This is the computer talking

It’s amazing what computers can do.  This post will be the first of many that are written not by my fingers on the keypad but my voice through a microphone and through my computer.  I recently received Dragon naturally speaking for my computer and thought that it would be interesting to attempt to dictate things which I would normally write.  It’s surprisingly quite accurate.  When there is an error it is not the program but is most likely myself.  This is but another extension of my research into robotics and trans-human ideas. my previous thoughts were that speech recognition programs were rather cumbersome and required an incredible amount of artificial training.  Like most things which follow Moore’s Law speech recognition has also improved.  I became interested in speech recognition again after reading Raymond Kurzweil’s book Age of Spiritual Machines. This book outlined some pretty incredible arguments concerning the rapid increase of technological capacity as well as a landing the ramifications these technologies will have on human life in the future. while I separate from Kurzweil on several ideas his focus on Moore’s Law will be an incredible asset to my further research into trans-humanism.  And that’s where I am now… speaking aloud in an empty room, feeling quite odd at the echoing reverberations of my voice, speaking at my computer.  So far I am pleased that the computer has not spoken back.


In admiration…

I am not quite sure about him. On one hand I think that his passion will save lives and that his quest to protect others through his inventions is truly philanthropic. On the other hand he is plagued with hubris, overly forceful, an will most likely kill himself or someone else in the practice of his plan. I would call him RoboCop but that is not quite right, his name is Troy Hurtubise and he is my somewhat hero. Hurtubise is somewhat of a North Bay, Ontario legend, which says quite a lot. I think he is actually more interesting than the things he creates. Troy Hurtubise is known for inventing protective armor (Ursus Mark, Trojan, etc.) and is featured in the documentary film Project Grizzly quoted as being “Fantastic” by Quentin Tarentino.


I first saw Hurtubise on the Canadian show “Daily Planet” Discovery Channel Show, explaining a protective shield he has invented which is called “1313 Paste” (Wikipedia). This would have been laughable, but the thing is it freaking works! It stood up against high powered rifles and is apparently cost effective. He is an amazing inventor yet his name so much as mentioned either brings a laugh or a sly smirk. The laugh I find are from those who wish to detract from his glory, the smirk, much like my own is from those who admire Hurtubis. What other inventor do you know, or have heard of, would back up his inventions as portrayed in these clips below:

Clips from Project Grizzly

Where I depart with Hurtubise, as put at the beginning of my introduction, is with his aims. I was originally unsure as to whether he was creating for his own ego, his megalomania, or for the benefit of mankind. I was wrong about Hurtubise. In his bear suit days perhaps he was trying to make a name for himself and have some much due glory, but as his career has progressed it seems he really just wants to save lives. He is a genuine philanthropist and after watching the movie Project Grizzly it seems like his creations are an effort to protect his heart and others the way he best knows how. Watch this clip of Hurtubise describing his newest suit, a Halo-esque super protector, dubbed “The Trojan.”

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Now that you have seen the passion that went into making it, and the drive to make it function for the men and women of the armed forces, watch Hurtubise raffle his prized possession again to have the ability to help more people.

In a way Troy Hurtubise breaks my heart. I see him as a person who is so passionate and has just not caught a break with his research. His downfalls remind me a lot of Astronomer and Historian Immanuel Velikovsky, who in his independently funded research made many scientific breakthroughs. Velikovsky, however, was and still is criticized today in academia for his method and findings as being unfounded and illogical. Yet those who refute Velikovsky, much like Hurtubise, mostly refute the man and not what he stood for or is trying to solve. I beleive this is the same pressure that Hurtubise faces, being ostracized as too eccentric , unorthodox, and misguided in his work and passion. I hope that trough some strange fluke that Hurtuise reads this article and is able to realize that his invention and his passion are needed more than ever. It is my opinion that those who seek for invulnerability become vulnerable in the process. In this occurence others then become the protection for those who, like Hurtubise, provide security for us. We need to support such people who are trying to secure us instead of tearing them down because we are not more like them.

The Humans are Dead!

I have no idea why, but I am obsessed with YouTube lately. It is almost to the point that when I cannot find anything on TV I would rather stumble YouTube. Its not as if I stay in front of the computer for an incredible amount of time, but it is definatly increasing. I have been using the StumbleUpon function in Firefox and I came across a viedo by the comedy duo “Flight of the Conchords.” Its fucking brilliant. They are from New Zealand and remind me a lot of a less stoned Tenacious D. They have a television show, which I haven’t seen, on HBO. The following is a song called “The Humans are Dead” and is basically the funniest song I have heard in a while.


The Nietzsche and Schopenhauer Movie

An unlikely pairing of two of the most profound philosophers of the 19th century, Frederich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer. Starring myself, Casey Sutherland, as Frederich Nietzsche and Stefan Phillips as Arthur Schopenhauer.

This movie was an amazing adventure into the lives of these two incredible philosophers. It was written by the both of us for our History of Modern Philosophy class at Nipissing University in the spring of 2008. I hope you enjoy and comment appropriately.

The film is split into three parts:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

If you’re a YouTube user, please leave a comment and a rating!

Stefan and I would like to thank everyone who helped out with the shoot, especially Trevor Hrenko (who directed, and brought beer) and Lettie Gariba for her acting, along with Wayne Borody for his musical contributions and mind.

Schopenhauer Song” Click here to listen to the full song from the end of the film, written by Stefan Phillips, performed by Casey Sutherland and Stefan Phillips.

The Devil and Robert Johnson

My music taste goes through phases. I love the blues. I grew up in a Canadian town which borders the United States. I was about an hour from Detroit Michigan. While the city itself moderately frightens me there was one thing that always felt to be more comfortable than things of my own town, and that was the music. The Detroit music scene is and was a hotbed for various talent. I remember staying up dialing on the radio, various AM blues and motown stations until my eyes couldn’t hold themselves open anymore.

I had been stumbling online recently and came across some music by Robert Johnson. If you aren’t familiar with his music or his legend, check him out on Wikipedia:

He is a blues legend. Story goes “According to Blues folklore, Robert Johnson was a young black man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi. Branded with a burning desire to become a great blues musician, he was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery’s plantation at midnight. There he was met by a large black man (the Devil) who took the guitar from Johnson, tuned the guitar so that he could play anything that he wanted, and handed it back to him in return for his soul. Within less than a year’s time, in exchange for his everlasting soul, Robert Johnson became the king of the Delta blues singers, able to play, sing, and create the greatest blues anyone had ever heard.”

Now the truth of this story isn’t important. The music, the amazing music, is surreal. Check him out if you have the chance.

The Uncanny Valley

I stumbled upon what has to be the most interesting idea. Its called the “Uncanny Valley” and I will quote here from Wikipedia:

“The uncanny valley is a hypothesis that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost, but not entirely, like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. The “valley” in question is a dip in a proposed graph of the positivity of human reaction as a function of a robot’s lifelikeness. It was introduced by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970….

Mori’s hypothesis states that as a robot is made more humanlike in its appearance and motion, the emotional response from a human being to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached beyond which the response quickly becomes that of strong repulsion. However, as the appearance and motion continue to become less distinguishable from a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once more and approaches human-to-human empathy levels.[2]

This area of repulsive response aroused by a robot with appearance and motion between a “barely-human” and “fully human” entity is called the uncanny valley. The name captures the idea that a robot which is “almost human” will seem overly “strange” to a human being and thus will fail to evoke the empathetic response required for productive humanrobot interaction.[2]

The Uncanny Valley

I know; awesome. I was stunned at the explanations that this theory provides. I couldn’t find much more on Masahiro Mori aside from the article. He had wrote a book called Buddha In The Robot, and I will have to check that out. On YouTube there is an in depth analysis of the “Uncanny Valley” by Karl F. MacDorman from the 2007 NMC Summer Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Check out the 6 part lecture here: