Superstruct launches with Superthreats, a forecasting game for the masses!

If you are particularly fascinated by the future and enjoy playing games the following is something you should be involved and interested in. Superstruct, the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game started today with Superthreat scenarios by 2019. Game founder Jane McGonigal writes in a message sent to the members of Facebook Group the dedicated to the game:

Watch the news from the future, and find out exactly what dangers and challenges we face with Quarantine, Ravenous, Power Struggle, Outlaw Planet and Generation Exile.

Here is the Outlaw Planet video for instance:

The game is part of The Ten-Year Forecast Program of The Institute for the Future. You can find details in the Superstruct FAQ and as Jessica Hemerly summarizes it:

With Superstruct IFTF introduces a revolutionary new forecasting tool: Massively Multiplayer Forecasting Games (MMFGs). MMFGs are collaborative, open source simulations of a possible future. Each MMFG focuses on a unique set of “future parameters,” which we cull from IFTF’s forecast research. These parameters define a future scenario: a specific combination of transformative events, technologies, discoveries and social phenomenon that are likely to develop in the next 10 to 25 years. We then open up the future to the public, so that players can document their personal reactions to the scenario.

Back in February I participated in a workshop held at Palo Alto where we actually played a Superstruct like game from within the IFTF’s X2 site. Continue reading

What you get when you multiply the same ideas by different inventors!

Malcolm Gladwell has a nice, but a bit Microsoft heavy essay on scientific/technological multiples, ie. the phenomenon of simultaneous discovery in New Yorker: In the Air

Gladwell argues that it is always misleading to apply the paradigm of artistic invention to scientific/technological invention and he is probably right.

Two sections just for your appetite:

“This phenomenon of simultaneous discovery—what science historians call “multiples”—turns out to be extremely common. One of the first comprehensive lists of multiples was put together by William Ogburn and Dorothy Thomas, in 1922, and they found a hundred and forty-eight major scientific discoveries that fit the multiple pattern. Newton and Leibniz both discovered calculus. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace both discovered evolution. Three mathematicians “invented” decimal fractions. Oxygen was discovered by Joseph Priestley, in Wiltshire, in 1774, and by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, in Uppsala, a year earlier. Color photography was invented at the same time by Charles Cros and by Louis Ducos du Hauron, in France. Logarithms were invented by John Napier and Henry Briggs in Britain, and by Joost Bürgi in Switzerland.”

Let’s meet Stiegler’s law: Continue reading

36 Life extension idea killers: mental practice for the pros!

Today’s meditation is for serious healthy life extension supporters to consider the following 36 – general and sometimes corporate – idea killers concerning our little project:

1. We tried that already
2. We’ve never done anything like that before.
3. Has anyone ever done anything like that before?
4. That never works
5. You’re fired
6. We will actively work against you
7. Laughter
8. Not in our budget
9. Not an interesting problem
10. We don’t have time/We’ll never find the time to do it. (I specially liked this one.)
11. Execs will never go for it
12. Out of scope/Not in our business
13. But its the law
14. Too blue sky / Holy grail
15. Wont make enough $$
16. That isn’t what people want
Continue reading

2008 Edge Annual Question: What data have changed your mind? Why?

edgeannualquestion2008The science part is emphasized in the title of this post on the 2008edgeannualquestionlogo Edge Annual Question, which is again well formulated and thought provoking. The whole question embraces science, philosophy and religion (left).

Last year I had my own answer to the question: 2007 Edge Optimistic Question: systemic regenerative medicine, this year I am still thinking but my answer will probably be something technical and non globally relevant about PCR artefacts.

Based on the quality and quantity of the recent contributors the 2008 answers offer an exciting intellectual journey to the readers, let me highlight the following, not specially science restricted ones, many of them recurring references on Pimm: Beatrice Golomb, Chris DiBona, PZ Myers, Tim O’Reilly, Philip Campbell, Aubrey de Grey, Kevin Kelly.

The Gonzo Scientist on IdeaCity in Science and on the web

If you compare the Nature and the Science front pages (which is not the topic of the current post) you can notice a big difference: there are a lot of “web 2.0″ish fresh features on the Nature site while significantly fewer on the Science counterpart. Now Science came up with a new, less academic and more popculture driven (the name is telling) column, The Gonzo Scientist written and edited by John Bohannon, regular Science contributor. Bohannon writes and even audioslides (illustrations by Katrien Kolenberg) about his experience in IdeaCity.
IdeaCity is Canada’s premier geek summer camp in Toronto, and was modeled after the TED conferences. Now my synonym for the geek camp is SciFoo, but there is a big difference here: IdeaCity is free only for the 50 invited celeb speakers, while it is $3000 for the 3 days for every other visiting Idealists.

gonzoscientist

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