You Online

Via Jonas Lamis at the Singularity Institute blog, Adam Sarner issues some predictions on life going virtual and how your personal online agent will help you interact with a virtual world.

If you are not familiar with the idea of what he calls a “persona bot,” think of it as a virtual mini-you. You tell it what sort of filters to apply to the world, and it finds things that you want to see. You already have much of that functionality in parts: spam filters get rid of e-mail you do not want, ad blockers remove ads you do not want, feeds bring you blog messages you do want, Amazon recommends other books or movies you might like, Google Alerts runs searches for you automatically. There are dozens of competing sites that want to help you find the next thing that might interest you based on your current preferences. Combine all that into one virtual agent who gives you an info dump when you check in; if it makes mistakes, tell it what to do differently.

This sort of thing reminds me that everyone needs to read Permutation City, and I need to read more Greg Egan generally. If you have other citations to contemplations of our virtual future, comments are open.

: Zubon

2 thoughts on “You Online”

  1. “Rainbows End” by Vernor Vinge. I’ve heard interesting things second-hand about “Halting State” by Charles Stross, but I haven’t been able to track down a copy yet.

    I’m a strong fan of the “weak cyborg” theory, the idea that we’ve been making cyborgs since the first time we used technology to correct or enhance our abilities in ways that were integral to our body function. I am only slightly cyborg, with glasses and a GoreTex implant in place of my right diapraghm.

    I have a general spec for a pair of glasses I want to buy as soon as the tech catches up, with built-in computer displays of course, but other things. A compass rose in the corner of my eye that always displays north, the direction of the place I plan on sleeping that night, and my destination. Infrared and low-light cameras in the temples, plus at least one camera looking backwards. Software-capturing of “microexpressions” in people I am talking to. Facial Recognition for people on my “I gotta meet this guy” list. Name prompting for everyone else (I’m good with faces, but suck at names). Few other gimmicks.


  2. I was thinking of linking Rainbows End. It takes things in a different direction, enhanced reality instead of virtual reality. For those who have not read it, the link there has links to Amazon and a free online edition.

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