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PDA 2011 Closing Keynote

February 25, 2011

Closing Keynote by Rudy Rucker, Sr.. Let’s get to the summary!

Lifebox Immortality

Science fiction dream of achieving immortality via personal digital archiving. But, we don’t understand how brains store information. It’s not practical to tag everything yourself; you need ways of automating tagging and metadata creation.

Wrote a book called, The Lifebox, The Seashell, and the Soul. His day job was as a computer science instructor at San Jose State (he is retired now).

Lifebox is an idea of a personal digital archive that is “really good” and that you can search easily. It’s not hard to search your lifebox if you are a writer like Rucker and uploaded a lot of information on your own website and created a custom Google search engine for your site.

In human conversation, people do not answer your questions directly. There is an actual conversation. But you could create a chat bot copy of yourself in a lifebox. What is missing is the creativity of the person in these stand-ins. So you don’t really achieve immortality.

Most people aren’t writers. Rucker says you should write like you talk. You could also tell a story instead of writing the story of your life. This is already reality via speech recognition software. Still missing “the spark.”

Suggested reading: On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins (about neural networks).

Not hard to get chat bots as long as you get people to upload enough data. (That’s always the problem, isn’t it? People have to exert effort which is a hard sell.)

Take away: Easy enough to create a chat bot, but much more difficult to recreate “the spark” or the creativity of humanity. Many approaches to personal archiving, may never be a standardized way of archiving when making “a copy of yourself.”

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