Friday, April 15, 2005

Tours open now for the virtual world: Google maps and eyeballs

Notes: Interesting Google Satellite Maps

This page will likely be slashdotted soon, but it will return eventually. A number of people are discovering interesting things in Google's satellite images. It's the spying equivalent of open source -- many eyes means much discovery.

In 10/01 I proposed the DOD outsource satellite imagery of Afghanistan to US desktops. Let millions of eyes spy the terrain and analyze the data. I also suggested using large numbers of automated drones circulating in controlled areas, and allowing thousands or millions to view the data on their desktop. There are obvious risks to such a strategy, but I think they might be manageable (ex. mix fake data with real data to confuse spies, etc -- only the DOD knows what's real) ...

This phenomena is the merest beginning of the brave new world of mass surveillance and virtual tourism -- tourism that will mix the real world with the virtual. Imagine hundreds of 'avatars' "flying" and exploring the imaged terrain of the grand canyon -- with older and new images seamlessly mixed together.

PS. Of course Verner (singularity, fast times at fairmount high) Vinge and David (transparent society) Brin have already described all of the above and more. It is amazing to see it all starting however.

Update: I'm so slow in my old age. Way behind the curve. I think Google needs to post a sign on their lab page: Danger, singularity ahead.

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