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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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) :
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.
- Gillard promised the world and delivered a handful of nothing (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- Government not in chaos: Gillard (news.theage.com.au)
- Gillard to outline spending cuts promise (abc.net.au)
- A body blow (theage.com.au)
- Coalition will axe school kids bonus (news.smh.com.au)
- Government set to dump school laptops scheme (abc.net.au)
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 .
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.
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!