John Smart

Accelerating Change 2004

Simulation, Agents and Accelerating Change
65 minutes, 30.1mb, recorded 2004-11-06
Full title: Simulation, Agents, and Accelerating Change: Personality Capture and the Linguistic User Interface

One of the most important accelerating transitions occuring today is the emergence of the Linguistic User Interface or LUI. The LUI is the natural language front end to our increasingly malleable, intelligent, and humanizing Internet. Primitive LUIs exist today in interfaces like Google, but will become dramatically more powerful over the next few decades.

What will Windows (and the Google Browser) of 2015 look like? It seems clear that it will include sophisticated software simulations of human beings as part of the interface. First-world culture today spends more on video games than movies. These "interactive motion picture" technologies are more compelling and educating, particularly to our youth, the fastest-learning segment of society, than any linear scripts, no matter how professionally produced.

Now imagine that we have begun talking to our computers in a crude but useful verbal exchange post 2015. Human factors experience suggests that many of us will prefer to relate to virtual human beings who actively model our preferences and intent, as such parallel communication has the potential to be considerably more efficient than speaking to a disembodied machine. It seems likely that tomorrow's leading LUI-equipped virtual avatars/digital persona interfaces will model and display human emotion, intentionality, and body language, increasingly with a speed and consistency that no biological human being can match.

As our own most-preferred digital personal interface (our "Digital Me") gains exponentially more storage and processing capacity, it will incrementally engage in a process that William Sims Bainbridge calls "personality capture." Our DM's will carry an ever more valuable record of all the past communication we have had with them, and increasingly become our best professional representatives, coaches, managers, and extended memory for important events. How this profound technological development is likely to change our global political, economic, and social landscape, as well as the quality of our personal and collective sense of self, will be briefly discussed.

John Smart is a developmental systems theorist who studies accelerating change, computational autonomy and a topic known in futurist circles as the technological singularity. He is president of the Institute for the Study of Accelerating Change, a nonprofit community for research, education, consulting, and selected advocacy of communities and technologies of accelerating change. He co-produces the annual Accelerating Change conference, a meeting of 300 change-leaders and students in November at Stanford University, and edits ISAC's free newsletter, Accelerating Times, read by future-oriented thinkers around the world.

John has a B.S. in Business from the Haas School at U.C. Berkeley and seven years of coursework in biological, medical, cognitive, computer and physical science at UCLA, Berkeley, and UCSD. He is the author of Planning A Life In Medicine (for premedical students), Random House (March 2005). He's currently completing an M.S. in Future Studies at U. Houston and writing his second book, Destiny of Species, on the topic of accelerating change. John lives in Los Angeles, CA and can be reached at johnsmart(at)

This presentation was recorded at Accelerating Change 2004, November 5-7, 2004. Check here for the complete Accelerating Change archives.

This free podcast is from our Accelerating Change series.