Lecture about the rise of digital fabrication and parametric design, looking at their implications for creative practices. Specifically, Open Source design (Makerbot and Thingiverse), generative systems and data sculpture.
I have a brain cancer. I converted my digital medical records into open, accessible formats, turning them into a very personal form of Open Data. Artists, scientists, doctors, designers, hackers are all invited to send me their cure.
the rise of human technology, watch the TEDxtalk on the site
It is futile to ask whether people are naturally cooperative or selfish. They can be either, depending on the circumstances. Dr. Helbing cites "tragedies of the commons" where open access to a common-pool resource such as a fishery tends to result in overfishing that harms everybody—a sort of extended real-world version of the prisoner's dilemma.
In an increasingly interconnected world, scientists are seeking safeguards against catastrophic cascades of failure like stock market crashes and widespread blackouts.
Three years ago, Stanley and his colleagues discovered the mathematics behind what he calls “the extreme fragility of interdependency.” In a system of interconnected networks like the economy, city infrastructure or the human body, their model indicates that a small outage in one network can cascade through the entire system, touching off a sudden, catastrophic failure.
Onstage at TED2013, Sugata Mitra makes his bold TED Prize wish: Help me design the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can explore and learn from each other -- using resources and mentoring from the cloud.
a brilliant thought in the future of education, Sugata Mitra won TED prize this month
As systems grow increasingly complex, it becomes impossible to identify or test for every possible cause of failure, writes Guest Columnist Irving Wladawsky-Berger.
There is a continuing struggle between complexity and robustness in both evolution and human design. A kind of survival imperative, whether in biology or engineering, requires that simple, fragile systems become more robust. But the mechanisms to increase robustness will in turn make the system considerably more complex. Furthermore, that additional complexity brings its own unanticipated failure modes, which are corrected over time with additional robust mechanisms, which then further add to the complexity of the system, and so on. This balancing act between complexity and robustness is never done.
The classic approaches to safety assumed that accidents are caused by component failures or by human error. Introducing fault tolerance techniques and planning for their failure will help prevent accidents, thus making components very reliable. Similarly rewarding safe human behavior and punishing unsafe behavior will eliminate or significantly reduce accidents.
These assumptions no longer apply, especially for complex, sociotechnical systems–that is, systems that combine powerful digital technologies with the people and organizations that use and support them.
Partisan lines that once fell along regional borders can increasingly be found at the county level. What does that mean for the future of the United States?
The voting data suggest that people don't make cities liberal -- cities make people liberal.
The gap is so stark that some of America's bluest cities are located in its reddest states.
Electoral cartograms by University of Michigan physics professor Mark Newman show the power of Democratic counties based on population density. Spreading each vote out, his illustrations portray the hidden truth of the conventional electoral map, and why the much smaller number of dedicated blue counties is outmatching the more geographically numerous red counties.
After this year's election, roughly half of the 50 states allow the practice of one, more, or all of the following: same-sex marriage, marijuana use or assisted suicide.
Meanwhile, all of the states that voted against Obamacare also ban both same-sex marriage and marijuana use.
http://www.ted.com Christien Meindertsma, author of "Pig 05049" looks at the astonishing afterlife of the ordinary pig, parts of which make their way into at least 187 non-pork products, from bullets to artificial hearts....
TED Talks Why do transnational extremist organizations succeed where democratic movements have a harder time taking hold?
Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist extremist, and today a promoter of decomacracy in Pakistan, asks important, critical questions on global political processes and brings an insider view into the fight among extremism of all types and democratic activism and culture. Important.
a brilliant glimpse into the growing non-linearity of cause-effect in complex and overly connected systems.
a module from Boston University, School of Public Health, on causal inference and webs of causation; Prof WW LaMorte.
"Since a determination that a relationship is causal is a judgment, there is often disagreement, particularly since causality often implies some degree of responsibility for the outcome, and this often has legal and financial consequences. Many would agree that incomplete evidence or a lack of agreement about causality, should not always prevent appropriate actions to protect the public's health. Nevertheless, the question of whether a relationship is causal sometimes has important consequences for a vast number of people, as we will see in this module..
Distinguish between association and a causal relationship.Describe and apply Hill's criteria and for a judgment of causality.Describe the sufficient-component cause model.Discuss in general the differences in the weight of evidence needed for determining causality versus taking public health action."
Prosthetics, doping, computer implants: we take every upgrade we can get. But what is waiting for us at the finish line?
Today, improvements in cognitive pharmaceuticals, genetic engineering and high-tech prostheses inspire some to dream of a future of accelerating species enhancement, reaching a point where we will have become — what? Übermenschen? Cyborgs? Post-humans? Or just better versions of ourselves?
In Emily Sargent’s artfully curated exhibition, Superhuman, at the Wellcome Trust in London this summer, sci-fi visions of future improvements were presented side-by-side with artifacts from the history of human enhancement.4
‘I’m mystified by the resistance that human enhancement faces,’ Harris writes in the Superhuman exhibition catalogue. ‘I think many people have a horror of playing God, but if they reflected on how bad a job God was doing most of the time, they would lose that horror.’
But the most revealingly naive prediction was this, scheduled to come true a mere 18 years from now: ‘The ability to control the genetics of humans, animals, and agricultural plants will greatly benefit human welfare; widespread consensus about ethical, legal, and moral issues will be built in the process.’
This is truly a marvellous apogee of technocratic utopianism. Global agreement on ‘ethical, legal, and moral’ issues has been out of reach for all of recorded human civilisation, at least through the traditional means of reasoning and persuasion. Just because we might become as gods with regard to the molecular building blocks of life doesn’t mean we won’t continue to bicker and squabble. After all, that’s just what communities of gods spend most of their time doing in polytheistic mythologies. Or perhaps we are meant to read this future consensus as one propagated by morally improving chemistry.
The critical influence of Data in our life and the distance of it from our language and gesture understandable world.
Invisible Airs is an art project by YoHa assisted by Stephen Fortune. The work has been examining the possible relations between data (open data) and people through building relational machines powered by data and letting people interact with it. Invisible Airs is an investigation of Power, Governance and Data informed by the expenditure database of Bristol City Council.
"After attempting to read 20,000 comma separated lines of apparently open-data, we understood that power revealed itself through boredom. We decided that the best way to reveal the relations contained within its fields and the people affected by it would be to construct five contraptions..."
A model describing the brain as a system close to a phase transition can capture the global dynamics of brain activity observed in fMRI experiments.
Critical systems can be defined as systems that are close to a critical point, generally identified as the boundary of an order-disorder phase transition. Many complex systems far from equilibrium and composed of a large number of interacting elements have been successfully modeled as critical: notable examples range from gene-interaction networks to financial markets. At criticality, these systems can avoid being trapped in one of two extreme cases: a disordered state (when interactions are too weak and the system is dominated by noise) or a globally ordered state in which all elements are locked (when interactions are too strong and the system is completely static). Neither state supports the dualism essential for a complex system like the brain to function: it must maintain some order to ensure coherent functioning (i.e., generate a reproducible behavior in response to a certain stimulus) while allowing for a certain degree of disorder to enable flexibility (i.e., adapt to varying external conditions). Such dualism is instead possible at criticality.
Dynamical systems that maximize their future possibilities behave in surprisingly “intelligent” ways.
The second law of thermodynamics—the one that says entropy can only increase—dictates that a complex system always evolves toward greater disorderliness in the way internal components arrange themselves. In Physical Review Letters, two researchers explore a mathematical extension of this principle that focuses not on the arrangements that the system can reach now, but on those that will become accessible in the future. They argue that simple mechanical systems that are postulated to follow this rule show features of “intelligence,” hinting at a connection between this most-human attribute and fundamental physical laws.
Bottom-up processes in areas such as transportation can create cities that actually work for residents.
The autocatalytic city contains an intelligence, a kind of ingenuity that can never be captured by a top-down system of control. So it is almost poetic that the complexity of the city finds an analogue and an ally in the nonhierarchical complexity of the Internet. In much the same way that the autocatalytic city makes maximum use of physical materials and space, it is also co-opting technology into its fabric.
If you've ever wondered whether mammalian evolution has a speed limit, here's a number for you: 24 million generations.
That’s how many generations a new study estimates it would take to go from mouse- to elephant-sized while operating on land at the maximum velocity of change. The figure underscores just how special a trait sheer bigness can be.
“Big animals represent the accumulation of evolutionary change, and change takes time,”
Science 1 February 2013: Vol. 339 no. 6119 pp. 574-576 DOI: 10.1126/science.1225883
The capacity for groups to exhibit collective intelligence is an often-cited advantage of group living. Previous studies have shown that social organisms frequently benefit from pooling imperfect individual estimates. However, in principle, collective intelligence may also emerge from interactions between individuals, rather than from the enhancement of personal estimates. Here, we reveal that this emergent problem solving is the predominant mechanism by which a mobile animal group responds to complex environmental gradients. Robust collective sensing arises at the group level from individuals modulating their speed in response to local, scalar, measurements of light and through social interaction with others. This distributed sensing requires only rudimentary cognition and thus could be widespread across biological taxa, in addition to being appropriate and cost-effective for robotic agents.
We used to know how to know. Get some experts, maybe a methodology, add some criteria and credentials, publish the results, and you get knowledge we can all ...
An interesting talk on how the architecture of knowledge was influenced along 2500 years by the media of paper, more than we could dear to imagine, and how the hyper linked structure of internet has transformed all that. Skulls don't scale, networks do, knowledge does.
"We used to know how to know. Get some experts, maybe a methodology, add some criteria and credentials, publish the results, and you get knowledge we can all rely on. But as knowledge is absorbed by our new digital medium, it's becoming clear that the fundamentals of knowledge are not properties of knowledge but of its old paper medium. Skulls don't scale. But the Net does. Now networked knowledge is taking on the properties of its new medium: never being settled, including disagreement within itself, and becoming not a set of stopping points but a web of temptations. Networked knowledge, for all its strengths, has its own set of problems. But, in knowledge's new nature there is perhaps a hint about why the Net has such surprising transformative power.
This article is part of a series: ‘Governance and other systems of mass collaboration’. Stigmergy is a mechanism of indirect coordination between agents or actions. The principle is tha...
Stigmergy is neither competitive nor traditionally collaborative.
With stigmergy, an initial idea is freely given, and the project is driven by the idea, not by a personality or group of personalities. No individual needs permission (competitive) or consensus (cooperative) to propose an idea or initiate a project. There is no need to discuss or vote on the idea, if an idea is exciting or necessary it will attract interest. The interest attracted will be from people actively involved in the system and willing to put effort into carrying the project further, not empty votes from people with little interest or involvement. Since the project is supported or rejected based on contributed effort, not empty votes, input from people with more commitment to the idea will have greater weight. Stigmergy also puts individuals in control over their own work.
Rather than the traditional corporate model of endless acquisition and expansion, stigmergy encourages splintering into different nodes. Because each individual is responsible only for their own work, and no one can direct a group of workers, expansion means more work for the individual, a self limiting prospect. As a system grows, the additional work requires either additional resources or splintering; as communication is easier and there is more autonomy in smaller groups, splintering is the more likely outcome of growth.
A new system of governance or collaboration that does not follow a competitive hierarchical model will need to employ stigmergy in most of its action based systems. It is neither reasonable nor desirable for individual thought and action to be subjugated to group consensus in matters which do not affect the group, and it is frankly impossible to accomplish complex tasks if every decision must be presented for approval; that is the biggest weakness of the hierarchical model. The incredible success of so many internet projects are the result of stigmergy, not cooperation, and it is stigmergy that will help us build quickly, efficiently and produce results far better than any of us can foresee at the outset.