April 20, 2007

A global avatarID

The news that SecondLife will become opensource is a big step in the development of 3D Virtual Environments. Should it become a genuinely open platform then evolution of the resulting architecture could become very interesting ..

Individual organisations maintain their own physical servers and these can be accessed through the TCP/IP protocol.

Currently, on these servers, we run the same HTTP application server (the 'web server') .. and anyone anywhere in the world can connect to the HTTP application server through the HTTP client ( the 'browser')

Similarly, going forward, organisations can run their own SL servers on their own hardware and and allow ( or disallow ) individuals to connect their SL clients .. and this 'visit' SIMs ( just as we visit websites today)

On current HTTP application servers we run fancy stuff like java applets, Flash animations, RealAudio and YouTube style specific applications ... provided they comply with correct protocols and clients must have the required plug-ins

Similarly on our SIMs we can run fancy stuff ( not sure what ?) and as long as they comply with protocols and the SL clients are configured to access them.

One major difference is that browsing on the web is an anonymous exercise ... the server has no way of knowing who am i ... also when i am browsing, artefacts that belong to me ( cookies etc ) remain on the client machine ..

In SL that is different .. we need an identification and also a place to store our assets ...

So there has to be a central identification management agency that will ensure uniqueness of avatarIDs

In certain countries, the SSN could be a source of uniqueness (though revealing that will be a big blow to our privacy ) but that is not universal. So it is likely that there will be a parallel ID system that will be created ( do i see the beginnings of a global SSN ? )

The concept of a central identity management mechanism is an intriguing possibility ... going forward, avatars will have a global ID and they will also need a global "warehouse" where they can store their inventory of artefacts .. and i suppose there will be competition from different agencies to act as the "warehouse" ... just as banks compete with each other to be the custodians of our cash.

Who will run this central identity management service ? would it something central ? or would it something heirarchical like the DNS service ? with a core group of identity servers ? would our avatarIDs become something like prithwis.ibm.sl ( provided by our employers ) and would there be people like Yahoo and Google who will tempt us with (free ?) identities like BigBoss.yahoo.sl or SmartOne.gmail.sl ? and will these link to our current names like Calcutta Cyclone ?

The possibilities are enormous and extremely exciting ...

The Road to Singularity

This is an account of a very personal quest for the Truth. There are many ways to reach the same goal and this particular effort seeks to reflect the Truth in the still waters of a dispassionate yet rational analysis.

Sages and seers from time immemorial have held that the Truth is beyond reason, transcends the boundary of the physical world and can only be perceived at an intuitive level. This humble exercise is an attempt to see things from a slightly different perspective. a rational approach, based on physical phenomena, may have many limitations but the desire to abandon it is an act of intellectual laziness. While it is true that many mystics have perceived the truth intuitively, it may be more satisfying to take the intuitive approach as a matter of choice and not of necessity.

This analysis begins with the principles of Advaita Vedanta and maps them against known facts from the world of science. Unlike in the past we have neither tried to invoke Quantum Mechanics and other forms of modern physics – which are both dated and sometimes as unprovable as religious beliefs themselves, nor used the barren sterility of Artificial Intelligence. The analysis may not be logically complete. We admit that there could be gaps in the chain of argument but we have not taken shelter in the beliefs and mythlogy of religion. Instead we have used mathematics itself to argue that such gaps can never be completely eliminated and we need to learn to live with them. Only at the very last step, when we are at the edge of the rationality and looking at the vista of the infinite, do we introduce a glimpse of why we need the grace of the divine.

We have created a new pattern of thoughts by connecting a number of unusual dots, namely ..

• The principles of Advaita Vedanta as enunciated by Sankara in the 6th century
• The plausibility of illusions and non-material information transfer
• The computational metaphor of the Universal Turing Machine
• The persistent and evolving nature of the ‘Selfish Gene’
• Godel’s Theorem of Incompleteness

in a manner that is unique and has not been attempted in the past. Without being dogmatic and parochial about the greatness of the the Hindu relegion, we show how this ancient philosophy is not only relevent in the contemporary environment of rational science but how it has infact anticipated thoughts and ideas that have now appeared a thousand five hundred years later.

The lure of the unknown is irresistible. Any frontier is a challenge for the intrepid few who will want to push it back. This is the spirit of enquiry and enterprise that has taken human civilisation across oceans and now into the deepest reaches of interplanetary space. The boundaries of the physical sciences are no less challenging -- can they be pushed back to include the ultimate truth ? even if the goal proves elusive, the journey itself is worth the effort. And as we walk along this path it is but natural that we meet fellow travellers with whom it is a pleasure to exchange our thoughts.

Hence instead of using the platform of the we-know-all discourse, we have used the format of a dialogue between a seeker and a sceptic to first articulate, then challenge and finally reaffirm the mosaic of ideas that add up to an unusual image of the Truth.

If you want to read the full text, please follow this link.

Akshyaya Tritiya,
6th Baisakh, 1414 BS
20th April 2007.

April 01, 2007

Calcutta Cyclone in the Deccan Herald

The Deccan Herald has an article that features yours truly aka Calcutta Cyclone. Though the article is rather sceptical about SL calling it a fool's paradise, the fact remains that this is how new technologies are initially viewed. But we know that Satyameva Jayate, Truth shall Triumph, even though truth is portrayed in an illusion.

The original page is no more available but you can see a cached version of the page here.

Given the confusion with transient links ... here is a 'permanent' image of the article.

Calcutta Cyclone in the Deccan Herald

An article on SecondLife in the Deccan Herald features your truly, that is Calcutta Cyclone .

The original page is no more available but a cached version of the page can be viewed here.