Monday, August 31, 2009

The Ultimate Collaboration Technology Coming Soon! The HUMAN HIVE MIND! A Force For Good...Not Evil.

Jeremy Epstein has a cool blog post today on an innovative communication social networking activity he came up with called Rolodex Roulette

The basic idea is go to your cellphone contacts and pick one name from your list from each of the letters of the alphabet and call those 26 people.  Odds are you will connect live with maybe 1 of 4 people you call. So maybe 6 conversations. Jeremy had 8. 
Now you may think this is a weird leap for me to make but....I think Jeremy's idea is another tiny step toward the coming of the "Human Hive Mind (HHM)". HHM will be the Ultimate Human Collaboration technology.

Now before you "run" screaming off into the "internet woods" in horror banging yourself into virtual trees, let me reassure you, I think this is a good thing to happen for humanity. Here's why...

I believe we all deeply crave a deeper and more meaningful and positive mental connection with our fellow "man"(gender non specific). So I'm developing a theory that says as we approach the technological singularity point, and we overcome our fear of connecting fully with our fellow human beings, we will hyper-network our brains into a hive-mind-like construct that we will be able to jump in and out of like a swimming pool.  

Game theory says that positive cooperation among human actors produces optimal, 'mutually beneficial' results. This means unless society collapses, and prevents the technology from being developed, the human race is on an inherently natural path to construct and participate in ever more rich "hive mind" collaboration environments. Virtual collaboration worlds like WOW, Second Life, Twitter, Facebook and others are early examples of this direction. Imagine what will happen when in addition to voice, video and text as channels of communication we start to add things like mood to the communication. 

I believe that the majority of the thoughts we have, and the most powerful thoughts, are positive thoughts and I think when we start setting up hive minds that our positive thoughts will be the most self-reinforcing. I believe a logical outcome of this is our society will rapidly start becoming more moral, ethical and philanthropic that we are today. I know this concept scares a lot of people for reasons of privacy, individuality and fears of evil hive minds, such as those depicted in science fiction literature and film, (Star Trek:TNG's "Borg collective").  

But what will really emerge is not this "boogeyman-esque", all-encompassing, mind-numbing version of a hive mind. Instead I think it will be something more akin to what is described in the Star Wars series. There the experienced Jedi are connected via "the force" into being able to feel an overall understanding of the fabric of the collective state of mind other living beings in that society/universe.  

Can you imagine being able to at your own will jump in and out of feeling connected, at a level you find comfortable, to the whole of the human race and it's state of mind? To participate in and contribute to that state of mind? Like anything, if done poorly, it could be damaging to have a hive mind. 

For example; imagine a hive mind being used to exclusively connect only those people who are racists and exclusionists. It could be used by these angry, disenfranchised people to be more effective in causing damage to society. But this danger exists with any new technology. The technology is certain to be used much more often to proactively engender positive interactions between people. I think that ultimately the positive uses of new tech usually outweigh the negative. 

Consider even the positive outcomes of Nuclear science and technology versus the negative outcomes. It's been almost 65 years since the nuclear bomb was developed and yet despite all the massive war strife and anger since then we as a race someone have yet to wipe ourselves off the planet. That tells me something. It says that as a human race, despite our differences, we really do want to survive.
So I think hive mind technology will be no different from when printing, gunpowder, photography, the automobile, aviation, film, radio, nuclear power, TV and internet arrived on the scene of humanity. Some will fear the technology. Some will seek to use the technology for antisocial purposes. But many more will use it to for the purposes of improving the positivity of interactions between people.  

All the previous communciation technology steps that are precursors to hive mind technology (printing, photography, film, radio, TV and internet, etc) have all made significant positive impacts for humanity leading to more freedom, peace and harmony between people. Certainly our 24/7 news outlets focus on the reality that we have lots of war, strife, anger and hatred in todays world. But I think the communication technology improvements over the past 500 years in communication and collaboration technology were crucial to our society advancing.  

Communication technology in the form of printing is what stopped the dark ages death spiral of European society and started it on this ever increasing slope toward positive outcomes for humanity. I think the spike in pain and strife we see coming out now is not a sign of growing overall negativity in the human race. Instead I think it is just a lot of previously hidden resentment, anger and hatred being leeched at a ever more rapid pace out of our collective consciousness by the ever more frictionless nature of our ability to communicate. Communication/collaboration is getting more and more frictionless and affordable.  

Cisco is one company working hard on building affordable, full-body 2D video presence solutions. 3D holographic presence is the next step. In fact in the recent movie I took my sons to, "GI Joe:The Rise of Cobra", Cisco has it's brand splashed all over a bunch 3D, holographic collaboration solutions that exist in the futuristic setting the movie portrays. Now think about later when hive mind solutions start to emerge in concert with that. I think these solutions will accelerate the leeching of hatred, anger, war and negativity out of human society.  

As Yoda said in SW-I ""Fear leads to anger, Anger leads to Hate, Hate leads to Suffering." The path back the other direction from suffering, that inverts this direction, starts with rich and regular communication. Yoda also should have instructed Qui Gon Jin and Obi-Wan Kenobi in regard to the young Anakin Skywalker..."Endeavour always to constantly speak, interact and communicate with your Padouin learner. Communication leads to understanding, understanding leads to collaboration, collaboration leads to fellowship, fellowship leads to trust, trust leads to peace."  

Do not fear the coming of the human hive mind(s). Embrace this evolution, encourage it, participate in it to contribute your positivity. Like the printing press it will be a tool of trust and understanding far more than a tool of ignorance and fear.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Is Google Chrome OS a rival for Microsoft Windows? Or Something else?

In this blog post on the Chomium OS Central blog there is a discussion of whether Chrome OS will be a rival to Windows.

Quotes in that blog from Phil Balmer and Bill Gates indicate where they stand on this question. Summed up they have Alfred E. Nueman's "What Me Worry?" viewpoint. (Bill kinda looks like Alfred doesn't he? :-) )

So clearly Phil and Bill don't get it.

It's not about whether the computing technology is new or not. Disruptive technology rarely is NEW technology. Thats why they call it "Disruptive" versus calling it simply "NEW".

The key enabler for the broad adoption of a truly thin OS with focus on cloud based apps (Chrome OS on netbooks) is all about the availability and adoption of broadband. As the fast internet connection becomes fully available to you pretty much 24/7 everywhere you are, your use of web apps becomes dominant.

Just ask yourself: When is the last time I spent even 30 minutes working on my computer or laptop doing productive work for my job with no internet connection?

Likely it was when you were last on a plane. But at any one time in the US there are about 5000 commercial planes in the air carrying maybe 100 people on average per plane. Thats 50,000 computer users max at any one time who can't do web apps work. Not a big deal really. Plus now airlines are rolling out internet connection on flights. So even that is not a blocking problem.

Chrome is certainly NOT a rival for Windows. It's an alternative for a growing segment of the computing user population!!

And that is the heart of what makes (Chrome OS + Ubiquitous Broadband) a disruptive technology to an incumbent and currently dominant technology provider like Microsoft.

Every dog has it's day. Microsoft has had 25 years worth of days as top dog. All things pass into history and now MS must change to play a new role of it will not be relevant in the future.

What do you think? I want to hear your comments.