2004 Los Angeles Future Salons

January February March April May June July August October December

January 9th, 2004, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7:00-9:30pm
Intro: Brief group updates and article-sharing (7pm)
The latest surprises in our ever-accelerating world. Bring your best tidbits and your scintillating brain!
Discussion 1: Marlea Welton of LA Futurists (7:40 pm)
Marlea will lead discussion of On Being Human: Where Ethics, Medicine, and Spirituality Converge, Daisaku Ikeda, Rene Simard, and Guy Bourgeault, 2003
On Being Human explores what it means to be healthy from a physical, mental, and spiritual standpoint. This book discusses Western humanism, Japanese Buddhism, and modern science from three divergent, yet expert, perspectives.
Guest Speaker: Troy Garder, Principal of Intrio (8:20 pm)
"HCI (Human Computer Interfaces): Bridging the Gap Between the Humans and the Machines"
* What is HCI? We'll explore its history, present and speculate on it's future.
Imagine a three lane highway, each lane corresponding to a tier of the interface:
Humans (cognition and our sensing/motor skills),
Machines (software/hardware and corresponding sensors/cognition/actuation),
and the bridges between them (interfaces/interaction).
With each we'll consider a timeline and where they are going/converging. Along the way we'll cover things like: * how we got to where we are * how we are adapting our sensory/motor skills evolved in the jungle for modern times. * from looms, punchcards to keyboards, mice to the many alternate interfaces available now (i.e. eye mice), flowing out of specialized needs (e.g. normalizing the handicapped). * my own research into new interface designs (Flickey), * some of the challenges still left, * speculation on the future of HCI, drawing on ideas presented in science fiction (e.g. Star Trek, Lawnmower Man and The Matrix).
I'll be briefly referencing Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer, by Steven Mann, 2002
Our secondary book, for those interested in understanding interface design is
The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems
, by Jef Raskin, 2000.

February 13th, 2004, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7:00-9:30pm
Speaker 1: Ben Bush of LA Futurists will review and lead discussion of Robert Wright's Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, 2001
Wright explores the mounting evidence for what he considers to be a "calculus of civilization" that may inevitably emerge out of complex social interaction: our deep desire to find and play "non-zero sum games." This is a very bold and widely discussed new work that significantly extends the insights of his prior book, The Moral Animal, an acclaimed survey of the new field of evolutionary psychology. Some consider this the most important book of 2001. You decide!
Guest Speaker: Seena Sharp, President, Sharp Market Intelligence, 8pm
"Competitive Intelligence and Other Business Lessons for Future Thinkers"
Competitive intelligence (CI) is a very powerful set of trend and competition scanning techniques that help businesses stay adaptive and future focused in a world of constant change. Seena Sharp is a recognized leader in this fascinating subject. Her insights in CI have been quoted in the books "Competitive Intelligence" by Larry Kahaner and "Conference Board’s Global Finance 2000." She has also bylined articles in Journal of Business Strategy, Boardroom Reports, Chief Information Officer, Competitive Intelligence, Marketing News, Virtual Strategist, Mindshift Matters, PR Reporter, and World Trade. Sharp Market Intelligence helps Fortune 500 and emerging companies make smarter decisions by transforming information into a powerful competitive advantage. Prior to launching SMI in 1979 in Los Angeles, Ms. Sharp earned a Master's degree in mathematics from New York University and enjoyed a successful corporate career in New York City.
Ms. Sharp will help us explore a business perspective on staying ahead of the future, one that applies to all other aspects of modern life: political, institutional, personal, etc. Points covered will include the necessity of not overrelying on our assumptions, past experience or intuition/gut feel. These are appropriate in a relatively stable environment, but we haven't seen that in more than 30 years. In a changing world, we need to consider other, newer tools and approaches. Business intelligence is one such tool. Furthermore, we must all learn to do our homework - to learn what's really happening in our areas of strategic interest, which is usually different from what industry experts say. Also, we should generally forget about trying to predict the future, unless you're in a very limited area that requires decades to ramp up (such as constructing a new airport). The bottom line: we are so unaware of the present, that just knowing what's actually happening today sounds like the future to most people.
Our recommended book for this presentation is Margaret Carr's Super Searchers on Competitive Intelligence, 2003 http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=2Z02VF6FMB&isbn=0910965641&itm=1
In interviews with fifteen CI professionals from a range of companies, Super Searchers lists their secrets. It's a highly recommended book for learning how to keep from being blindsided by your competition or environment.

March 12, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7:00-9:30pm
Guest Speaker 1: Todd Huffman, Alcor, Las Vegas Futurists (7:40 pm)
"Innovation Under Duress: The Gifts of Disabilities"
Book: In the Mind's Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People With Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images and the Ironies of Creativity, Thomas West, 1997 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1573921556/
Thomas West
has written an elegant book on the way learning disabilities can often endow individuals with unique creativity. For example difficulty with language, as in dyslexia and autism, can be a symptom of extreme ability in visual or spatial thinking. Las Vegas Futurist Todd Huffman will consider the unique position of the differently abled and disabled in modern society, including the historic role those with disabilities often play as early adopters of potentially empowering new technologies. Todd will be discussing several technologies, wearable computers, computer programs that assist cognitive processes (such as mathmatical analysis that would otherwise be done by a human), neural implants, and a few others.

Special Guest Speaker 2: Jack Nilles, President, JALA International (8:20 pm)
"Telework, the Information Society, and Our Economic Future"
Jack Nilles, co-founder and President of JALA, coined the terms telecommuting and teleworking in 1973. He organized and led a team at the University of Southern California to develop and test telecommuting in in its first pilot project, which led to the publication of The Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff, 1976. His Making Telecommuting Happen, 1997 is often called "the bible of telecommuting." Its sequel, Managing Telework, 1998, has been praised internationally as the best book available on the subject.
JALA has been key consultants for the telecommuting projects of several Fortune 100 firms and for most of the major public sector telecommuting projects in the US: the States of Arizona, California and Washington; and the City of Los Angeles, involving thousands of telecommuters. They have won national, state, and local awards for their work. JALA is also developing projects for using telework as an economic development tool in disadvantaged urban and rural areas, and for increasing small business competitiveness. Internationally, JALA is helping develop telecommuting projects in Lisbon, Madrid, Vienna, and Argentina and is performing telework impact studies in southern Europe, and has a project to forecast the global impact of telework.
Book: World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, Angus Maddison, 2001
Economic historian Angus Maddison has written a magnificent series of books for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a 30 member U.N.-like group that promotes democracy and economic and social reform. This book covers the entire development of the world economy over the last 2,000 years, providing a true big picture perspective. How did Europe and the West leapfrog Asia and Africa/The Crescent, which were previously the world leaders? Will Asia leapfrog Europe and the West again? Fascinating trend analysis and economic estimation.

April 9, 3rd Floor: Chair Circle, 7:00-9:30pm
John Smart, "Singularity Economics: Is Accelerating Change a Developmental Process? "
Book: Life's Solution, Simon Conway Morris http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?isbn=0521827043
Wayne Radinsky, "Investing in a World of Accelerating Change: The Efficient Market Hypothesis and Profiting in the New Economy"
Book: Quantum Investing, Steve Waite

May 14, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7:00-9:30pm
New member intros, catchup, and article sharing about our accelerating world.(7:00pm)
Speaker One: Josh Kirschenbaum, Visual Effects Compositor, Lux, Santa Monica, CA (7:30pm sharp)
"Entertainment, Entertainment Technology, and Social Impact"
Much of the "entertainment technology" evolving today revolves around the apparatus the profession uses to produce and experience the entertainment, i.e. HDTV, 24P cameras, visual effects technology, digital cinema, satellite TV, etc. We can expect considerable growth in these technologies, and in general, that growth follows a very fast, Moore's law-type curve. But what is not generally seen by the public is the evolution of the entertainment itself, how technology addresses the content of the entertainment, opening entirely new ways for people to be entertained. We'll explore past, present, and potential future of these fasinating issues. In this talk, I am going to be focusing on the convergence of movie entertainment and videogame entertainment, as well as how the various technologies in these fields are feeding off of each other.
Josh Kirschenbaum works in Visual Effects at Lux. He has over 12 years experience in the Visual Effects industry, with 11+ feature films under his belt, and 5+ years working on commercials and music videos. He also engages in music production as a hobby. His blog, Teknos, can be found at http://teknos.typepad.com/
Our Featured Book: Digital Illusion: Entertaining the Future With High Technology, Clark Dodsworth (Ed.), 1997
This is a highly acclaimed overview of the may ways our society is becoming virtual. Dodsworth interviews industry leaders and captures their visions for an increasingly simulated, experience-oriented future. It's seven years old but still the best introduction to the rapidly expanding applications of computer graphics in the modern world. Check it out!
Speaker Two: Dr. Richard Mason, Golem Group, DARPA Grand Challenge (8:30pm)
First run in March of 2004, the Grand Challenge is the world's foremost competition for autonomous land vehicles. Department of Defense has put up a $1 million prize for the first vehicle to navigate some 140 miles, over some of the most difficult desert terrain on the planet, from L.A. to Las Vegas, in a specified time period. The U.S. military desires self-driving supply vehicles for future engagements, to greatly reduce risk to our nation's troops. This technology has far more civilian applications as well, such as in autonomous highway systems, which will greatly increase the efficiency and reduce the annual loss of life in our future transportation networks.
Mason's Golem Group bot was widely recognized as "the little engine that could." It started out with the lowest budget ($35,000 as opposed to Sandstorm's reputed $3.5 million) financed almost entirely by his personal winnings from an appearance on "Jeopardy." Their vehicle had difficulty in the qualifiers, with the team working hard after every run to improve its abilities, and get permission to continue to the next stage. They had a second to last starting position, but surpassed everyone's expectations by reaching the 5.2-mile marker, passing obstacles that stopped all but three of the 15 competitors.
Dr. Mason received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 2003 from Caltech, where he worked in the Caltech Robotics Group, and his doctoral thesis was on trajectory planning for mobile robots. He previously held an NSF Graduate Fellowship in physics and was a teaching fellow in the computer science and quantitative reasoning departments at Harvard University. He currently works at RAND, studying unmanned ground vehicles for the U.S. Army and unmanned aerial vehicles for the U.S. Air Force.
Golem Group's home page can be found at www.golemgroup.com. Dr. Mason's robotics home page can be found here. Come hear a prominent roboticist give his impression of this historic race, and his thoughts on the near and longer term opportunities and challenges of robotics as we move into our Extraordinary Future.
Our Featured Book: Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down, J. E. Gordon, 2003
Structures is Richard's favorite engineering book for a general audience. While it is not about robots per se, it provides very accessible and helpful overview of the challenges and opportunities of the built environment:
For those thinking about attempting the Grand Challenge, Dr. Mason recommends the specialty book:
Technology Development for Army Unmanned Ground Vehicles, 2002

June 11, 3rd Floor: Chair Circle, 7:00-9:30pm
New member intros, catchup, and article sharing about our accelerating world. Bring your latest finds! (7:00pm)
Speaker 1: John Smart on Bull's Eye Investing, by John Mauldin, 2004 (7:20 pm)
"Markets vs. Economies: Long Term Stock Cycles and Accelerating Change"
The most illuminating book since Robert Shiller's, Irrational Exuberance, 2000 on the practical implications of market dynamics. Bull's Eye Investing greatly helps the average investor understand and navigate our current "secular (long-term) bear market." Markets, political legislation trends, and cultural preferences are always chaotically unpredictable in the short run. But in the long run each of these systems have certain highly predictable macro patterns, as we will discuss. Since 1800 there have been seven long term bull and seven long term bear markets, each reliably cycling in a pendular dynamic.
These bull/bear environments are not about the economy, they are about the market. Markets (stocks, real estate, etc.) have long boom and long bust eras ("saeculum" in Latin), extended swings away from the fundamentals that must eventually always come back to (economic) trend. Each invariably overshoots the trend and pushes the valuation pendulum to the other side. Economies (real GDP, dividends, resource bases, etc.), on the other hand, are driven by underlying technology-dependent productivity and capacity growth, and even with over and underinvestment they demonstrate much smoother growth curves, in general. Consider: In the 17 years from 1964 to 1981, the DJIA gained only 0.1% (bear market) while real GDP (economy) grew 74 percent. In the 18 years from 1982 to 2000, the Dow rose 1,239 percent (bull market) while our tech-assisted economy grew GDP at 87 percent. Clearly there is an exaggerated market cycle that overlies the smoother (and gently accelerating) dividend-productivity cycle.
What does the market cycle mean to the average investor? The first half of BEI describes why you can expect very little average annual return from the stock market over the next decade. The second half tells you what to do about it. Mauldin makes some fascinating, historically-backed suggestions, and we will explore them, in a PowerPoint presentation, from the perspective of continuously accelerating technological change. This should make a lively discussion.
Our Special Guest Speaker: Steve Bankes, Professor, RAND Pardee Graduate School (http://www.prgs.edu/); CTO, Evolvinglogic (http://evolvinglogic.org)
"New Tools for Long Term Thinking" (8:00-9:00pm)
Book: Shaping the Next 100 Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Long-Term Policy Analysis, Robert Lempert, Steven Bankes, Steven Popper, 2004
The world faces profound social, economic, environmental, and technological transitions. How we choose to meet our challenges - stemming global terror, halting the spread of AIDS and other infectious diseases, designing a global trading system, achieving sustainable development, managing new genetic technologies, etc. -- will resonate throughout the 21st century. So, it is important to think about the long term. But even when we value the long-term, it can be hard to translate concerns into action. The inability to devise objective, actionable plans for the long term often leaves goals relating to the future unvoiced because they cannot be connected to credible near-term actions.
This talk will describe new methods enabled by the capabilities of modern computers that can dramatically improve our ability to reason about the long-term future. These methods harness computation not to solve the intractable problem of predicting the long-term future, but instead to enable a fundamentally different, more sensible question: Given what we know today, how should we act to best shape the long-term future to our liking? We can use computers to create and consider myriad plausible futures, likely to include at least one similar to what may actually unfold. We can then discover near-term actions that perform well, compared to the alternatives, over all these futures, often through clever hedging actions and adaptation to updated information. Finally, the computer can be set to seek plausible futures that "break" a chosen strategy. After repeated iterations to shore up revealed weaknesses, the resulting strategy can support a consensus for successful action. The process yields near-term strategies not merely optimized for some "best guess" scenario but robust across a multitude of scenarios.
The result is a powerful enhancement to the human capacity to reason in the face of enormous uncertainty. This approach combines some of the best features of the qualitative scenario-building and quantitative decisionmaking tools developed and applied for more than five decades. These new tools may help address a paradox of decisionmaking: our greatest potential influence for shaping the future may often be precisely over those time scales where our gaze is most dim. Further, they provide an avenue for escaping the fruitless arguments that routinely arise among stakeholders over which future is the one for which we must prepare.
Steve Bankes is the founder and chief technologist of Evolving Logic, Inc. (http://www.evolvinglogic.com), a computer assisted reasoning software supplier for institutional decisionmaking under conditions of extreme uncertainty. He is a professor of policy analysis at the RAND Graduate School, and an instructor at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his B.S. from Cal Tech and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. His research interests are in computational science, modeling and simulation theory and practice, complex adaptive systems, machine learning and self-organizing systems, and agent-based simulation of social systems.

July 9, 3rd Floor: Chair Circle, 7:00-9:30pm
New member intros, catchup, and article sharing about our accelerating world.(7:00pm)
Speaker 1: Peter Voss, Adaptive Artificial Intelligence, Inc. (7:30-8:30pm)
"a2i2 and the Direct Path to AGI – A Progress Report."
Our Featured Book: Understanding Artificial Intelligence, Scientific American (ed.), Rodney Brooks (fwd), 2002 http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?isbn=0446678759
Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is a very special field of inquiry in computer science that has historically attracted only a small number of hard-working researchers and theoreticians to date. Yet its potential payoffs for humanity are enormous. What exactly is AGI? Why is it desirable? Is it achievable? If so, how soon can we reasonably expect it?
This fascinating talk will overview the essentials of AGI, exploring crucial issues and assumptions, and consider the feasability of "direct" vs. incremental and indirect paths. It will also explore the history of the ongoing Marina Del Rey-based a2i2 project, an AGI research and development effort that has involved a team of developers since 2001. What has been accomplished to date? What are a2i2's future plans? For further reading, Peter recommends "Essentials of General Intelligence: The direct path to AGI" (http://adaptiveai.com/research/)
Peter Voss is an entrepreneur with a background in electronics, computer systems, software, and management. He has a keen interest in cognitive science and the inter-relationship between philosophy, psychology, ethics and computer science. For the past few years he has been researching artificial general intelligence, and recently started Adaptive A.I. Inc. (a2i2), with the goal of developing a highly adaptive, general-purpose AI engine. He is actively involved in futurism, free-market ideas, and extreme life-extension. Come join us for what will certainly be an enlightening look into the opportunities and challenges of theoretical and applied general A.I. activities in 2004.
Speaker 2: Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Ph.D., Jet Propulsion Laboratory (8:30-9:30pm)
"Biologically-Inspired Intelligent Robots"
Our Featured Book (available for booksigning): Biologically-Inspired Intelligent Robots, Yoseph Bar-Cohen (Editor), Cynthia Breazeal, 2003 http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?isbn=0819448729
Throughout history, humans have always sought to mimic the appearance, mobility, functionality, intelligent operation, as well as the decision-making and thinking process of biological creatures. Recent progress in the field of biologically inspired technologies led to the development of systems that exhibit realistic appearance and behavior. Robots, which verbally and facially express emotions as well as respond emotionally to such expressions, are now being developed with enormous capability and sophistication. Imagine a person walking towards you and suddenly you notice something weird about him - he is not human but rather a robot driven by artificial muscles. Your reaction would probably be "I can't believe it but this robot looks very much real", just as you would react to an artificial flower that is a good imitation. You may even proceed and touch the robot to check if your assessment is correct but to your astonishment, as oppose to the case of artificial flowers, the robot may be programmed to respond verbally and/or physically to your touch. This science fiction scenario may become a reality as the current trend continues and robots that appear and behave as human or animals will appear increasingly realistic. This capability is becoming feasible as advances are being made in such related technologies as artificial intelligence, muscles, vision and others. In this presentation, the state of the art will be reviewed with emphasis on the emerging technology of artificial muscles, which is a key to enabling the development of such robots.
Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen (home page: http://ndeaa.jpl.nasa.gov/nasa-nde/yosi/yosi.htm) is a physicist specializing in electroactive materials and mechanism as well as ultrasonics. He is a Senior Research Scientist, and Group Leader at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) responsible for the NDE and Advanced Actuators (NDEAA) Lab (http://ndeaa.jpl.nasa.gov/). He is a Fellow of two technical societies: SPIE and ASNT. Dr. Bar-Cohen received his Ph. D. in physics (1979) from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. He has authored or coauthored over 250 publications, and some of his notable discoveries include the leaky Lamb waves (LLW) and polar backscattering (PBS) phenomena in composite materials. He is the initiator of the SPIE Conf. on Electroactive Polymers (EAP), chairing it since 1999. For his contributions to the field of EAP, Business Week named him in April 2003 as one of five technology gurus who are "Pushing Tech's Boundaries." He is a recipient of the 2001 NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal and SPIE's NDE Lifetime Achievement Award. Come hear about the history and future of biomimetic robots from one of the leading innovators in this rapidly changing arena.

August 13th, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7:00-9:30pm
Speaker 1: Sponge Nebson on The Meme Machine.
LA Futurist Sponge Nebson will review Susan Blackmore's The Meme Machine, 2000. (7:30pm)
Blackmore has written an excellent, accessible, and paradigm-shifting book that should be owned by every serious futurist. Memes, or fundamental replicating ideas and behaviors, have been the dominant system of human evolution since the birth of human culture. Blackmore (with a foreward by Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, 1976/90, and original coiner of the term "meme") notes the similarities and differences between genetic and memetic evolutionary development, and speculates on the nature and future of our minds, our communities, and even our sense of self.
Special Guest Speaker: Doreen Nelson, Director, Center for City Building Education; (8:30pm)
Joint Professor, School of Education and Integrative Studies and
College of Environmental Design, Cal Poly Pomona
Talk Title: "Design-Based Learning"
Design-Based Learning provides a concrete method for teaching and evaluating students by using techniques from the design professions to challenge students to design hands-on solutions to problems in simulated experiences. As students develop Never-Before-Seen solutions for businesses, cities, villages, or civilizations they learn to think critically. Before the meeting, Professor Nelson suggests you read John Dewey's famous article, "My Pedagogic Creed," about the nature of education, schools, instruction, and the social process: http://www.infed.org/archives/e-texts/e-dew-pc.htm
She also recommends her website, http://www.designbasedlearning.org, with tons of great information on city building educational projects and other design based learning resources. Doreen Nelson pioneered the field of Design-Based Learning (DBL) over 35 years ago with the development of her educational methodology known as City Building Education (CBE). She has been recognized by the New York Times as one of the thirty most innovative educators in the USA and was made an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects. Her methodology delivers required academic standards in grades K-12 by reversing traditional teaching and challenging students to think, transfer and apply knowledge into everyday life. This method provides tangible, built-in long-range planning and evaluation techniques and produces dramatic improvements in student achievement. Nelson created the nation’s first Master of Arts degree program in Education in Design-Based Learning, Applying Technology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Doreen's academic homepage: http://www.csupomona.edu/~dnelson/doreen.html
Our featured book is Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language, 1979.
One of three classic works by Alexander that provide a systems view of architecture, he provides here an overview of 250 or so basic patterns that are a "practical language for building and planning based on natural considerations." Whether you are designing your car, room, your house, or a city, Alexander notes the many ways that one can take into account basic aesthetic elements that human beings are tuned to thrive within. Chances are your personal space is not designed ideally in a number of ways. Alexander helps you find natural optima that "just make sense." The more you read, the more you realize that you can easily use your design intution to live in healthier, happier, more productive way.

Oct 8th, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7:00-9:30pm
Speaker 1: Tim O'Reilly (from Accelerating Change 2003 DVD recording)
Tim O'Reilly is Founder and President, O'Reilly & Associates, the leading technical bookseller in the U.S. He is also the creator of the Emerging Technologies conference. We'll play and then discuss a 35 minute DVD selection of Tim's presentation at our Accelerating Change 2003 conference (http://www.accelerating.org/acc2003/conf_home.htm) at Stanford. His talk title and abstract:
Title: "Diffusion of New Memes in the Media"
Abstract: Richard Dawkins coined the term "meme" to describe ideas that propagate themselves from mind to mind, reproducing in a way that is analogous to gene transmission. Those seeking to promote change need to understand what makes one idea "catch on" and quickly become part of popular culture, while another remains an academic footnote. There's no science to this (yet), but there are lessons to be learned. Technology publisher and activist Tim O'Reilly will talk about what he's learned from helping foster the early
commercialization of the Internet, the open source software movement, and web services, and from fighting software patents. He shares his ideas for "meme engineering" and offers suggestions for working with the press as well as new media outlets in order to spread your ideas.
Special Guest Speaker and Booksigning:
Jim Banister, Author,
Word of Mouse: The New Age of Networked Media, 2004; (8:30pm)
Come hear LA media expert and future-thinker Jim Banister talk about where digital networked media are taking us in our ever-faster, even-more-connected future. He'll discuss how the roles of creator and consumer are forever changing, how the essence of media literacy is evolving, and how the very nature of entertainment radically differs in the new age of networked media. Jim is a principle of Spectrum Mediaworks, (http://www.spectrummedia.com) a networked media, television, games and ITV services company in LA. He comes to us via LA Futurist Allison Dollar, co-president of the Interactive Television Alliance (http://www.itvalliance.org/).
Jim will do a booksigning following his talk and Q&A. This will be an exciting event, don't miss it!
From the Publisher: "A forward-looking account of how digital technology is leading us ever deeper into a new age of "networked media," expediting unprecedented communication, creativity and productivity in the workplace, as well as enriching our daily lives.The Internet boom (and subsequent bust) was only the most conspicuous element of a tectonic shift that's changing the face of the entire media landscape. With their unabated proliferation, cable, CD/DVD, satellite, wireless and many other formats continue to drive radical change in how everyone uses media. Banister illustrates how media has evolved (from the telegraph to McLuhan to wireless digital) into a central element of every company's business ("all companies are now media companies") and outlines vanguard ideas for how our conception of "programming" in this age of networked media must evolve to help us realize its true potential. Word of Mouse is essential reading for professionals and consumers eager to learn what these evolutions portend, both at work and at home."
From Publisher's Weekly: "Banister, a media industry consultant, suggests that networked media-most especially, the Internet-is still in its earliest stages, with greater levels of connectivity yet to come. His argument, though rich in McLuhanesque theory, has a foundation solid enough for any bottom-line businessman to grasp: successful companies need to create "communities" of consumers who possess the "symphonic literacy" to fully participate in new forms of media while the companies find ways to turn that participation into a financial transaction. Some elements, such as access to the network, may go down in price or even become free, as companies are forced to respond to consumer expectations. The online auction site eBay is held up as a "near-perfect paradigm" of the networked experience, but Banister also points toward the entertainment industry, where electronic gamers are already discovering interactive "storyforming" and "storydwelling.""

Dec 10th, 2nd Floor: Events Room, 7:00-9:30pm
December Theme: Virtual Worlds and Video Games
Our Featured Book: What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, James Paul Gee, 2004
James Paul Gee begins his new book with "I want to talk about video games--yes, even violent video games--and say some positive things about them." One of America's most well-respected professors of education looks seriously at the good that can come from playing video games, our most popular new form of electronic education.
Speaker 1: Jerry Paffendorf, Director, ASF. (7:30-8:30pm)
Rise of the Virtual-to-Real Labor Force: 5 Free Ideas—from Underwear to Architecture
The trading of virtual goods and services inside of massively multi- player online environments is a rapidly growing, $8 million dollar annual industry. In some of these "persistent worlds," like Second Life (http://secondlife.com/), inhabitants own copyright on their user-created content. In many cases, the virtual goods and services traded are only useful within the context of the virtual world they come from. But something of much wider significance is also beginning to happen: items first prototyped in virtual worlds are being manufactured in the real world, and items manufactured in the real world are being reconstructed in and sold through the virtual world. This presentation will quickly introduce pros and cons of prototyping in massively multi-user versus stand-alone software environments, give examples of virtual world prototyping thus far, examine some emerging technologies that will facilitate this virtual-to-real exchange, and suggest several business ideas dying to be worked on today.
Jerry Paffendorf is the Conference Director at the Acceleration Studies Foundation (http://accelerating.org). He has an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts (video and mixed-media installation) from Montclair State University in New Jersey, and an M.S. degree in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. His recent concentration has been in the study of collaborative virtual environments and massively multi-player online games that interact with the real world–a subject he's presented on at four major conferences since April.
Speaker 2: John Smart, President, ASF. (8:30-9:30pm)
Simulation, Agents, and Accelerating Change: Personality Capture and the Linguistic User Interface
One of the most important accelerating transitions occuring today is the emergence of the Linguistic User Interface or CUI. The CUI is
the natural language front end to our increasingly malleable, intelligent, and humanizing Internet. Primitive CUIs exist today in
interfaces like Google, but will become dramatically more powerful over the next few decades.
What will Windows (and the Google Browser) of 2015 look like? It seems clear that it will include sophisticated software simulations of human beings as part of the interface. Imagine that we have begun talking to our computers in a crude but useful verbal exchange post 2015. Experience suggests many of us will prefer to relate to virtual human beings who actively model our preferences and intent, as such parallel communication will be considerably more efficient than speaking to a disembodied machine. It seems likely that tomorrow's leading CUI-equipped virtual avatars/digital persona interfaces will model and display human emotion, intentionality, and body language, increasingly with a speed and consistency that no biological human being can match.
As our own most-preferred digital personal interface (our "Digital Me") gains exponentially more storage and processing capacity, it will incrementally engage in a process that William Sims Bainbridge calls "personality capture." Our DM's will carry an ever more valuable record of all the past communication we have had with them, and increasingly become our best professional representatives, coaches, managers, and extended memory for important events. How this profound technological development is likely to change our global political, economic, and social landscape, as well as the quality of our personal and collective sense of self, will be briefly discussed.
John Smart is a developmental systems theorist and president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation (http://Accelerating.org) a nonprofit community for research, education, consulting, and selected advocacy of communities and technologies of accelerating change. He co-produces the annual Accelerating Change (http://Accelerating.org/ac2004/) conference, and edits ASF's free newsletter, Accelerating Times, read by future-oriented thinkers around the world. John has a B.S. in Business from the Haas School at U.C. Berkeley and seven years of coursework in biological, medical, cognitive, computer and physical science at UCLA, Berkeley, and UCSD. He is the author of Planning A Life In Medicine, Random House (March 2005). He's currently completing an M.S. in Future Studies at U. Houston and writing his second book, Destiny of Species, on the topic of accelerating change.

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