Thursday, February 28, 2013

Your Brain in the Cloud

If you think this guy is a joke after watching the above video consider this - Ray Kurzweil is the current director of engineering at Google!

When he speaks of having gateways to the cloud in our brains I can't help think we are already there in many ways.

Let me tell you what I did today and yesterday on my iPhone. Along my daily bike ride into the lab I saw a beautiful flower. I had not seen this flower yet this season and was unaware of its identity. However, I knew that either my mother or my girlfriend or both would know the name of the mysterious purple flower.

With photo-text on my phone and the three characters - ID? - I was able to procure the information I wanted within seconds - common name Periwinkle,  Latin name Vinca minor. While I road my bike past another periwinkle in bloom this morning I again took its photo. This time I was armed with the ID so I posted the photo to twitter and facebook and labeled it with time, date and geo-coordinates. This image has now become a phenological data point in the cloud. I hope it will one day be deposited into a massive data-set and mapped to a model of earth's surface so we can look back at the phenological record as captured by citizen-scientists all over the world. If you are not familiar with the word phenology see my earlier post and video on the topic.

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