Friday, June 14, 2002

Omega Economy -- NAPSTER FABBING -- Napster Fabbing and Nanotech are key to the Omega Economy. Along with making economics ecological and subject to chaotic/ complexity modelling, applying the Napster model to desktop fabrication makes manufacturing all but obselete. If you haven't come across Nanotech yet, Drexler's groundbreaking work Engines of Creation is now online. Burns and Howison's original article on Napster fabbing is here , as is an introductory essay entitled "What is a Fabber?" Articles are already starting to pop up looking at the impact and market path of this emerging technology. Buss Modeling Technology and 3d Concepts already have prototype and production models ready to go. Next stop, Drexler's NanoBox.
Omega Economy -- DTP CIRCUITS -- If Gutenberg could take a look at one of today's Kinko's, he would surely loose his mind. The amount of publishing power on today's desktop is light years ahead of any newspaper or publishing house even 30 years ago. Now the same kind of revolution is coming to the semiconductor industry. Even though the fastest and best chips might still come from the majors like AMD and Intel, it's looking increasingly like you'll soon be able to design and fab at home. What with the virtualization of print and music (and the coeval ability to download and produce them at home) is starting to happen with circuitry. Research on NanoPaste and injet printing of circuits is already beginning to commercialized. Research is also moving ahead on plastic transistors and foldable cicuitry (first utilized for the disposable cell-phone). For mass production, roll-to-roll offset printing has now been adapted to cicuitry by one of my favourite co's Rolltronics. I think I'm gonna like it when this his peer-to-peer networks...
Omega Economy -- VIRTUALIZATION -- While Baudrillard and others have brought attention to the increasing download of the simulation (of all kinds) into the real, what has been largely ignored is that simulation is a two-way street. While the simulation gives reality a greater fluidity, we in the real give the simulation a greater structure. Both are changed. The internet gets its digital infrastructure and coding and we get glimpses of the Jetson's future popping up in the marketplace. Until the Omega point where the two are virtually indistinguishable. With avatars, VRML and the like, we're starting to upload reality into the simulation. One of the coolest things out there right now has got to be the Polhemus 3D scanner. Like the hand scanners of yore, you move it in a sweeping motion over objects to be scanned in and voila -- instant online 3D model! For other strange and wonderful 3D scanners of all types, check out Cyberware's vast collection of goodies. Not to be outdone, both Intel and the US Defence Department through PNNL have developed their own methods for scanning realworld objects. Intel's light field mapping is more designed for display than scanning, but stands to become the de facto standard for scanning and display in virtual worlds. PNNL, on the other hand, has designed what is perhaps the world's most advanced 3d holographic scanner for airports. Let's hope these things become the photomat booths of the future...
Omega Economy -- CHAOS & COMPLEXITY -- Ever since Kelly's seminal speculative article on chaos and the stock market, there has been a renewed interest in using the mathmatics of chaos and complexity for simulating (and predicting) economic processes. Rivero's work on artificial adaptive agents is an example of the type of work being done in the field. A clearinghouse of information on complexity and economics can be found here. The ultimate hope is to have the predictive capacity to continuously match supply and demand, resulting in perfect distribution and therefore zero inflation. The result would (supposedly) be a combination of the planned economics of communism (based on complexity modelling) and the chaotic corrective mechanisms of capitalism.
Omega Economy-- ECOLOGY -- One of the primary difficulties with modern economics (or at least ideological economics) is it's failure to account for externalities or the byproducts of production. The results of this are obvious, particularly where the environment is concerned. By ignoring the networked or systemic nature of production, the current economy tends to deny long term accounting of waste byproducts, to the detriment of the environment. The concept of joint production allows for a more accurate accounting of productive processes from the viewpoint of ecology. As well, such a model bounds economics with thermodynamics, bringing it into line with natural processes. Central to this marriage is the concept of entropy which is only beginning to turn up in economic discussions. Further reading is here.