Where the NET is going…

Every once in awhile I like to just sift through the grist that is being processed on the great wide interweb and take a gander at trends and events that feel like they are going to be important building blocks in the near future.

To this I add a first level of links that allow further exploration of what this technology is about and what it is linked to:

http://www.technologyreview.com/web/24645/page1/

So we have a new way to manipulate data that allows a different insight to emerge from massive amounts of information.

The television series CSI and its geographical offshoots have always pushed technological advances with their fancy computer graphics, image enhancing and hand or voice controlled computer displays. Now we see the next steps. One truism that has prevailed from the early days of computer use is that the greater the capacity of the system the larger and more sophisticated projects than can then be undertaken. There’s a problem in the programming industry with its much larger programs and applications where the coder/developer can no longer hold the whole picture in their mind. These two tools alone have implications for that entire paradigm.

The charge into Cyberspace has been blunted by technology that is not up to the word and idea visions of William Gibson et al nor the movie maker’s spin ala the Matrix.

Technological advancements are accelerating and convergence is a growing force. My smartphone is the end result of this convergence. The former incarnation required a large physical box connected to a wire based network, a camera, a video camera, a library, a typewriter, an entire postal system, a boombox, a tape recorder, a bookstore, a video store plus many, many more separate systems and infrastructures.

A lazy Sunday that has brought some new insights to my daily ruminations. To sum up I wish to drag you a bit sideways into my mind space and I offer as a final tidbit this piece:

http://spiffy.ci.uiuc.edu/~kline/Stuff/internet-rant.html/

information warfare monitor

another link here to the blog page of the “information warfare monitor”, coming out of canada, and using the resources of three ‘independent’ research institutions.
it publishes short reports rather than papers, and links to other reprts, news articles and so on – all related to the way cyberspace is used as an arena for espionage and counter-intelligence… authors are affiliated with the named institutions, and so far i have not read any further than a couple of the posts to find out what if any political ideology they support. so far, nothing sticks out – but then, as i am left of centre it is no doubt going to be found wanting in some way by anyone on the right. i note that what i find neutral and mealy-mouthed is damned as ‘biased’ by conservatives the world over. go figure as they say.
anyway, looks like another good resource for web-based investigations.
on content this time, not expression. i.e. not related to interface functionality.

data mining online

recent article in new scientist took my attention, a summary of recent uses and advances in using software to gauge public opinion on various matters using keywords and frequency of use. the claim being that blogs and tweets are able to predict business trends – not directly, but by ‘measuring’ a sort of underlying, pervasive, social attutude.
not convinced myself, but interested in the work being done, i followed the link to the 4th international AAAI conference on weblogs and social media.

still ignorant at the time of what AAAI stood for (the association for the advancement of artificial intelligence), i investigated and downloaded some of the papers and presentation on the conference site

a short scan through the abstracts convinced me that i was not really convinced at all of the usefulness of their work, it purporting to give insights into the workings of the brain and cognitive processes through research based on software-driven text analysis.

at the same time, the free papers are a great resource, and it also linked me to the previous site i posted where, like TED, some fascinating lectures can be viewed.

theorising web dynamics

one of the lectures i’ve been watching recently on the video lectures site (see blogroll for link to their homepage) features a young eastern european guy who’s been working in conceptualising the dynamics of the web, the evolution of networks/ links, and how ideas or topics spread through networks.
it’s one of several on the topic of social media and theorising or graphically representing social networks, sentiment analysis, and so on. they are not as professional as those on TED, featuring presentations from conferences all over the world, and so to some extent you need to check out the ratings given by other viewers to determine whether the lecture is going to be rivetting or not…
a good resource anyway.

Old and New Net


click to enlarge

Web 3.0 from Kate Ray on Vimeo.

This video from Kate Ray quickly made the rounds.

What a long way the net has come. I suppose it necessary but gratuitous to add: ‘for better and for worse.’

There’s a moment in this interesting mash-up where the speaker implies the following: could we re-render human brain to think more like a machine? This follows from the difficulty of making a machine think like a human.

I had to look up the use of the term ontologies because I know little about information science, and, the its use in the video seemed to depart from the philosophical term. Here’s the treatment about ontologies at wikipedia.

There is nothing about the problems faced by the varieties of user. I’m a user and I know of the problems I encounter in searching for information, both on the internet, in libraries, and, on my own computer, in my own archive of documents.

I’ll mention three challenges. I’ll frame this by stating that I wish my computer-based archives and library archives were indexed by google.

(1) usually, (my) searches for information on google are satisfied. However, because the results are matched with the real-time indexing my cognition provides for, the end of a search on a given topic–usually in the social sciences–is arbitrarily terminated. In other words, I have conclusive idea that a given result is the optimum result. I’d also characterize my search methods using partly ad hoc heuristics.

(2) searches in my computer-based archive are brute force and leverage Spotlite’s ability to look into the text of every file, BUT, involve scanning through very long result lists, most of which are not positive. As a user, the labor intensive task of organizing files on my end is, ‘too much.’ And, fit to this is the ease with which information can be archived versus the labor involved in organizing it. Somewhat: the intuitive’s curse…

(3) The most difficult search of the web and internet resources are those that are very particular and very local. A good example would be somebody’s address. Searches oriented to topics do not fall into this category.

One other note–I would guess my own search capability falls into the highly capable slice of any Bell Curve. This guess is based in my understanding of how to use the specific editing features of google search. And, it’s based on observing how most other people use search. One of the challenges for the semantic web, given,

The Semantic Web is an evolving development of the World Wide Web in which the meaning (semantics) of information on the web is defined, making it possible for machines to process it.

is any useful, more powerful interface and facilitation, has to meet the different modes of differentiated users.

For example, I wouldn’t be skeptical of a machine’s ability to qualify results so that I could be confident I’ve reached the optimum set of results, but I’d like to know beforehand why I needn’t be skeptical. And, this would have to be presented to me at my level.

hungry beast on the ABC

political cum parody half hour weekly on the national broadcaster has occasionlly left me with nothing to say, i mean left me thinking. beyond their pieces. sometimes i was not sure whether we were viewing something serious or another parody. this week is the last show for the season, who knows, maybe they’ll not return. a pity.
the blog site has links to all their shows i believe and excerpts of stories they’ve run. the usual invitations to comment, and requests for tips and videos to be sent in – some of which are aired on the tv program, and then archived on the site.
last week they reported on the breaking story of one of the recent wikileaks leaks, and the blog features related stories, including a telephone interview (and transcript) with the founder and mystery man, julian assange. together with suelette dreyfus, they wrote “underground” – originally published in 2003 now available from project gutenberg – about the hacker community in australia in the 80s and 90s. some say the main character in the book is a thinly disguised julian assange, since dates and places seem to match.
as for wikileaks itself, we find out there various forms of information that big corporations and the military do not want to have on public display. and indeed we can see that even cryptome.org (and the inimitable john young… or well, maybe he does have his imitators) has met its match in microsoft in the last couple of months when the site was shaken down after cryptome dared to publish microsoft’s (and others such as paypal and ebay) offer to sell you information on whoever you might want to find out about…. wikileaks calls it ‘spying’, but i spose microsoft might consider this information would be available only to the most revered of institutions and for the best of reasons.
all in all, i’m a big fan of the low-budget, down home reporting style of hungry beast. i was about to embed a video of one of my fave skits, but back on the site i read this response to a comment:

Hi Nick, Due to our licensing agreement with the ABC, all HUNGRY BEAST video content on the website is Geo-Blocked. This means videos can only be viewed within Australia. Cheers, HB

however, you may be able to see it on youtube… although lately there’s been some funny buggers over there too… if anyone is watching ‘over there’ let me know if you’re able to see the vid below… mind you, there are a few intertextual references to australian identities which might make some of the jokes hard to fathom.

google uber alles

hungry beast again, this time with a nicely put together summary of google and its ..er…intentions:

once more, you will want what others need you to buy.

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