Convergence08: Collective Superintelligence

This session was initiated by Steve Omohundro of Self Aware Systems . He’s presenting an introduction to the idea of collective superintelligence, discussing the history of major changes in evolution such as cellular combination to form larger organisms and .. much later in the process … the development of languages in primates.

Book reference: “The Major Transitions in Evolution”

Steve is noting the challenges of the Prisoner’s Dilema when seeking the best ways to organize societies.

Steve notes that self protection – and even potentially dangerous behavior – could come from an AI that simply wanted to perform it’s function.  e.g a chess program could act to protect itself very rationally by noting that it’s function is to continue playing chess and if unplugged it won’t be playing.  Thus the machine might work to prevent unplugging without any “self protection” routine, rather simply from following it’s prime directive.

…. more in a moment….

Mashup Camp and Convergence08

Looking forward to two upcoming conferences – Mashup Camp and the very first Convergence 08 conference.

Mashup Camps have been coming to Mountain View for over two years, bringing great startups for their product launches as well as lively discussions about innovations and new products to help the mashup community. There also will be mashup experts from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, and many more key players. Programmable Web has the best coverage of the Mashup topic.

Convergence will have even more provocative content as the first conference to address the intersection of four technologies likely to shape the world in extraordinary ways: Nanotechnology, Biological technologies (gene splicing, stem cells, DNS mapping, life extension) , Information technologies (internet and computing) and Cognitive technologies. This last would, I think, broadly include everything from brain enhancing drugs and devices to artificial intelligence. AI is the most exciting category for me, and I remain convinced that we’ll see conscious computers within about 20 years – hopefully and very possibly less. Conscious computing is likely to change the entire planetary game to such a degree it’s nearly impossible to predict what will happen *after that*, which is one of the issues that will be discussed at the conference.

My main concern is that proponents and predictions keep things real and this does not become a sort of brainstorming session for half-baked ideas and ideologies.

After millions of years of very slow biological evolution we’ve now entered a new age where technology is likely to eclipse most and probably all of our human abilities. Even that fairly obvious idea – which simply is an extension of current developments – leaves many people skeptical, cold to the idea, or even antagonistic about the changes that are coming. Like it or not … we are all in this together and it’s best to keep it that way as much as possible.


SES Conference, San Jose California: Search Secrets

The California Chamber is talking about their marketing strategies. Local numbers generate more activity than 800 numbers, although he seems to be assuming this means you should choose a local number for your biz over an 800 number. In this case I doubt that correlation is causation – probably locals are more likely to act on a Chamber issue.

The California Chamber looks like they are focusing mostly on PPC rather than Organic SEO.

Eric Enge’s [who is a killer foosball player!] has a bunch of excellent tips but I missed part of his presentation due to blog technical difficulties…. here are a few items:

Google Webmaster Tools – get some free links by finding malformed URLs and 301 redirecting them to the correct page. [note – generally Google passes authority along with 301 redirections]

Find dead and bad links and try to contact the site to fix them so you have a real, quality incoming link.

Use MSN Search Funnels for link development.

RIchard Zwicky:

Track PPC and Organic traffic independently – results may differ and you want to focus resources most effectively.

Links as (the?) most valuable factor in SEO.

Regional links are important for traffic from those regions. Hugely important, but overlooked.

Your competitors are probably lazier tha you are.

Don’t use black hat SEO but know it so you can defend against black hat attacks.

Hmm – now He’s outlining a hijack scheme where you basically set up a fake and heavy black hat SEO site for your competition, then just before this site is banned you redirect to the competitor site and he says the 301 bad juice would flow to them and get them banned.

my notes:

1) This is not consistent with my understanding of 301 unless he means that Google *sometimes* passes along bad PR if they think the offender is working with you. ie the fake sites have tricked Google into thinking they are part of the competitors web strategy. Simply passing bad PR via 301 would mean you could very easily kill any site simply by setting up a bad neighborhood and link it to competitor using 301 redirects. This was an early redirection issue, to my understanding fixed by Google after abuses by black hats.

2) Don’t do this. Not only is it unethical, but in my opinion courts will soon start cracking down on schemes like this as fraud, possibly even racketeering. Courts do not yet understand search but when they do you’ll see some massive lawsuits against people who interfere with their competitors this aggressively.


Inside Intelligence Track
The Best Kept Secrets to Search

Secrets of paid and organic search? Sure, they’re out there. Join us for a no-holds-barred interactive session in which veteran search engine marketers disclose some of their favorite search engine optimization and marketing tips, tricks, and secrets. While there’s no replacement for old-fashioned hard work, getting the inside scoop and shortcuts to search success never hurt.

Q&A Panelist:

Where are you?

Location awareness has been available in GPS gadgetry for some time, but now it is moving into devices like the iPhone and Instinct and that is going to open up a new relationship between people and places.    There are obviously some potential ominous aspects of this but I am confident that we’ll find location awareness will bring a lot more good than bad.    Some of the neat stuff will be the ability to track friends and associates.    For example at a large conference it is often difficult to find all the people you need to talk to even after emails and calls – a system that breaks down when everybody is overwhelmed and there is a flurry of intense activity in a short time span.

More interesting to everybody will be the ability to automatically tag photos and videos with their location.  Flickr already lets you enter the location of a photo but it’s too time consuming for most.   We’ll start to see millions and soon billions of photos tagged with location, and mapping the world photo by photo will soon be a reality.    Imagine an online map that contains a montage of pictures such that you can click on any point on the map and pull up thousands of images from that location.

O’Reilly Reportst on the iPhone’s location applications

CES 2009

It is already time to register for CES 2009 and there’s a new fee structure where people signing up before November 1 will get in *free* to everything but the regular sessions.    Althought those sessions are interesting the big deal at CES are the many world class exhibits of new technology and the CES Parties, so frankly you could have a great time there without attending any of the sessions at all.

As a blogger or press person you’ll get free admission to the sessions as well (this would run about $1000+, plus some really nice food, lounges, and freebies if they handle things like last year when even many press folks were envious of the great amenities at the blogging lounges.

I’ll be at CES again next year, hoping to find as many interesting stories as at CES 2008 when I got to interview David Filo from Yahoo, see Bill Gates, and hear GM’s CEO Talk about cool new cars.

I also had a great time at the Monster Blog Bash, Mary J. Blige Concert, SONY Poker Party, and PodTech’s Bloghaus (thanks to John Furrier and Robert Scoble who are always very cool conference characters.)

Here is the CES 2009 fee structure:

The fee structure for admission to all exhibits, TechZones, SuperSessions, keynotes and selected conference sessions has changed. Please take note of these important dates:
Before November 1, 2008

November 1, 2008  5 p.m. EST, January 2, 2009

5:01 p.m. EST, January 2, 2009 On-site

More about CES 2009 at the official website.

Twixter – very impressive!

I’m really impressed with the new mini photoblogging service Twixter and I’ve not even posted a picture yet.   Thanks to Mike for showcasing Twixter today at TechCrunch.  Unlike Twitter, Twixter allows photo posts, geolocates you and contacts using a nice Google maps mashup, and cross posts to twitter and Facebook (though there appeared to be a glitch with this part as it gave a bad link for my cross post).    Overall this is a very impressive application, and with the Twitter posting capability Twitter better take note.    I’m not using Pownce much because fewer people are on board there, and they don’t have the clever TwitterFeed-like capability yet.

Vending machine payment for drink = watch an advertisement!

I love this idea of choosing to either pay for your soft drink or watch an ad and get it for free.    We’ll see a LOT more things like this over time as consumers start to demand that companies cut out the middleman and pay them *directly* for providing attention and the potential to be influenced by advertising.

To me it’s very natural for a consumer to be compensated directly for their attention, It’ll shake up the ad industry in new, fun, and interesting ways.