With their easy-to-use touch screens, Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch are driving home the idea that computing can be more than just tapping away at a keyboard and clicking a mouse.
So it’s no surprise that multitouch displays (screens that are sensitive to the pressure of more than one finger) are capturing the imaginations of other manufacturers, including Samsung, Palm and Hewlett-Packard.
But multitouch is merely the first step of a coming revolution in the way people interact with computers.
That future may include using neurotransmitters to help translate thoughts into computing actions, face detection combined with eye tracking and speech recognition, and haptics technology that uses the sense of touch to communicate with the user.
“Computing of today is primarily designed for seated individuals doing office work in the developed world,” says Scott Klemmer, co-director of the Human Computer Interaction Group at Stanford University. “If you flip any one of those bits — look at mobile users, or users outside of the developed world or social computing instead of individual computing — then the future is wide open.”
Telepathic control of computing functions have been the holy grail of computer scientists since the building of ENIAC. It has been the thinking of these researchers that the first transhumans will be para- and quadraplegics using this “electronic telepathy” to control artificial limbs and other devices that will not only give them abilities to lead a normal life, but enhance them as well.
How fast will man run? Will he ever dash through 100 metres in five seconds flat? Not impossible, says one of the world’s best known authorities on physiology and biomechanics.
Professor Peter Weyand, Southern Methodist University (Texas), known for his expertise in terrestrial locomotion and human and animal performance, told TOI that humans would soon have the ”ability to modify and greatly enhance muscle fibre strength.” This is crucial as it would actually reduce the difference between the muscle properties of humans and the world’s fastest animal, the cheetah, to almost zero.
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, who won the Olympic 100m gold clocking a world record of 9.69 seconds, has now brought up the question — will man get faster and faster? And going by what Weyand says, will he one day outrun the cheetah?
“Probably not,” said Wayand. “The same laws of physics apply to all runners. However, biologically speaking, speed is conferred by an ability of the limbs to hit the ground forcefully in relation to the body’s weight, an attribute conferred largely by the properties of the muscles of the runner.”
Human biological engineering has been tried for a hundred years, starting with eugenics in the US and Europe in 1890 and culminating in the syphilis experiments in 1972 ( some say 1978 ).
Unsavory governments ranging from our own to Nazi Germany and Stalinist USSR have been searching for an edge for their respective militaries by selectively breeding for super-soldiers during these years and the specter of it raises its ugly head with human genetic engineering because of the immense funding needed to carry out these researches that only the military has.
This is far from the last word.
Singularity Summit 2008: Opportunity, Risk, Leadership takes place October 25 at the intimate Montgomery Theater in San Jose, CA, the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence announced today. Now in its third year, the Singularity Summit gathers the smartest people around to explore the biggest idea of our time: the Singularity.
Keynotes will include Ray Kurzweil, updating his predictions in The Singularity is Near, and Intel CTO Justin Rattner, who will examine the Singularity’s plausibility. At the Intel Developer Forum on August 21, 2008, he explained why he thinks the gap between humans and machines will close by 2050. “Rather than look back, we’re going to look forward 40 years,” said Rattner. “It’s in that future where many people think that machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence.”
“The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of this century,” said computer scientist Dr. Vernor Vinge in a seminal paper in 1993. “We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence.”
I used to be a disciple of the Singularity, for the fact that without modern science I will surely be dead meat.
But during my researches of the past two years ( which is piteous, I know, when compared to others ) I discovered that worshipping the Singularity is the same as worshipping any outside force to come and save our sinful, evil and unworthy hides, so to speak.
“Pleading the Blood” I believe is the Christian term.
All of which absolves us of taking responsibilty for our own actions.
Does that mean the Singularity, or any other kind of “Rapture” isn’t going to occur?
No it doesn’t. Anything can happen. Nobody knows for sure what’s going to happen during the next fifty minutes, let alone fifty years. Probabilities be damned.
It depends on whose “Good Book” one wishes to follow.
Or none at all.