The Singularity: Our Future Way of Communication

You wake up one morning in a bed made out of twine and sheep wool. You look to your left and notice the kitchen is no less than two feet from your bed. You step out of your wooden home to a picturesque view of rolling hills, apple tree orchards, and a creek running nearby. You scan the horizon for anyone to talk to and you see smoke off in the distance. You know that you are too lazy to go see what is causing the smoke, so you run back into your home to grab your iPhone. As you get inside, you look for the phone on your nightstand and cannot find it. You then look for your iPad, laptop, and your smartwatch and they are nowhere to be found. Frustrated you run back outside and start yelling for someone, only to be greeted by a cow asking for some food. Frustrated again, you start walking toward the smoke. As you are walking, you can only think about how inconvenient it is for you to have to walk this far. Twenty-five minutes later, you come to another house. Eager, you run to it and start to bang on the door to talk to someone. A family of four comes running from all directions to greet you. Immediately, you start to explain that you woke up in the wrong house and you are missing your phone, iPad, etc. You explain that there is no way for you to get hold of your friends and family. The father steps in and tells you, “Son, I don’t reckon what you talk’n bout’, this be talk of the devil.” He grabs his gun and points it at you. You try to calm him down and explain to him that you are able to talk to your mom through something that looks like a small chalkboard and you can even see her face. He cocks his gun. Nervous, you try to calm him down by explaining to him that you can talk to a chain around your wrist and a lady will send a message to someone else without you writing anything. You smile because it makes complete sense, but to the father he is convinced that you are possessed. The son steps in and says, “Dad, this man is a ‘god’!” Dad ultimately doesn’t buy it and starts to shoot at you.

Imagine with me that this happened to you today. A boy runs up to you and tries to tell you that his internal chip seem to be broken and he is not able to access his P802.11az. Confused, you unlock your iPhone. He sees the phone and says, “I thought those were all destroyed after they found they gave you cancer.” You drop your phone. He then goes on to tell you that, “I was in New York and I was supposed to be in Japan in five minutes, but I ended up here.” You then come to the conclusion that the man broke out of the psychiatric facility and proceed to pick your phone up and call the police.

So how far can I be from the truth? There are reports that telepathy is in the works for the future of communication, but how likely and how willing is everyone to jump on that bandwagon. What about VR or holograms for your next meeting? How convenient would it be to have the next board meeting at your kitchen table? These are all in the works and are expected to make an impact in the way we communicate. It is true that even though we grow further apart, we are brought ever closer because of these technological advancements. But, I do not want to talk about these, because they are not so much the future. They exist and are already being used. What I want to talk about is a world where there is a convergence of tech and body and how this would impact our way of communicating.

Ray Kurzweil wrote, “In this new world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. We will be able to assume different bodies and take on a range of personae at will.” What he is referring to is the singularity, or a time, where technology will surpass the human. A place where our mind is uploaded to the net and, with just a thought, you can jump to the next available body in El Paso, Texas to meet your parents for dinner. Or, maybe you were too busy to meet your parents for dinner, so you arrange a virtual dinner instead. What I am talking about is real and technology is advancing at a level that surpasses our evolutionary background. This is a matter of when and not “if”. This is not sci-fi or the base story for Transcendence; it is being tested as I write this. Take for example Facebook. Mark Zuckerber wrote in one of his latest townhall Q&A’s

“In order to do this really well, our goal is to build AI systems that are better than humans at our primary senses: vision, listening, etc.

For vision, we’re building systems that can recognize everything that’s in an image or a video. This includes people, objects, scenes, etc. These systems need to understand the context of the images and videos as well as whatever is in them.

For listening and language, we’re focusing on translating speech to text, text between any languages, and also being able to answer any natural language question you ask.”

He also mentioned, “One day, I believe we’ll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology. You’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too if you’d like.”

Even though, Ray Kurzweil projected this to happen by 2045, I would say that we are progressing far more rapidly than he is anticipating. I would say that within the next 20 years (2035) we will have the option to perform a brain emulation to an artificial neural network where we can wait for technology to be able to reproduce our bodies for reintegration, all the while living a virtual reality.

Reference

(http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/future-communication-devices-everyone-will-want/)

Unable to find original owner of primary picture. (University use permissions apply)

Facebook links: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10102213601037571?_rdr=p&pnref=story

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/01/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-telepathy-tech

 

Mind Uploading:

http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/brain-emulation-roadmap-report.pdf

http://www.sim.me.uk/neural/JournalArticles/Bamford2012IJMC.pdf

 

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“Jesus Will Pay for My Rent and Groceries”

That escalated quickly! Sometimes a lighthearted joke can put you in the cross-hairs of social media piranhas. Unfortunately, two years ago, a user of reddit.com who goes by gateflan (Chelsea Welch) posted a copy of another waitress’ receipt she thought was, “comically immature, humorously just silly.” The former Applebee’s waitress did not think much about posting the receipt, nor did she anticipate the ramification this would have on her and the self-proclaimed pastor, Alois Bell.
The Internet lit up when Chelsea posted the receipt, but why? What made this receipt stand out among other receipts that are posted on social media sites? Take a look at the receipt and think about what stands out:

adfWhat thoughts come to mind? Are you thinking about how the pastor played the religion card in trying to get out of a tip? Or, are you agreeing with the pastor and think automatic tips are unfair to the guest? Either side you take, this boils the water just enough to get the fish jumping out of the water. There are many comments both for and against the “tip” Pastor Bell left and I can sum up most of the arguments by saying, economy and God do not mix. Let’s take Pastor Bell’s testimony about why she did this and her motivation for writing the comment on the receipt. Fox 2 news, St. Louis, interviewed Pastor Bell and asked her what she was thinking, “Well, you know what, I really feel that I had to go through this, because I was looking on Internet and I do a lot of Internet ministry, um, a lot of our stuff is on Facebook, um, I post a lot of testimony and, um, I travel and preach and a lot of people have been healed….” (Scroll down to second video.) You get the point. She did not understand the question or was just avoiding it all together. She did get a second chance to answer the question. In this one, she said, “It was just dumb, it was dumb of me…”  Well, that helped clarify things a little more and at this point, I will take it. However, she did do one thing right in this social media madness; she came forward. She decided to meet the storm head on and give her side of the story. This, I have to say, was a smart move.
What about the waitress, how did she fair from all of this social media madness? Well, let’s backup to where it all started. We know Chelsea Welch was not the actual waitress that served Pastor Bell and she only saw the receipt after another waitress (her friend) had put it away. Now we know Chelsea never even helped or knew Pastor Bell, we can start to see how this all comes into play. I bet with 100% surety Chelsea did not expect this to go viral and in an article by rawstory.com, she states, “I had no intention of starting a witch hunt or hurting anyone — I just wanted to share a picture I found interesting.”  Unfortunately, this is exactly what she got when she made the post on her Reddit.com page with the title, “My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries.” Roughly after 30 days of posting the picture and it going viral, “….the customer who had left the receipt contacted her Applebee’s location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers.”  The good news is Applebee’s did not fire everyone; the bad news is Chelsea lost her job, and to that Chelsea said, “But because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than lose an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand.” Hurt feeling aside, Chelsea had more to rejoice about posting the picture and losing her job. It seems the social media piranhas have deep-pockets and kind hearts. Not long after losing her job, she was approached by strangers who wanted to help her out financially and they even started a petition to get her job back. One thing remains true on the Internet and that is the underdog will always prevail. That being said, Chelsea did do a few bad things in posting the picture. She could have taken a few more precautions and not have assumed the signature of the pastor was illegible. By just assuming posting a picture to the Internet will stay where it is originally posted is a virtual fallacy. If you google search, “I Give God 10% picture” there are over 100 pictures of the receipt, but try to find it on the original picture and you get this:

adsfShe did do one thing right as well. She also faced the media and gave her side of the story and helped us get a better understanding of what she was expecting out of all of this. She tried her hardest to get things cleared up after it went viral, but she learned the hard way about how the social piranhas can devour anything within seconds.

This brings me to the power social media has in revealing our personal information. Just from a signature and location, random strangers were able to locate both the pastor and Chelsea and start to message them directly. Not only is this crazy, but they also were able to locate their place of employment, worship, phone numbers, and all of their social media sites, even forcing the pastor to shut-down all of her social media. Even though we might have a macro-level of thinking about the world and we are just one of the 7.3 billion people, the Internet has brought us to a virtual world in which makes our personal life seem open and centric.

Online Reputation Memorandum

TO: DUSTIN CALL

FROM: DANIEL J. BLAKELY

SUBJECT: ONLINE REPUTATION

DATE: SEPTEMBER 29, 2015

CC: DR. PRESTON PARKER

I was asked to do an online reputation search on Dustin Call and I gladly accepted the challenge. I love being able to see what social media can tell me about someone and how technology has brought us closer together. In my early attempts in search for Dustin, I did not see the road blocks ahead of me and how, sometimes, the easiest of things can quickly turn to the most difficult endeavors. Nonetheless, after following the breadcrumbs, here is what I have discovered about Dustin Call.

**The research that I used is public information and is able to be duplicated by any layman.

My first impressions of Dustin are that he is very social media savvy and also takes great precautions in revealing himself through these media. One of the greatest road blocks that I came to was the fact that the name is fairly common and a generic search for Dustin Call will yield About 36,500,000 results. Even on the first Google search page nothing points to any page that he is associated with. It was not until I narrowed the search to a specific location i.e. Utah, or California; this is where I started to make some headway. Also, it is important to mention that most people have different aliases when it comes to an online presence and figuring out what their “internet name” is can open a whole new level of “who is…?” In this case, I found that Dustin likes to go by the username of DustinCall_8 or even DustinCall8.

The first thing I was able to find out about Dustin is from Linkedin.com. Through this medium, I was able to start my framing of “who is Dustin Call?” When I search for him, I am more interested in what are his interests, his influencers, and groups that he follows. Everything else like schools, jobs, marital status, and summary are helpful but are used as secondary search topics.

For LinkedIn, I could tell that Dustin has a strong aptitude for fashion and design; he follows companies like Elite Modeling, Ford Models, Inc, Models International, Brinkworth Interior Design and Interior Image Group, to name a few. I can tell from this that Dustin has a strong desire to be enmeshed with the fashion/creative world and has, from his resume, had a job in some form of creative work and even started a business of his own named, Glitz & Glam Home Couture which can be found on Facebook (source: https://www.facebook.com/Glitz-Glam-Home-Couture-263629113668909/timeline/). This would also lead me to believe that if he has a desire for this type of creativity, he would most likely venture into a social medium that enables him to express his potentiality, and this idea lead me to search for him in Pinterest. (source: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/dustin-call/48/b97/334)

Searching Pinterest, I found that my assumptions were not too far off. The amount of work that he has put into this is very evident. He has over 1,100 pins and I would say that 95% of them are in regards to fashion or some type of creativity. His followers are lacking and that could be because of lack of advertising or networking with other like-minded artists. I would assume that it is a matter of time before his followers increase dramatically. (source:https://www.pinterest.com/dustincall/)

Now you are probably wondering why I did not jump right to Facebook with my search and there is a perfect explanation for that. Upon doing my research, I came across a blog that Dustin had commented on and he stated, “I set all my profile setting to private and made things hard to find out information about me to see what you could dig up ?!?”(source: http://ahseantehicks.blogspot.com/2015/02/online-reputation.html) And to no surprise, his Facebook is completely locked-up. However, that was for his profile and what I look for is what he forgets to put private. He did put his address in a post that was public and he mentioned he was moving from it (88 N Satsuma Drive in Providence); this was back in November of 2013. I also learned that he loves his mother and has helped her out in many different ways, for instance when he helped her sell her 2002 Chevy Tahoe. He also likes to get a tan and massages. He also mentioned selling his designer pants a few times. (source: https://www.facebook.com/dustincall8)

I found that he has a Google+ account that is rarely used. From what it looks like, he used it to post articles on his blog that are related to a social media class that he was taking at Utah State University. His interest and likes were identical to what I found on LinkedIn and Facebook, so there was not much more to add (http://dustincall.blogspot.com/). He also has a Twitter account that he uses often for personal use (source: https://twitter.com/dustincall_8). I also found deep in the internet his StumbleUpon account; here his StumbleDNA is 49% Art-History. He had the same motif as the rest of his social media content, but now we can narrow in on his interests (source: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/dustincall8). If time had permitted I would have dug deeper into his social media world, but as I see it, I am content with the information and feel like I have a good picture of “who is Dustin Call.”

In summary, Dustin has done very well for keeping most of his personal social media confidential, with an exception of posting his address. I would suggest for him to take his online reputation to the next step by spreading out his Pinterest page to other media platforms to draw in more followers. I got a sense that he has potential to really take off on his creative fashion sense and design, but I did not see any of his other platforms linking to his Pinterest page. He should blog about some of the designs or fashion that he creates. This would be a great portfolio for a potential employers or the public to catch on.

Here are some profile pics that I was able to associate with Dustin:

T-4mMK6w_400x400 10906208_10153026478726369_4539944286947862629_n dustincall_1337062485_140 2jh6Je3oo8s-XlRNInOOEw

Letter to Cousin

I know we had conversed a few weeks back and you had a few questions about the benefits that come from writing professional and technical letters. I am grateful that you came to me for help in gaining a greater understanding in this field of writing. You mentioned to me that you did not see the difference between a regular letter and a professional letter and you told me that they both convey the same message; however, you could not be more wrong.
This letter will give you a greater understanding of professional letters and I will post some links to give you some extra resources. To start out, I wanted to bring up the need for effective communication. Every day you communicate your thoughts to other people and, at times, some people that you need to communicate with are in remote locations. By sending letters, you are able to communicate who you are, what you are doing, and interests that you have. However, the way it looks and your format can have a drastic impression on the recipient. This letter will show you how to suit up your letter in the best possible way and to communicate how professional you look through the paper. Sure, sending a letter to your aunt in Florida does not need to look fancy and she would not mind if you made it look like you are still in your pajamas. This would be a great example of a personal letter. A simple “Dear Aunt Edna” and a closure of “Love you always! –Ricki” is a great way to still communicate that you are still her favorite nephew. However, can you imagine writing a letter like that to a potential employer? That would be career suicide! I was able to conjure up some great references to help you effectively and professionally communicate yourself to a potential employer.
The University of Wisconsin Green Bay wrote a short article about the simple structure of a professional letter. In the letters, they said, “…it is critical that as a candidate you are able to write professional letters throughout your job search to effectively market yourself to potential employers.” Take a look at the outline of the paper and you will notice that there is far more work that goes into writing a professional paper. Take for instance where you should put the employer’s information. That is right, exactly where you would put Aunt Edna’s salutation! The actual professional salutation for the professional letter comes after the date and the information for the company. It gets even better! In the article, they state that you should never start with “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”. I actually laughed because I can think of a few times that I have found myself guilty of starting a letter this way.
The next part they cover is the body of the letter. This information can serve as a great guideline and will ensure that you communicate your letter effectively. It mentions that the paragraphs should range from 3-5 paragraphs and this depends on the content and intent of the letter. Another rule that they suggest is to keep it single-spaced in the paragraph and double-spaced between paragraphs. In addition, it mentions to keep the closing simple with “Sincerely” and then you would space 3-4 lines and type your full name at the bottom. The last step is to sign your name in-between those lines in either blue or black ink. I’ve left out a few things that can add some extra benefits. I would suggest following the link to find out more. They cover information from how to create High Impact Letters, Pre-Interview and Pre-Screening Letters, and Networking or the Informational Interview Letter. Check it out and let me know if you would like any more information.

Sincerely,

D.J.

Links:
University of Wisconsin
Purdue University

The Future of Social Media…..Oculus?

Social media is a form of alternate reality; we can be anyone, make up new names, act differently, and create an avatar that may or may not look like us. I know of a few of my friends that have more than one Facebook account or play a significant amount of time playing World of Warcraft as a female, elf, and some other creatures. I am always a bit confused why my friends pick the characters they do or why they decided to have more than one social media account. This dichotomy made me think, if my friends, and many other people have this alter ego, what does the future hold for them.
In one of my previous post where I wrote about Second Life, I looked into how everyday people literally had a second-life. They were able to create avatars, make money, and even create their own mini worlds. In the article, I mentioned a little about Oculus VR and how many were using this as a virtual reality to see and interact with their virtual surroundings. Since this is still in its infancy, and currently only available to developers, it’s only a matter of time before these hit the market and people will start disconnecting from their physical reality.
Let me back up just a little. Exactly what is Oculus and why is it that I think that this is the future of social media. To explain this, let me first state that the internet is becoming an extension of ourselves. We use the internet almost as a central brain; we look at it for entertainment and to communicate with others (verbal, typed, and/or virtual face-to-face conversations). Unfortunately, all of these forms of communication are lacking one thing and that is a physical presence. Just imagine that you are having a conversation in a room by yourself with no one around. Try to explain that to your ancestors. With the lack of a physical presence, it has been studied that this type of communication is less effective in personal, as well as, professional communication. This is where I see the future of Oculus come into play, but will only surmise, as only time will tell. Maybe one day we will be able to say, “Siri, beam me to London!” to have physical face-to-face with a friend or a company meeting. As for now, the closest thing we will have, would be an Oculus VR connecting us to an avatar (or some kind of robot) where we would be able to look around the room, get up and move, and interact with others. The Oculus gives us the ability to see and encompass a majority of our senses and remote locate anywhere in the world. You may read this and laugh, but check out some of the YouTube videos of people wearing the Oculus and you will begin to see what I mean. These videos will show people falling over, losing balance, and laughing or crying because their brain cannot tell the difference between what they are experiencing and where they are currently.
How does this apply to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkdIn, and many others? Imagine with me that your phone vibrates and it is Facebook notifying you that your best friend shared an instant reality or “IR” of the wedding. You go home and go to your “VR-IR” room where you slip on your Oculus, lay down in your “VR-IR” chair, and find yourself at a beach in Maui watching your best friend getting married. Now this can be live or recorded and this would be the distinction between VR (recorded) or IR (Live). Instagram would work much in the same way, with the ability to experience the exact same setting as the person that took the picture. Twitter would give the option to see what the # was all about, #VRmonkeyflingingpoo. The “VR” would notify you that you can witness and see everyone else’s reaction to the monkey flinging his feces at random people. There could also be #IRstreamingofthe2020elections, where you could experience the debate and even the inauguration. LinkdIn would give the ability to tour the company you are interested in, interview with the CEO, Manager, etc. or see your new office space. These are just a few examples of what technology holds for the future and who knows if they will come true or if even we are currently experiencing something of this level right now.

Links:

https://www.oculus.com/

Text Messaging and Mobile Instant Messaging

For realzies! I just heard they are getting rid of texting? (Played in a teen girl voice)
There are varieties of articles that speculate that text messaging or direct messaging (SMS) will eventually be something of the past. This will most likely become true, however, most people when they think of text messaging they combine all of their third party apps (like Whatsapp, IM) or software (Facebook messenger, or Google Messenger) as part of this word texting. Or, not. I have to admit, I did not know the difference at first, because I never really cared all that much about knowing the difference; that was until now.
In the big picture, text messaging is on the decline and will probably be the last thing you use to communicate with others. What is taking over then? This answer may cause you to thump your head… It is instant messaging (MIM). With apps like Whatsapp, viber, snapchat, etc., there are a myriad of different platforms to communicate and depending on your situation will usually indicate which one you use the most. Facebook recently purchased Whatsapp to the tune of $16 billion; they noticed that the usage of this platform was “approaching the entire global telecom SMS volume.” One of the main reasons for the shift from text messaging to instant messaging was the cost of sending and receiving texts. For the most part, you could send instant messaging for free or for a flat once a year fee. The other reason was brought up by ”Anthony Mullen, an analyst at Forrester Research, argued that data is now the key concern for customers, and that IM was the evident winner.”
The future of instant messaging is about to explode! With data being such a vital resource for people and instant messaging being data sensitive, you will begin to see more and more integration with the many possibilities that these apps can produce. For instance, they have started to make a lot of instant messengers that have integrated file-sharing, collaboration, and even email service. Just wait and see all of the new technology that will come out in the next few years with instant messaging.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101406820
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/e-mail-messaging/instant-messaging4.htm