Then I came across this post on Andrew Sullivan’s site. Quoting Jonah Lehrer in Wired:
One of the most remarkable facts about the human brain is that it requires less energy (12 watts) than a light bulb. In other words, that loom of a trillion synapses, exchanging ions and neurotransmitter, costs less to run than a little incandescence. Or look at Deep Blue: when the machine was operating at full speed, it was a fire hazard, and required specialized heat-dissipating equipment to keep it cool.
OK, I feel better. For now. But we’re always improving battery capacity and we’re developing nanotech computing and sooner or later we will tap solar and wind energy properly and that energy gap will close. (The sun shines 10,000x more power on the Earth in second than what we consume in all the forms of power we currently use.)
In the future, I plan to lay my hope on the one thing that separates humans from a lot of species: our opposable thumbs. Because at some point, we will have loaded enough data into a computer that it can figure out its energy supply all by itself but it won’t be able to get up and doing anything about it.