February 2005 Archives

Augmented reality

If, unlike me, you've been keeping up with this stuff, this probably isn't news. But if you're like me then this is quite "wow, this could be cool...": A demonstration of augmented reality computer graphics, laying computer-generated imagery over views of the real world. There's another demo available here. I didn't quite realise it had come so far. I can't wait to see what the games industry does with it in the real world. One day. (via Haddock I think.)

Long Now Lectures


I don't think I've seen this before: The Long Now Foundation has a series of lectures available free for download on a variety of, long-term issues (they suggest you umake a donation if you like them).

Two things here. First, Mapping the Global Future, a report on a project geared toward looking at the world in 2020. The full document is available free as web pages or a PDF and is lengthy, solid and pretty detailed. It includes four possible scenarios, which it emphasises aren't exhaustive or mutually exclusive:

What's Next

What's Next is an Australian bi-monthly (is that twice a month or once every two months?) futures newsletter that seems to summarise events and trends in a dozen categories. They have a sample of a single category and you can sign up if you have £95 to spare... (via Steve Bowbrick)

25 year prediction timeline

"Naimark" (I can't see a real name on the site) posts about a predictions timeline s/he created for Ars Electronica in 2004. There are 500 predictions, each tied to a year over the next 25 years, and there are two lists of predictions ordered by votes. The votes only indicate how insightful, clever, funny or interesting a prediction is, so they're not as useful as votes along a single axis, but better than nothing. All good fun.

Internet predictions database

The Pew report on the Internet links to Imagining the Internet, an intriguing idea: a database of predictions about the net from the early 1990s. It would be nice if it was easier to browse the database, rather than have to think up search terms, but it's fascinating nevertheless and the search seems to work well: education, music, movies, terrorism, etc. There's a lot hidden away in there.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project completed a survey late last year in which they asked over a thousand Internet users (mostly long-term early adopters) how they saw the net changing. The full report is available as a free PDF.

Disruptive technologies in home audio

Coming back much closer to home, Noise Between Stations has a good post describing the current and impending changes in the types of products available for home audio systems. Thankfully it goes beyond the usual hand-waving about "digital lifestyle media centres", or whatever the current buzzphrase is. Home audio technology appears to have been remarkably stable: components and all-in-one systems with compatible interfaces, and usable lives far longer than more complex computer technologies. It seems inevitable that computers will merge in some way with home audio/video, but I doubt anyone's sure exactly what form this will take in the mass market.

How to leave this universe before it dies

A quick whizz through some links littering my desktop begins with 'Escape from the universe', an article from Prospect that suggests ways we could leave this universe for another, parallel, one before this universe expands to the point where it freezes.