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Putting your ghost into the machine

slight of hand and illusion

slight of hand and illusion

I came across this today and it tickled my love of the bizarre way that technology tends to follow speculative fiction. In this case its all about the long held wish for a way to have a secular form of eternal life by downloading consciousness into a computer so that the essence of a person can go on long after their body has surrendered to death.

The service has been created out of MIT’s Entrepreneurship Development Program. When users sign up, they will link the service to their various digital streams, such as Facebook, Twitter, emails, photos and geo-location history. Once data is being collected, Ursache says there are two main processes required – “making sense” of it and then using it to “emulate” the user.

“Of course, ‘making sense’ and ’emulating’ are still primitive today,” he acknowledges. “But by periodically interacting with this avatar, you will allow it to make more sense in the next 30-40 years that you still have to live. This way, it becomes more accurate and knows more about you in time.”

The ability of Eterni.me to “make sense” of the data it collects will be key, but is one of the most difficult challenges the company has to tackle. The service will analyze both textual and visual information to choose what information can be used to help an avatar better emulate the user. Direct interactions with the user will help to make the emulation more accurate.

Ursache explains that the end result should be a tool that people can use to find out more about their forbears, such as photos, family events, opinions and hobbies. He likens it to a research tool, such as a search engine or timeline, and is clear that the aim of such technology should be to help people.

“I think technology should make our lives easier, period,” he says. “If technology can help with leaving a legacy, or solving other problems for dead people’s relatives and friends – such as inheritance, access to information and so on – we should find a way to use it, of course without creating additional harms.”

A private beta of Eterni.me is expected in late 2015 with the public launch expected in 2016.

Source: Eterni.me

I don’t know if this is just an example of hubris or just a denial of mortality and I don’t know if it would really provide comfort or the creeps to those we leave behind when we cark it. What I do know is that there are likely to be people who will grab onto this technology in their grief at the loss of a loved one and that it may well even make them unable to move on with their lives. Further lets just imagine that the avatar becomes complex enough to be sentient rather than merely reflexive, will the simulacrum be the person it was derived from or will it be some new kind of monster?      I just don’t know if this is a good or a bad idea so I will just await the wisdom of the Sandpit’s readers on this one.

Cheers Comrades


The idea of a personalty downloaded into a machine avatar is central to the cult Anime “Ghost in the shell”


Saving the right hands of the unworthy

I get a variety of newsletters popping up in my in-box many of them are pushing their own political barrows , both left and right,   but also some are about the cutting edge of technology well the piece I cite today just made me laugh out loud and think that a certain cadre of internet vigilantes will be rushing to contact the manufacturer to order their only chance of giving their right hands a rest from their insatiable need for self-pleasuring.

When the RealTouch device first lands on my doorstep, I'm surprised by the size of the package. Suddenly realizing how my missus feels, I quickly unbox it and lay the contents out on the kitchen table.

I have it on good authority that the owner of a site dedicated to attacking  Moi is seeking a discount for a group buy of this product.

I’ve tested a fair few gadgets in my time at Gizmag – from upmarket beanbags to high-powered motorcycles and smart pens. But I’ve never been asked to go this far outside my comfort zone for a story – even though our esteemed editorial team will probably tell you my whole life has been building to this moment.

Today, I’m road testing a masturbation device. And I’ve decided to put my name to it because I believe that for all the squeamish details you’re about to read, this is a significant piece of technology – a big step down a path that I think a lot of people will come to take for granted in the future.

I feel like a pioneer, one of the first in the mainstream Web media to put my penis where my mouth is. Of course, the truth is if I could do that, I wouldn’t need one of these things at all.

In essence, the Realtouch is a mechanical pleasure device that you stick your willy into, with a series of belts, rings, heaters and lubrication dispensers that can create a pretty broad range of sensations. What sets it apart is that it connects to your computer via USB, so it can be coded to synchronize with a porn video – or controlled by somebody else remotely.

So, be warned: grisly, NSFW descriptive content will follow.

Ok now that you have read the article and picked yourself up of the ground after your laughing fit  doesn’t it make you so proud that there are engineers and technicians out there working so hard to make the willies of the sad and lonely happy?  I can’t help imagining that that small cadre are going to be falling over themselves  and rushing to find out if they can get a discount for buying in bulk so that they can make their online circle jerk into something more tangible.

The real horror  is that I know that they are all visualising Moi as they furiously beat their meat  with the help of   electronic devices.  What sad lonely lives they must have.

Cheers Comrades


hmm what is not to like about a pretty girl with a nice smile…

Gillard and Labor suffer another education policy collapse

Usually it takes me a while to find a story to  write about but this morning it was right there as the lead news item in the Age (my first port of call in the morning) :

Click for source

Click for source

Well who is surprised that Labor’s scheme is falling in a heap now? when this wild idea was first mooted I had my doubts and It is now clear that I was right to be cynical that Labor was incapable of both delivering on their promise and that promise being properly maintained. of course this will come as something of a body blow to Gillard’s very long campaign. However I just can’t help thinking that  at this rate of revelations and bad news  Labor will be out of puff entirely by about a week after next Tuesday. As the annoying demtel ads would ask “how low can they go?” frankly I can’t believe that any government could be so stupid/incompetent  to devise a program that leaves parents in the lurch and obliged to buy or lease the laptops that Labor was insisting would be “free” to every high-school student  way back in 2007.

As is often the case technology has moved on as well and now the device that would be more  useful to high-school students would be a tablet computer that has all of the heavy and cumbersome  text books available in the form of Ebooks  these devices have no moving parts to fail (and need for maintenance )  and a more intuitive user  interface  heck they are even cheaper than laptops…

So what are we as parents and voters to take from this very expensive policy failure? Probably that it is folly for a government to make ostentatious promises when it comes to technological devices used in education because you can bet that the hardware will cost more than expected do less than the geeks claim and become obsolete in  a political heart beat. For the Labor true believer it is just another reason to despair as there is no doubt that  the opposition will make much of this failure in the long campaign we face between now and September 14.

Cheers Comrades


Labor announces the new NBN medicine program

With the election announced and Julia Gillard really keen to show just what can be achieved with her much questioned  praised NBN in a Sandpit exclusive I can share with you all a test operation using the new Tele-medicine ,  like a lot of Labor big ideas this one obviously has a few bugs to be sorted out, but I hope that we can be assured that things will be much more successful than the beta testing.

Its understood that The party’s  first choice of test subject  was their dear leader’s fashion consultant, however its understood that Gillard vetoed that because it would have meant that Tim would be unavailable for , err ” domestic duties” while he recovered from the process. This turned out to be a sound choice because the first demonstration was to say the least, underwhelming .

Commiserations and floral tributes  to the pioneer can be sent to Labor HQ.

Cheers Comrades


Another small step towards civility on the electronic frontier


Like Ray I find the moves  announced recently by Gillard to hold some internet platforms accountable for their anonymous users activities a good if inadequate start to  making cyberspace somewhat more civil environment for those of us who use it, and lets face it that means just about everyone these days. While many long term users have long resigned themselves to the notion that civilising the online space is “impossible” I am rather more optimistic that civility will be enforced incrementally over time and I think that enforcement will come from the courts acting in both criminal and civil cases to demand that those running the blogging platforms provide the identifying  details of site-owners when those individuals have slandered or defamed real individuals.

click for source

click for source

The old aphorism suggests that the longest journey begins with one small step, and I see quite a few small steps happening out there and it may take a while but I expect that like the old wild west civilisation and civility will come to the online frontier eventually.

Cheers Comrades


“Virtopsies allow detection of injuries often undetectable in traditional methods”

Regular readers may recall that I was arguing that modern medical imaging technologies may well make the more traditional dicective autopsy obsolete well it seems that I was right and that in Switzerland that is already happening.

click for source

click for source

Isn’t that just an amazing use of science and technology?
Cheers Comrades
Scalpel in Emesis Basin

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 170,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 3 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

“Why I Deactivated My Twitter – the racism, classism, sexism, discrimination From the Left is overwhelming”

I love to stir the possum as many of my regular readers will appreciate so when I read the post I quote below I thought it an interesting piece,even though at over 2000 words it is a bit long and repetitive I just loved the way that the author has seen the light about the brutal and rather mindless tribalism of Twitter. Of course I have a presence on twitter but its really just a vehicle to promote this humble blog and I am thankful that I don’t have a dumb phone that has enslaved me to its inanities. Anyway the poor sweet thing who runs the blog took exception to me citing her piece via a re-blog and she has played silly buggers by editing the post to make the claim that I am stealing her work, of course that is entirely untrue and it demonstrates that she understands WordPress about as well as she understood twitter. Anyway please read both the quote below and all of the post it comes from.

Why I Deactivated My Twitter – the racism, classism, sexism, discrimination From the Left is overwhelming

Having recently witnessed a group of self-identified Lefties team up with a Right-wing Murdoch media personality to gang up on an ALP defender, to the point, they were all suddenly trained psychologists who could diagnose all sorts of mental instabilities from 140 characters, I realised that Left wing or Right wing, twitter is just for trolling.

Yes, both sides really are as bad as each other.

While we seek comfort in conforming to the opinions of others, not risking having a different opinion, as long as we tweet-nice to the biggest bully on the block, we are safe.

Be different, and you risk being a victim, like the smallest gazelle in the herd, cornered by the lions and hunted down and eaten.

Run with the herd, say what everyone else says, conform, don’t think, don’t be different – and you too just may be accepted for who you are.

My people. My community. Your opinions are welcome… until we decide they’re not.

I have witnessed Lefties swarm, hunt in packs, gang up on one person they don’t like, round-up a posse, and bitch and bitch and bitch, attack, attack, snipe until their victim sets their account to private, then they move on to target all the people who follow their victim, all based on whether they prefer Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard as prime minister, or their religion or postcode or sexuality – or something else just as trivial and insignificant.

I see Lefties all day making appallingly sexist misogynist vile comments about women. But apparently I’m supposed to laugh, because they come from a Leftie.

Um, no, voting for the ALP or Greens doesn’t somehow magically make your sexism and misogyny evaporate.

I see the most vile hateful inaccurate comments about Muslims (just tweet “Muslims deserve the same rights as all other Australians” or similar, and watch the racism and religiousism hit you thick and fast), apparently saying outrageous comments like “let’s get all the facts before we accuse people based solely on their assumed religion” is enough to warrant a torrent of abuse. Who knew that “all Muslims should be shot” – seems some Lefties on twitter seem to think so.

I have witnessed some viscous bitter on-going sagas, based on who is following who else… What is this like, you know, High school? I won’t be your friend if you are friends with that person?


This is the comment I attached to my original re-blog:

I must say that I enjoyed this post immensely because I just love it when someone see’s the light of truth about social media, especially when that social media is Twitter. If ever users of a social media have been deluded it has to been the lefties who have taken to Twitter like pigs to shit and the whole thing so reminds me of the blogging environment Pre-twitter. Now that the idiots have migrated to twitter it is surely entirely sensible to leave it to them. To think that the author of this blog banned me from commenting at her blog even though my comments were polite and on topic, Ah well its good to see her learn none the less.

Cheers Comrades

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