W a l t e r z A l t e r
p o r t f o l i o

a r t i c l e s


the list of recalibrations

1. gauge function is the highest order of cognition. comparison is
measurement. why do you think we have two eyes? corrolary: a
non-varying field goes imperceived, yet maintains it's field effect.
this is why "The Medium Is Not the Message", sort of. this is why
increased intelligence requires constant zooming in and out of category
flux fields. any category is a unit of measurement.

2. the level of technological development in any given society is the
primary measurement of the state of its intellectual and cultural
maturity. the result of technological advancement is axiomatically the
production of free time, that is, time available to an expanding array of
choices rather than to an expanding array of necessities. freed from
necessity, a society can invent forward, project a wide field of ideals
determined by curiosity and exploration rather than inventing backwards
within a narrow field determined by irritants.

3. up to now, invention has concerned itself with the creation of
objects in space. in an electronic free-time society, invention will
emphasize organizational schemata for information throughput.
information throughput will tend to be undramatized, gradiently
accessable and diagrammatic. info-inventors will be busy mainly with
creating gradient skill upgrade kits for various starting level
demographics. info intake skills will amplify our capacity to both
perceive (structural) and to organize (conceptual) larger quantities of
information. the impetus will be to design frames of reference
unfettered by ideology. the virtuous application of these newly acquired
skills will follow naturally as a result of the intrinsic nature of the
self-amplification process. fulfilled, creating beings are intrinsically
virtuous. scarcity and scarcity alone makes for social pathologies.
scarcity and scarcity alone makes for social pathologies. stereo.

4. technology is inherently democratizing. period. technophobia is
increasingly perceived to be against the interests of humanity. in dense
information fields, social uncertainty or trauma is dissipated when full
attention can be applied to gathering information for problem solving
applications. technology supplies the tools for amplifying intelligence
to every citizen. the economics of mass production dissolves hierarchies
of priviledged access to resources. what were considered luxuries of the
priviledged classes in the past- education, transportation, sanitation,
good diet, free time, and so on, are now taken for granted by citizens in
the industrial nations. read McLuhan.

5. technology, on account of its abundance producing efficiencies,
shares created wealth, rather than concentrating exploited wealth.
technology requires educated workers in the production end. under
feudalism, divisions of labor were decided upon by tradition, birthright,
wealth, privilege, etc., and resulted in caste system boundaries that
tended to freeze the evolution of intelligence, hence the tendency of all
pre- capitalist societies to exploitation, self-cannibalize and
eventually collapse. ruling class control of technology is now an
historic futility. the genie is out of the bottle. human knowledge is
approaching the threshold where it can self-amplify at a geometrically
accelerating rate rather than at the pre-electronic, pre-TV linear rate.

6. imaging technology is the primary organizing principle of 21st
century social forms for two reasons: a) information density- "a picture
is worth a thousand words" really means that a picture oriented society
has more accuracy of detail about its status (look-down/look-forward) and
needs and can better predict the outcome of its policy decisions. this
makes for stable social evolution. image breadth also provides a basis
for concluding that all other human beings are very much like oneself b)
image plasticity- a wider variety of imaginary constructs can be brought
into mind, integrated and re-synthesized back out onto the 3-D world and
tested for reality. it is no accident that invention springs from an
interplay between necessity and daydream imagination. as necessity
becomes less a factor, creative imagination will be the posession of
everyone and everyone will be an artist both born and conceived.

7. in an image rich culture, individual eidetic prototyping, ie.,
fantasizing, becomes less bound to subjective personality loops and
better able to engage problem-solving efficiencies within the measurable
realm of the externally perceived universe. over half the brain's
neurons are used to process and understand visual input. the human
imagination is a perfect laboratory for the construction of reality
models. when deeply engaged, imagination is capable of all the
resolution, memory referencing and tactile positioning of the dream
state, but with analytic faculties accessable. the biological brain's
visual input data channel has a bandwidth estimated to be about 2
gigabits per second. 99% of this data channel is available to the
imagination for plastic inner construction. consciousness is a heads up
display, kids.

8. an imaging screen (TV, computer monitor, flat panel display, etc.) is
plastic within its own frame of reference and allows for multi-functions
of the same instrument. with the addition of touch screen, data glove or
other "hot screen" technology, a PC computer can multi-function as memory
storage, data computation, gauge display, media interface, and process
controller. this multi-function capability is a powerful form of
throughput amplification. any tool that can lessen boundary pile-up and
discontinuities between phases or objects is more efficient. that is
what efficiency is- the reduction of boundaries around simultaneity and
velocity shockfront boundaries, ie., societies' generational boundaries.
the human mind is very good at alternating or simultaneous functions. it
can walk and chew gum; it can both perceive and conceive. the imaging
screen tool best reflects our capacities to both view and visualize and
will probably be the first component of an artificial intelligence array
that exceeds the primary limiting factor of human individual sentience-
our built-in focus outward from a binocular being point singularity. an
A.I. setup with multi-points of view, many eyed, will accelerate the next
revolution in applied knowledge.

9. artificial intelligence efforts and their mathematical modeling
tools to date have been flawed by the impulse to mimic human perceptual
and cognitive abilities. this will remain and impossible task for the
forseeable future mainly because we are the product of a billion or so
years of biological evolution built upon miniaturization from the
molecular level. attempts to reverse engineer even a fraction of what
occurs within cellular metabolism is an absurdity. our minds represent
the integration of an uncountable number of experiments with the aim of
insuring biological survival over an incredible array of hostile physical
circumstances. had humans evolved to fulfil functions such as one sees
mimicked in A.I. laboratories (a machine that can carry a pizza up a
flight of stairs, for example), we'd probably now have the stature of a
large spider with a brain to match. A.I. research is finding itself
better served by efforts concentrating on a limited range of precise,
directed autonomous primary tasks rather than emulating broad band human
physical or mental attributes. spinoff from A.I. research has been
unfulfilling and, insofar as increasing our understanding of human mental
function- crippling. human cognition has nothing to do with quantaic
digitizing or binary, on/off processing. japanese industrial robotics
are a samrt application of A.I. and were forward engineered for specific
task application and the utility of that approach has not only paid their
economies in real terms, but is dictating the shape of current A.I.
research globally.

10. multi-screen image display arrays are key to solving the problem of
information overload. there is not too much information, there is too
little cognitive ability to handle it. the synthetic capabilities of the
visual cortex (mass-free mental imaging, thought pictures, whatever you
want to call it) coupled to the synthetic potential of our
matter-composed universe (molecular leggo kit) provides us with a very
large number of invention activated problem solving avenues. actually we
are over-engineered for survival. meeting the necessities of biological
survival is a piece of cake, an amoeba can do it. but systems propelled
by discomfort are limited in that they focus backwards upon point-causal
determinants. (see #2) these rearward facing systems are automatic
(reflexive/instinctual), not autonomous. systems attracted by pleasure
are area-diffuse rather than point-focused. they exercise forward acting
(future oriented) area/multiplex-causal field apperception over a range
of possibilities. the implication of choice requires a modeling system
which allows the comparative consideration of options in an autonomous
manner. this modeling system should borrow as much as it can from the
"dimension of simultaneity" in order to hold several or many choices up
against each other for comparative judgement and pattern
synthesis/re-synthesis. for this reason, external modeling systems which
most closely mirror the internal one are ideally multi- screen with zoom
in/out potential at all foci and inclusive of the peripheral (diffuse)
field as well.

8. various studies on the nature and effect of television upon culture
have been made, their results and attendant opinions published. none,
however, have taken into account a hitherto unknown potential of the
video medium, that of active, analytic multi-screen viewing. when
television is discussed it is always within the parameter of a single
screen, much like cinema. Marshal Mcluhan first hypothesized an
important characteristic of technological advance- the tendency for the
previous technology to dictate the form its subsequent evolution will
take. for example, the first automobiles looked like horse carriages,
but as velocities increased, they reflected more the streamlined shape of
their potential and the unpredicted forces at play near maximum
efficiency performance boundaries. this is a societal shock reducing
mechanism which serves to validate the past in its form while
incorporating a new utility and its consequent new IDENTITY. so it is
with television. we have a medium imprisoned within the form of its
predecessor, cinema/theater. it has been captive to cinema's physical
form up to this point, (a single screen) and theater content (the
presentation of dramatic pathos). television, however, is actually
ideally suited to multi-screen arrays. furthermore, being electronic and
portable at both its point of origin and its point of reception, its
content is ideally suited to instantaneous update and real time look-in
on relevant events.

8a the ability for the viewer to switch through channels, to view
within the autonomous framework of the home environment and to utilize
the autonomous potentials of VCR and camcorder is lessening the power of
remote authority as well as "theatrics" in political life. theatrics, or
overly emphatic caricaturing, is the tyrant's first line of attack and
can only operate in a controlled social environment characterized by the
absence of comparisons. it is the "dictatorship of the modality".
however, with electronic (simultaneous-with-event) media, a comparative
modality, or a modality of modalities, is now beginning to be felt
politically and culturally. the sheer density of of global electronic
communications pretty much precludes its being "jammed" physically, and
is making it harder to "jam" ideologically. media monopolies are giving
way to media autonomies, first via cable TV and soon via computer

9. multi-screen arrays imply more than one point of view which is the
basis for the dimensionality of space, among other things. we perceive
time from the standpoint of a succession of temporal points of view. we
perceive space from a binocular point of view, the conceptual fusion of
which gives us 3-D. we see "behind" appearances to find true causes.
multiple points of view is a very powerful attribute of full awareness
and, moreover, is the primary means by which awareness amplifies itself.
putting oneself in the other person's shoes, for example, is a key to
successful communication and the generation of understanding. having the
flexibility to adopt many points of view during the analysis of a
situation is the creative way to avoid traps in cognition. multi-screen
arrays are tailor made for collaborative problem solving via tele-
conference hookups. we can map out facets of a situation like a cubist
painting and come upon a more complete picture. completing our picture
of the universe is the name of the game.

10. problem solving is very simple given enough information. the facts
usually sort themselves out into necessity fields and mental effort is
potentially freed up to pursue more and more pleasure of creativity. the
inability to solve a problem is invariably the result of an incomplete
set of facts, ie., a set of blindnesses, which most characteristically
takes the form of a mind set, an ideology. we are going to have to learn
how to operate anti-ideologically with freedom of choice within an
incredibly dense global information matrix. the densest personal info
matrix is the visual one. the human retina is capable of differentiating
about 2 million color hues and intensities and probably a larger number
of shapes, spatial attitudes, distances and motions. we mainly use only
a small portion of the visual field at any one time, a pencil thin cone
of maximum attention, and we presently pretty much see as we read, in a
scanning manner. this leaves the peripheral visual field almost unused,
merely a cue-up function; like hearing- an attention director. expansion
of peripheral apperception is desirable because it allows a wider field
of view for the simultaneous comparative gauging of visual info which
will, in turn, amplify that same potential within the memory and
projective areas of the mind. in short, we can make parallel processing
abilities accessible to consciousness. one can get a taste of this
ability by setting two TV sets side by side, tuning in two different
stations with audio up on both and concentrating on getting the gist of
both programs simultaneously. within ten minutes you should be catching

11. high definition tv (HDTV) should be perceived by the media aware
public as more than an embellishment upon the world of entertainment.
1,120 scan line resolution will transform our perceptual field and its
resultant social appetites much as photo-journalism via "life" and "look"
magazines helped to transform america from agrarianism to industrialism.
HDTV viewed upon a living room tv set will make such superficial genre as
game shows, soap operas, sitcoms and allied exercises in inanity naked to
our faculties of analysis and skepticism. nature does not represent
itself to us in low definition. we do that. low definition
communication leaves us in a state of mystery. mystery does not fulfil,
it leaves hunger. HDTV fills in the blanks. if the TV program content
is a mismatch with the detailed configurative capability of the retina,
the viewer will change channels to program content which does that
capability justice. with HDTV, video as a single-screen artifact reaches
its maximum point of exploitation. it is suitable for nothing less than
a documentary approach at all times. low definition sectarian ideology
is incapable of instantaneous update and will be perceived as a
retrograde, obstructing cartoon. the viewer will be freed from any frame
of reference which locks interpretation into pre-orchestrated categories.
fields of knowledge will become wide angle, making apparent the
interconnectivity of event flux and causality. requirement will supplant
style. the demand for precision in all bio-necessity aspects of life
will dictate a form-follows-function structuralist aesthetic. HDTV is
available now to anyone with a high resolution computer screen by the
addition of a video signal interface card which allows broadcast or video
tape programming to be seen at over 1,000 scan lines. the combining of
what has heretofore been an entertainment medium with an information
processing device will force entertainment towards a basis in reality and
force info processing towards a basis in fun.

12. the compact handicam allows us to look in on areas of human
discovery as they occur without the mitigation of commentary or editing
or political top spin. exploration, laboratory and field research,
global conferences, classroom lectures, etc. could be tuned in to for
personal enjoyment and university credit. the key is "real-time". CSPAN
is the most important network currently in existence. emergency
situations already benefit to a degree from this technology, particularly
in the medical field where difficult procedures are accessible to world
wide expertise while in progress. the recent events in china were
covered in large measure by students with smuggled handicams. we are
witness to events as they unfold. abuses of police or government
procedures captured by a palm-corder, cannot be denied without the peril
of full discovery and blown cabals. video testimony and video documents
are being recognized as legally true. the drama is reality itself.

13. Mcluhan's prediction of the electronic "global village" is no joke.
we are beginning to see into the cultural lives of our global neighbors
on an unprecedented and intimate scale, independent from the force
feeding of "us vs. them" stereotypes via ideological and governmental
channels. the most important network program to date is "America's
Funniest Home Videos". the most important broadcast demographic was
eastern europe. they cast off a doomed economic system in order to "get
their MTV". real life is far more transformative and entertaining than
entertainment, touches us more deeply, and bonds us together at the level
of reality. truth is manifold viewpoint, manifold and cross-referenced
verification. the hottest new category of programming is the talk show,
because, though superficially esploitive of human frailty, presents the
human drama as worthy of beholding in its plain, base and democratic
form. essentially- art is dead.

14. we no longer have the option to select whether or not we perceive
an event, but only where to place it within our frame of reference- what
causality and, hence, predictive importance to give it. in an era of
remote telecast, nothing remains remote, everything is right in front of
our face. your hand held channel selector is a marvelous anti-gravity
device. you don't have to get up to change the channel, consequently you
don't tend to get trapped inside mass/inertia systems. the tendency,
then is to not pattern your mental life after mass/inertia systems. the
remote channel selector is democracy's most powerful weapon. truth is
never boring, particularly in large, 500 channel therapeutic quantities.

15. digital signal processing (the quantaic sampling of video and audio
continua) and the accessibility to professional quality multimedia gear
will decentralize all media production and distribution networks.
professional studio quality results will be available on consumer
multimedia equipment. the entertainment industry will have to cope
with a citizenry able and content to entertain itself. needless to say,
the star system as a mystery religion will more and more appear to be
composed of quaint, if not clownish, eccentrics. computer multimedia
capabilities will spin off to the family album level. Andy Warhol's
prediction of 15 minutes of fame for everyone was stingy. we'll all be
the stars of our own media extravaganzas until the magic wears off and
it dawns on us that we have in our hands the most powerful tool for
autonomous self-evolution yet devised. in the face of abundance,
previously scarce media commodities-of-the-mind such as "fame" wiil
become the domain of compulsive fetish collectors.

16. up to now, what we call communication is really sound wave
communication carried out in our atmosphere at relatively slow speeds
within a linear sequential framework. light travels 100,000 times faster
than sound. this is the speed of vision- 5 orders of magnitude faster
than sound. that's a lot, but a conceivable lot. the full visual field
is also somewhat simultaneous. you can recognize several objects at a
single glance. the advantages of incorporating a visual language into
everyday affairs is readily apparent as a way to graphically update the
viewer on a very broad front of world events, given the "problem" of info
overload. the nature of that language is totally wide open. it could be
any mix of graphic symbol, color cues, positional cues, motion cues, 3-d
display, audio intermix, you name it. fast cut advertising is the
beginning of a visual language where situations themselves become icons,
an advance over fixation on a content composed of object icons. the
trick will be to communicate bidirectionally in real time and in high
resolution. "lemme tell you one thing, kid. diagrams."

17. Nikola Tesla, in his later years, claimed to have invented a
process whereby mental images could be transferred to an external imaging
screen. his absolute mastery over the theory and application of
electro-magnetic phenomena is a matter of historic fact. we use his
patented AC current, polyphase motors, broadcast radio, flourescent
illumination, transformers, trnsducers, etc. on a daily basis. in the
early '70's the U.S. military took the threat of Soviet deployment of
Tesla-physics' electro-magnetic resonance and diffraction weapons very
seriously. it was the impulse to develop the SDI program and that
program's subsequent tchnological accellerations which led to the
collapse of the Soviet Union and the current world political
reallignment. we should make the attempt to understand electro-magnetic
phenomena as Tesla did, the vacuum being no vacuum at all, rather a
seething sea of electrostatic potential, a stressed vacuum. Tesla also
claimed to have knowledge of a revolutionary broadcast technology wherein
upwards of a million discrete high-bandwidth channels could be broadcast
without interference or signal degradation resonantly through the earth,
from anywhere, to anywhere.

18. the leading edge of media research is currently to be found in the
field of aircraft cockpit instrumentation display. whenever you have two
systems in relative motion, the requirements for rapid information
updating rise exponentially as a function of the increase in velocity.
necessity dictates accuracy, ie., a high volume of data, a dense data
flux. these lessons can be applied to everyday life where the velocity
and instability factors are less than in-flight systems, but the
simultaneity factors are greater. information throughput density is
constant in either case. information density is conceptually akin to
object velocity. the more of it that pours through your visual
perceptual field, the faster you are going, even though you may be
physically at rest. this is why television "couch potatoes" are actually
rocket sled pilots travelling at warp speed.

19. what we presently enjoy as technological progress has, up to this
point, been essentially a spinoff from military R & D. national
destinies has heretofore required the motive of an external political
threat to unify and drive science via weapons research. with the easing
of Cold War tensions, technology can, for the first time in human
history, be harnessed directly to global human needs, but the motive of
discovery must be powerful enough to supplant the motive of war threat.
space exploration and the defense against interplanetary
civilization-destroying chunks of rock (meteors) is vital as a
replacement "science driver" because only in that realm is the crucial
factors of emergency and power vs. weight, ie., miniaturization and its
subsequent high level of production knowledge and skill, the primary
factor. in the wake of the comet Shoemaker/Levy impact on Jupiter, we
become aware of our vulnerability in this corner of the Universe. we
have here an opportunity to employ a motive of global survival more
powerful than the environmentalist motive. the previous "survival of the
folk" employed by all nations can be universalized into the issue of
human survival capable of emploing hard core militaristic factions in
ways that environmental emergencies cannot. were the military/industrial
sector of global economies to find themselves facing extinction, the
subsequent global economic collapse would act upon society as did the
stock market crash of 1929 upon Weimar Germany. beware, you technophobic

20. tele-synthetic reality- virtual reality imaging and allied tactile-
referent systems are intrinsically spatial/simultaneous rather than
acoustic/sequential. their greatest lesson is that the inner and outer
worlds are identical in vastness. its spinoff developments are already
showing potential. two forms of goggle-type display technology have
recently been made available which will have consequences beyond their
immediate markets. the first goggle display places heads up data
overlayed upon the normal visual panorama. the prototypes do not have
head movement tracking and directional capabilities, but can superimpose
any word or symbol code upon the real world. no reason why one couldn't
read the paper while driving the car, for example, simply a matter of
depth of field awareness. the other goggle technology projects any video
signal directly in front of the eyes, but blanks out real world image.
this British invention is designed as a substitute for regular television
viewing with stereo earphones and goggle display in an integral unit.
the remarkable potential in these videophonic goggles is that they will
effectively cause the reintegration of the imaginative processes of
cognition away from the subjective and towards the objective, real world.
the effect is to put the viewer into the scene. documentary visual
uptake will immerse the viewer within the docu-world and further
accelerate the citizen's potential to participate in world affairs beyond
the mere possession of an opinion.

21. in the recent discussions about the most strategic of our nation's
industries, electronic design automation (EDA) has received undeserved
neglect. the computer design of computer components and software is an
absolutely crucial technology. file compression algorythms can shrink
certain kinds of data, particularly visual, picture data, one
hundredfold. phone line transmission of encyclopedic quantities of info
will lead to the computer bulletin board/Internet supplanting colleges
and universities as centers of learning. EDA is also key to rapid and
coordinated manufacturing of upgraded and new hard products. the amazing
fertility of electronic technology is constantly shrinking the "shelf
life" of products, now down to under a year. rapid obsolescence has
brought EDA into its own and is currently forcing the issue of standards
for image compression, storage and transmission types. the implications
of EDA, however, are far deeper. EDA is laying the practical foundations
for productive artificial intelligence capabilities, in particular, the
ability of a piece of hardware or program to educate itself about a task
and then improve its performance on that task.

22. computer aided design, animation and engineering will integrate
within the entertainment industry and will eventually replace sets,
actors, locations, cameras, everything, in fact, that we call "Hollywood".
photorealistic animation will burst out of its "special effects"
containment to take over the entire production. feature-length
entertainment will be produced start to finish by a handful of men and
women in an editing suite at a hundredth the cost. photorealistic
animation will be as detailed as modern cinematography with the
advantage of absolute creative freedom. the division between "amateur"
and "professional", "b" grade and studio, "artistic" and "kitsch" will be
dissolved by the power of the animation hardware and programs

23. fears about digitized media's ability to be counterfeited with
undetectable alterations are misplaced. any hoax perpetrated on a large
scale or on an important matter runs a very real risk of being blown, and
once blown, will ruin any organization or agency attempting it.
"national geographic" magazine was charcoal grilled recently for merely
combining parts of two photographs into one on the magazine's cover. the
tabloids" fake alien/elvis/two headed baby photographs are believed only
by people who would believe anything anyway- witless hysterics and bar
stool philosophers.

24. given proper in\out and control interface, any software program can
be made to function in the form of electronic circuitry. any
digitizeable signal can be softwared through a computer to make the
computer function in any way, as audio, video or radio gear, electronic
testing and diagnostic gear, electronic gauge and monitoring gear. this
potential plasticity is analogous to the multi-functional plasticity of
the monitor screen, itself. the combination of the two makes digital
computing the most powerful tool since the lever.

25. the economics of surplus 1st generation obsolete gear removes
overheated costs from still viable technologies and promotes vigorous
experimentation and "re-prototyping" into new and unusual functions.
this area should not be overlooked for its potential to provide
breakthrough applications of off the shelf gear and conceptual leaps
unfettered by specialist myopia. rapid creation of surplus gear through
design revolution and subsequent obsolescence allows low budget
experimenters, hobbyists, tinkerers and artists to play fast and loose
with previously expensive equipment, often minus the hindrance of the
instruction manual, and often making discoveries far beyond the original
design specs of the gear in question.

26. computer modem communication has given birth to a new cultural
phenomenon known as "virtual communities" in which the prime modality of
personal relationship formation is the domain of the cerebral, ie.,
shared thought rather than shared action. the implications here are
staggering insofar as thought is the medium of the ideal and human
interaction is ultimately shepherded away from the banal and
inconsequential by virtue of the nature of the technology itself. this
community is both global and instantaneous. it's members are
recognizeable to one another not by their appearance, but by their
substance. with land line/satellite linkage via portable laptop
computer, no corner of the planet exists in isolation, and no private
news network has a monopoly on perception. furthermore, enough expertise
is accessable on a 24 hour basis so as to consitiute a global university
rivaling any accredited center of learning anywhere. soon, a three year
apprenticeship with "futurenet" and its associates will be more
prestigious than a degree from M.I.T. we will teach ourselves
autonomously and hunger for knowledge like no commodity.

27. up to this point most futurist projections have been hampered by
either a simpleminded "gee whiz" approach or an underlying
social/political agenda or a philosophical opposition to technology per
se. in absolutely no example of popularized futurology have authors
exhibited an understanding of the process of mind that results in
efficient, applied human invention. the origin of human genius is made
into a mystery, an eccentricity, a matter of luck, or, incredibly, the
"flipside of insanity". this outlook robs us of a great sense of
security about the intelligence of our forebears and robs us also of a
sense of confidence in our ability to educate ourselves out of any
problem- eventually even that of mortality. without an optimism based on
the potential of a culture to create intelligent beings at an increasing
rate, we hobble and retard human progress to a great cost of unnecessary
misery. it is a shame that the names and stories of the great inventors
are not a universal part of our folk culture as are our movie stars and
sports heros and that the power of their method does not animate the
hopes of every citizen.

28. "ninety-nine percent of humanity does not know that we have the
option to "make it" on the planet and in the universe. we do. it can
only be accomplished, however, through a design science initiative and
technological revolution" r. buckminster fuller in his 1981 book
"critical path" .