Friday, July 20, 2007

No Hands Driving Means Two Left for Typing, Applause?

Undoubtedly there is something romantic and dare I say inherently American about two hands on the wheel and the breeze tearing through your locks on the open road. Nevertheless, most of us are not getting our kicks on the Mother Road but are rather hitting the mother lode of traffic on our daily commute.

It is this reason and obliquely my love of railway travel and wireless laptop computing that have me clapping for the DARPA project with both hands ( not to worry fellow drivers I am safely at my desk) and looking forward to the day when I let my Honda or Ford do their duty more or less autonomously.

I see a future through this technology that would allow for many of the things outlined in the BBC News article cited here such as remote driving of children and seniors about town to schools and shopping centers. For me this is terribly topical as in just the last few months we have seen people close to us here who are otherwise functional lose their license due to advancing age and with it some of their zest for life. Further, should I be afforded another hour of computing time while sitting in my car on US 23 everyday I could spend less time at the office and more time planning the renovations on my house or, heavens preserve us, spending more quality time with my lovely girlfriend, and loving family.

The title of this publication makes this painfully obvious but I for one see the responsible automation of the mundane to be largely if not wholly positive. Indeed, to wax more widely philosophical on the topic could this technology make it easier for us to truly see life as a journey as we recline and watch the world roll by on our way to the bakery or the bank, should those edifices still exist for the next generation?

I, for one, think it would and can think of many a road trip where all would have benefited from being able to experience the scenery and each other more completely rather than getting locked and loaded with maps and clutching the wheel for the one way 8 hour Enduro just to lounge on the beach for a few short days.

On a more practical note I think the section in the article that asks us to examine our thoughts as to why we feel that human drivers would be safer than computers is one that might sting our sense of rugged individualism to some degree. However I think this is an incredibly important question to ask and one that is perhaps best answered by your auto insurance premium statement and the sighting that you might have had this morning of a fellow motorist doing something completely unrelated while the car was effectively on autopilot anyway.

Ultimately the point is that cultural and environmental factors are quickly converging to make a transport egg with autopilot and sleep mode a lot more appealing than a red hot GTO that will smoke a quarter mile. Yes, the GTO is a lot more romantic but who needs horsepower when you've got auto valet and auto oil changes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Aspire To No Wires

My high school bus commute was nothing close to those students in Dr. Hudsons Aspirnaut program. Nevertheless I dreaded it so much that I opted to walk a mile or more one way on the side of a rural road through a Michigan winter to avoid the cramped and hostile confines of the "cheesewagon" as we called it.

Granted, the internet was still in it's popular infancy at this point and not readily accessible in most places but considering the fact that I spent most of my free time at home gaming or watching television I can only imagine that had there been media available on the bus and in the classroom this reluctant student would have been a much more apt pupil.

Kidding aside, Dr. Hudsons initiative here is commendable and one that shows just how deeply mobile technology is setting its roots in our culture and in our lifestyles. As someone who sent his first email at Freshman Orientation in 1996 I now get a bad case of the shakes if I haven't seen my InBox in more than 6 hours. In addition, once the computing technology is more seamlessly integrated into our environment, in furniture and architecture for example, it will no longer be an option but a necessity.

Indeed that day is not yet here however, when it does though Dr. Hudsons Aspirnauts will assuredly have a headstart on most of us.

The Technomadic Times: Robot Rhythms

The Technomadic Times: Robot Rhythms

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Robot Rhythms

Hello Dave,

What are you dancing to? Perhaps H.A.L would not have been so cranky if he had been able to tune into some Easy Listening for robots and by robots. Nevertheless should you be more of the organic life form persuasion it is likely that you will find something at that will get your non-robo toes tapping. If nothing else it will offer more i pod fodder in the constant quest for the perfect soundtrack for your technomadic treks.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mobility is Magnetic

What I love the most about this mobile technology charging application recently made public by a team from MIT is that it is not a new technology. In a time when some of us prone to old fashioned adventure might begin to feel that there is less and less of a reason to look over the edge of the horizon we find that there is something new right before us.

As far as the specific technical workings of the technology are concerned I am still clueless, but have been inspired to look into the technology more closely in part, simply because I am curious, and also because this will only do more to allow our technology to become truly nomadic.

To project the possibility of such a technology into the future could we see when used in conjunction with artificial intelligence and the use of naturally occurring magnetic resonance the veritable emergence of our devices from the primordial seas to begin crawling on dry land. More simply, what are the ramifications of a device that has a degree of sentience that is powered by some omnipresent and constant source of energy. Couple this eternal sensor with mobility and we have something truly amazing.

Again, due to my technical limitations I am only speaking in generalities but the idea of thinking machines that are able to traverse terrain under their own power essentially indefinitely is daunting prospect.

Thank you for taking the time to visit us at The Technomadic Times and we look forward to hearing from you soon.




Friday, June 8, 2007

We're Listening

Hello and welcome,

This is no product of Photo Shop. A short hike and the careful placement of our on board camera offers this image of the 60' dish for used by University of Michigan Astronomy students to receive information from astral bodies. It is a favorite haunt for this particular Technomad (I am pictured in the foreground) and is set within over 700 acres of University property used for research and responsible recreation (hence "nomadic". We thought that this image sets an appropriate tone for the subject of this particular forum and hope it inspires you, as it does us, to use all technologies to explore and enrich our world. Thank you again and we look forward to sharing the journey with you all.