November 2002 Archives

Email's future: open or closed?

Kevin Werbach thinks that email spam will get so bad most people will resort to whitelists because spam filters won't be good enough. (A whitelist only accepts email from known parties and anyone else must perform some action that lets them contact you. Spam filters just block anything it "thinks" looks like spam.) Would this have a big effect on how people use email? Would it affect how the average user uses email? Even if spam filters don't filter everything, isn't filtering most things good enough not to have to resort to putting up barriers to communication? Will there be more effective governmental action on spammers as more of those in power get affected by spam, or is it out of legislative control? (via Techdirt)

Jared Diamond on getting rich

The author of Guns, Germs and Steel (UK, US) looks at why some industries are more successful than others in the long term. He draws parallels between pairings of Microsoft and IBM, US and German beer industries, and two islands off the coast of Australia, among other things. If you've read the book, it's more of the same, but that's no bad thing. (via Clay Shirky at Boing Boing)

Ray Kurzweil on living longer

An interview with Ray Kurzweil on his plans to be cryogenically frozen and to put that off as long as possible by eating healthily. He has a book on the topic coming out. (via Boing Boing)

28 Days Later

Continuing the 'future images of London' theme, I saw 28 Days Later today because some friends recommended it. Set in Britain after a virus is released from a research lab, the scenes of a deserted London are chillingly eerie, particularly the familiar locations that are usually crammed with people and traffic. The website apparently has some good stuff on it but I waited what seemed like 28 days while downloading and displaying Flash before forcing my browser to quit. You could instead just watch the trailer.

A future view of London

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The current issue of MacUser UK has a fantastic cover image: a doctored photo taken from the London Eye with impossibly tall sci-fi skyscrapers towering over Westminster. It's brilliantly done and is much more evocative than a written description of this aspect of a future would be. Unfortunately this is the best image I've found online, via Haddock.

Interview with Richard Slaughter

An excellent interview with Richard Slaughter, also of the Australian Foresight Institute and president of the World Futures Studies Federation. It's an introduction to why futures is important and what futures techniques can offer us. A good one to send to friends who don't understand this stuff! (Here's an alternate source in case New Scientist ever restricts access.)

Is future studies a science or an art?

This is the title of an interesting Disinformation article by Alex Burns of the Australian Foresight Institute. It looks at the legitimisation of future studies as a profession and how much science or art is involved. Unfortunately one needs a vocabulary featuring words such as telos and hermeneutics to get the best out of it so, despite the interesting subject matter, my eyes started glazing over half-way through. Worth a try though. There's a PDF version which doesn't have the links but also lacks the distracting animated gifs.

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