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6 August 2021

Hackathon

Sagi and Tom organized another meeting on the "Hack of Hope" (hackathon) they are planning in the village. The evening took place in the congenial atmosphere of the cart pub, with a nice crowd of young people. Sagi, Tom, Roi, Ainat and a couple of others presented some of their ideas. I will be hopeful if people actually begin to come together around one or two of them. What I would start with is establishing the basic infrastructure so that we could be independent of commercial services, host our own websites on our own servers, etc. But for that we would need a nut, who is smarter than me, to get it going. I don't think we have one.

Be that as it may, in personal conversations with some of the people attending, an interest in some of the issues that I've been thinking about, like free open source, decentralization, privacy, surveillance, ethics in hi-tech. I might try to bring these up again. I think that they need to do more to bring aboard people who haven't been showing too much interest so far. I might try to write more.

One thing that is certainly true, is that although the ideas are framed in the concept that "the younger generation" are characterized as being open to new ideas, that is not necessarily true. Many of our younger people are actually trapped in traditional ideas, and are less open to new ones than some of the older folks. And it is also true that those who call themselved the younger generation (in relation to the generation of the founders) are already old themselves. The true younger generation are the teenagers who come after them.

One thing that I notice in the books of G R R Martin is a respect for very young people and older people. Some of the heroes are children; others are in their fifties and sixties. The TV series managed to deal with the old people, but not so well with the young. Characters like Podrick and Missandei are much older on screen.

The emerging hybrid reality

The Hindu had a few good tech articles today. If I'm getting my tech news from The Hindu, something must be wrong. All those tech journals and alternative social media services don't seem to delivering for me. I hadn't been exposed previously to the idea of the Metaverse, so I am playing catch-up there.

What's interesting is that it looks like the idea is too big to rely on any one of the existing tech giants, so it may force interoperability, collective standards, federation and decentralization. But somehow I feel, if not a monopoly, we could be left with more of a cartel if we do not proceed cautiously. It would be better if the interoperability is forced now, in advance, to allow federated and decentralized services to gain greater prominence.

I'm thinking that China, in going back to an emphasis on hardware, production, etc. and de-emphasizing the less tangible forms of hi-tech, may be missing something. While it's true that anything like the Metaverse will be dependent on the basics, a country that concentrates primarily on the "raw materials" of our IT era will be less able to come to grips with the emerging reality. A population that is ordered to think according to ideas and guidelines determined by a central authority will not be able to compete in a free marketplace of ideas such as is conceived in the other developed countries. They will eventually be left behind.

Metaverse the next generation of Internet - The Hindu

Ball reckons that the metaverse requires infrastructure that currently does not exist, and the current form of Internet is limited in its design to hold the digital space. The space will need a broader and more complex set of standards and protocols than traditional Internet. This means large technology companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook will need to prepare for cross integrating their systems.

The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and FortniteMatthewBall.vc

One of these concerns is whether participants will have a single consistent digital identity (or “avatar”) that they will use across all experiences.

There is also disagreement on how much interoperability is required for the Metaverse to really be “the Metaverse”, rather than just an evolution of today’s Internet.
Some believe the definition (and success) of a Metaverse requires it to be a heavily decentralized platform built mostly upon community-based standards and protocols (like the open web) and an “open source” Metaverse OS or platform (this doesn’t mean there won’t be dominant closed platforms in the Metaverse).

The Metaverse will require countless new technologies, protocols, companies, innovations, and discoveries to work. And it won’t directly come into existence; there will be no clean “Before Metaverse” and “After Metaverse”. Instead, it will slowly emerge over time as different products, services, and capabilities integrate and meld together.

One way I try to think about these three areas is via the Book of Genesis – first, “God” must create the underlying universe (“concurrency infrastructure”), then s/he must define its laws of physics and rules (“standards and protocols”), then s/he must fill it with life (“content”) that’s worthwhile, evolves, and iterates against selection pressures. God, in other words, doesn’t create and design the world as though it were a miniature model, but enables one to grow across a mostly blank tableau etc.)

The Metaverse will require an even broader, more complex, and resilient set of S&Ps. What’s more, the importance of interoperability and live synchronous experiences means we’ll need to prune some existing standards and “standardize” around a smaller set per function. Today, for example, there are a multitude of image file formats: .GIF, .JPEG, .PNG, .BMP, .TIFF, .WEBP, etc. And while the web today is built on open standards, much of it is closed and proprietary.

This will be enormously difficult and take decades. And the more valuable and interoperable the Metaverse is, the harder it will be to establish industry-wide consensus around topics such as data security, data persistence, forward compatible code evolution, and transactions. In addition, the Metaverse will need altogether new rules for censorship, control of communications, regulatory enforcement, tax reporting, the prevention of online radicalization, and many more challenges that we’re still struggling with today.

‘Truth has to come out’ in Pegasus issue: SC - The Hindu

A Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana and Justice Surya Kant said the allegations of the government using Israel-based technology to spy on civilians, journalists, Ministers, parliamentarians, activists were “no doubt serious”, provided the news reports were true.

Dark mode on devices may not save much battery life- The Hindu

switching from light to dark mode saved only up to 9% power on average for different OLED smartphones at 30-50% brightness, and said the power efficiency depended on the brightness of OLED screens.

All aboard the hyperloop: How your commute could be changing - The Hindu

Climate crisis: Scientists spot warning signs of Gulf Stream collapse - The Guardian