Category Archives: Google EN

China #throughglass: What Chêng Ho teaches us

Friday

19

Jun

Looking at the world #throughglass, it is known that the search of objects such as The Ark of the Covenant, Merlin’s Wand, Excalibur or of mythical places like El Dorado, Shambhalla or Atlantis, has long encouraged all sorts of sincere entrepreneurial truth-seekers and neo-gurus. There is nothing new about this; ever since “Man” – and of course, “Wo-Man” – were able to say “I Am”, there has been a search for meaning, for answers. In the world of today’s turmoil, there is only a different language to express all this.

Let us read an example. In the year 1433 AD, Chêng Ho (Zheng He), born of a Muslim family from southern China and a top-notch Imperial Court’s eunuch, had returned home due to the new Emperor’s strict policy forbidding the Chinese from traveling abroad. His birthplace, Kunyang, is a 900-km (550-mile) drive to Droiders’ office in Shenzhen along the South to the East China Sea.

Admiral Ho established diplomatic and/or tributary relations with peoples ranging from Nanjing (northern China) to Kochin (southern India) to Mecca and down to Mogadishu (actual Somalia). The Indians, Persians and Arabs could not envisage how the most powerful naval force known to that day, a 27.000-man crew with mastodonic nine-mast four-deck ships, was used primarily for exploration and seafaring. Now, that was truly a search for the Grail of trade and meaning!

Back at home, the same story: an old battle between Confucian bureaucrats and Court eunuchs.

What should we learn, not from Admiral Ho himself but from the new Emperor’s attitude? This is to say, how upper management  in companies across the market board must find means and meaning by being ready and up for the challenge; this is one of the issues we address at Droiders, every day: our product, Streye, is the means as those ships and firmness of purpose were for our protagonist. How reinvestment, effort, the search for technical perfectibility and the Herculean challenge of human reason produce the best results. These are the questions people like Chêng Ho have to master: a sense of enterprise by looking at China and the world #throughglass. If you are a Google Glass explorer just go ahead and feel free to do it!

Let a thousand flowers bloom, a hundred schools of thought contend“, said Chairman Mao Tse-T’ung. After him, he Chinese started in quite a different way where Chêng Ho had been compelled to leave off.

Here is the moral (and the morale) of this piece of history: Admiral Ho and his vast fleet could have “discovered” the European continent, had they been able to carry on. Then, sixty years later the Treaty of Tordesillas and Vasco Da Gama opened the way for Europeans to “discover” China in 1513 AD…

… the new Emperor should not have listened to mere bureaucrats.

Truly “Immersive” VR: Sharing Droiders vision

Tuesday

28

Apr

It was a steamy, sunny south-Florida Saturday afternoon; some neighbors had carried all sorts of items out to their own front yards for a typical Yard Sale. I happened to walk by and decided to snoop around. A Betamax player from the 80s, a whole stack of John Deere t-shirts…and some books. I had to buy me at least one of those t-shirts! The book section was quite uninteresting to cherry-pick from, except for one first-edition book I happened to bump into: The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit.

Great book by Sherry Turkle

Great book by Sherry Turkle

Something clicks inside when you read a title like that. The book’s authoress was Dr. Sherry Turkle, Director of MIT Initiative on Technology and Self

Program in Science, Technology, today. I bought that old-time hardcover for pennies and this is what I read in the Introduction: “Technology catalyzes changes not only in what we do but in how we think. It changes people’s awareness of themselves, of one another, of their relationship with the world…It challenges our notions not only of time and distance, but of mind.” This was written in 1984.

From Oculus VR

From Oculus VR

Chatting about ‘immersion’ and how Virtual Reality (VR) jostles our minds, it is easy to extrapolate on how it may affect education. For those of us who consider education as the backbone of the future, VR is much more than just a way of escapism as we have seen in most sci-fi films. Droiders is also developing on Oculus Rift for more than one purpose: that is called Corporate Social Responsibility.

We at Droiders, in the same way as Palmer Luckey, Founder of Oculus VR, share in that adventure: to positively enhance human capabilities. Wired magazine article on Mr. Luckey testifies to this upcoming, catalyzing and immersive mission to enrich minds by raising unusual questions.

Of New and Old Signs: AR, VR and the core of it all

Wednesday

22

Apr

In Hoc Signo Vinces, “In this sign, conquer” reads the translation into Latin in historian Lucius Lactantius’ account of Emperor Constantine’s vision of the Chi Ro (Chrismon); our dear Emperor was not a Christian per se though this event of the invisible did leave an indelible mark on his soul – you may not believe this – which single-handedly changed the history of a continent, and the world as well. This sign inspired him to win a great battle.

For those of us who work – and feel passionate about – the field of the intangible, that is, the internet of everything, we need signs to understand and meet such feats. Here is a way of hinting at them: University of Toronto Professor Derrick de Kerckhove, the philosopher and champion of emerging media, offers three distinctive signs on his milestone book Connected Intelligence: The Arrival of the Web Society; they are known as Interactivity, Hypertextuality and Connectedness.

Thus, in this day and age, what would be the signs through which we shall conquer? And, actually, what is to be conquered and which battle? Now, that’s a question to take to bed every night. Let’s be pragmatic!

We should think of Interactivity as the “body” or physical linking of people; Hypertextuality, the linking of contents or knowledge-based such as the human memory; finally, Connectedness – a term New Agers are so fond of – as the “mental” linking. Interactivity is touch; Hypertextuality is zapped all-encompassing content; Connectedness, the medium (aha, now you recall McLuhan!).

Is it inevitable we portend AR and VR as results of these “signs”? The answer is yes. It’s inevitable. How do I know that? Well, have you ever tried Google Glass? Or a snazzy pair of Epson Moverio glasses? And what about other wearables? They all seem to be “smart”.

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If we venture further, we find that even a blind person is able to interact with his/her environment with Droiders’ first-ever ReadAloud OCR (Optical Character Recognition) app on a pair of Google Glass.

As humans, we are accomplishing the extension of our senses into the unseen (just like any mystic used to) just as Constantine once did. We have become more complex. Hail complexity!