New Feature: The Future This Week.

“Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses.”–Tracy Morgan

Future news travels here, if a week behind (eat your heart out, John Oliver).   And we won’t report on hexagonal pizzas. I promise.

Without further ado, then, here is this past week’s future-related news.

Biotech–

  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark office issued a ruling in favor of the Broad Institute, a joint venture of Harvard and M.I.T., in its patent dispute with the University of California, Berkeley over the rights to CRISPR/Cas 9 gene editing.  The ruling upheld patents granted to Broad in 2014, and effectively stated that they were different enough from those applied for by Berkeley to stand.   Shares of Editas Medicine which has an exclusive CRISPR license from Broad were up 20% after the ruling. Both sides indicated expectations that the I.P.  battle has probably just begun.

 

  • Since CRISPR/Cas9 and other new and powerful gene editing techniques have the potential to exact great change in the human genome–and with it the entire future of human experience, it would probably be a good idea to engage a public discussion on how and when to proceed,  and with what applications.  That’s just what a group of U.S. scientists suggest.  In a far reaching report issued jointly by The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine,  they suggest heritable human germ cell tests be limited primarily to the treatment of intractable genetic diseases, at least until more public discussion can be generated.

 

  • Dr. George Church of Harvard University, who was mentioned in the first Seeking Delphi podcast on radical longevity extension, predicted that age reversal in humans will be achieved in 10 years.  This vs. the 50% probability within 25 years forecast by David Wood in The Abolition of Aging.  I hope I’m around long enough to see at least one of them be right.  If you missed the podcast,  the YouTube version is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Elon Musk–(yes, he’s reached the point of being his own category–just a few of the relevant stories below)

Technology–

  • Bill Gates doesn’t warrant his own category these days, but he did say something bold.  He suggested that if robots take your job, they should be taxed.   While acknowledging that such a measure could hinder innovation to some degree, he also realizes that massive job losses need to be offset.  One way he suggests is to use the tax proceeds to to fund training for jobs that humans will still do.  Hmmm.  Like robot maintenance?

 

If you see something during the coming week that ought to be here next time, please let me know.  The next Seeking Delphi Podcast, scheduled for midweek release, will feature futurist and financial manager Jim Lee talking about Technology Investing for the Future.

 

 

 

David Wood on The Abolition of Aging,  in the premiere episode of  the Seeking Delphi, podcast.

Three Interesting New Social Robots for 2017

Fascinating stuff from one of my fellow U of H foresight students.

Kiteba: A Futurist Blog and Resource

Social robotics continues to develop, and new robots are appearing on the market all the time. According to reports from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), robots stole the show. Typical of the reporting, USA Today wrote, “We saw robots to make your morning coffee, pour candy, fold your clothes, turn on and off your lights, project a movie on the wall, handle your daily chores and most impressively, look just like a human, or in this case, legendary scientist Albert Einstein, with facial expressions and movement.”

Turn on and off your lights? Well, all these little household applications may seem like small, even trivial steps along the way to the robotic future of our favorite scifi movies, but they are steps, and consumer demand for social robots, i.e., robots that interact with us socially and/or play predominantly social roles in our lives, I would argue, is key to the development…

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Podcast Episode 3: Whatever Happened to Fuel Cells?

“I believe fuel cells could end the 100-year reign of the internal combustion engine.” –William Clay Ford

Hydrogen fuel cells have long been touted as a possible replacement for the internal combustion engine.  But progress has been slow,  and the emergence of this technology seems not much closer than it was 20 years ago.   In episode #3 of Seeking Delphi, I explore the world of Hydrogen Fuel Cells with William Smith, the CEO of Infinity Fuel Cell and Hydrogen, Inc.  The oil companies may not want you to hear this, but this technology is not dead yet.   Links to Infinity’s web site and this weeks news stories are below.  Seeking Delphi is now available on iTunes. Now also on YouTube.

William Smith

William Smith

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast episode 3: Whatever Happened to Fuel Cells , running time 22:13.

Infinity Fuel Cell and Hydrogen, Inc.

Turning exhaust into ink

New Dictionary Words

NASA’s commercial airlock

Venus-proof computer

Honda-GM fuel cell venture

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Search Seeking Delphi on iTunes for the RSS feed of this podcast.

 

 

 

Podcast #2: The Abolition of Aging (part 2)

“I have aging as a disease.”–Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of Bioviva

In episode one of Seeking Delphi, the podcast, I spoke with David Wood, chair of  London Futurists, about his book The Abolition of Aging.  Specifically, we talked about his bold forecast of a 50% probability of widely available, affordable rejuvenation therapy being available by 2040.  In part two of my interview with David, we discuss a few of the wide ranging implications for society, should radical longevity extension become a reality.  Retirement, work, sustainability and the meaning of life itself are all in play.

 

 

 

David Wood

 

David Wood bio

The Abolition of Aging on Amazon.com

Mark Fields, Ford CEO, interview with Business Insider

Business Insider story on renewable energy job growth

GM/Honda joint fuel cell venture, as reported by Motley Fool

Prepare for the 25 hour day

 

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