“We’ve gone from a lunar world, where we measured everything in terms of days, weeks and months, to a transactional world, where every single transaction has to be part of your decision-making process.” — Colin Powell, December 14 2008
Each information transaction, sometimes as exemplary, sometimes as single element added to a sweeping aggregate of historical sway, is a precedent, which can motivate, influence or redirect the push of future happenstance. And, we must take note, every transaction involving matter or energy contains information, traces of a history of its coming into being, and generates a “footprint”, a trace of its appearance and its transition into something beyond the transactional moment.
The information age gives us a vast wealth of knowledge, or of a kind of knowledge, what we take to be knowledge, about the world, hints which are also indicators, though not predictors, indicators because they play a role in expressing current interest, embedded in human activity, and so in framing future expressions of human interest.
Continue reading “Toward a ‘Transactional’ Cosmology: Web Dynamics for the Information Age”
With the digital medium putting down roots and expanding its reach into more and more aspects of everyday life, the risk of identity theft is increasingly of concern and increasingly hard to keep pace with, prevent and reverse. There are deep worries —expressed by every expert from privacy advocates, to civil rights lawyers to Microsoft and its founder Bill Gates— that the use of biometric markers for real-world identification will lead to an irreversibility problem and radical incentivization for identity thieves and fraudsters.
Countering the rise of a global black market in stolen identities will require not just bold, innovative thinking, but a comprehensive awareness of the nature of media hyper-convergence, and the ways in which that process will affect our ability to interact with, judge, manipulate and keep safe from, the world around us. Standardization and atomization both present opportunities for would-be identity thieves, and so the major pro-consumer model must be centered on getting ahead and staying ahead, technologically, of those who seek to steal and misuse personal identity, whether digital, biometric or analog (like one’s signature).
Continue reading “How to Beat, Reverse & Prevent Identity Theft”
The New Scientist magazine is reporting on an intriguing and brazen new Pentagon program that would create living “OrthopterNets”, communication networks made of insects implanted with special technologies to modulate their wingbeats. Crickets, cicadas and katydids, all use their wings to generate sounds, the patterns of which communicate information to others of their kind. The Pentagon wants to use this natural communications network to prompt the insects to emit specific sounds in the presence of specific chemicals.
The result would be cyborg insects, living insects with technology integrated into their physical composition. The technology could have broad application, including “sniffing” applications in the search for toxins, concealed chemical or biological agents, hazmat detection, and even the search for survivors from natural disasters. A number of factors impede the timely locating of survivors buried in rubble after earthquakes or other major disasters.
Continue reading “Pentagon Cyborg-insect Program Could Save Quake Victims”