Overcome by Spam

Spam and porn are no longer an irritant on the net. They are changing the nature of the Internet from e-mail to blogs. They threaten to erode the fundamental glue of the Web – the link. If you link to an e-mail address or to a Web site that allows automated content through forms you threaten to destroy the end-points of your links. This blog has had not porn comments or junk links because it is unlinked – but if I provide links as a friend did on his blog, I run the risk of getting the wrong sorts of comments. So, the end of comments.

In short sporn swamps open dialogue on the net. It’s a fundamental pattern on the net – something like: if you are open to discussion you will be swamped by sporn.

Pattern Language for Living

Welcome to the Pattern Language Project is the home page for a “Public Sphere Project” by the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility that is attempting to develop knowledge of patterns that make for communication and living according to deep core values.

An ambitious project that seems both a naive application of trendy theory in computing (patterns) to (just about all) social problems, and a remarkably promising form of social dialogue. The participatory nature of the project, the use of ideas from architecture and computing, could provide a way into social responsibility for engineering culture.
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Conscious Machines

Would it be possible to make a machine conscious? Obviously I am not going to solve this, but what if we played with the idea. Lets say that consciousness is:

1. Attentive memory – a space of memory that is attentive to things from the outside. It can be distracted, redirected by strong input from outside.
2. Continuous attention – a continuous attention to things over time
3. Private attention – a thinking that is not accessible in the same way to others
4. Reflective – an attention that can take itself and its short term contents as subject for attention
5. Associative – a thinking that brings in new items by association. Note that the associative process is outside consciousness – it feeds consciousness but isn’t of it.
6. Willful – a thinking that can control itself to some degree, but not totally. The control emanates in balance from consciousness.
7. It would think of its thinking as I, itself.

So can we create a program that would fit some of these characteristics. It would serve no purpose other than to run continuously. It would manage a space of memory not accessible to others. It would be capable of being distracted, of making associations, and of willfuling responding.
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