Category Archives: Science & Technology

Social Machines.

Not too long ago, my team and I shared on the topic “Social Machines”. The title itself probably sounds pretty self explanatory. So did terms such as “Continuous Partial Attention” and “Continuous Computing”.

Many were confused with how “Continuous Partial Attention” differed from “Multi- Tasking”. We spent quite a bit of time discussing and these were some of the points raised.

1) Positive & Negative Connotations

When the term “Multi-tasking” was introduced, it pretty much had a positive connotation to it, and it’s often related to efficiency. While “Continuous Partial Attention” has a more negative connotation, referring to how we get distracted with multiple inflow of information, thus reducing our concentration levels.

2) CPA is the kind of attention we use today

As Amanda simply put it, “Continuous Partial Attention” happens when information from different sources keeps flowing in. You could be at a conference listening to a presentation while reading articles online. While “Multi-tasking” often involves doing several things at once, not necessarily receiving information from various sources and it requires very little cognitive processing.

3) Result of Multi tasking

In a nutshell, as Leon witty mentioned, “Continuous Partial Attention” can be seen as a side effect to “Multi-tasking”.

Much queries were raised on that day and we had several technical difficulties. But hopefully everyone gained something out of it.

Simplified Learning Points

Continuous computing: Technology integrated in our daily lives through the net

Continuous Partial Attention: Paying partial attention due to constant inflow of information.

On New Communications

A while back my team each presented on their parts for “New Communication Technology”. It has been a couple of weeks, and I thought it’d be a good experiment to see how much I remember from their presentation.

Marcus basically talked about Skype. He was probably trying to explain how the internet is soon to be replacing telecos. This was touched on later during lectures. Its amazing how the internet seems to be doing everything. First it was with text/information. Eventually it evolved to communicating pictures, motions, and videos. Believe it or not, humans would probably be next. Turning into binary codes. (Miss Kwa, if you checked my blog, could you drop me the link to that adv?)

Another member talked about interactive technology. Some examples given were the new technology introduced to television. Jia Hui showed how it’s possible to excess social networking websites through TV sets. But when you think about it, its probably gonna be a hassle typing with your remote, with limited features when using the TV to access websites. Having said that, a new concept I chanced upon seems to put new technology in TV to better use.

The basic idea allows for videos to be transfered into the TV sets to be viewed in HD. Well that’s something I’d really want to have. These days, no one watch TV together as a family. With the new capabilities, probably more family TV time?

Finally, Sally spoke about podcasting. Wasn’t enough time to get it all out, but the basic idea of podcasting works like RSS Feeds. You get to be updated about your favourites and download selective videos into your Itunes! After a bit of research, I learnt how you could “Youtube podcast”!

In a nutshell,

1) You can make calls through the Internet. Soon enough you can do anything with the Internet.

2) TV is getting interactive. Soon enough, every bit of machinery at home is going to be connected to you.

3) Podcast allows you to download latest videos. Soon enough you won’t be surfing the net. News would come to you like SMS.

Maybe that wasn’t what exactly I was supposed to get out of their sharing. LOL.

Pat Law

I probably learnt the most from today’s talk by Pat compared to any other lectures I had.

No kidding.

There was definitely a whole lot of information fed to us. I have to admit that I didn’t get them all. Hopefully I’d figure out somehow.

She arrived a little late. But no one really complained. Probably because everyone else were admiring how fashionable she was and how different she looked compared to what we are used to look at in the theater. She sounded pretty nice too.

Enough about how she presented herself. Her slides were great too. There was a structure to it. Its simple, focus, and to the point. Probably one thing everyone needs to work on.

If you ask me what’s the talk about, I can’t really give a definite answer. Maybe it was about using social media. Maybe its about branding, advertising, public relations. Or maybe its everyone of those and none of those.

Basically I learnt how huge the net really is. And that knowledge isn’t really wealth, only if you learnt how to harness it. The Web is a huge library of information. And it’s no longer about reading as much as you can, but to be able to filter through these clutter to find what’s relevant to You.

I saw the different sites that analyze your online presence, ( and many more on checking your popularity ( or stalking a friend ( and so on.

There were so much information within one single talk. And I definitely got quite a bit out of it. Now its up to me to practice what I learnt, or to let these precious knowledge go into slumber…

Thanks, PatLaw.

Derren Brown & The Wisdom of Crowds

One of the most interesting theories I learnt about from Derren’s performance would be “The Wisdom of Crowds”.

Derren Brown is one of the most amazing magicians I’ve came by who does a mixture of mentalism, psychological suggestions and showmanship in his brilliant shows. He is probably also one of the only magician who successfully used social media to increase his popularity and create awareness.

At the moment, he has one main facebook account. Another one for his parrot, and a twitter account with more than 160, 000 followers. The interesting thing is that he’s only following 10 of these people.

So how does this tie back to the Wisdom of Crowds? Amongst that many amazing feats he does on his show  in the more recent one called “The Events”, he showed “How to predict the lottery tickets”

If you have the time, i urge you to watch the whole show before it is removed.

Does the use of Internet, affect our brains?

Its interesting to think about such questions.

The answer should be pretty obvious.

Advances in technology have revealed that our brains are far more altered by experience or training than was thought possible.

Auditory areas of musicians are usually more developed than average.  Learning how to juggle itself, may very much alter our way of thinking too.

One suggests that a lifetime spent on the internet will alter the way we think and process information is well founded. But whether these changes will enhance or degrade our powers of imagination, recall and decision-making has divided scientists.

Young adults like myself have taught ourselves to rely on the Internet. Its impact is evident in our everyday lives. We become so impatient and our attention span probably won’t last for anymore than minutes.

And the more we use the net, the less information we get from prints. Some suggests that the abandonment of books means people will lose the ability to follow a plot from start to finish.

Having said that, short terms studies have shown that Internet use have a positive impact on our mental powers.

Rewind Time

I read about this on Derren’s blog.

What if there your brain could create a 4th dimension?

THE MAN dangles on a cable hanging from an eight-storey-high tower … and then it happens. The cable suddenly unclips and he plummets towards the concrete below.

Have you ever experienced such?

Panic sets in, but he’s been given an assignment and so, fighting his fear of death, he stares at the instrument strapped to his wrist, before falling into the sweet embrace of a safety net. A team of scientists will spend weeks studying the results.

That was the experiment.

We’ve heard from some people about how their whole lives flashed in front of their eyes before they die, or how things seem to slow down during life and death situations.

Apparently the experiment was trying to show whether the brain’s clock actually accelerates – making external events appear abnormally slow in comparison with the brain’s workings – or whether the slo-mo is just an artefact of our memory.

It’s always intriguing when it comes to talk about “Time”

It’s just one of many mysteries concerning how we experience time that we are only now beginning to crack. “Time,” says Eagleman, “is much weirder than we think it is.”