Aug 28, 2013 - Quotes    No Comments

iPhone vs Galaxy Note 2

I was comparing the greatness of my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 over my son’s Apple iPhone and came up with this nice one:

The iPhone is like Pinocchio coming to Android begging to be a real phone.

I can’t publish his response. ;)

May 6, 2013 - Future    No Comments

Digital Personal Assistant

I love looking at the new apps for my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on the Google Play store.  One thing I keep looking at never seems to disappoint and that’s the plethora of apps calling themselves “Digital Personal Assistants.” (DPA)  Yet when one digs a little deeper it’s apparent that they only deliver a ridiculously small smudge of real functionality.

What I want is a true digital assistant that can intelligently respond to queries and anticipate my needs based on lifestyle.  For instance I want to be able to ask the phone a question such as “how far away is the moon” and have it answer.  If need be the application should filter through the various Google results and determine the real answer based on verified sources.  If I ask it a philosophical question, the application should regurgitate the best answers of great minds.

I understand what I want is on the verge of artificial intelligence (AI) but honestly aren’t we at a place in time where rudimentary AI should be common place even in hand held devices?

How about the ability to ask my phone to tell me the location of my children?  It would communicate/authenticate with a similar application on the child’s phones and report back their location.

How about voice programming?  Wouldn’t it be amazing to have the ability to dictate a simple if/then statement to the phone and have it program an alert or event based on that?  For example you might tell the DPA if one the kids get home before 5pm, remind them to water the plants.  The application would then package the code and send it over to the complimentary application on the child’s phone.

The same logic could apply to other requests, such as set temperature in house to 74 degrees until 4pm and thereafter set it to 72 degrees.  The application would then send the programming over to the home automation system.

That same home automation system would detect my wife’s car pulling into the garage and then tell me as much.  Or would simply log her status and if I ashed, would say she had arrived at home xx minutes ago and was on Facebook updating status.

The beauty of my idea is that it’s not just a single application but more of a digital neural network of handheld and household devices.

Wouldn’t it be mind blowing if you were grocery shopping and the DPA told you that the refrigerator wanted to remind us we needed milk?

Now venture over to the business side of life.  Say I’m on the phone and a call comes in.  My DPA answers the phone in the background and collects information about the caller.  If it is a new contact, it would ask me if I wanted to add them to contacts.  If it were say one of the kids, it could talk directly with them and answer basic questions via voice, like what time will Dad get home?  The DPA could then look at my calendar and based on my meetings and history of driving home, make an educated guess.  Once my call had ended then it would fill me in on all of the activity/questions it had fielded and give me the option to update the kids with my real arrival time.

 

May 1, 2013 - Future    No Comments

Technolution

Technolution – Evolution & Technology

As humans have evolved over the last five-hundred thousand years or so the laws of nature have played a predominate part in the evolution of man.  For the majority of our time on earth, our very existence was based on our ability to hunt and forage.  However over the last 10,000-20,000  years we have started making a dramatic shift toward an existence not dictated by a lack of food but of one dominated by technology.  Farming has evolved as the primary source of subsistence and as such people don’t have to spend hours every day hunting for food.  Water brought to cities via aqua-ducts allowed man to spread out to regions previously thought uninhabitable.

My point is that the very latter part of our existence has changed the rules of evolution so dramatically that the path for future changes is uncertain at best.  Take for instance computers, every two years or so computers double in their computational capacity.  As software keeps pace, the emergence of new applications are starting to blur the divide between reality and virtual.

As a better example one only has to look at young children and their daily activity.  Children rarely go outside and play and instead the majority of their interaction with friends is done via the Internet or text messaging.  What effect will this have on our evolutionary development?  In the past the traits that helped a person  run, jump and hunt better was good.  Now those traits are not dominate or even relevant.  BUT will that actually translate into physical changes?

What about people and their physical traits.  For 99% of our history being fast, strong and having good vision was the key to survival and thus you survived and passed your genes on to future generations.  But now with technology will that focus shift toward people with higher intellects and an aptitude for quicker adaptation (word used intentionally) of new technology?

Of course given modern medicine, even someone who isn’t very smart is likely to live as long as someone who is, so where does this lead us when it comes to evolution?  Could modern medicine actually usher in the era of the decline of the human race?  Interestingly enough I think nature has a way of fixing itself and we might wake up 500 years from now with rampant over population and people will have to abandon technology and revert back to the basics.

May 1, 2013 - Weapon    No Comments

Damn the Torpedoes

Don’t ask me why but for some reason I get most of my ideas when I’m in that realm between sleep and waking.  Last night was no exception and at 2am I found myself contemplating submarine defense systems.  In particular anti-torpedo defenses.  Currently submarines rely on countermeasures that involve decoys, bubble barriers, etc.  Besides thinking that the very idea of a torpedo (cigar shaped tube with explosives) is primitive, it occured to me that one might be able to simply fire off some sort of remote controled net in the path of the oncoming torpedo that would snare it.  Once snared the net could employ either an electrical charge or small explosive to destroy the torpedo or at the very least render it ineffective.

A more sophisticated idea would be to have some sort of electronic countermeasures that fry the brains of the torpedo.  Like a highly focused energy beam?  Of course the problem with that is the natural barrier the water presents.  But if one could fire the beam inside of a very narrow bubble tube maybe?

Now go way outside the realm of possibility and figure out a way to manipulate water density and one might therorectically be able to just crush the torpedo from afar.  This one I like the best but I don’t see us having the ability to do this any time soon.

Update:  Thinking of defenses got me to thinking of offensive weapons.  Enemy ships and submarines are alerted to incoming torpedoes primarily based on the sound from the propellers, so why not develop a propulsion system like flipper on a seal?  The noise would either be silent or mimic an animal.  The explosive, tracking , or eavesdropping device could then operate almost completely undetected.

 

 

Jan 24, 2013 - Transportation    No Comments

Combustion and the Stone Age

I can’t help but think we are stuck on stupid when it comes to some technology.  Computer CPUs double in speed every couple of years, but my SUV still has a combustion engine that was created over a hundred years ago.  Sure it is more fuel efficient, more power, and burns cleaner, but it’s essentially the same basic concept of a controlled explosion causing the locomotion of my vehicle.

So now the tough question, if not this what is the answer?  Obviously I don’t have the answer to that question but I would imagine that enhanced electricity is the next logical step but after that is anyone’s guess.  By “enhanced” electricity I think we will see some combination of elements that will cause the perpetual generation of electricity with minimal waste and byproducts.

Hydrogen has great potential, but again it’s just another take on the combustion type mechanism.  Of course this might be a mute issue several hundred years from now because I think we will a dramatic decrease in the privately owned vehicle and instead a move toward mass transit and the preferred mode of travel.

Fast forward a couple of thousand years from now and you will likely teleport or timeshift eveywhere you need to go.  If it’s the later, please come back to 2013 and confirm I was right. :)

 

Jan 8, 2013 - Food, Future    No Comments

Life by Design

I was thinking about something I had read in the past that said people with certain blood types actually react differently to certain food types based on their blood type .  For instance (making this up) a person with AB+ might do best eating carbohydrates and sugar, where another person with O+ might do best eating protein and fats.  It sounds laughable, but I clearly remember doing a quick survey of my friends and that darned book was fairly accurate.

So this got me to thinking, we know people are different in other ways too.  For instance, girls are emotionally driven, where guys tend to be visual.  Now some will argue this is environmental and I will concede that’s true to some degree, but there’s no mistaking that to a large extent we are who we are because it’s programmed in our DNA to be predisposed to like certain things in such a way and to perceive things in our own light as it were.

Herein is the heart of what I see as the next step in our life by design.  Some things can be garnered based on gender, age, race, etc and those would be easy to gather, but to get deeper they would have to look at your genetic makeup.  Even today, with our current level of technology, this concept isn’t to far fetched.

This concept comes down to precision.  Today we take SWAGs (Scientific Wild Ass Guesses) for just about everything in our world.  In the future the tolerances for everyday things will be much more exact.

So in the future you have a card you carry that has all of this accumulated information and that would represent the real you.  Imagine you walk into a pharmacy and a headache medicine is custom tailored for you right on the spot.  You go to a restaurant and the food is created so that it is perfect (for you) every time.  Shopping would mostly be done online and the few major retailers would show you things they know you will like and then custom make things so they compliment the deeper you.

 

Jan 8, 2013 - Future    No Comments

Time After Time

While I was backing up last years photos to my network storage device it occurred to me that my iPhone has replaced the digital camera just as that replaced the Polaroids of my childhood.  What’s amazing is that my children and their children after them will enjoy an unprecedented look back at the past via pictures.  But as technology marches forward where will the next generation go with their visual recordings of their special moments?  My guess is that at some point we will all wear a device that doesn’t take snapshots but instead is a continuous video record of everything we see and do.  Then at the end of the day one could decide which portions of their day to retain for historical reference.  Imagine having a candid review of even a single important moment in your life and you can quickly see the value this would bring.  Then imagine that same system having the records from all of your loved ones who were also at that event.  You would see the world in an entirely different light.

Now most reading this will say so what, we already have video cameras, but where I think this idea differs from that dramatically is the next step.  I imagine a system that holds these life records and then can intelligently recall them with a likeness of ourselves for future generations.  So 100 years from now my great, great grandchildren would be able to query the life record of their ancestors and ask it a question.  Say this hypothetical great, great grandson asks about girls and love.  A computer generated likeness of myself could talk and interact with him and even show him some of the trials and tribulations of life.

As modern advances create new forms of artificial intelligence, it’s conceivable that my future relatives will be able to actually have a conversation with the virtual me.  The computer would put together this virtual likeness based on the life records and then decide how I might have answered any given question.  It would even be able to play back specific instances and again pull in the perspectives of others that were there.

We all hate the thought of dying, but here is a way that we could, in a manner of speaking, live on forever.

Dec 28, 2012 - Future    No Comments

PC Games and Exercise

I love playing video games and I’m not embarrassed to say it, but the unfortunate side effect of sitting around killing zombies or flying my virtual Cessna 172 is that I don’t get much exercise.  Now I do “mostly” eat right so that seems to offset my slow motion life but while I was talking about this with my friend last night it occurred to me that wouldn’t it be great if there were some sort of custom exercise machine (think treadmill) that you had to walk/run on to make you character move on the screen.  With the new advent of virtual reality type gadgets, wouldn’t it be a natural evolution of gaming and exercise?

On that note, I read recently that Google is introducing glasses that have a built in screen and that there were already games coming out that combined the glasses with a smartphone app to allow people to play a virtual type game out in the “real” world.

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