Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DominoLife for Android

In the last few months I have been busy developing the Android application DominoLife for Terasem Movement Transreligion. After a couple of months of beta testing, version 1.5 has been uploaded to the Android Market.

DominoLife is a multimedia application for non-linear note taking, story telling, mind mapping and presentations. It permits easily organizing pictures, text notes, audio clips and freehand drawings in trees. A tree is composed of nodes, where each node is a bundle which can include text, pictures, audio and graphics. Each node has one parent and up to 3 children. This data structure called a ternary tree is very suitable for mobile devices, with horizontal and vertical scrolling. The 4 scrolling directions (back, forward, up and down) permit reaching the 4 links (one parent and 3 children) from a node, which defines a simple, intuitive and powerful user interface. DominoLife is very easy to use, and new users can start composing trees seconds after launching the application for the first time. See more...

DominoLife is a social application integrated with file sharing services and social networks. After composing a DominoLife tree, users can export it as a zipfile and share it via any sharing service. The internal QuickShare tool permits one-click social sharing by: 1) Storing the tree in the public folder of the user's Dropbox account; 2) Storing a viewable reference in our DominoLife web repository; and 3) Publishing a link on Facebook or Google+. See more...

DominoLife links to the DominoLife web repository where users can preview and rate trees, and download them to their phone for viewing and further editing. Take a look, for example, at my DominoLife multimedia album of a trip to Lake Balaton, with my wife and doggy and two friends. This is a simple example of using DominoLife to record impressions of a day trip with pictures, text and audio. You can preview it on the web (without audio). If you have the DominoLife app, you can download it to your Android phone for full viewing and editing. I will post other more interesting example of use cases soon.

DominoLife is available on the Android Market at a price of 1.95 US$ (less than a coffee).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In memory of Robert Ettinger

Robert Chester Wilson Ettinger (4 December 1918 – 23 July 2011)

My first reaction after hearing of Bob's death and successful cryopreservation has been: "A great man has left the party. I hope to meet him at another party soon." The very fact that we, scientists and engineers who have never believed in a supernatural afterlife, dare hoping to meet Bob again, is the best tribute to him.

I have been reading the last emails of Bob to the mailing list of the Cryonics Institute. Well into his 90s and until a few weeks ago, Bob continued to write very cogent and challenging Internet posts. He started the cryonics movement, wrote three seminal books, and is now cryopreserved, with his two wives, at the Cryonics Institute that he founded. He has lived one of the fullest and richest lives that a person can ever live. And he will live again.

I never met Bob face to face, but we started exchanging emails in 2000 or 2001. In 2002 I published this Interview with Robert Ettinger. Then Bob sent me a preview of his book Youniverse, which I reviewed in Youniverse, by Robert Ettinger (Sneak Preview), published by Betterhumans. I then became a member of the Cryonics Institute and continued to exchange private and public emails with Bob until a few weeks ago.

In one of the last discussion threads he started on the Cryonics Institute mailing list, Bob said "Not long ago someone suggested that we suspend the uploading debate and just agree to disagree... Let's start by repeating that, with unimportant exceptions, a description of a thing (material object or system) is not that thing." It is well known that Bob, the father of cryonics, was not a uploading enthusiast (see also the interview above). I disagree (see my article on Chemical brain preservation: cryonics for uploaders), but when an intellectual giant like Bob says something we should at least listen to him, and I have certainly listened to Bob's objections (without changing my mind).

However, I don't see Bob's life work as limited to promoting one specific preservation technology. He is the man who introduced us all to the revolutionary and beautiful idea that, someday soon, science and technology can eliminate death. The eventual success of any personal preservation technology, be it cryopreservation, chemical brain preservation or mind uploading, will be part of Bob's heritage.

In honor to Bob, I have changed this blog's icon to a picture of a Nano Snowman.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

7th Terasem Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology in Second Life

Each year on July 20th, Terasem conducts a workshop on the subject of geoethical nanotechnology. The purpose of the event is to provide the public with informed perspectives regarding geoethical nanotechnology via expert presentations, challenges and discussions. Of course the date of July 20th is symbolic, and we all should always remember what it means.

This year's workshop, at the Terasem Island Amphitheatre in Second Life, has been an exchange of scholarly views regarding the transplanting of organs/limbs, prosthetic devices, hybrid machines and nanotechnology employed in the body, with a goal of optimizing the rights and understanding of enhanced humans. The workshop has been a very solid and intense two-hours event, with two great talks followed by interesting questions and answers, and a final discussion mainly centered on future AIs, their civil rights and possible threats to biological humans1.0. Like the organizer Martine Rothblatt, I consider future sentient AIs as part of our own species and I don't think of "us" vs. "them". It will be just US.

I attended with my Second Life avatar Eschatoon Magic who has recently been resurrected in cyberspace as, according to Terasem, we may all be someday. The Terasem island, which had recently been repaired after having been hit by digital heavy weather, is now one of the few (perhaps the only) remaining transhumanist meeting points in Second Life, and I look forward to attending other forthcoming events.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Transhumanism: a “secular spirituality” of life extension and cosmic consciousness finds mainstream hearing

RELIGIOSCOPE has an interesting article on "Transhumanism: a “secular spirituality” of life extension and cosmic consciousness finds mainstream hearing": "A broad-based movement pressing for life extension and radically enhancing human consciousness through technology is gaining mainstream support and adopting a unique kind of “secular spirituality.”"

The article is centered on the field work of Abou Farman (City University of New York) who, at a conference on non-institutional spirituality at Columbia University in New York, presented a paper on a fast-growing network of technological thinkers and groups that he called “informatic futurists” that both borrow concepts from religion and spirituality while seeing themselves in competition with traditional faiths. Farman is also the author of "The Intelligent Universe": "The next stage in evolution -- a machine consciousness able to manipulate time and space -- is just around the corner. The catch: humans will no longer be in charge."

The conclusion of the RELIGIOSCOPE article: "Farman says that the influence of the informatics futurists and their promotion of a convergence between science and human consciousness will “shape more and more of our lives, whether it be through neuroscience research, NSF priorities, Silicon Valley venture capital or popular conferences and ideas.” These challenges will likely change the shape of the relationship between religion and secularism. He concludes that it may be the case that “secular humanism and religion will find each other closer than ever before as the informatic cosmologists try and move away from both gods and humans, as well as from the earth itself.”"

Suzanne Gildert on Hack the Multiverse!, OpenQwaq, August 21 2011, 10am PST

UPDATE – NEW DATE: Sunday, August 21, 2011, at 10am PST (1pm EST, 6pm UK, 7pm continental EU)

The new phase of the teleXLR8 project will start with a talk by one of the most popular speakers of the first phase in 2010. Suzanne Gildert will give an interactive online talk on "Hack the Multiverse!", using the new open source OpenQwaq telepresence technology, on Sunday July 31 2011, at 10am PST.

Suzanne is currently working at D-Wave Systems, Inc. See the D-Wave blog "Hack the Multiverse". See the announcement and abstract of Suzanne's talk. OpenQwaq is one of the best 3D applications for telework, online meetings, group collaboration, and e-learning in a virtual 3D environment (v-learning). There are a limited number of seats available, please contact us if you wish to attend. Join our mailing list, our Facebook group, or our Linkedin group.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Google+: First impressions and thoughts

I have been one of the lucky few to receive an invitation to Google+ on the first day it went public as a beta field test, and I have been playing with it a lot. Google+ is Google's new social network, very similar to Facebook with extra features similar to Twitter and Diaspora. Google+ is already interoperable with other Google services, e.g. Profiles and Picasa. In time, it may be seamlessly integrated with the rest of the Google ecosystem (Gmail, Groups, Docs, Calendar, Blogger, Maps, Latitude, Youtube, Apps...) and become something huge.

I have written a review of "Google+: First impressions and thoughts" on the Space Collective site. Excerpt: "I think selective sharing is both a strong and weak point. It is strong, because you can share a post with your friends without sharing it with your mother and your boss. It is weak, because sharing with everyone is simpler than categorizing your contacts in circles, and things must be made really very simple in these KISS days. Most of my own posts are shared with all my circles like on Facebook and also public (shared with everyone who chooses to follow me like on Twitter), but I can certainly see the advantages of selective sharing. Especially for young people who can now have different Family, Friends, School and Work circles, but strangely I think most young people may stay on Facebook and ignore Google+, leaving the latter to us grown-ups. Also, perhaps only persons with some degree of computer literacy will use Google+ frequently: if Wave is for computer geeks only, and Facebook is for everyone including your granddaughter and grandfather, Google+ may occupy the mid ground."

Read the rest on Space collective...