Google Goggles, a new Google phone application that will allow visually-oriented realtime searching through the mobile web, seems really familiar. Maybe it’s just me, but I swear I read about this in some sort of scifi comic book or seen it in some movie like “Minority Report”. It’s also vaguely reminiscent of augmented reality, because who knows how long ’til after this sort of thing becomes widespread when businesses will start geotagging their storefronts or building logos and online brand/presences to more easily be identified over the competition?
I’m not necessarily against building easy-to-use search tools and stuff, but it just seems a little stupid to me. I just think stuff like this adds to many layers to the world around us. We anticipate a hidden digital layer to exist, a new aetherial machine layer that can’t be seen with the naked eye and is supposed to be a “cool” layer or view of reality. I’m just a grumpy old science nerd man like that.
Yeah this totally sounds like a bad idea. I don’t know what it is but the concept of trusting external web-based data storage to house personal information is just…yeah, not that safe-sounding. It’s basically, in my mind, just personal stuff literally floating out there on the sea of the Web. I guess I’d rather trust isolated storage like hard drive or my physical laptop itself. Yeah, that does mean I’m forced to have stuff around that takes up space and I can’t “call out to the cloud” for help when it comes to problem-solving (cloud computing), I do feel more protected against attacks on my personal data like my writings, photos, music, stuff like that.
Granted I do have stuff like a Flickr account and blogs, but written stuff on the blogs isn’t too important (and the stuff that is is backed up on my external isolated drive) and all my photos are also on that drive (or not important enough to save and I just put up on Flickr to be able to post other places/”photoblog”). It’s the crotchety old man inside me.
For all the technology available these days and will be available in the future, I really don’t ever see law enforcement getting TOO radical. The unfortunate side effect of bureaucracy seems like it’ll just be too much to allow for truly bleeding-edge stuff to be used effectively, like satellites, cybernetics, espionage/surveillance, at least on the surface.
But at the same time, what good can these tools be if they aren’t fully effective? And can they be effective if they’re not known? Open knowledge allows for a building of balance of power, not to mention the allowance of letting these “secret” technologies eventually end up on the open market, modified for consumer use andwhatnot. I mean I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to drive to work in my modified robot motorbike that used to be a scaled-down urban assault tank.
Totally serious, by the way. Hasn’t anyone seen Ghost In The Shell? How cool would it be to own a Tachicoma?
The fact that this digital notebook is so rarely touched but also existent regardless brought up an interesting thought today about just how many “dead” caches of thoughts and information that exist out there, even on canceled and inaccessible websites.
It’s like a world of ghost information floating around there, regardless of whether or not it gets read or “hit”. As blogging community Tumblr promotes the idea of validating existence through “Tumblarity” or whatever that draws users to validate their existences online, you have to wonder if it matters. I mean, it’s out there no matter what, “floating in the ether of code and electronic impulses. I’ve visited “dead” and old sites and they’re just as valid in existing in high-count areas of the web, mo matter what. Information is information. It’s a bit of a humanist way to look at it, come to think of it and oddly enough. As un-human as it all is.
There is always the possibility of data rot of course and out-of-web problems like the physical destruction of data and servers, but then don’t you wonder what’d happen then? Would the metaphysical/metaphorical “space” that that data existed in still exist, or would it be replaced and filled in by something else?
Geotagging and augmented reality have always struck me as technologies that are the ultimate in abused abstract tech.
What can start as a valuable mapping tool, as well as a forum for exploring consumerism and consumer values, is something that can alternately be used to customize your own personal worldview of the outside world. The way I see it, it’s a great way to manage to skew and “enhance” the world around you with no effort put towards adopting yourself to it, instead miniaturizing and focusing an adaptation of the “world” to you.
It does still have potential though, as its usage as a brand-new art form in Gibson’s Spook Country. I just have visions of future consumers being custom-courted through geotagging to view the world in increasingly smaller digital tunnels, rather than allowing themselves to become parter of large worldwide communities and populations. It’s the newest wave of being buried in your own head.
The internet was initially meant to be a military tool, right? Same with satellite phones too, I think. The flow of consumer electronics and computer programs and tools in general that started out as weapons or military/spy shit, and end up on the mainstream market isn’t necessarily one-way.
I sometimes wonder how many of what we see as harmless and relatively useless electronics and toys, like a vibrator or a washing machine or a laptop end up being jury-rigged and adapted into weapons of mass destruction or whatever. It’s more than just cell phones being strapped to bombs like in shitty action movies.
The BLDGBLOG has definitely opened my eyes to looking at architecture in a new way, and combining that with analysis of the post-cyberpunk artistic vision of urban sprawl and urban planning, makes one look at backgrounds in sci-fi TV and film differently. Gibson’s Sprawl in Neuromancer is just as much a character as the rest of the hackers and cyborgs, a testament to posthumanism.
The site’s mock-”Ghostbusters III” treatment that melds architectural history with the sci-fi fantasy of the franchise is another example, making the setting (New York City) itself a character in a story. Walking through dark cities when the rain or snow is falling, or watching as a train I’m on rolls through towns and fields, you can understand the need to have more than just science in sci-fi, you need a twist. And at the same time, modern technological evolution needs more than just raw technological and scientific drive (iPod after iPod after iPhone after iWhatever…) but truly unique twists to make it brilliant.
Reading an article about using a cockroach’s heart as a newer, more efficient model for an artificial heart and it’s relative success being used in a frog, once again my mind is drawn towards cyberpunk’s descriptions of bleeding-edge medicine.
Probably the most tangible connection between reality and fiction is medical science. Prosthetic limbs and organs in particular seem to be a “hotbed” topic, permeating into science fiction and even fantasy.
I just like how taking a cue from non-humanoids has resulted in such a fantastic step forward in terms of artificial organs, finally stepping away from trying to replicate and instead finding ways to just fix, realizing that as long as it works and works well, it doesn’t matter if it’s not a fiber optic model of the original model or whatever.
For all the talk about how much the internet and technology is going to radically alter sex and pornography (or rather WAS going to radically alter), it’s a little comforting to realize that I don’t think anything will REALLY change.
That scene in “Demolition Man” with Stallone and Bullock where they have brain-helmet sex because “regular” sex is banned for some reason? Come the hell on…
However, it has inspired some a whole sub-genre of science fiction pornography. Dealing with dystopic post-apocalyptic themes of reproduction control is more cutting-edge than you think.
The only thing from dystopia that I’m looking forward to in my cyberpunk future? In Neuromancer it’s called BAMA (Boston-Atlanta Metro Authority), a network of fasttrains running up and down the East Coast.
Think about bringing the New York City public subway system to travel routes on a scale like that. Think about managing to overcome the issues that happen with the L and its issues with automation, about getting various unions and companies in terms of public transportations and bus companies into a single unit…it’d be insane. Large-scale public transportation, either conventional or innovating, seems to be one of those things that science fiction touches on, but never really explores a lot.
Remember the 90′s and how cool everything seemed about monorails and raised trains? How magnetizing was going to revolutionize trains?