Headline Aug 25, 2014/



''Apple has always been interested in the cultural and aesthetic value of its products over the engineering. Steve always saw himself as an artist,'' says Professor Gelernter.

According to an  internal Apple email  presented at the trial, Jobs saw an article about  Scopeware  in 2001,  was impressed by the idea and suggested that Apple might want to license it. The two firms met but no deal was done.

In 2010 a district court in Texas found Apple guilty  on all counts  and awarded Mirror Worlds  a stunning  $6635.5 million in damages  -the fourth biggest award in history.

''It was good to be vindicated, although by that time, I had only a small financial interest in the verdict,'' says Dr Glernter. ''In research, the capital that you have is not money in the bank but your reputation. I simply wanted a footnote saying these were Gelernter's ideas.''

But in April  2011  a federal judge overturned the verdict,  even while upholding the Mirror Worlds patents, ruling that Apple had not infringed them and should pay nothing. 

''It was like a punch in the face.'' says Professor Gelernter. Mirror Worlds went on to appeal against this ruling.  

Given his track record for predicting the future, what is Gelernter working on next?

One prediction in  ''Mirror Worlds''  remains conspicuously unfulfilled : his vision of cyberspace seething with billions of intelligent software agents working on behalf of their human masters. 

They might monitor news feeds- or

'' Track local government decisions ''  or keep an eye on people's health via digital sensors.

''I want the state of each hospital patient to be watched by a million agents,'' says Dr Gelernter. ''We can create a software agent for a particular rare combination of circumstances that happens only once every  1,000  years but happens to you.''

The technology exists, he says,  ''but our mirror world is uninhabited. It's like a forest with nothing living in it.''

He plans to form a new company to focus on this agent-based approach, something today's Internet firms show little interest in pursuing.

''Google is commercially successful and dazzlingly imaginative but but I don't see what I would  like to see from them, or  Facebook  or  Twitter,'' says Dr Gelernter. ''They are not turning on their imaginations.''

His new company will also deliver a new incarnation of life streams, capable of subsuming social networking, news and multimedia. ''I've added software apps layers and apps that make it easy to take:

Any kind of document, object or image and put it in the stream,'' he says. ''I want this to be a publication medium, the launch pad for everything and a copy of everything.'' 

As ever, Dr Gelernter's excitement about the potential of new technology is tempered by frustration that too little attention is paid to aesthetic and social factors.

''A lot of convenience and power could be gained, and a lot of unhappiness, irritation and missed opportunities avoided,'' if the industry thought about design, instead of always making it the last thing on the list,'' he says.

''We need more people who are at home in the worlds of art and the humanities and who are less diffident in the presence of technology. There are not enough articulate Luddite, anti-technology voices.''

It is not the sort of thing you expect to hear from a professor of computer science. let alone the victim of an anti-technology extremist.

But as well as having foreseen the future of computing, over his career Dr Gelernter has developed a clear understanding of humans' conflicted relationship with the technology on which they increasingly rely.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' The Mirror '''

Good Night and God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!