With Google Wave being mentioned by every second person I follow on Twitter, which closely follows the launch of Google Sidewiki (which I really like the concept of, never mind that it is also from Google and has its detractors), I wonder if Google will get to the stage where people will start actively displaying their dislike of what looks like a monopoly in the making.
Apple has clearly reached that stage. DoubleTwist, a company which lets you use iTunes seamlessly with other devices (kudos to them – the iTunes model is seriously flawed), has made this excellent spoof of Apple’s landmark 1984 ad to mark the launch of a new product on October 6th. What irony that Apple, once decrying IBM’s huge market strength, has now got to the stage where fingers are being pointed at them. Such is life, in this case completely warranted (I’m talking of iTunes). Will Google’s so-called hold over users’ details cause such a video to be made about them, then?
A couple of projects I learnt IBM is backing, that I think can have important long-term effects:
1. The Blue Brain Project: This was started in 2005 by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL). Essentially this aims to re-create the human brain using ‘the huge computational capacity of IBM’s eServer Blue Gene supercomputer to create a detailed model of the circuitry in the neocortex – the largest and most complex part of the human brain’. Though this is an attempt to reverse-engineer the brain, it is not an artifical intelligence project or one that aims to create a brain per se. The aim is to create a ‘physicological simulation for biomedical applications.’ Henry Markam, the director of the project, said at TED Oxford a couple of months ago that the creation of an artificial brain is about 10 years away.
2. The Genographic Project: In partnership with National Geographic, IBM have designed this project to find out where we humans came from, and how we got here. It is a 5-year project where DNA samples collected from 10 research centres across the world will help to map the process. Anyone can participate by buying a DNA kit and submitting samples of their DNA.
On a completely unrelated note, I think Hugh MacLeod’s painting Fred 44 looks very similar to this photo of a forest of neurons from the Blue Brain Project!