The Millennium Project is beginning a project designed to identify how the world could be transformed into a better place, and symptoms or examples of transformations that have already begun. This is in the form of an Alternate Reality Game, “The Ever Present Future”. The process of formulating and conducting the Butterfly Delphi is the main element of the game and will be seen in periodic TV webisodes.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes"Tom Simonite reports at MIT Technology News that a new research group within Facebook is working on an emerging and powerful approach to artificial intelligence known as deep learning, which uses simulated networks of brain cells to process data. Applying this method to data shared on Facebook could allow for novel features, and perhaps boost the companys ad targeting. Deep learning has shown already potential to enable software to do things such as work out the emotions or events described in text even if they arent explicitly referenced, recognize objects in photos, and make sophisticated predictions about peoples likely future behavior. Facebooks chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, says that one obvious place to use deep learning is to improve the news feed, the personalized list of recent updates he calls Facebooks killer app. Facebook already uses conventional machine learning techniques to prune the 1,500 updates that average Facebook users could possibly see down to 30 to 60 that are judged to be most likely to be important to them. The data set is increasing in size, people are getting more friends, and with the advent of mobile, people are online more frequently, says Schroepfer. Its not that I look at my news feed once at the end of the day; I constantly pull out my phone while Im waiting for my friend, or Im at the coffee shop. We have five minutes to really delight you."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes
"There is an interesting read at the Atlantic where Laura Dimon writes that mass psychogenic illness, historically known as "mass hysteria"—is making a comeback and it appears that social media is a new vector for its spread. Mass hysteria such as the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693, the most widely recognized episode of mass hysteria in history, which ultimately saw the hanging deaths of 20 women, spreads through sight and sound, and historically, one person would have to be in the same room as somebody exhibiting symptoms to be at risk of ‘catching’ the illness. ‘Not anymore,’ says Robert Bartholomew, a sociologist who has studied over 600 cases of mass hysteria dating back to 1566, noting that social media — ‘extensions of our eyes and ears’ — speeds and extends the reach of mass hysteria. ‘Epidemic hysterias that in earlier periods were self-limited in geography now have free and wide access to the globe in seconds,’ says Bartholomew. ‘It’s a belief, that’s the power here, and the technology just amplifies the belief, and helps it spread more readily.’ In a recent case, nearly 20 students at a Western New York Junior-Senior High school began experiencing involuntary jerks and tics. Some believe that the Le Roy outbreak was a direct result of videos posted to YouTube by Lori Brownell, a girl with severe tics in Corinth, New York, 250 miles east of Le Roy. The story took off quickly, not just on the local and national news but on Facebook and autism blogs and sites devoted to mental health and environmental issues. Bartholomew warns that there is ‘potential for a far greater or global episode, unless we quickly understand how social media is, for the first time, acting as the primary vector or agent of spread for conversion disorder.’"