Coping: Zigging the Future and Ebola

For us,the future on Monday mornings like this, comes down to “bounded Ziggy.”

So what’s a Ziggy,” you obediently marvel, barley able to move after the weekend.

Have you forgotten?  The old TV series Quantum Leap which had a plot about jumping around in time…

Quantum Leap is an American television series that was broadcast on NBC from March 26, 1989 to May 5, 1993, for a total of five seasons. The series was created by Donald P. Bellisario, and starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett, a quantum physicist from the near future who becomes lost in time following a time-travel experiment, temporarily taking the places of other people to “put right what once went wrong.” Dean Stockwell co-starred as Al Calavicci, Sam’s womanizing, cigar-smoking sidekick and best friend, who appeared as a hologram that only Sam, animals, young children, and the mentally ill could see and hear.

And Ziggy?  Well, that was the major in-background star of the show; a super-computer that figured all the moves of time-jumping:

Ziggy (voiced by Deborah Pratt) – The supercomputer Sam designed to run Project Quantum Leap. The computer has a feminine personality and a massive ego; the latter feature is an accomplishment Sam is particularly proud of, as it makes Ziggy much more than a simple number-crunching machine. Ziggy is programmed with historical information through Sam’s life and has access to outside databases, and is able to project the likely effect of Sam’s actions on history.

And it’s why getting up on Monday’s is so much for for us.  We get to see how time “Zigged” over the weekend.

As a short recap, though, here’s a short story of the field as it relates to using computers to “figure out time” in advance of events.

1985:  Texas nutter works on speaker-independent voice recognition systems.

1997:  Speech Technology magazine is founded.

1990-2006:  Various researchers begin to notice that events seem to be happening around bulges in big data samples of information.

1992:  Nuance Communications is founded as Visioneer and later evolved Dragon Speaking.

1995: Various government big data/predictive analytics projects begin.

1998:  DARPA pretty much runs the limits out in speech recognition.

1998:  Princeton EGGS project (global consciousness project) is up and running.

1999:  Michael Crichton novel Timeline is published.

2001:  Research indicated that language shifts occur right before major events.

2004:  Google begins big search analysis and Google Trends is born.

2006:  Twitter is founded and similar big data analytics approaches are applied.

2007:  Mass application of voice-recognition begins of the PSTN in limited fashion.

2009:  Commercialization of big analytics begins with Recorded Future.

2010:  East Texas nutter’s work in word-frequency analysis begins in earnest.  The math is held under wraps but the technology is more than simple propagation studies, as some claim.

2011: software is developed.

2012: gets into dream analysis as a way future reveals.

2014: National Dream Center scores major/huge breakthroughs with application of Nostracodeus code to public-input dream content.  The math works, the recent Dallas with a side of Houston appears on schedule and demonstrates concept coherence prior to the quantum moment is key.

20XX:  Integration of the multiple approaches into a unified platform is still not realized due to assorted factors, but over time, it will come.

Nevertheless, the concept is still out there:  Pieces of each technology will likely be combined and a higher resolution of the future will be coming.  Just not today, sorry.

Instead we get to wake up on Ziggy Mondays like this one and figure out (in very generally terms) that the future is already before us, but it still “has its clothes on” so to speak.

What we do know, from out meta study of the field is that the future telegraphs some of its intentions in advance, but the specifics are never entirely clear or precise due to the complexity of how it all works.

In speech recognition, we know that the future can be predicted in very short timeframes (milliseconds, but it’s enough) in things like voice recognition system. 

Picture the words out of your mouth as being predictive.  (They are, but they are not, as I’ll explain).

Say you cut a word-template into three pieces and sample the energy distribution in the word.

The first sample might be the “BR”  (just the BR part of the sound “brother”)

And then along comes the second sample and it’s the “eh” sound.  (like the first part of the name Ed…but without the closure D on the end of it).

OK…no we can make predictions about the future. 

We will predict that the last sound in our three-slice template will be the hard “D” sound.  (just the hard D in ‘dread” for example.)

W#e can do that in part because of what has been central to Visioneer/Nuance work:  The use of contexts.  Sine it’s morning, and we might have a previous context with toast, it would be a high probability that we would be talking about BREAD than BREADTH.  

Since Nuance has such a marvelous product, their “hit rate” about the future is probably higher than anyone’s.  Unfortunately, they are at the very short end of the time scale:  milliseconds ahead of you finishing the word “bread.”

But is the future intricately encoded in something like the ratio of hard “D” sounds to “eh?” sounds?  More study, more research, more data, and not enough time….

Eventually, I expect, we’ll see a merging-in of the technology that Chris McCleary over at the National Dream Center just came upon, namely as the interlocking context of multiple data flows comes into wider understanding and use.

It could be something as simple as sentences with the world “will” in them have higher predictive weight than sentences that have the world “may” (which is, by the way, true).

There are, you see, only a couple of ways to increase accuracy about the future:  Cyclicity of the topic, breadth of the inputs, and correlates between multiple inputs.

I have to toss in a plug for the folks at ThinkMap who make a product called Visual Thesaurus and of course, the Lexipedia project.

So where does the Ziggy of all this leave us this morning?

Ah…more coding ideas about how to go chasing after the future.  (You don’t want to be Grady, the chief coder ofat,  trust me.)

But in the very short-term, the future should begin today very brightly.  That’s because we are now on the initial US Ebola scare on the back-side of the news curve.

Remember, the incubation period of this disease is 22- days for the 98% confidence level.  In other words, 49 out of 50 times, we should see the news coverage of Ebola begin to drop as we are now 22/23-days past the Patient Zero case up in Dallas.  A disease cycle of 21-days infers that a similar “news cycle” will be in play.  It should cycle down now, but….

Ebola may drop into the background for some period of time until a[nother] person in West Africa decides to lie about their health and get on an airplane to Europe or the US and then we will start all over again.

It’s here that the non-traditional/non-data side of things may be useful.  If you look around the ‘net enough, you’ll find there are been some “dream postings” (not on the NDC, but not everyone knows about the project yet) that suggest China will be hard-hit…but not yet.

For now, Ziggy is smiling.  The lab tech on the cruise ship showed no sign of Ebola, so go on your cruise and have a good time.  At the macro level, the cruise lines have already decided not to dock in West Africa and going on a cruise in February is back on our list of “possibles” to celebrate passing 66-years.

Off in the background, though, a note of caution. 

Here lately two things are bothering me.

The first is that distinction I mentioned last week from the field of behavior economics which I’ve gotten  “nose to grindstone” on:  It’s not the risk or probabilities that we worry so much about because they are the “known unknowns.”  These can be simply reduced to a numeric range, although accuracy of the assessments will vary – widely.

But it’s the ambiguity (the unknown unknowns) that make us (me then)  a little crazoid.

The other concern is about the importance of dreams and posting your dreams over on the National Dream Center site.

Dreams are funny things – they can be triggered by all kinds of low-level inputs.  But sometimes, as was the case with the Gulf Oil disaster, I’ve had dreams and posted them in advance of an event.  They are therefore worth reporting and tracking – which the Dream Center does.

I had one last night that was quite vivid in detail and should be mentioned.  It was like many I’ve had in the past where there is a syrupy quality to what’s in the dream that makes it plain to me that there is some kind of predictive value to it.  It is almost like a hybrid state between dreaming in sleep and astral projection or “remote viewing” except that it has happened before events.

In last night’s adventure, I was on some kind of ship and it was chasing a submarine.  The ship was older, and needed some repairs to its decking.  I was (in this persona-jump) some kind of junior NCO and I’d been given the task of fixing two parts of the deck that were causing problems for members of the crew.  The decking was rotted or rusting, the material wasn’t clear, exactly.  But it had raised up or sunken in a couple of places and needed patching.  My answer was to fill it with something like high strength Bondo-like material.

But in the dream, officers up the food chain from me had decided to replace a whole section of the deck while we were off searching for this submarine.  “We need full strength on the deck at this point,” I remember.,  So the work I had started in this dream was ripped up by another crew (machinist mates, if I’ve got it right) and they were going over my work while I’d been asleep off-watch.  Cut out old sections one of which was about the width of a 4-by-12 and like it was near a stairwell on the ship.  The other area was in the area near the galley and people had been tripping on it when in a hurry.  Weird, right?  We’re only getting started…

The dream now jumps to the submarine we are chasing.  I didn’t think much about it, but turns out it was an older sub (diesel I think) and what was quite worrisome to me was that a senior command-level officer had “gone renegade” and had taken over control of the sub.

Eventually, after being chased down, this officer type decided that rather than be captured, he would plant an explosive (small satchel, nuclear, by the way) and that this would be set to explode when the surface ship arrived on scene.

He would abandon ship on some false pretext, possibly being connected (so he would claim) with a Russian spy agency.  He would have a pressing need to get ashore while his sub waited for his return.

His plan w to swim ashore (about 1.2 or two miles – both numbers came up) and be out of the water when the surface ship got near and the (underwater) explosion went off.  His crew would be lost and he’d have a new life with no one looking for him; the assumption b eing he was among the crew.

Weird dream?  You bet. 

But like so many dreams, this one may have some basis in fact and events could be playing out this way even now.

This Time Magazine story popped up this morning, although I had seen one other reference to the Swedish sub-chasing in the news flow last night:

A large military operation is under way in waters off Stockholm to sweep for a “foreign underwater activity” widely speculated to be a damaged Russian submarine, in what could be the gravest violation of Sweden’s maritime sovereignty since the Cold War.

The reason I mention this dream is that it ties almost too tightly into events going on off of Sweden’s shores.  What is likely to have been going on was just “wild mind filling in blanks and making a story out of it. Too much Hunt for Red October to it.”

Yet we know that dreams often presage the future (as do movies where the movie is the message).

So if the Russian sub blows itself up while an officer swims ashore leaving a booby-trapped sub behind him, remember where you heard it first….

Hunches and dreams are closely related, too. 

I had a weird one this weekend when one of my cousins posted on FB about how she was enjoying her  second home over in Arizona. 

Her bother (another cousin) who I haven’t talked to in something like 10-years posted back “Guess where I’m going tonight?”  (This was Saturday).

I had a hunch…a mean one of those “wells up inside you” hunches….so I posted “Las Vegas?

Like I say, I haven’t talked to my cousin in a long time and I seem to recall he likes to fish and hang out in Mazatlan – has kids in the Portland, OR area…so for me to post “Las Vegas?” was totally out of the blue and off the wall.  I even wondered as soon as I’d written it -(you know how people do after a post?) “Gee, I bet they think I’m nuts…”  (Not that they’d be wrong.)

But, sure enough, he DID go to Las Vegas…to see Jimmy Buffett Saturday night at the MGM Grand.  (Buffett will be there next weekend, too, BTW.)

Well, I’ll be a sonovabitch!  You could have pushed me over with a feather when I read that was where he was going.  It was not the obvious choice…yet there it was.  Hunched and happened.

Somewhere in this stew is a lesson about futuring, honoring hunches, and the weird way dreams operate and how the future arrives.  If you figure it out, please fill us all in.

In the meantime, it makes a marvelous addition to my novel DreamOver which is all about adventures in these levels of consciousness between full-waking and sleeping like the dead.

Write when you break-even


PS: Grady just called to alert me to the Swedish sub chase (“Been there, done that, got the T-shirt) and to mention that in one of our stand overnight runs, the word “war” has popped from its mean (~255 mentions in this standard run) up to 1,050+.  So if we’re going poof soon, or war gets declared somewhere between now through Wednesday, you’ll know it was coming…

And do watch the Saudi picture, too, BTW.

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George Ure
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