Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TransVision 2010, October 22-24, 2010

TransVision 2010 is over! I wish to thank all speakers and participants, those who came to Milan and those who participated remotely via Teleplace. Special thanks to Kim for her work at the main Teleplace workstation and for handling many technical problems, and to Cosimo and Jacopo for their work at the HD video camera. I wish to thank the volunteer Italian to English translator (I am not mentioning your name here because I guess you prefer it this way, but you know who you are and thank you so much), who gave also a great unscheduled presentation of the Polytopia Project. And of course I also want to thank Riccardo and Stefano for their support in organizing and running the conference. In particular Stefano should really have stayed at home to recover from recent surgery, but he made a special effort to be with us.


In the first two pictures, Dan Massey and Max More giving their talks. In the foreground, the Terasem 1 O'Neill Island One Space Habitat, a Bernal sphere model built by Simon Deering for the Terasem Movement of Martine Rothblatt and presented at TV10 by Khannea Suntzu. The model is now on its way to Florida to be delivered to the Terasem Movement. We had many great talks, not only about visionary technologies but also about literature, politics, philosophy and art. The second half of the first day has been dedicated to Italian neo-Futurist literary and artistic movement, but strike neo- because Futurism is always Neo by definition. I have been disappointed by not seeing as many people as I hoped: I counted about 65 participants in Milan over 3 days including a dog. The problem is that participating in conferences costs money and time, and in my own presentation (which I shortened to less than ten minutes to make time for other speakers) I proposed online conferences 2.0 as a solution.


We had about 30 remote participants in the in the TVirtual online extension of TransVision 2010, hosted by the teleXLR8 project based on the Teleplace online telepresence platform. Remote participants have been able to watch all talks in realtime, and interact with speakers and other participants. In the picture above, Max More's talk is shown to remote participants in Teleplace, and the virtual Teleplace conference hall is shown to the participants in Milan. We used two Teleplace workstations, one to stream the video and voice of the speaker and to interact with remote participants, and one to stream the speaker's slides. Lesson learned: if the text on the slides is small it is better to upload also the original .ppt or .pdf to Teleplace. We did this in realtime during the conference, but we should have done it in advance. For those speakers without presentations in .ppt or .pdf, we used the second Teleplace workstation to show the audience in Milan to the audience in Teleplace.


In the afternoon of the second day we have reversed the procedure outlined above and shown remote talks from speakers in Teleplace to the audience in Milan. After great talks by Eugen Leitl and Robert Geraci, Natasha Vita-More started her talk (picture above)... but 20 minutes into Natasha's talk all the Internet connections in the conference hall in Milan died, perhaps due to overload caused by too many WiFi connections in parallel (about 10 participants were using the hotel's WiFi connection). The Internet service provider's technicians could not fix the problem. The remote participants in Teleplace continued without us, and we have video recordings of the talks by remote speakers. However, all remote speakers have been invited to repeat their talks to the teleXLR8 community.


In the morning of the third day, not only the Internet connections in the conference hall were still dead, but also the screen projection system was dead! I had a (very) heavy-handed "exchange of views" with the hotel's personnel (wife says I can be quite unpleasant on occasions), and the technical problems were fixed.

This was a very interesting event, with great talks by great speakers. I am happy to have seen again many old friends and made many new ones. In the picture above, some speakers and participants at a dinner after the end of the conference. I was not really able to pay attention to any of the talks including my own, and I look forward to watching the video coverage. We recorded everything on video, both in HD with the cameras on site, and from Teleplace. The videos will be available online and on the conference's DVD proceedings. The videos recorded in Teleplace will be available online in a few days, and those recorded on site in a few weeks.

I have started two blog posts as containers and index pages for material to be posted later. Both posts have the same title as this one. The post on the TransVision 2010 blog will have links to the HD videos recorded in Milan, and the post on the teleXLR8 blog has links to the videos recorded in Teleplace. The Twitter feed created by participants at #TV2010 has the twitting history of the conference.

UPDATE - (almost) full video coverage recorded in Teleplace.
UPDATE - Transhumanist Science, Futurist Art, Telepresence and Cosmic Visions of the Future at TransVision 2010 @ KurzweilAI

7 comments:

  1. Thanks, Giulio, for an excellent, intellectually stimulating, and very fun event. You did a fantastic job of combining in-the-flesh presentations with remote Teleplace presentations, and I have no doubt that that blend will only become richer and smoother. (The hotel people deserve any unpleasantness and wrath that you visited upon them, considering their feeble response to the technical problems.)

    I hope to write up more about my most enjoyable experiences at your event, either here or on my blog. For now, I will say that if you missed this conference, you should regret it! At least you can catch a small but rich glimpse of the experience via the online videos, but being there was vastly better. Greetings to fellow conference attendees, both old and new friends.

    Max More

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  2. Thanks Max! I also think the conference was an intellectually stimulating and very fun event, with a good mix of complementary themes. I only wish more people could have joined in the fun. But as I said in my presentation, these are hard times for us all. Also, there are more and more transhumanist events (which is good), but one cannot attend them all.

    I am more and more persuaded that opening up conferences via telepresence technology like we did here (and also organizing online-only conferences) is the right way to go. And of course, as you say, technology can only become better and easier to use.

    The videos recorded in Teleplace will be available online in a few days, and those recorded on site in a few weeks. We will do our best to make the videos available online as fast as we can, to give everyone the opportunity to listen to the talks.

    We will soon start planning TransVision 2011.

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  3. The first videos recorded from Teleplace are online:

    http://telexlr8.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/transvision-2010-october-22-24-2010/

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  4. Just watched Aubrey and Max's presentation. good stuff! Max said in passing that he found multiple personalities unaware of each other's existence a difficult concept to grasp. Thought I might try and explain how it might come about.

    Muliple personalities can exist because, yes, we each have only one brain but there are many brain processes. Think of personalities as being composed of 'building blocks'. Some 'building blocks' are very compatible with others and so they tend to cluster together. Others are not so compatible and tend to be connected much more weakly if at all. This seperation of mental processes is called 'dissasociation'.

    With MPD, 'building blocks' coalesce into at least two clusters, each one complex enough to manifest as a 'self'. And disassociation is extreme enough to have completely isolated one cluster from the other. The personalities remain separate, because the brain processes underlying them are too different. Most of us have at least weak ties among all the clusters of memories, so our personalities feel more or less integrated. But if a cluster was completely cut off, whenever something triggered it, it would be experienced in isolation and when a personality associated with another cluster entered conscious awareness, it would have no memory of anything experienced by that other personality.

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  5. @Extie - I mostly agree and I suspect that we all are a collective of different personas, but most of us never realize it because the different personas have access to the same shared memories.

    When different personas begin having different memories things become interesting, and I think studying MPD subjects is very relevant to understanding how the physical brain generate the thinking mind.

    Perhaps we all have degrees of MPD - when you are in a certain mood or "thinking wavelength", you have easier access to certain memories and more difficult access to others. MPD starts when the individual memory streams become separated and you can _only_ access certain memories by switching on a specific persona.

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  6. I think you are right, Giulio. I already wrote about the idea that a self is comprised of different personalities linked by shared memory, and that there are varying degrees of disissociation, so I will just link to the essay:

    http://extropiadasilva.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/alt-who-goes-there-part-3/

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