Author Topic: Wow!  (Read 7486 times)

Matthew_S

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Wow!
« on: September 28, 2007, 11:54:53 AM »
I could easily be behind the curve, but I only saw this recently and it wowed me:

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/129


jane

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2007, 01:15:11 PM »
Ho Hum....
I think his t-shirt says it all - "sooooft serrrrrve". 
Also, if he talked a little faster, he could animate his moustache even more, thus making it jump up and down and around (tee hee).  I'd like to see that. 
On the other hand, this technology could have a practical application in the viewing of the best show poster--yes, actually, it is useful!
Now I'm wowed, too! 
Thanks, Matthew S
 

TL

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2007, 07:15:46 AM »
This is incredible - the idea of creating a metaverse of semantic information through linked images and relating the images spatially, so you can "dive in" and explore is blowing my mind and reminding me of why I actually do love the internet - a nice counterpoint to "Australian Emo Girl" in the YouTube thread - thanks for sharing this, Matthew!
Now write me a receipt so I can tip on outta here...

Josh

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2007, 11:22:11 AM »
This kinda reminds me of some stuff going on at Carnegie Mellon, using photos to determine 3d space.

(press release/websight)
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John Junk

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2007, 06:08:39 PM »
Metaverses eat it.  I don't see the point.  I like that he said they'd get 3D thingers of all the "interesting places" on earth.  Translation: Over-photographed tourist traps.  How dare you.  What would Guy Deboard say?

TL

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2007, 08:20:07 PM »
Metaverses eat it.  I don't see the point.  I like that he said they'd get 3D thingers of all the "interesting places" on earth.  Translation: Over-photographed tourist traps.  How dare you.  What would Guy Deboard say?

Eat MY metaverse.  The "Society of Spectacle" will always make "interesting places" "over-photographed tourist traps," and you don't need Guy Debord to tell you that; but I think this is the most interesting leap in how to present and gather information that I've seen in a long time, buck-o.
Now write me a receipt so I can tip on outta here...

Emily

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2007, 09:33:10 PM »
no more pop-ups? its a sad day for Trip Whiting.

ps: TL I think you like it so much b/c its named TED.




Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2007, 01:08:01 AM »
Metaverses eat it.  I don't see the point.  I like that he said they'd get 3D thingers of all the "interesting places" on earth.  Translation: Over-photographed tourist traps.  How dare you.  What would Guy Deboard say?

Eat MY metaverse.  The "Society of Spectacle" will always make "interesting places" "over-photographed tourist traps," and you don't need Guy Debord to tell you that; but I think this is the most interesting leap in how to present and gather information that I've seen in a long time, buck-o.

That's the dilemma, innit?  I'm finding myself torn between my love of interesting contraptions and my distrust of late capitalism more and more these days.  For every techno-utopian impulse I have, there's a counter-impulse that makes me want to trash all of my gadgets just to escape the hyper-indexed surveillance society.

I don't know what DeBord would say (and probably still wouldn't be able to decipher it even after I'd read it), but Baudrillard would say that TED is speeding up the destruction of actual landmarks and their replacement with indexed images of them.

It is pretty damn neat though.
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TL

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2007, 08:13:55 AM »
Metaverses eat it.  I don't see the point.  I like that he said they'd get 3D thingers of all the "interesting places" on earth.  Translation: Over-photographed tourist traps.  How dare you.  What would Guy Deboard say?

Eat MY metaverse.  The "Society of Spectacle" will always make "interesting places" "over-photographed tourist traps," and you don't need Guy Debord to tell you that; but I think this is the most interesting leap in how to present and gather information that I've seen in a long time, buck-o.

That's the dilemma, innit?  I'm finding myself torn between my love of interesting contraptions and my distrust of late capitalism more and more these days.  For every techno-utopian impulse I have, there's a counter-impulse that makes me want to trash all of my gadgets just to escape the hyper-indexed surveillance society.

I don't know what DeBord would say (and probably still wouldn't be able to decipher it even after I'd read it), but Baudrillard would say that TED is speeding up the destruction of actual landmarks and their replacement with indexed images of the,.

It is pretty damn neat though.


I agree with you on some counts, including the last one.  But I see this more as simply a sort of new kind of encyclopedia, and it aggregates info/images already available - it's not asking people to go create a database of new images.  But even if it DID, it's not like Tron, or something, where these things will actually disappear and become part of CPU's non-existant "metaverse."  Also, at the risk of sounding completely elitist, this is a great tool for those who can use it, and if the virutal world supplants the real world for the idiots who can't tell or handle the difference, then that's their problem.  I've been to Notre Dame, and guess what?  It's still there.  But cities all over ARE disappearing and being supplanted by the Disney/Whole Foods version, and it's been going on for 20 years, and it's got nothing to do with this technology that seems to me to finally be a pretty good realization of "the web's" capabilities for merging image and text, individual knowledge and collective knowledge, and providing a path through that knowledge that is much more in line with the non-linear way that we, as humans, tend to think.
I don't think this is life changing, but I've been defending it so strongly because I think that the criticism so far has been way overblown - fer cryin' out loud - EZPass is more frighteneing, surveillance-wise, than this sort of thing is to me (there's already been a Law & Order episode where EZPass records were subpoenaed - the guy was a jerk and deserved to go down, but still...), though for the record, I have no problem using it, as I just assume that if there's a reason that someone wants to find me or find out what I've been (or anyone's been) doing, there are a million ways to do it, and I'm sure it'd be no problem with or without EZPass and the internet, first of all, and second, society may or may not have been going down the terlett for a long time, but misuse of the potentials of internet technology is just a symptom that, like many other symptoms, may hasten our demise, but is not the bugaboo it's made out to be. 
I mean, the list of worrisome problems with the world sprawls, to the extent that, in my version, this isn't even on it.
And Jasongrote - you read Baudrillard - you got nothin' to fear from Debord!
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Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2007, 02:20:39 PM »
I agree with you on some counts, including the last one.  But I see this more as simply a sort of new kind of encyclopedia, and it aggregates info/images already available - it's not asking people to go create a database of new images.  But even if it DID, it's not like Tron, or something, where these things will actually disappear and become part of CPU's non-existant "metaverse."  Also, at the risk of sounding completely elitist, this is a great tool for those who can use it, and if the virutal world supplants the real world for the idiots who can't tell or handle the difference, then that's their problem.  I've been to Notre Dame, and guess what?  It's still there.  But cities all over ARE disappearing and being supplanted by the Disney/Whole Foods version, and it's been going on for 20 years, and it's got nothing to do with this technology that seems to me to finally be a pretty good realization of "the web's" capabilities for merging image and text, individual knowledge and collective knowledge, and providing a path through that knowledge that is much more in line with the non-linear way that we, as humans, tend to think.
I don't think this is life changing, but I've been defending it so strongly because I think that the criticism so far has been way overblown - fer cryin' out loud - EZPass is more frighteneing, surveillance-wise, than this sort of thing is to me (there's already been a Law & Order episode where EZPass records were subpoenaed - the guy was a jerk and deserved to go down, but still...), though for the record, I have no problem using it, as I just assume that if there's a reason that someone wants to find me or find out what I've been (or anyone's been) doing, there are a million ways to do it, and I'm sure it'd be no problem with or without EZPass and the internet, first of all, and second, society may or may not have been going down the terlett for a long time, but misuse of the potentials of internet technology is just a symptom that, like many other symptoms, may hasten our demise, but is not the bugaboo it's made out to be. 
I mean, the list of worrisome problems with the world sprawls, to the extent that, in my version, this isn't even on it.
And Jasongrote - you read Baudrillard - you got nothin' to fear from Debord!


Yeah, and there was the criminal who was convicted when his Metrocard belied his alibi, too.  I think that recent events in places like Burma or Jena, Louisiana, have demonstrated that the state doesn't need cool gadgets when the old ways - like firing live ammo into crowd, or Jim Crow-style law enforcement - will do just fine.

My real feeling with this is that both the techno-utopians and the doomsayers are acting out a kind of sci-fi fantasy, and as a lifelong sci-fi/comic nerd myself, I totally get it, in both directions.  But I really think that, when anything is gained, something else is lost, and it's important to acknowledge that, even when whatever is being lost (or gained) isn't that big a deal.  So totalitarian or democratic governments (or marketers, potential employers, stalkers, or curious friends) don't need technology to do what they do - I buy that.  I also buy that the massive collective brain on the internet have provided an amazing resource in the way of knowledge, communication and fun.  And it's worth adding that, despite any reservations I might have, I've willingly, eagerly, handed over a huge chunk of personal info to Google, MySpace, Flickr, and so on and so forth.  And a big part of me loves to obsessively index certain trivial parts of my life (though I really wish I could be as attentive to my finances as I was to, say, iTunes).

I found out earlier this year that I was surveilled, mostly online, by the NYPD during the Republican convention.  It wasn't me they were after, specifically - but I did a lot of emailing and blogging and alt-journalism at that time, and they mined what I posted for information.  This doesn't bother me so much, as everything they looked at was meant to be public and the cops are part of the public, too.  But on the other hand, they disappeared a buddy of mine for the duration of the convention to get him out of the way.  He's a social worker with a wife and daughter, and they showed up at his workplace, held him for as long as they could, and released him with a token charge.  Now, they probably didn't need the internet to track him down, but I'm sure it helped.  In the end it was no big deal, because we do still live in a democracy and he was (and is) an educated middle-class white guy.  And you'd be right to say that the undoing of habeas corpus and the use of torture is a much bigger deal than search aggregators that can connect every activity we do.  But, all of that said, I think it's right to feel uneasy about the indexing of absolutely everything, even as I actively participate in it and enjoy it.

So, yes, TED is very cool, and of course it's silly to blame it for all of the problems of late capitalism etc.  And I think I find Baudrillard's take on it more interesting than Debord's, because Baudrillard probably would have said that the society of the spectacle, combined with the actual destruction of real landmarks by redevelopment or catastrophe or war/terror, marks the realization of a very, very old human impulse - that is, the replacement of the fixed and physical with the mutable and virtual - a notion that goes back to the ancient Greek philosophers, Buddhist thought, probably St. Augustine and others.  Again, cool because, well, it's cool - I think it's a mistake for progressives to abandon the language of fantasy and fetishize the "real world" - but also, not cool, because the more activated and tangible a virtual world is, the less we're likely to notice the unraveling of our physical environments and communities.  He says as he types a ridiculously long-winded treatise on a message board, avoiding working on creating a fake NY Times page as part of an alternate reality game based on his Arabian Nights play.

I should revisit Debord.  It was one of the first heavy theory books I ever read, so I was probably in way over my head at the time.
Oh, good heavens. I didn’t realize. I send my condolences out to the rest of the O’Connor family.

John Junk

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2007, 10:29:43 PM »
Full disclosure: I was never really able to read the Situationist Manifesto, but from my meagre understanding, I was trying to refer to the act of detournement(??) and the idea of walking around a planned city to find moments of spontaneity and ruptures within a scripted space.  Does that make any sense? 

Perhaps I overstated my contempt for the idea of a "metaverse".  There was just something about that whole flickr-to-3D-virtual-reality aspect of the demo that struck me as superfluous and pointless.  The fact that information can be grabbed from the internet and organized in a certain way is definitely interesting, but I'm on the fence as to whether it's actually exciting.  I no longer think (as my 21 year old self did) that technology is going to ruin life on earth, but my severe skepticism (if not abandonment) of any notion of technology-dependent "progress" is in no way allayed by TED.  All this stuff that makes things faster and more interactive ultimately means that we're expected to produce faster, and do more by ourselves, without the help of an expert, a live technician, a live bank teller, you name it.  Also, we all know that the second pop-ups or SPAM are made obsolete, it will be because a new interface design has taken their place, and inevitably this interface will be exploited in ways that its developers probably cannot dream of at the moment. 

Josh

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2007, 11:05:01 PM »
clarification:
TED (technology, entertainment, design) is a conference. The talk in question is by one of the people who works on Photosynth for Microsoft.


If a place has meaning because of the individual and collective experiences and memories made there, then isn't a software like this something like creating an oral history of not just a place but the types of activities that occur there and the people who populate it over time? I think Photosynth potentially has far-reaching implications for studying how and why places work for their intended function.
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Sarah

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2007, 09:49:49 AM »
All this stuff that makes things faster and more interactive ultimately means that we're expected to produce faster, and do more by ourselves, without the help of an expert, a live technician, a live bank teller, you name it.

This has certainly been the case in the publishing industry, and books have suffered as a result.  By speeding up certain aspects of book making, technological advances have effectively killed other, human-dependent processes (most notably, proofreading).  Have you noticed how many more mistakes there are nowadays even in books released by reputable publishers?  This is because mostly they are only proofed by their authors, who are generally neither careful enough to do the job properly and crippled further by their intimacy with the content, which makes them blind to error (they know what they meant to say, so they don't even see mistakes), whereas in the olden days (fifteen years ago) books were proofed by skilled people at the typesetters, by in-house or freelance proofreaders, and by authors.  I foresee a time when I will be out of work because copyediting, too, will be dismissed as obsolete, replaced by grammar-checking programs (which are about as useful as spell checkers).  In a world where books are referred to as "product," even at university presses, and, but for the pesky human element, can be churned out within a month, the pressure to eliminate the copyediting stage--which generally takes two months--will become irresistible.  And I won't even be able to collect unemployment.

Josh

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2007, 10:05:03 AM »
Sarah,

Do you think that there will come a time when books can be printed on a made-to-order basis? I imagine the ability to print small runs of formerly out of print books could be a boon to the publishing industry, but would the price of new books fall to reflect their diminished resale value?



Sincerely,

Off Topic Josh
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Sarah

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2007, 10:33:03 AM »
Yeah, I could see that happening (vanity presses more or less do this already), although I think it's even more likely that such books will be offered electronically.  Even now, many books are published and, especially, revised electronically.  (Indeed, it occurs to me that a nice little business might be to scan in out-of-print, out-of-copyright books and then sell downloads for a small fee.  Virtually no labor and no overhead.  No doubt all kinds of people are already doing this, though.  There goes my future source of income.)

Depressingly, I suspect that in the not-too-distant future physical books will become an expensive rarity.