This is a video of a random walk through a self organizing map trained on human figures. Self organizing maps themselves are not very cognitively plausible ( they have extremely limited computational power ). I am wondering if some combination of a feature encoding network and a self organizing map might give the best of both systems ?
But the general population, caught between Science: The Endless Frontier and Frankenstein, is ready to be challenged. Ballard struck a deep chord with people across the spectrum. Ballard is uninimitable, but his ideas were better than his style, and if SF is to break out of the ghetto, we the SF community should return to Ballard's questions. How does technology give life to our obsessions, with consequences for our 'humanity'? What is the link between the dark reptilian center of the mind, and the chrome and glass towers of the future? How can we exist in technologically warped spaces, with equally subjective time? Ballard rarely asked 'why'; the search for answers is more important than the search for causes. Technology is. It is humanity's child, and it has a life of its own, a life with direction and momentum beyond the control of the scrambling masses.
http://io9.com/5221560/remembering-jg-ballards-science-fiction-legacy (io9, scifi)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2009/apr/19/jgballard (the news media)
http://www.nme.com/blog/index.php?blog=10&title=no_future_why_jg_ballard_is_rock_s_favou&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1 (NME, did you know he was considered the inspiration for the New Wave movement?)
http://www.obit-mag.com/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5348 (obit, conventional)
http://www.thestar.com/article/623474 (Cronenberg on Ballard)
http://jalopnik.com/5218763/jg-ballard-1930+2009 (Car blog on Ballard, particularly good comments)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/apr/25/dying-fall-jg-ballard (one last story)
http://www.ballardian.com/rattling-other-peoples-cages-the-jg-ballard-interview (an interview with Ballard)
Ballard's strength was also his weakness. As the 20th century became the 21st, his writing became less relevant, his themes solidified. Having an eponymous adjective is both an honor and curse, but there are few words that more accurately describe modern urban life than 'Ballardian.' I hope that the science-fiction community takes up his challenge to critically examine our continually changing, increasingly personal relationship with science and technology. His vision will be sorely missed.