The 23rd Century Has Arrived Early

This week’s edition will be short. last week’s Particle Debris was delayed because I was working on the John Sculley interview. This week, most of the action was concerned with Apple’s textbook publishing announcements. I’ll have more to say about that as time goes on. However, my first reaction is that the whole affair is just the beginning of a new era. Those who will be successful, as always, will be those who are excited, adventurous and full of imagination. Using old ideas to complain about how it all can’t work is just foggy thinking.

We’ve heard it all before. “It can’t work. It’s too expensive. People won’t adopt it. The change is too dramatic.” And then it just happens and we wonder what all the fuss was about.

For example if learning is in Apple’s DNA, according to Phil Schiller, will that lead Apple to personal, learning robots someday? See below.

The next article will make your day. There’s been a lot of discussion of the merger of OS X and iOS, the “gorilla arm” effect, that is, how reaching out to touch a display doesn’t make sense and all that. So how about turning the whole desk into your touch sensitive surface and combine that with a vertical display for an unobstructed view? “Mac|Life Rethinks Apple: iDesk.

iDeskUsed with permission from the artist, Adam Benton.

It’s right out of Star Trek. Oh, wait! Star Trek never envisioned that! But Terra Nova on FOX kinda did. iDesk, above, is better.

Terra Nova

Medical lab computer, FOX’s Terra Nova TV series

If you didn’t see my tweet on this, here’s another Hitler spoof. I love these. This time, Hitler weighs in on SOPA.

Along the lines of advanced learning, I’ve often thought that one future for personal robots is assisted learning. What if our kids had robot companions to teach them, even protect them from bullies. Will the iRobot company in Bedford, MA make them someday? WIll it be Apple? Will we ever learn how to make robots that are safe for kids? What are the possibilities? Check out this research. There’s a PDF you can download on the home page.

The whole idea of robots working with kids is fraught with difficulties. Will they be insidiously used to sell kids on certain ideas? Who will dictate the curriculum? Will they obey Asimov’s Three Laws? How could things go wrong? There’s much more than I can get into here, but the above research is worth exploring.

If the iDesk doesn’t send your mind ablaze and the idea of personal learning from robots doesn’t get you wired up, then I guess we’ll just have to settle for an Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). A name you know, Jason Perlow, has suggested that: “Why Ice Cream Sandwich won’t be able to save Android tablets.”

Here are some salient quotes: “ICS has done absolutely nothing to make Android less geeky or more user friendly. That alone is worth consideration.” And this one: “Say what you want about Apple’s walled garden and locked-down OS — they got the ergonomics of tablets right, and Google has it all wrong.” I can hardly add anything to that.