THE BLOG
10/21/2013 10:03 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Do It Yourself

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C Clarke

When Steve Jobs was twelve, he called Bill Hewlett and told him he wanted to build a frequency calculator. HP offered him a job, and his parents loaned him the garage.

Its interesting what our minds can create when no one's there to claim a piece of it. In 2010, the Kickstarter blog featured a bunch of open-source data-sharing do-it-yourself scientists that "aren't just for university fellows and pharmaceutical companies anymore." BioCurious biologists passed over the garage for a shipping container, populated it with used online lab equipment, and rented out space to their friends. "The era of garage biology is upon us," Robert Carlson commented in Wired.

Some depend on lab equipment, while others depend on the lab that exists in their head.
Dr. Stephen Hawking is one of them, and he didn't need a lab or research facility to brainstorm the Origin of the Universe. When I approached keynote speaker Dr. Philip Morrison at the Aspen Design Conference about Hawking's theory, he dismissed it as a fluff piece for an upcoming series he would host on PBS, during which he rescinded his remark.

Eric Lerner joined in by writing "The Big Bang Never Happened," which was followed by the launch of the Cobe Satellite with the Hubble telescope strapped to its belly. When images of emitted radiation recorded proof, no one threw a party.

The same thing happened when the Large Hadron Collider revealed proof of the elusive Higgs boson, which was followed by lots of nitpicking there were actually two. No double party thrown there, so they picked on Einstein next and conjured up "empirical" proof those little nutrino thingies were faster than the speed of light, which they aren't.

This urge-to-bash has ruined plenty of good parties, but it's had the desired effect by diverting attention. In HuffPost Tech, Diane Bartz writes that "upstart search engine" DuckDuckGo thrived after NSA snooping reports, and is "getting shut out." Yet another shutout is the monolithic publishing and film industry, as Indie writers and filmmakers bring their magic to market and sell it themselves.

Why do we run from magic, unless it's Mickey Mouse in a Wizard hat? Science fiction writers project their imaginary technology into the future, yet we never ask how most of it magically becomes "reality" or "science." Is it that we don't trust the magic of our own minds?

At the Being Human 2013 Conference in San Francisco, publisher and moderator Peter Baumann refreshed us with the absence of contention. Minds were on free-range looseness that served up, as Jason Silva appropriately calls it, plenty of "shots of awe."

I got my own personal shot of awe when author Clyde DeSouza asked me to review his "sci-fi" novel, Memories With Maya. He pulls an epic amount of research into his storyline on augmented eyeglass technology and visorwear. In his novel, two friends invent the AR/AGI Wizer, and add sensory haptics for a remote interface experience, so that full-body enhancement is "fleshed out" with a friend of your choice.

DeSouza goes even further, by suggesting memories in the brain of lost loved ones can be uploaded into Wizer, where they are retrieved "from the dead." They become dearly beloved "dirrogates," and their memory "lives on," thanks to the non-referential locality of memory in the brain. When a virtual marriage took place several years ago, the digital world blessed the union. The groom couldn't live without his Second Life virtual partner, so he married her.
DeSouza's book sent me on a nomadic techno-journey across digital territory for weeks. Now I was late publishing his review, but I couldn't help myself. My brain, hijacked by millions of neurons, was feeding off the unlimited supply of high-carb links DeSouza sent, which included inventors of 3D/AGI visor/ eyewear that I could actually buy without a prescription or even a special invite.

The implications of Wizer technology as a transmitter of hertz frequency to the brain is the most compelling idea I've had from all this. A Wizer with two cameras could transmit ultrasound that produces bursts of light at neuron sites, thereby causing growth of cells holographically.

Giulio Prisco writes for Kurzweil AI and Joe Nickence for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Both reviewers present DeSousa's storyline in expert detail, and I'd like to suggest you check them out to enhance your viewing pleasure, when you read the real thing.

Memories With Maya is a magic carpet ride, and DeSouza tells me he's working on the sequel. I might get half a shot at future awe by contributing an idea or two, but this time, my brain will be ready to launch.