News of The Future This Week: September 25, 2018

“If I go to hotels, they always say, ‘Welcome back’, even when I’ve never been there before.“– Geena Davis

There’s a solution to Geena Davis’s problem.  I don’t know if you’re going to like it. But I know the hotel workers of the world are scared to death of it.  Even as the World Economic Forum projects that robots will create more jobs than they kill,  hospitality workers around the world are talking unionizing to protect jobs if Alexa replaces them on the front desk.

While you’re reading about all this week’s future-related  news, don’t forget that you can subscribe to Seeking Delphi™ podcasts on iTunes, PlayerFM, or YouTube (audio with slide show) and you can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook 

Automation/Future of Work–The New York Times reports that front desk robots and facial recognition may soon be coming to a hotel near you.   And hotel workers around the world are not pleased.

It’s not all bad news, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum.  While 80 million jobs could vanish by 2022–robots will consume them– 133 million new ones could take their place.  The question is, do the displaced workers possess the skills for the new jobs?  They might not.

Peekaboo. I hope they see you.

 —And maybe, just maybe, some technologies can help make things better for worker and customer alike.  To that end, Walmart has placed an order for 17,000 Oculus Go headsets, with an aim toward using virtual reality in worker training.

Space Technology/Space Commerce–DARPA has awarded $1.3 million to a Plymouth University to conduct a feasibility study on a new space propulsion system called quantized inertia.  It’s based on an idea to use light, rather than fuel, to create thrust.

–Meanwhile, NASA is concerned with what astronauts are going to eat on a 2 1/2 year journey to Mars and back.  They can’t carry that much food with them, so they are going to have to be able to grow it.

Mars Base Alpha. 2028 or 2048–or never?

Elon Musk continues to pursue an aggressive timeline for his SpaceX venture to colonize Mars.  He now sets 2028 as the goal for establishing Mars Base Alpha.  I’m not betting on it just yet…

Less ambitious–and a safer bet for 2028–is the Chinese plan for that year.  They propose to launch there gargantuan Long March 9 into low earth orbit that year, carrying as much as 140 tons of cargo.

–NASA…SpaceX…China…Russia…well, Japan beat them all.  This week their space agency became the first to land rovers on an asteroid.  They project to bring samples back by 2020.

Future Internet–Speaking at a private event earlier this week, former Google CEO warned that the internet may split completely in two by 2028.  The issue is China, as they pursue their own agenda to censor much of the world’s content from their populace and create their own.

Seeking Delphi™ podcasts are available on iTunes, PlayerFM, or YouTube (audio with slide show) and you can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook 

Podcast Special Edition: 2018 IEEE Technology Time Machine Preview

“I saw huge buildings rise up faint and fair, and pass like dreams.” 
― H.G. Wells,  The Time Machine.

This special edition of the Seeking Delphi™ podcast provides a preview of the 2018 IEEE Technology Time Machine, to be held October 31-November 1, at the Hilton Resort and Spa, San Diego, CA.  Joining host Mark Sackler to discuss the upcoming program is Roberto Saracco, who heads the IEEE initiative on Symbiotic Autonomous Systems and is one of the conference organizers.  He was previously interviewed on Seeking Delphi Podcast #22.  See links below the embedded podcast audio and YouTube slide show to access event information and registration.

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Seeking Delphi™ is a media sponsor of the 2018 Technology Time Machine

 

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Podcast Special Edition:  2017 Emotion AI Summit

YouTube slide show: 2018 Technology Time Machine Preview

 

IEEE home page

Technology Time Machine links:

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News of The Future This Week: September 17, 2018

This weeks’s post was delayed pending the revelation of the identity of SpaceX’s first lunar orbit space tourist.  See below.

“”The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.”–Carl Sandberg

 

If you circled the moon–alone–you’d probably wind up talking to it. And tonight we found out who Elon Musk plans to send around the moon as the first SpaceX lunar tourist.  Undoubtedly, everbody will want a piece of him.

While you’re reading about all this week’s future-related  news, don’t forget that you can subscribe to Seeking Delphi™ podcasts on iTunes, PlayerFM, or YouTube (audio with slide show) and you can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook 

Artisit’s conception; spaceX BFR lunar vehicle

 Space–Elon Musk’s SpaceX made the big annoucement tonight.  In a live streamed event he revealed the identity of the first space tourist to orbit the moon, launched by its BFR rocket.   He is Japanese billionaire Yasaku Maezawa.  Launch is projected for 2023.

India revealed its first design for space suits.  They may not win any visual design awards, but hopefully they’ll keep their astronauts safe, starting in 2022.

Not exactly for a stroll in the park

Neural Networks/future of computing–An interdiscipinary group of researchers including biologists and computer scientists at Lehigh University have obtained a grant from the National Science Foundation to grow a computer made out of living cells.  Your next CPU could, quite literally, be grown in a Petri dish.

Anti-aging/rejuvenation–In Seeking Delphi™ podcast epidose #19,  Aubrey de Grey lamented that no significant progress had been made toward achieving what he calls “robust mouse rejuvenation.”  That would be the ability to significantly extend, perhaps to double or more, the life expectancy of a mouse, starting interventions well into it’s lifetime  That was back in December of last year.   Now, 9 months later, Harvard scientist George Church says he has done it–his Rejuvenate Bio has doubled the lifespan of a mouse.

Don’t ask what it will cost. He’s not saying, yet.

Hyperloop/The Boring Company–Elon Musk wants to marry the services of two of  his compnies for the benefit of your immediate transportation convenience.  He wants to dig a tunnel directly from a  garage to provide hyperloop access.

Mobile Communication–Call management and protection company First Orion says that by next year nearly half of all U.S. cellphone calls will be scams.  You could have fooled me; I thought we’d already passed that.

Health trackers–MIT has developed a health sensor system that can track you around the house, even through walls.  The device resembles a wi-fi router and uses radio signals and machine learning.

Seeking Delphi™ podcasts are available on iTunes, PlayerFM, or YouTube (audio with slide show) and you can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook 

News of The Future This Week: September 9, 2018

“A.I. doesn’t trust us, either.”–Rana el Kaliouby, CEO, Affectiva

 

Get ready for all A.I., all the time.  It’s the lion’s share of the news this week.  After all, Rana el Kaliouby says, among other things, that it should ultimately be pervasive.  In this week’s tech press, it pretty much is.  I did throw in a space story, if only for accent–and maybe to appease those who’ve had enough of machine intelligence.

While you’re reading about all this week’s future-related  news, don’t forget that you can subscribe to Seeking Delphi™ podcasts on iTunes, PlayerFM, or YouTube (audio with slide show) and you can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook 

Artificial Intelligence–The second Affectiva Emotion AI Summit, held this week in Boston, focused on the theme Trust in AI. And it featured Rana el Kaliouby’s bold assertion that appears at the top of this page. (Link to video highlights of last year’s summit available at the bottom of the page).

Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Google China, had some words of warning for the U.S.  He says that China will overtake America in A.I. within five years.

Almost on cue, Peter Diamandis published a review of Lee’s new book, A.I. Superpowers.  It outlines what Lee defines as four distinct waves of A.I., and what it means to control each of them.

–A tech story with Elon Musk? No way!  Mr. Impossible said this week that his Neuralink company will “soon” announce a product that will link your mind directly to a computer; he believes this link will be necessary to maintaining control of  A.I.  There is a reason soon is in quotes.

–Residents of Norfolk, England, may be a bit nervous about the prospects of local police catching anyone who burglarizes their home.  It seems the local bobbies are using an algorithm to determine if they should even bother to investigate.

–One area where A.I. could really prove to be a boon is in drug development.  Anything that could cut into soaring pharmaceutical R&D costs would be welcome, as the Diamandis Tech Blog reports

Artisits conception: reusable space plane.

Space commerce–Hot on the heals of a Japanese university and a construction company announcing a partnership to begin space elevator experiments, another Japanese firm has announced a traget of 2023 for the launch of a reusable space plane.

 

 

 

Highlight video from the first Emotion AI Summit, September 13, 2017

Seeking Delphi™ podcasts are available on iTunes, PlayerFM, or YouTube (audio with slide show) and you can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook 

2018 Emotion AI Summit

“What will kill us first, artificial intelligence or natural stupidity?’–Habib Haddad

 

Do you trust A.I.?   No?  May I ask why not?

Self-driving car crashes, you say? Automation job-killing apocalypse? A complete takeover and destruction of humanity by rogue super-A.I.?

Well, consider this missive, from Affectiva co-founder and CEO Rana el Kaliouby:

“A.I., doesn’t trust us either.”

Rana el Kaliouby adddressing the second Affectiva Emotion AI Summit.

She made this astounding statement in her keynote address at the second Emotion AI Summit, held in Boston, Massachusetts on September 6.  Trust in A.I., was the theme of this year’s meeting, and with good reason. The meeting covered the ethical and trust issues in A.I., in areas as diverse as autonomous vehicles, product marketing and education.

Since last year’s inaugural summit, which was held by Affectiva at the iconic MIT Media Lab, the news has been full of not-so-encouraging stories about a possible dark future of A.I.   More than one economic pundit has predicted a massive kill-off of jobs by smart automated systems.  Elon Musk, and until his recent demise, Stephen Hawking, have been all over the media with warnings of an A.I. doomsday.

So, what’s with Kaliouby’s position?  As the CEO of perhaps the foremost producer of emotion-savvy A.I. software, she obviously has motive to persuade us to trust AI.  But why wouldn’t it trust us?

Perhaps the statement was hyperbole.  She explained it as the need for A.I. to trust that it is getting good input from us, so it can make the right decisions.  But until we have sentient, general A.I., it might better be interpreted another way.  To trust A.I., we first must trust ourselves to provide the right programming and input for A.I.  As one presenter put it, the goal should not be to create good A.I., but A.I that does good.

In her closing address, el Kaliouby put forth what she called a three-part contract with A.I.  Trust—mutually—is the first part.  We trust it and it trusts us.  The second part is pervasiveness.  She feels it needs to ultimately encompass virtually all our experience.  And third, it needs to be ethical; this assumes we can define what that is.

But perhaps the most telling comment came from one member who appeared on a panel of venture capitalists who discussed investing in A.I.

When asked what is it that excites you the most and that scares you the most about A.I., Habib Haddad, of E14 Fund, said his greatest worry is, “what will kill us first, artificial intelligence or natural stupidity?

Seeking Delphi™ podcasts are available on iTunes, PlayerFM, or YouTube (audio with slide show) and you can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook