Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Death will die a technological death

2050 - and immortality is within our grasp

From David Smith The Guardian , London:

Aeroplanes will be too afraid to crash, yoghurts will wish you good morning before being eaten and human consciousness will be stored on supercomputers, promising immortality for all — though it will help to be rich.

These fantastic claims are not made by a science fiction writer or a crystal ball-gazing lunatic. They are the deadly earnest predictions of Dr Ian Pearson, head of the futurology unit at BT.

“If you draw the timelines, realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine, so when you die it's not a major career problem,” Dr Pearson said.

“If you're rich enough then by 2050 it's feasible. If you're poor you'll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it's routine. We are very serious about it. That's how fast this technology is moving: 45 years is a hell of a long time in IT.”

Pearson, 44, has formed his mind-boggling vision of the future after graduating in applied mathematics and theoretical physics, spending four years working in missile design and the past 20 years working in optical networks, broadband network evolution and cybernetics in BT's laboratories. He admits his prophecies are both “very exciting” and “very scary”.

He believes that today's youngsters may never have to die, and points to the rapid advances in computing power demonstrated last week, when Sony released the first details of its PlayStation 3. It is 35 times more powerful than previous games consoles.

Brain power

“The new PlayStation is 1 per cent as powerful as a human brain,” he said. “It is into supercomputer status compared to 10 years ago. PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the human brain.”

The world's fastest computer, IBM's BlueGene, can perform 70.72 trillion calculations per second (teraflops) and is accelerating all the time. But anyone who believes in the uniqueness of consciousness or the soul will find Dr Pearson's next suggestion hard to swallow. “We're already looking at how you might structure a computer that could possibly become conscious. There are quite a lot of us now who believe it's entirely feasible.

Consciousness is just another sense, effectively, and that's what we're trying to design in a computer. Not everyone agrees, but it's my conclusion that it is possible to make a conscious computer with superhuman levels of intelligence before 2020.”

He continued: “It would definitely have emotions.”

In the shorter term, Dr Pearson identifies the next phase of progress as “ambient intelligence”: chips with everything. “Chips will come small enough that you can start impregnating them into the skin. We're talking about video tattoos as very, very thin sheets of polymer that you just literally stick on to the skin and they stay there for several days. You could even build in cellphones and connect it to the network, use it as a video phone and download videos or receive emails.”


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Bangalore International Marathon

On Sunday 15th May 2005, I got opportunity to witness Bangalore International Marathon. At 6 am I went to Hebbal Flyover, from where the Marathon was supposed to pass. The volunteers were ready with Water Sponges and Water Bottles for the Athletes. The traffic police were in place to control the traffic for the runners to run freely.

I took a vantage point on the bridge from where I could see most of the track. At around 6:35 am the first group[p of runners reached Hebbal Flyover. The car showing the timing showed only little more than 30 minutes.

The first group consisted of Ethiopian trio of Abebe Seyoum, Tegayae Desalgne and Tesfaye Bayu Orgawa and two Indians. I was not able to identify the Indians because I have never seen any prominent Indian marathon runners. I could not identify Ethiopians either, but I knew there people are running this time, and I had seen them in Mumbai marathon this year.

The response for Half Marathon was really good, and many non-professional runners were participating in that. They seem to executives from companies. It was really nice to see such a good response for Half Marathon.

At about 7:30 am I decided to shift my side and go to the return route. Half marathon participants were already there, when I reached. I was really surprised to see M C Ramu (I did not know his name that time) leading the Full Marathon and that too a margin of about 300m that time at Hebbal Flyover He was follwed by the Ethiopian runners.

On my return home I came to know the result that M C Ramu has one the race by a margin of 5 minutes. Hats of to M C Ramu!!!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

India launches high-tech mapping satellite : CARTOSAT-1

An Indian space rocket blasted off Thursday in the country's first bid to carry two satellites in a single launch. The 44-meter Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifted off from the Satish Dhawan space port near Madras on India's southeast carrying CARTOSAT-1, a remote sensing satellite whose precise imaging is aimed at putting every Indian household on the map and HAMSAT, for home radio operators. India will use CARTOSAT-1 to help urban and rural planning, land and water management, relief operations and environmental assessments.

CARTOSAT-1 carries two panchromatic cameras that take black and white stereoscopic pictures . It can capture visual features down to 2.5 meters (8 ft 2 inches) across, officials of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said.

Further Reading:

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

FireFox crosses 50 Million Downloads !!!

Wow, must be the best success story among Open Source Softwares.

Read more here

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Call for Participation : Marathi Open Source

What is "Marathi Open Source"
A group of people trying to initiate and help Open Source Development in and for Marathi.

What are we planning :
Linux in Marathi (Gnome and KDE)
Some applications Marathi
And many more ...

What we need to do immediately:
Translations of Gnome and KDE glossaries in Marathi
Technical things required to make the resource files in Marathi
Help Translations
and many more ...

Who can help:
Those who know marathi may help in translations and reviews of translations
Tech savvy people may help in compiling the software for Marathi

How do I get involved ?
Join MarathiOpenSource Yahoogroup
or send empty email to MarathiOpenSource-subscribe@yahoogroups.com