A Couple Turing Test Moments

25 April 2012

I use a service called Timehop that sends me an email message everyday containing the tweets that my @nanofoo character tweeted one year ago. Today, 25 April 02012, Timehop reminded me that I tweeted the following on 25 April 02011.

#TuringTest RT @factlets: Software produced original music in style of great composers fools experts. http://factlets.info/SyntheticMusic

Notice the use of the #TuringTest hashtag in the tweet.

Yesterday, my @compufoo character tweeted the following.

#TuringTest RT @MachinesLikeUs Can computers pass as human? http://goo.gl/fb/uP6HW

Notice the use of the #TuringTest hashtag in the tweet.

LongBets.org::#1::By 2029 no computer – or “machine intelligence” – will have passed the Turing Test

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Learning About the Future From 24 February To 20 April

22 April 2012

On 20 April 02012 I gave my “Learning About the Future in 50 Minutes” for a second time. I thought it went well, but only ten people were in attendance. I gave this talk for the first time 56 days earlier on 24 February 02012. I created a web page to capture what I’ve been learning over the span of the last 56 days.

56 Days Since My First “Learning About the Future in 50 Minutes” Talk


Ubiquitous Sensing I Get, But What’s Nanodata?

11 April 2012

The Computing Trend that Will Change Everything had the sub-title “Computing isn’t just getting cheaper. It’s becoming more energy efficient. That means a world populated by ubiquitous sensors and streams of nanodata.

Ubiquitous sensors imply streams of data. That I get. But what’s nanodata?

Harvesting background energy flows, including ambient light, motion, or heat, opens up the possibility of mobile sensors operating indefinitely with no external power source, and that means an explosion of available data.

An “explosion of data” implies to me yottadata (as in yottagoo). Again, what’s nanodata?

According the MIT Technology Review article, nanodata is “customized fine-grained data describing in detail the characteristics of individuals, transactions, and information flows.” To me it seems as if nanodata is a form of metadata (i.e. data about data).

I still don’t get the term nanodata, but I consider that okay. Bottom-line: It’s possible ubiquitous sensors is our future and that implies infinite data being piped into an Infinite Computing environment.


An Example of the Power of Twitter

25 August 2010

2010.08.24: During the first day of the Introduction to Computer Science class, I asked the 26 students the following question: How many of you use Twitter?

My question prompted some gentle giggling, but a couple of hands were raised.

I shared with the class about how I’ve been trying to turn students on to Twitter, but that my current grade would be an F-.

I shared with the class that for me the power of Twitter was in whom I followed. I told the class that the first thing I do when I log into my computer is scan my un-read tweets. I pointed out that if the “right” people are followed, then Twitter can be a treasure trove of great stuff.

Student (sitting in row one): Give us an example.
Me (excited): Did I pay you to say that?

The following example was then presented…

On 2010.08.20 at 6:14am @compufoo tweeted:

RT @hrheingold Doug Engelbart & Ted Nelson came to dinner (14 min vid): http://bit.ly/cprNC8

Student (excited): Doug Engelbart?
Me (yet more excited): Yes. Do know about Doug Engelbart?
Student: Yes, he invented the computer mouse.
Me: How do you know that?
Student: I learned it last semester from Peter Martin. Engelbart was his idol.

Back to the tweet…

RT @hrheingold Doug Engelbart & Ted Nelson came to dinner (14 min vid): http://bit.ly/cprNC8

I explain how my tweet was a re-tweet (RT) of a tweet by @hrheingold (i.e. I follow Howard Heingold on Twitter). Howard Heingold lives in Silicon Valley and he’s a visiting lecturer at Stanford and UC-Berkeley; a research fellow at the Institute for the Future; and a guru when it comes to understanding “virtual communities” (and these days “social networking”). Howard Heingold tweets; he is a user of Twitter. In his Twitter biography, Howard says he’s an “online instigator, educator, offline gardener.”

I click on @hrheingold and we see (which at that time was) Heingold’s most recent tweet.

Thank you! @jimmy_wales for great interview on collaboration. Will publish video eventually.

Wow! Look at that… It appears as though Howard Heingold has interviewed Jimmy Wales and he’s going to share the interview with the world. Question to the class: Who is Jimmy Wales? There’s a pause, so I tell the class that if they use the Wikipedia, then they should give thanks to Jimmy Wales. I also point out to the class that they too can follow @jimmy_wales on Twitter.

Back to the tweet…

RT @hrheingold Doug Engelbart & Ted Nelson came to dinner (14 min vid): http://bit.ly/cprNC8

I point out the class that the power of Twitter is significantly amplified by the ability to insert hyperlinks into tweets. Hyperlinks make the web the World Wide Web (WWW) that it is. But well before the WWW (almost 30 years before), one technologist was thinking about hypertext. Question to the class: Whom do think this technologist was?

“It felt like having Newton and Galileo over for dinner,” wrote Howard Heingold on having dinner with Engelbart and Nelson.

At this point, this power of Twitter example is over. With one tweet I was able to introduce Ted Nelson and Doug Engelbart to the students in an introductory Computer Science class. In addition, the students were introduced to Howard Heingold and Jimmy Wales.


Doh! It turns out this power of Twitter example isn’t over. On 2010.08.26 (i.e. day two) of class, the following was presented.

Let’s rewind three weeks to a tweet by Mitch Kapor.

2010.08.03 at 2:10pm @mkapor tweeted:

I’m grouchy that so few people (except us old-timers) have even heard of Ted Nelson http://bit.ly/cGbsWC (Wikipedia bio)

Observe… Mitch Kapor hyperlinked into the Wikipedia.

2010:08.03 at 2:11pm @mkapor tweeted:

All of the web is in essence a pale shadow of just one of Ted Nelson’s dreams. Now do I have your attention?

2010.08.03 at 2:15pm @nanofoo in reply to @mkapor:

I’m going to make sure my CS1 students learn a bit about Ted Nelson this fall. They’ll come in knowing Gates & Jobs, but not Nelson.

@nanofoo never got reply from @mkapor, but @rossk did…

2010.08.03 at 2:48pm @rossk in reply to @mkapor:

where should the Nelson-newbie start?

2010.08.03 at 8:07pm@mkapor in reply to @rossk

Read “Computer Lib” by Nelson. Also see the Wired article on him for a dissenting view

Mitch Kapor did not provide his followers with hyperlinks, but here they are…

Computer Lib/Dream Machine (dot-pdf) and Wired.com: The Curse of Xanadu

Ted Nelson

Ted Nelson

Hmm… Who is Mitch Kapor and more…


Petaflops processing yottabytes

17 November 2009

I tweeted the following two tweets on 02009.11.16…

  • Jaguar supercomputer hits 1.759 petaflops http://bit.ly/3eInDv

    A supercomputer known as Jaguar has finally bested IBM’s Roadrunner supercomputer in the biannual TOP500 list, but researchers have already begun looking into exascale supercomputers that consist of 100 million cores and run 1,000 times faster than Jaguar.

  • Yottabytes of data via PopSci.com “National Security Agency’s
    Surveillance Data Could Fill Two States by 2015” http://ow.ly/CRGE

    The NSA estimates it will have enough data by 2015 to fill a million datacenters spread across the equivalent combined area of Delaware and Rhode Island. The NSA wants to store yottabytes of data, and one yottabyte comes to 1,000,000,000,000,000 GB.


New term: Informavore

6 November 2009

I like reading the informative stuff at Edge.org. The other day Edge.org had the headline “The Age of the Informavore: A Talk With Frank Schirrmacher.”

Edge.org defined informavore as follows: “The term informavore characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food.”

For the last few years I’ve written a lot about 21st century Informatics*. In a nutshell, informatics feeds the informavores.

* 21st century Informatics is data/information processing supported by a cyber-infrastructure of high-performance computing systems.

Edge.org::The Age of the Informavore