The IBM Blue Brain
project is working to model a human brain using computers. They expect to have a neocortical column, which they think is likely the key building block for conscious thought, modelled by 2008. If they succeed the next step will be to connect these columns and allow them to exchange information. At the point where enough information is exchanged it seems reasonable to assume the machine will probably become conscious, and that will be … cool.
goats in argan tree
Originally uploaded by Lottelies.
Incredibly, the Goats in a Tree stuff is not a hoax. Goats graze in these Argan trees in Morocco, and you can see several pictures of them at Flickr.
Over at Techmeme I’m struck by three stories that nicely showcase the importance of *community* to dot commers and to the expanding online universe.
The most interesting is that Yahoo Answers is going social, offering social networking as part of the answers concept. I was bullish on Yahoo Answers a year ago and it appears they’ve done a great job at growing this project. Incredibly the number of answers users is comparable to the number of Myspace people. This is not entirely apples to apples comparison because I’m guessing the Myspacers spend a lot more time online at Myspace, but if Answers can get the community ball rolling there is huge potential to become something of a “thinking persons” (or at least a “questioning person’s”?) Myspace.
The second item is Kevin Rose reporting that Digg has a *million* users. That is quite a milestone (though a long way from the approximately 60-100 million users claimed by Yahoo Answers and Myspace. I’ve never really understood the appeal of Digg as more than a superficial way to identify oddball news, feeling that dedicated diggers tend to prefer goofy stories rather than substantive ones, but the concept is brilliant and provocative.
Third, and perhaps most significant, is SONY’s Playstation 3 virtual world that launches this spring. Critics are raving about SONY’s brave new world, some suggesting it’s superior to the top virtual world “Second Life” which suffers from technical complexity, a steep learning curve, and a lot of skeptics who think second lifers are just escaping their first lives. It seems to me the Playstation world could become the “Myspace” of virtual worlds and captivate the teen crowd that already is practically living online ( WI or XBOX could also get smart super fast and get their own virtual world going. Both appear to be on the road for more widespread adoption as gaming systems than Sony’s PS3, though this can all change quickly).