Archive for December 11th, 2008

Android dinner party

We went to a party of my husband’s team tonight, had some good time. Most of the Google Android engineers were there, so it was nice to meet new people, and see some old friends too from the BeOS days (lots of ex-Be engineers seem to work for Android). I quickly met with Andy Rubin too, the founder of Android, and co-founder of Danger.

Regarding mind reading

In the news today there’s this major scientific research about mind reading. The scientists behind it believe that in 10 years time, casual mind reading will be possible. In 50 years, you probably won’t be able to lie anymore, to anyone — not just the cops.

What do you think of a society where telepathy is the de facto way to communicate and not your vocal cords? Terrorism, crimes, will be in the minimum. Even drunk drivers would be able to be stopped before even turn on their car engine. Everyone will be able to live a life where the fellow man is not a con-man or a murderer, because the bad apples would be already “taken care of” early on.

Personal achievements will still be yours, because if you were the first to create something, no one can lie about it and claim that it was his/her invention — but the fruits of your labor would be shared with everyone. This would be true for art, literature, science…

On the other hand, you will have no privacy. Every thought of yours, no matter how embarrassing might be (at least as our current social system thinks of it as embarrassing), every memory of yours, will be shared with the whole. You will be like an ant, working for everyone else.

But is this really bad? What if this is the next step for humanity or any other advanced civilization? Political systems, family, religion, social reforms all have FAILED to create a danger-free society. People still rob houses, people still kill others, people still try to cheat the system, people still lie every day, even to their loved ones.

The reason why this piece of news touched me is because of this experience of mine, about 10 years ago. At least for the hour that I was “under”, I experienced this so-called telepathy-based (authoritarian) society, but all I could feel throughout the session was loneliness. So I am a bit in the middle of the pack regarding this matter.

So what do you think? Would you trade your privacy, and the right to own your thoughts, for a safer society? I mean, shitting on a in-house toilet might sound the right thing to you, but up to 100 years ago was a ludicrous idea for many places in the world, and a laughing matter too. So before you start replying like a hot headed redneck, think both sides of the story first.

Random Stuff, Part 30

* You know how I know that we are in a recession? This is the first year that SciFi Channel didn’t produce a mini-TV series for December, as they traditionally do.

* In last night’s “UFO Hunters” episode, the 1997 Phoenix Lights sighting was investigated. The Phoenix Lights is the most blatant appearance of a UFO over a large population — even the (ex-pilot) governor of Arizona saw the humongous object that night over Phoenix. However, something stroke me at the end of the episode. You see, the producer of the show, Bill Birnes, is a blind believer on UFOs. He runs the UFO Magazine and more often than not he jumps to quick and otherwordly conclusions (something that’s not true with his collegues: the level-headed and all around very cool guy Pat Uskert who I interviewed back in April, and the ex-Nasa scientist, skeptic and real hot Dr. Ted Acworth). So basically, this is a show that has a… professional blind believer, an open minded guy from next door, and a skeptic scientist running it — which is why I like the show. Now, at the end of the show, Ted (the skeptic) said that there’s something more is going on with these lights, Pat believed that this is indeed an alien UFO, and Bill said that… this was an experimental military vehicle. And this was curious to me, how this major sighting, with hundreds of people that saw it and recorded it, the most solid mass experience in the history of UFOs, is just a “military vehicle” according to the blind believer, Bill. And then it hit me. I realized that the whole thrill of conspiracies and UFOs has its base exactly in the mystery about them. From the moment you make the phenomena “common”, where everyone can see a UFO, or believe in it, or even if the government comes out and says “yes, there are aliens visiting this planet”, the whole mystery goes away. And people like Bill are mystery and thrill seekers, they are not there to find the truth about the phenomena, but to satisfy their own psyche! If aliens were to be revealed to us, Bill would be devastated! This reminds me a lot of the “Twin Peaks” TV show. No matter how much people were crying out to the writers to reveal the mysteries, when that happened, the ratings went down, everyone stopped watching the show. Everyone was on board for the mystery, no matter if they THOUGHT they wanted the truth. They didn’t.

* “Heroes” is a fucking mess. So Sylar kills Nathan/Pete’s father with a fucking bullet? Why not stop the fucking bullet, take his brains out so he can take his powers? Sylar is a power-seeker, and the father is the most powerful villain, so why not use him? The writers of Heroes need to be fired. All of them. I hear that Pushing Daisies’ writer Brian Fuller is back to the show, but it’s too late now. And Hiro losing the “light” immediately after getting it? Why not the guy stealing it before Hiro got there if it was that easy? And how was Claire able to get back to the Nakamura house so easily? This show needs to be canceled. Now. They create a show for geeks, but the show is not written by geeks, and so details like this are easily observed by most of us. It’s like trying to sell to Jay Leno a racing car that was designed by novelists instead of engineers.