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Bruce Damer's talk at the Waag Society Cybersalvations series, Amsterdam May 2007


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Bruce Damer's talk at the Waag Society Cybersalvations series, Amsterdam May 2007

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Bruce Damer's talk at the Waag Society Cybersalvations series, Amsterdam May 2007

  1. 1. It is 1969 and the young Bruce Damer was riding his brand new bike around the neighborhood in Canada through the slush to a friend’s house who has a color TV (!) to the see the launch of a Saturn V rocket on a test of the Apollo hardware for the trip to the moon. One of the astronauts was a red-headed guy named “Rusty”. Later when there are men on the moon Bruce stands out in the dark squinting to see if he can see any sign of them there.
  2. 2. But now he has to get back home as he can’t miss that next episode of… Star Trek!
  3. 4. So what did Spock see?
  4. 5. So what did Spock see on that screen? Did Spock see a big stream of data? “Oxygen, Nitrogen, suitable for human life…”? Was Spock a super intellect rendering reality or did the computer tools render it for him? Did Spock see graphics?
  5. 6. So… did Spock see virtual worlds?
  6. 7. Little did he know it but the young Bruce Damer was now on a lifetime quest to answer the question: what did Spock see? So… Bruce learned to draw and created weird vehicles and even weirder worlds…
  7. 8. Weird Machines of the Imagination
  8. 9. Weird Worlds of the Imagination
  9. 10. And Bruce discovered computers in his teens and thought… software is the best place great place to create worlds so he learned to program them.
  10. 11. And then in college Bruce had a vision for self reproducing robots on the moon as a way to allow people to live permanently in space.
  11. 12. So Bruce started to program computers that had graphical displays and created programs that showed artificial creatures eating artificial plants.
  12. 13. And then Bruce visited the Santa Fe Institute in 1994 Where his vision for virtual worlds came together with the vision for evolving virtual creatures
  13. 14. So Bruce moved to Silicon Valley and created two organizations: The Contact Consortium and DigitalSpace
  14. 15. Just in time for the explosion of virtual worlds on the Internet: 1995: Scotty, Beam me up! Into the Worlds Chat space station
  15. 16. The Contact Consortium went on to help pioneer avatars and virtual worlds…
  16. 17. And created the first large cyber-events inside virtual worlds… many of them inspired by science fiction: Avatars 2000
  17. 18. … and Avatars 2001 - A Cyberspace Odyssey
  18. 19. And some inspired by science fact (Drive On Mars 2004)
  19. 20. But the most amazing melding of the memes came in 1999 when Bruce met (in person) that red-headed astronaut he first saw on TV back in 1969 Rusty Schweickart
  20. 21. And he and Rusty put on an event inside a virtual world to commemorate the 30 th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing: July 20 th , 1999
  21. 22. So Cyberspace finally met Outerspace! And Bruce thought… its time to take these worlds to NASA!
  22. 23. And NASA said “yes!” and hired Bruce and his DigitalSpace team to help them visualize the future of space exploration
  23. 24. Bruce worked with NASA to design missions
  24. 25. Dawes Crater As photographed by Apollo XV And he learning how to drive into a crater
  25. 26. And took designs by NASA
  26. 27. And put them into cyberspace as drivable simulations
  27. 28. But this is not the end of the story
  28. 29. The Star Ship Enterprise’s mission was not only to explore strange new worlds but to also… seek out new life and new civilizations
  29. 30. And 25 years ago Bruce had this vision of self reproducing robots on the moon…
  30. 31. And it came to him that humans could not live in space without life being there first. And that for all of the dreams of science fiction to come true, we had to create new forms of life to go out into space with us.
  31. 32. For our ships to last they had to be like living things (repair themselves). And we had to design synergistic life forms (aliens) to help us survive in space (make air, water and food) out of the stuff that formed our solar system
  32. 33. And those aliens they won’t look like this…
  33. 34. But more like this…
  34. 35. So Bruce founded “Biota” and took a group of scientists up to the Burgess Shale where the beginnings of complex life on earth could be seen and touched.
  35. 36. And Project Biota is now a place for the next phase of life in the universe: rapidly accelerated evolution in cyberspace to enable the breakout into outerspace
  36. 37. Where we will be evolving virtual creatures
  37. 38. So… What did Spock actually see?
  38. 39. A blue light bulb!
  39. 40. The life lesson: Its actually up to us to invent the rest!
  40. 41. Live long and prosper!