December182012

roystclair:

I MUST HAVE THIS IN MY LIFE!

Where’s the Tardis? That HAS to exist as well =)

(Source: placebomurzyn)

1PM

Devil’s Advocate: The Disposable Society

You should recycle that plastic spoon you just threw away! I can’t believe you just throw stuff away and you don’t recycle it! Hell, maybe invest in a real knife so you don’t even need to do that. Oh? The real knife is cheap and flimsy and there’s no need to buy one? Yeah, well, corporations are engineering our world so that it’s disposable and so they’ll make huge bank.

Wait…what?

How exactly do you know this? Are you in on the secret, too? Or, is this just supposition and/or information based on reinforcing information from biased resources? Be honest…

Maybe the reality is that the majority of people in the US or the world want something a little easier to deal with. If anything, a disposable society is the preferred kind for a world with limited resources and scarce options.

Think of the “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” PSA back in the day — it applies today.

Once we start getting used to items that have less longevity, we’ll be more and more inclined to recycle them, and allow ourselves to stop trashing things so much.

If you’re a proponent of “keeping things around” for longer, you’re indirectly allowing the landfills to stay the way they are. Items that take longer to decompose and biodegrade are great for longevity, but also are the main volume in landfills.

I say that we should embrace a disposable society with less than durable goods. One day, it’ll let us recycle old sandwiches into new tasty sandwiches.

December72012

"Mindless" Video Game Sims

The Ville

Have you spent untold hours playing Facebook apps like Farmville and ChefVille?

I gave these games some consideration after having a talk about jobs, and why I hate mundane tediousness.

From my experiences, everyone seems to work for one major goal: money. Now, money may just be one manifestation of accomplishment, we do, after all, have achievements in gaming, and that tends to work out pretty well as a reward system.

What got me thinking about this was how the service and production corridor seemed to have been changing. The US produces fewer and fewer physical products, and derives more and more services from the resulting void. What if you could get people to work for you in another way? Perhaps they’re doing something that will be automated in the future. Or maybe the consumer base just needs to replace a lack of physical mundanity with a virtual form?

We’ve replaced tedious work with virtual tedious work.

Perhaps those people are a new kind of employee…?

[photo courtesy: gamerstyle.net]

December52012

Cyber Warfare: Follow-up

For context regarding the following Q&A, please see my original post titled Cyber Warfare.

_________________________
K: So you’re saying that the strategies gamers use in combat may be the strategy used for cyber warfare in the future?

Me: In a way. But more importantly, it will be the main method of warfare. Perhaps replacing physical persons entirely, like drones.

K: Oh, so it will all be automated?

Me: Drones aren’t automated, they’re still controlled by people. As long as humans have a stake in warfare, humans will have some manner of control in it. A virtual war.

K: Ok, so a virtual war with drones controlled by humans for the purpose of getting or preventing someone from getting intel.

Me: Essentially.

K: Can’t people just use computers? That’s what they do now right?

Me: They will. The computer is the method that allows for the control of the avatar/drone.

K: Ok wait, so real warfare (currently happening with soldiers, not online with people hacking) will be replaced by drones? O_o

Me: And if the computer technology becomes like that of the tech in H+, the “in game” death could have the potential for severe psychological effects, more so than they do already. Hacking and gaming will integrate. They will become the same. It could play out in a similar fashion to that of current warfare games, or evolve into something entirely unforeseen.

K: Hmmm…

Me: Hell, hacking and gaming and piracy all merge in an onslaught of warfare… The future, but not too far into the future. Fifty years tops. Twenty minimum. Full integration of outright cyber warfare could take centuries as countries and factions develop at differing rates. But could also happen far sooner due to the nature of the beast. Hard to say with real certainty.

K: Definitely uncertainty…

Me: And then comes the holographics. Complicating and changing the whole format entirely.

November42012

Occupy: Hipocrisy

Occupy!

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Ghandi

Occupy Sandy [link] is a very good example of this message, and should be emulated.

The following is an example of how not to portray this message…

The visage of Ghandi is being besmirched by a good portion of Occupy Wall Street: Los Angeles Edition. Now, this is not by all persons affiliated with the organization, but of such a significant number, that it must be spotlighted.

Why do I even bring up such an accusation? Because people are fucking hypocrites, that’s why.

If the “change you wish to see in the world” is that everyone should yell and scream profanities at strangers, and accept physical violence towards specific members of society, then so be it. I’ll tell you this much: if/when someone comes right up to me and starts calling me “white devil” or “some fancy pants rich college kid” or that “your people are ruining this country/world” because I’m a white male, then I’ll tell them to fuck off, or ignore their obvious inability to connect with me as a human being.

Such behavior is called prejudice. Yes, many of the LA Occupiers are unabashedly practicing something they so dreadfully oppose.

But, it’s not their fault, it’s the fault of their inability to rationalize irrational behaviors. One major form of their prejudice revolves around the police. They see a police officer, and their first response is to shout profanities and attempt to intimidate the officer. Their reason? Because police are a symbol of the oppression of the government…also the City Hall raid on November 30th. Because of the actions taken by the LAPD, as well as any politicians connected with the raid, they now distrust and absolutely abhor anyone wearing a police uniform. Some of this is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and those suffering should get treatment, which includes disconnection from the stimulus – the LAPD.

Others are fueled by their hate.

This hatred is rooted so deeply in them that the mere explanation that the police officers are actual human beings of flesh and bone will cause raucous exclamations of “fuck the police”, as well as accusations of “you’re a cop”. But the simple fact is, no matter the circumstances, police officers from all over the US, and the world, are, in fact, mere humans.

This idea is repeatedly rejected, and even violence against police [link] is endorsed. I say endorsed because so many are willing to concede that the police officer “may have deserved it” for some out-of-context behavior that was not witnessed. This is how you wish to “change” the world? Violence against other human beings in a nonviolent movement is not acceptable.

Simply put, Occupy Wall Street: Los Angeles Edition contains bigots.

Again, not all who are affiliated are bigots, but a numerous quantity of them are. This kind of behavior is reminiscent of racial and homophobic bigotry. Yeah, someone from a specific group did something wrong to you, or others, and such behavior has been spotlighted on the news. You wish to tell the rest of the world that this is bad, m’kay? I get that. But that doesn’t mean each and every single person wearing a uniform is going to bludgeon you, mace you, pepper spray you, tase you, or kill you.

If you think this way, you’re a practicing hypocrite, and perhaps you should give up selling death sticks, go home, and rethink your life [link].

Maybe I shouldn’t be making light of too serious a subject.

It’s not right that police brutality exists. It’s also not right that civilian brutality exists towards police officers. You’re all human beings, all of you!

If you think that showing Ghandi’s face at a rally while simultaneously shouting “Shit’s Fucked Up! Shit’s Fucked Up and Bullshit!” or “Fuck The Police!” is actually going to win over the public, you’re sorely mistaken. And persistently telling them to “wake up”, or other sideways insults to their intellect, is only going to upset them and have them fight back against you and whatever attempts of “progress” you wish to make.

If you want peace and harmony; love and generosity; compassion and fairness; then you need to show the rest of humanity what that looks like. Lead by example, not with fists raised in the air, showing that you’re ready to physically assault that which is above you.

Open your arms and embrace one another. Otherwise, you’re only fighting fire with fire.

"An eye for an eye leaves the world blind." - Ghandi

[Photo courtesy of: orangejuiceblog.com]

November22012

Gaming Pains

Darksiders II

What if you could die while playing a video game? Like, actually die?

I see this as a potential in the not-so-near future.

Currently, video games are gaining more and more realism via the sights and sounds within the gaming environment, most especially in first person modern military shooters. This is due to the demand of gamers who want other types of feedback that provide a more realistic challenge. Force feedback is another example, causing the controller to shake or providing resistance. for the player when being used in conjunction with games.

Let’s just anticipate that this will only go further than the current incarnations.

Technologically speaking, we should have managed, at some point, a means to provide sensory feedback to a player. Hit boxes are sections of a game character where programmers have essentially stated, “this is where damage can occur”, and these are everywhere. A player could wear a motion capture-like body suit that contains points of stimulus for those hit boxes.

Once something like this is established, it could allow someone who feels hardcore enough to play a game that could let them feel the pain of battle. Bullets, explosions, electric shocks, gaseous ordinances, etc. could all be felt through a suit such as this. There actually are people who have this very desire to feel real battle, so it’s not much of a stretch to think someone would want this in a gaming experience.

Stretch the idea further, allow for a person to not only feel the pain, but to also experience it. There’s even the added bonus of someone like a medic showing up to heal said pain in game, which consequently heals the physical body out of game. The idea of getting to a point where a person could literally die from a mortal wound in the game sounds like it could become a reality.

Neo: “I thought it wasn’t real.”
Morpheus: “Your mind makes it real.”
Neo: “If you’re killed in the matrix, you die here?”
Morpheus: “The body cannot live without the mind.”

[Photo courtesy of: darkzero.co.uk]

October312012

Sandy

Hurricane

A hurricane [link] just slammed into a sensitive area [link] of the East coast of the United States of America, and there are cries of “Global Warming!”

Cut the shit, please.

How do you explain all of the other hurricanes that ever happened in Earth’s past, with, or without, Global Warming as an environmental issue; and prior to any form of documented history that might bring to light such issues? Do you know what El Niño and La Niña are? Do you know what the Coriolis Effect is? What about to what regions of the Earth the ocean currents move warm/cold water?

No, seriously, I want you to explain these things.

The burden of proof is on you to prove that there is, in fact, a connection with Hurricane Sandy and Global Warming. Let’s see the figures of all the data you’ve compiled over the last few hundred years and have accounted for all the weather phenomena that can lead up to and are direct contributors to the occurrence of all Hurricanes within the last few years.

There better not be any potential patterns discounting your proof. Doing so will lend you little credibility.

Look, I’m not some Anti-Global Warming nut job, okay? Nor am I someone who believes wholeheartedly that Global Warming is what people say it is. There’s a lot of information to absorb, and because I’m not an expert, I don’t claim to know one way or the other. I just don’t think that the people who are shouting at the rooftops and trying to convince everyone of a conspiracy to control the population through natural disasters (one theory) is much of an expert on the subject.

Here’s another twist: there are experts on both sides of the argument. Oddly enough, this happens all the time in science. Like, it’s actually necessary for science to maintain the truth and integrity we’ve come to trust in it. Call it checks and balances.

You, as a dweller of this beautiful rocky planet we call Earth, have one obligation: to continue the survival of the species. But you’ve also got a prefrontal cortex that has a main function called “reasoning”, and it’s supposed to prevent you from going all nutzo crazy on the rest of us and think your way through these kinds of things. Global Warming is not an immediate life-threatening challenge, hunger and cold and heat are, and that’s why you have the rest of your brain.

Do me a favor. Stop with all the breast-beating and just go about your life trying to learn what is important to you. Provide insight to others, instead of sensationalized garbage (leave that up to the media outlets you should be ignoring), and if you’re truly concerned with issues like Global Warming, take steps that you can take to help make a change.

Your lack of heart attacks will thank you.

[Photo courtesy of: jerseyshoreguide.net]

October302012

This Blog Wrote Itself

Technological Singularity

Is this blog writing itself? Does it matter depending on when you read it? Does it matter at all?

I just finished watching the web-series SYNC [link] and it got me thinking about a few things:

-Transhumanism
-The Technological Singularity
-Science Fiction in general

Because the series does so well in combining those three elements, I can only say good things about it. But that’s for another time.

What if – through “over sharing” of information on the internet, in addition to an algorithm that could learn the communication patterns of an individual – a “sentient” internet-only personality were to emerge? Think about it.

If you provide enough information for something to allocate enough data, allow that thing to notice patterns (we humans do that often enough, we would build the same thing), then to extrapolate that information to predict how the author would think and, eventually, begin thinking for said author.

Take a gander at my blog [link]. At the time of this writing, I have roughly 70 blogs/reblogs/etc., which may or may not be enough information to begin forging a new blog on its own, without my input.

Look at the timing of my blogs and how inconsistent they are. These traits could eventually be manufactured by an intelligence that is not my own, but that of a computer. In all likelihood, such a thing would not happen until an autonomous AI were first constructed, then it would take on the personality of something else that fed into it. That doesn’t even take into consideration my Twitter feed [link], which, currently, contains over 11,000 tweets.

If, in the future, I continue to provide more and more information, and, if the Technological Singularity occurs in my lifetime, it’s quite possible that a computerized entity could emulate me.

I mean, c’mon, I do use a pseudonym, after all =)

[Photo courtesy of: neilnoonan.files.wordpress.com]

8PM

Children Should Learn Programming

Programming Code

The future is bright and we should be investing in it with an education that prepares people of all socioeconomic groups to be able to succeed.

Computers and technology aren’t the future, they are the present. Just as with any other language, children should be learning to program as early as possible.

Each culture prepares its youth with the spoken language of the region, this allows for vocal communication. We’ve then begun to participate in educating youth in math, which is another language, somewhat more universal.

It’s time to step it up again and teach children the programming languages. Currently, this is something of a challenge because of the multiple available languages, and because they provide corporations with a sense of control, there is great contention with the idea of only one language…just as there is with one spoken language. Oddly enough, however, this doesn’t appear to be an issue with math.

Nevertheless, the future is uncertain, and because computerized technology is still relatively new, we won’t know if any of the current languages will remain on top, or if they will be replaced by something more user-friendly.

It’s necessary. So get to it parents.

[Photo courtesy of paulhobson.com]

October222012

Cyber Warfare

Gears of War

Is the current video game combat format a precursor to “real world” combat in the future?

In the current regime of warfare, physical lives and locations are at stake. In video games, it’s not so much the case. You can keep dying and pushing against your opponent’s base, usually for “intel”. And you can do this for, sometimes, hours before a victory is established. However, because players can use strategies to outmaneuver their opponents, it’s less likely to drag out. Additionally, a player who dies repeatedly tends to upset his/her teammates because they are proving to be useless in combat, and, as such, tend to be ostracized from the current battle. Such persistent ostracization can lead to exclusion from many or all subsequent games with other players.

Looking at this idea from an eSports angle, it shows more potential.

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In a free-to-play game like “League of Legends”, it’s not the hero or the gear that the player uses that has far-reaching effects, but that person’s reputation. Ladder matches allow players to compete against people who are similarly matched in skill, which is quantified/qualified via statistics like kills/deaths/assists on the battlefield in skirmishes.

Yes, many times, the vernacular is quite similar.

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In Word of Warcraft, the Battlegrounds format of combat provides players with “Honor Points” for when they accomplish various goals: kills, damage, damage healed, etc. These Honor Points can be used to purchase better equipment for the character. Unlike League of Legends, however, the character (avatar) the player is using is the mark of reputation and skill. This is further reinforced through visual characteristics with fashionable or intimidating sets of armor pieces, or with titles given to the player as higher badges of honor.

This is just laying a bit of the groundwork, however. Allow me to extrapolate further with some more examples.

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In the game “Frozen Synapse”, the player commands a small squad of otherwise unintelligent and dependent “shape-forms”. They do nothing until instructed to do so, the desired effect that the military (generally) has on their forces. This is performed in a chess-like top-down manner, where the entire battlefield can (most of the time) be seen.

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In the game “Battlefield 3" (and many others that are similar), the player commands a lone infantry unit who has a plethora of skills, which is indicated by the "load-out" screen: what set of skills does the player wish to possess while they are on the field? Medic: shooting, healing, reviving? Infantryman: shooting, shooting, and shooting? Back-up: shooting, repairing, resupplying ammunition? In addition to class specific skills, each player has the ability, once learned through trial-by-fire [experience], to pilot multiple vehicles. Also, by piloting each vehicle, their proficiency is rewarded with differing skills associated with the vehicle. This is all played in a first person perspective, with sound assets designed to create a realistic wartime experience.

Now, let’s combine a few of these ideas together. A player, whose skill set is more along the lines of strategy, plays a game like Frozen Synapse, and the shape-form who receives instructions is now the player whose skill set is more proficient ala Battlefield 3…but neither of them are playing those games. They are, instead, playing one game that incorporates the game play elements from both Frozen Synapse and Battlefield 3. You have your general and your grunt.

But because these units aren’t flesh and blood, the real sacrifice now comes down to status, illustrated by both League of Legends and World of Warcraft. The player who takes the least damage, kills the most, and helps out his other players will be rewarded with badges of honor, similar to the real world. Those who are proven to be useless will be “dead”. These badges are a type of currency, permitting him/her more access to otherwise limited/restricted tools of warfare. The opposition will retain similar methods of risk/reward.

But what’s at stake?

The “intel”, most probably. In a world where information has always been important, there will always be threats to such places where it is established.

In recent times, SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, etc. have popped their heads up to “help” thwart Internet criminality. Copyright infringement is on the rise due to antiquated methods of practice. Is it possible that what we call “gamers” now will be the future “warriors”?

Something tells me “yes”.

[Banner image courtesy: nerdrepository.com]