Archive for the ‘open source’ category

Sep 21, 2016

A Free Education for all the World’s People: Why is this Not yet a Thing?

Posted by in categories: education, ethics, internet, open access, open source, philosophy, policy, theory

When we as a global community confront the truly difficult question of considering what is really worth devoting our limited time and resources to in an era marked by such global catastrophe, I always find my mind returning to what the Internet hasn’t really been used for yet—and what was rumored from its inception that it should ultimately provide—an utterly and entirely free education for all the world’s people.

In regard to such a concept, Bill Gates said in 2010, “On the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world […] It will be better than any single university […] No matter how you came about your knowledge, you should get credit for it. Whether it’s an MIT degree or if you got everything you know from lectures on the web, there needs to be a way to highlight that.”

That may sound like an idealistic stretch to the uninitiated, but the fact of the matter is universities like MIT, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, The European Graduate School, Caltech, Stanford, Berkeley, and other international institutions have been regularly uploading entire courses onto YouTube and iTunes U for years. All of them are entirely free. Open Culture, Khan Academy, Wikiversity, and many other centers for online learning also exist. Other online resources have small fees attached to some courses, as you’ll find on edX and Coursea. In fact, here is a list of over 100 places online where you can receive high quality educational material. The 2015 Survey of Online Learning revealed a “Multi-year trend [that] shows growth in online enrollments continues to outpace overall higher ed enrollments.” I. Elaine Allen, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group points out that “The study’s findings highlight a thirteenth consecutive year of growth in the number of students taking courses at a distance.” Furthermore, “More than one in four students (28%) now take at least one distance education course (a total of 5,828,826 students, a year‐to‐year increase of 217,275).” There are so many online courses, libraries of recorded courses, pirate libraries, Massive Open Online Courses, and online centers for learning with no complete database thereof that in 2010 I found myself dumping all the websites and master lists I could find onto a simple Tumblr archive I put together called Educating Earth. I then quickly opened a Facebook Group to try and encourage others to share and discuss courses too.

The volume of high quality educational material already available online is staggering. Despite this, there has yet to be a central search hub for all this wonderful and unique content. No robust community has been built around it with major success. Furthermore, the social and philosophical meaning of this new practice has not been strongly advocated enough yet in a popular forum.

Continue reading “A Free Education for all the World’s People: Why is this Not yet a Thing?” »

May 27, 2016

Is a Blockchain a Blockchain if it Isn’t?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, business, cryptocurrencies, finance, innovation, internet, open source, software, transparency

Anyone who has heard of Bitcoin knows that it is built on a mechanism called The Blockchain. Most of us who follow the topic are also aware that Bitcoin and the blockchain were unveiled—together—in a whitepaper by a mysterious developer, under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.

That was eight years ago. Bitcoin is still the granddaddy of all blockchain-based networks, and most of the others deal with alternate payment coins of one type or another. Since Bitcoin is king, the others are collectively referred to as ‘Altcoins’.

But the blockchain can power so much more than coins and payments. And so—as you might expect—investors are paying lots of attention to blockchain startups or blockchain integration into existing services. Not just for payments, but for everything under the sun.

Think of Bitcoin as a product and the blockchain as a clever network architecture that enables Bitcoin and a great many future products and institutions to do more things—or to do these things better, cheaper, more robust and more blockchain-01secure than products and institutions built upon legacy architectures.

Continue reading “Is a Blockchain a Blockchain if it Isn’t?” »

Apr 12, 2016

Alejandro Aravena, Winner of This Year’s Pritzker Prize, Is Giving Away His Designs — By Margaret Rhodes | Wired

Posted by in categories: architecture, open source


“This January, Alejandro Aravena received architecture’s highest honor. This week, the Chilean architect announced that his studio, Elemental, will open-source four of its affordable housing designs. The projects can be downloaded, for free, from Elemental’s website (here).”

Read more

Dec 14, 2015

Why Infosys is joining Elon Musk, Y Combinator and others in pledging $1 billion for OpenAI — By Harshith Mallya | YourStory

Posted by in categories: education, ethics, open source, robotics/AI


““Our trust in complex systems stems mostly from understanding their predictability, whether it is nuclear reactors, lathe machines, or 18-wheelers; or of course, AI. If complex systems are not open to be used, extended, and learned about, they end up becoming yet another mysterious thing for us, ones that we end up praying to and mythifying. The more open we make AI, the better.””

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Oct 30, 2015

Can Computers Be As Creative As A Human?

Posted by in categories: computing, entertainment, media & arts, open source

To many people, the introduction of the first Macintosh computer and its graphical user interface in 1984 is viewed as the dawn of creative computing. But if you ask Dr. Nick Montfort, a poet, computer scientist, and assistant professor of Digital Media at MIT, he’ll offer a different direction and definition for creative computing and its origins.

Defining Creative

Creative Computing was the name of a computer magazine that ran from 1974 through 1985. Even before micro-computing there was already this magazine extolling the capabilities of the computer to teach, to help people learn, help people explore and help them do different types of creative work, in literature, the arts, music and so on,” Montfort said.

“It was a time when people had a lot of hope that computing would enable people personally as artists and creators to do work. It was actually a different time than we’re in now. There are a few people working in those areas, but it’s not as widespread as hoped in the late 70’s or early 80s.”

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May 2, 2015

WikiLeaks Finally Brings Back Its Submission System for Your Secrets

Posted by in categories: hacking, open access, open source, privacy

— Wired

It’s taken close to half a decade. But WikiLeaks is back in the business of accepting truly anonymous leaks.

On Friday, the secret-spilling group announced that it has finally relaunched a beta version of its leak submission system, a file-upload site that runs on the anonymity software Tor to allow uploaders to share documents and tips while protecting their identity from any network eavesdropper, and even from WikiLeaks itself. The relaunch of that page—which in the past served as the core of WikiLeaks’ transparency mission—comes four and a half years after WikiLeaks’ last submission system went down amid infighting between WikiLeaks’ leaders and several of its disenchanted staffers. Read more

Apr 24, 2015

Article: Harnessing “Black Holes”: The Large Hadron Collider – Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction

Posted by in categories: astronomy, big data, computing, cosmology, energy, engineering, environmental, ethics, existential risks, futurism, general relativity, governance, government, gravity, information science, innovation, internet, journalism, law, life extension, media & arts, military, nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, open source, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy, posthumanism, quantum physics, science, security, singularity, space, space travel, supercomputing, sustainability, time travel, transhumanism, transparency, treaties

Harnessing “Black Holes”: The Large Hadron Collider – Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction

Why the LHC must be shut down

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Jan 17, 2015

IBM Reveals Proof of Concept for Blockchain-Powered Internet of Things

Posted by in categories: big data, business, complex systems, computing, cryptocurrencies, disruptive technology, economics, futurism, information science, open access, open source, strategy

Quoted: “IBM has unveiled its proof of concept for ADEPT, a system developed in partnership with Samsung that uses elements of bitcoin’s underlying design to build a distributed network of devices – a decentralized Internet of Things. The ADEPT concept, or Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry, taps blockchains to provide the backbone of the system, utilizing a mix of proof-of-work and proof-of-stake to secure transactions.”

Read the article here >…et-things/

Dec 30, 2014

The Blockchain is the New Database, Get Ready to Rewrite Everything

Posted by in categories: architecture, automation, big data, bitcoin, business, complex systems, computing, cryptocurrencies, cyborgs, defense, disruptive technology, economics, education, encryption, engineering, finance, futurism, genetics, geopolitics, governance, government, hacking, hardware, human trajectories, information science, internet, law, military, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience, open access, open source, philosophy, physics, privacy, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, software, strategy, supercomputing, transhumanism, transparency

Quoted: “If you understand the core innovations around the blockchain idea, you’ll realize that the technology concept behind it is similar to that of a database, except that the way you interact with that database is very different.

The blockchain concept represents a paradigm shift in how software engineers will write software applications in the future, and it is one of the key concepts behind the Bitcoin revolution that need to be well understood. In this post, I’d like to explain 5 of these concepts, and how they interrelate to one another in the context of this new computing paradigm that is unravelling in front of us. They are: the blockchain, decentralized consensus, trusted computing, smart contracts and proof of work / stake. This computing paradigm is important, because it is a catalyst for the creation of decentralized applications, a next-step evolution from distributed computing architectural constructs.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.30.59 PM

Read the article here >…verything/

Nov 23, 2014

BitCoin, Cryptocurrency, and Blockchain Technology — The Ethereum Primer

Posted by in categories: automation, big data, biotech/medical, bitcoin, business, complex systems, computing, disruptive technology, economics, encryption, energy, engineering, ethics, finance, futurism, geopolitics, government, hacking, hardware, human trajectories, information science, innovation, internet, journalism, law, materials, military, neuroscience, open access, open source, philosophy, physics, policy, privacy, science, scientific freedom, security, software, supercomputing, transparency

Quoted: “Ethereum will also be a decentralised exchange system, but with one big distinction. While Bitcoin allows transactions, Ethereum aims to offer a system by which arbitrary messages can be passed to the blockchain. More to the point, these messages can contain code, written in a Turing-complete scripting language native to Ethereum. In simple terms, Ethereum claims to allow users to write entire programs and have the blockchain execute them on the creator’s behalf. Crucially, Turing-completeness means that in theory any program that could be made to run on a computer should run in Ethereum.” And, quoted: “As a more concrete use-case, Ethereum could be utilised to create smart contracts, pieces of code that once deployed become autonomous agents in their own right, executing pre-programmed instructions. An example could be escrow services, which automatically release funds to a seller once a buyer verifies that they have received the agreed products.”

Read Part One of this Series here » Ethereum — Bitcoin 2.0? And, What Is Ethereum.

Read Part Two of this Series here » Ethereum — Opportunities and Challenges.

Read Part Three of this Series here » Ethereum — A Summary.

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