Showing posts from April, 2013

Imagine the Car

With my recent job change where I now commute 48km each way through a complex labyrinth of roads and traffic, I have lots of time (45-50 minutes in the morning, 75-105 minutes after work) to reflect on the state of our transportation system.  Along the way there are seven cities, one bridge, and approximately 40 lights to navigate.  Traffic stops, goes, slows, speeds up, weaves (no signaling), merges, people cut each other off, some talk on phones, some day dream, some get sleepy, etc.  It’s a rats nest of dangerous weapons driven by people, many who shouldn’t be driving, just waiting to have an accident!  Let’s imagine together what could be done to change this up… There are some fundamental changes required to create intelligent roadways.  Electronic nodes could be installed, perhaps as nanopaint, and applied to the sides, lanes, and center of roads, starting with the freeways, highways, and major commuting routes.  Additionally, the cell phone networks could be filled in with deep

People Power

I know, the title sounds kind-of retro, something from the 60’s, but let’s not go there.  I read and write a lot about machine power and how machines are increasingly taking over roles in society that were previously thought to be human only.  As this inevitable trend plays out, it will be increasingly important to be crystal clear about the role of people in the economy and society in general.  We seem to be on an unwavering trajectory to a highly automated and robotic future so why not leverage that likelihood to the people’s advantage.  Let’s be sure to keep our roles up front and center in this brave new world that’s unfolding. “In the years ahead,” Rifkin wrote, “more sophisticated software technologies are going to bring civilization ever closer to a near-workerless world. Race Against the Machine (Kindle 118) I remember as a kid hearing about some utopian future where machines did the work and people sat around enjoying their leisure.  That doesn’t sound too bad actually. 

Algorithms Are Us

My first introduction to algorithms dates back to grade 11.  There was one computer, an APL machine , in the entire school district and it happened to be in my math classroom.  As budding mathematicians, we learned to write algorithms and program them into the APL machine.  I remember writing a black jack card game and that might have been the turning point for me to shift away from becoming a mechanic to go into computer science.  Actually I often credit that particular teacher (thank-you Jim Swift ) with changing my destiny as it was he that pointed me into the new direction.  Folks, math and algorithms, “ a set of rules that precisely defines a sequence of operations ”, are underlying everything in our world.  I will relate this to education later in this post so hang in there… Remember back in the early days of Internet search when there was no predictive hints provided?  You had to know how to find things online (Internet quests anyone) and that took quite a bit of experience,