Topanga's Great Helicopter Wreck Lift

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This section of the
explores connectivity,
in the virtual world
and the real

Report on Radical Connectionism
Symposium at Pepperdine University,
Co-host of the symposium at Pepperdine's Malibu campus was Richard Benster (far left), who introduced himself as a naturalist
and "former chipmunk scientist" who is now co-creator and head engineer for Elfnet; Mark Pesci (center) is co-creator of VRML;
and Jason Keehn (right) is Elfnet project developer.


The "RADICAL CONNECTIONISM" symposium of futurists was chaired by Dr. Fiorella Terenizi and hosted by Elfnet,Inc. Below is a summary of some of the presentations and links to the sites of some of the presenters.

For an experience in the meta side of physics, check out Dean Dauger's ATOM IN A BOX for inspiring insight into the dynamic inner structure of matter and the forces of the universe.

Elfnet, Inc.'s slogan is "Neuronal networks for a global brain now." Its developers use principles derived from nature as guides to forming a novel programming architecture which promises inherent efficiency for repair and what Francis Jeffrey likes to refer to as "omniscience," the ability to quickly see the dynamic relationships between bodies of data.



Dr. Gregory Stock, Director of the program on Medicine, Technology and Society at UCLA School of Medicine, made a presentation titled FROM HUMAN BRAIN TO GLOBAL CONSCIOUSNESS: AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE ON HIGH TECHNOLOGY.

His book METAMAN: the Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism explores our new ability to breach earlier barriers of space and time to share the visions, thoughts and dynamic experiences of others--"instantaneously encoded in vibrant patterns of electricity, magnetism and light--transmitted to the other side of the world," or to the other side of a century.

Stock's core thesis is that as Metaman we are all connected--giving to and drawing from one another as we participate in a momentous step in the evolution of life: "Knowing more, seeing more, having greater powers than any who have gone before, we--through Metaman--have in a sense become as gods. And yet we are 'gods' only in the limited terms of early humans, because Metaman's emergence is giving us an awareness of the true enormity and power of the universe." See a critical review of the book by Patric Hedlund.

Peter Planter from Virtual Personalities, Inc. introduced Sylvie, the verbot with a sarcastic wit who demonstrated his theme of TAMING COMPLEXITY WITH TECHNOLOGY. Sylvie is conceived as "putting the face back into interface," in a rather literal way. She is a screen animation--the head and shoulders of a woman--which serves as the foreground of an information management system for the user, who uses 'natural language' commands for securing information and friendly insults simultaneously: "Sylvie, did you remember to make a reservation for my lunch date next Thursday?" "Of course I did, you don't think I'd leave it to YOU to remember do you Peter?" Anthropomorphism reigns, without labor contract disputes or boxes of chocolate.



Think complexity in motion....a herd of galloping wild horses, hurricanes, city nights, a rainforest or a traffic jam.

Mark Schaefer, Radio frequency engineer from the Jet Propulsion Lab's NASA projects in Pasadena discussed an Internet on Mars and the MARSAT project in his presentation DEEP SPACE AND INTERPLANETARY COMMUNICATIONS.

Dean Dauger, a doctoral student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA, explained his lab's technique for linking the CPU-power of a network of Macintosh computers together in order to rival the computing speed of a Cray Supercomputer at 1/1,000 of the cost. He spoke on PROJECT APPLESEED: A PLUG AND PLAY PARALLEL MACINTOSH CLUSTER FOR NUMERICALLY INTENSIVE COMPUTING developed at UCLA. A cluster of 4 inexpensive Macintoshes now has the same computational power (and twice the memory) as one of the best supercomputers of 8 years ago.

John Ingersoll, a physicist with ECOCORP, a green waste recycling company, spoke about interaction of complex environmental, economic and social systems with quantum physics-inspired thinking about sustainable environmental development. He emphasized contrasts between linear ("the whole is the sum of its parts") and nonlinear synergistic thinking (dynamic systems are far more than the parts of which they are comprised). Think complexity in motion....a herd of galloping wild horses, hurricanes, city nights, a rainforest or a traffic jam.

CHILDREN WIN RADICAL CONNECTIVITY AWARD: The Great Helicoptor Wreck Lift-- Cleaning Up Topanga Creek

Prince Charles Wins Radical Connectivity Award..
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