While it’s certainly true that dystopian science fiction has become popular in the last few decades, it doesn’t follow that no one has been putting forward more optimistic pictures of tomorrow. Just because Stephenson and others embraced the dark images of cyberpunk, environmental doom, and whatnot doesn’t mean everyone did. From the 1980s to the early 2010s, the late author Iain Banks (who I have nominated for canonization) spun fantastic visions of a post-scarcity society he dubbed The Culture, which was full of artificially-intelligent robots and ships, giant space colonies, individuals who lived almost forever and regularly swapped genders, and seemingly endless, endless wonder. Similarly, Star Trek went off television from 2005 to 2017, but its vision of post-scarcity goodwill and polite liberalism — what a friend described as the Enlightenment-on-speed — continued all the while on the big screen.
Posts tagged vision
screen size vs. viewing distance
“ A umbrella can be grasped like this, using deep_features dgf_164, dgf_64, and dgf_69”
Umpire Decision Review System (DRS), a suite of technologies which assist - or rather, overrule - the umpire adjudicating some of sports greatest unknowables, the LBW, and the snick. Of course, these technologies, intended to increase accuracy, only inflamed controversy as their own accuracy was questioned as much as the human umpires. LBW is, after all, an epistemological problem - the question of whether a ball which strikes the batsman would have struck the wicket were the batsman not there is a question for Plato, not for machines.
Enter the EyeWire project, an online game that recruits volunteers to map out those cellular contours within a mouse’s retina. The game was created and launched in December 2012 by a team led by H. Sebastian Seung, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Players navigate their way through the retina one 4.5-micrometer tissue block at a time, coloring the branches of neurons along the way. Most of the effort gets done in massive online competitions between players vying to map out the most volume. (Watch a video of a player walking through a tissue block here.) By last week, the 120,000 EyeWire players had completed 2.3 million blocks. That may sound like a lot, but it is less than 2% of the retina.
In general, mammals don’t have the best color vision. In part, that’s because our ancestors developed trying to see in the dark, not out in the bright sunlight. “There was a time where to be a mammal was to be a small, nocturnal, rodent-like mammal,” said Duke’s Sonke Johnsen, author of the book, The Optics of Life. Both humans and whales retain the marks of that evolutionary path. “Our color vision is kind of a kluge,” Johnsen continued. “If you look at the color vision of birds and reptiles and fish. It’s very well put together, nicely optimized. You look at our trichromatic vision, it’s really kind of pieced together.”