Tag Archives: superhuman

Visual overlay will be very cool

I’m not making any forecasts about when this is going to happen, but visual overlay will be very cool.

We will still see the world as it is, of course.  But we will be able to add layers.  Layers can give us information like the ratings of a restaurant we see or night vision or heat vision, or little flying arrows showing the direction and speed of the wind.  Layers can also give us controls like interacting with vending machines or unlocking your car, or saving a good bottle of wine.

It will be very cool.

Things have changed since I wrote about this in 2002, but I wasn’t completely wrong: The Etherface


Wikipedia anything you see.  Add people you meet to your contact list with context.  Users generate content.  API lets developers add controls.

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Smart Clothes

ZDNet reports that Infineon Technologies is weaving sensors, processors, and supporting systems into fabrics. They see near-term applications in entertainment, communications, health care and security. I like that they say: “The further evolution of our information society will make everyday electronic applications ever more invisible and natural”.

The Next Generation

Washingtonpost.com has a story about what biotechnology means to being post-human. While the article gets a little dorky at times, and the comic-book references somewhat over-the-top, it manages to penetrate well past the surface of what most articles would do. (And come on, admit it, how many of us have daydreamed well into our twenties about doing the kinds of things only comic book heros can do?) They reference a lot of good material, talk to John Kurzweil and Max Moore, and use the excellent Science Magazine issue on this subject for a lot of their material.

The Changing Face of Evolution

Genetic codes in our cells provide the system upon which information is stored and algorithms are performed to determine our perceptions. Similarly, software codes provide the system upon which information is stored and algorithms are performed, effectively doing the same thing. Major industries will focus on the processes of evolving these systems (and the interface that enables communications between them). It is purely our life, and perception of it, that defines our demands, and so these two areas of business will form the dominant industries of the next century.

Computer interfaces will become natural extensions of our senses, integrated with device controls that allow us to interact with our environment and each other using and broadcasting information. This will increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and diversity of communication as well as giving us control over network devices, systems, and resources.

Evolving systems of life and electronics

We marvel at the power and potential of digital computing, mechanical tools, and computer interfaces, but is it any wonder compared to the analogous systems that have evolved naturally with biological rather than electronic mechanisms? Each of us is an independent system–with our own processor, frame, muscle structures for output, and sensory organs for input. Humans thankfully evolve because each of us is different, and different from the bodies that came before us. Further, our likelihood for passing on characteristics to future generations is related to our viability and the functions of our biological systems. We are biological machines.

But biology as we know it is limited by physical constraints on our senses, memory, and life-spans. It may even be the case that biological imagination and creativity are limited by the inherent constraints of neurological chemistry, however, I don’t imagine this is the case 🙂 I cannot see 3000 miles away without a camera and transmission, and I cannot remember the URL of the 473rd web page I ever viewed without electronic logs.

It seems clear that humans are developing electronic and mechanical tools to move beyond the constraints of our biological selves. We use electronics to extend our senses, empower our expressiveness, assist our memory, automate our processing, and improve our life-span. It seems inevitable that the evolutions of biological and electronic systems will begin to merge in order to take advantage of the best characteristics of each. To reach such a state, the interface between these systems needs to be improved. We are working on it already, and it is a ways off, but simply a matter of time. We are truly fortunate that the basic input and output signals of our biological nervous system are electrical.

Invest in Biotech and Information Sciences

If we invest heavily in biotechnology and information services companies (especially genomics, networked centralized computing, neurology, neural network predictive applications, and nerve regeneration) in the next 50 years, many currently living people may have an opportunity to achieve substantially improved and lengthened quality of life and indefinitely extended sentience.

It’s more than a financial return, but it can still be evaluated financially. The return on these investments should be calculated as the return on the securities themselves, plus the return on your other investments over the period of time that your life and investment horizon are extended. It is possible, then, that the net return on biotech and information science investments may be substancially higher than the direct value change for those investment securities.

Distributed Processing and Biological Approximation

The complexity of biological thinking is impossible is impossible to replicate today when constrained by the limitations of a single machine. With the ability to define and exchange standard objects and a standard interface, this barrier could be broken. The hurdle of coding models that approximate the function of the brain has also been insurmountable as long as development was dictated, managed, and organized within a company. The upper limit on programs of this origin seems to be in the range of 10 million lines. The growth of open source development opens the door to the integration of many codes to form the billions of lines necessary to approach human capacity for thought.