News of The Future: June 4, 2019

“Mars is there, waiting to be reached.”–Buzz Aldrin

“President Bush announced that we were landing on Mars today … which means he’s given up on Earth.”–Jon Stewart

Will we find microbes on Mars?  Can we make breathable Oxygen on Mars? I guess we’ll find out sometime between now and when we get there.  I’m not betting on Elon Musk’s aggressive timetable, and I’m certainly not expecting to go there myself.  But I do have a ticket to send my name there.

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

Mars/Moon/SpaceA team of researchers from Caltech has come up with a process by which breathable Oxygen might be generated from Carbon Dioxide for the benefit of future Mars explorers.  This is probably preferable to having it shipped there by Amazon.

–If you’re looking for life on Mars, you might want to look for pasta-shaped rock formations.  According to a University of Illinois scientist, a microbe that forms such growths lives in extremely harsh, low oxygen environments on Earth, and might be able to thrive on Mars.

–Neither you nor I are likely to be going to Mars anytime soon–if ever.  But you can send your name there.  NASA is inviting individuals to submit their names to be etched in a microchip headed there on the 2020 rover.  (Thanks to Eric Klein of the Lifeboat Foundation for providing me with the ticket below).

Future Transport–Back on Earth, Elon Musk’s latest promised gimmick will be to  produce a Tesla roadster powered by SpaceX rocket thruster technology–by next year.  Warning: do not exceed the sound barrier.

–The Canadian province of British Columbia is not taking climate change lying down.  They will phase out gas-powered vehicles, requiring 10% to be emission free by 2025 and banning gas-powered vehicles entirely by 2040.

–Wanna buy a flying car?  Listen to Seeking Delphi™ podcast #27.  Want an emission free vertical take-off-and-landing vehicle (VOTL)?  See the video below.

 

Sustainable Energy–If you’re seeking the holy grail of renewable, clean energy, there’s bad news.   Cold fusion, once and for all, is not it.  Google has blown more than a few bucks chasing that unicorn the last four years.

Biotechnology–Therapy delivering nanobots have moved one step closer to becoming reality.  IEEE Spectrum reports that South Korean scientists have propelled stem-cell carrying magnetic nanobots through a live mouse.

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

News of The Future This Week: May 24, 2019

“Our aim is to develop affectionate robots that can make people smile.”– Masayoshi Son

What–he worry?  Ford’s delivery robot.

Will that thing to the left make you smile?  I have my doubts about that.  If you’re not familiar with the concept of the uncanny valley, you will be soon.  Welcome to the creepy future!

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.

Robotics–Just a few weeks after the CEO of Ford admitted they had underestimated the difficulty in deploying self driving cars,  IEEE Spectrum reported  on Ford’s self-driving vans, with door-to-door delivery robots.  Can the bots be considered unemployed before they are formally employed?

Future Business–Fast Company projects that the companies of the future will be sustainable and employee owned.   This mirrors the triple-bottom line approach espoused by John C. Havens in Seeking Delphi™ podcast #17.

NASA’s lunar gateway. Image: Maxar Technologies

Space/NASA–Up until now, NASA’s plans to return astronauts to the moon have been rather vague.  No longer.  A $1.6 billion infusion for its Artemis Lunar project has resulted in a firm target of 2024.  The plan includes an orbiting lunar space station.  Can they do it by 2024?  The New York Times reports that it’s unlikely.

–The Artemis 1 mission, won’t carry astronauts.  But it will carry yeast into orbit around the sun.  The mission will launch 13 cubesats next year, one of which will carry two varieties of yeast to test their survivability and growth in the radiation of deep space.   E.T. make bread?

–A team of USC students have accomplished a rocketry first.  They are the first students to design and build a rocket that reached the 100Km (62 mile) altitude that is defined by international law as the boundary of space.  The school’s report says it used a parachute to land safely after reaching it’s targeted height–but it doesn’t say where.  Oh well, to quote that old  Tom Lehrer song, “Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That’s not my department says Wernher von Braun.”  [See Video below]

Elon Musk–Tesla might be in all sorts of financial troubles,  but Elon Musk has landed some funding for his The Boring Company.  His tunnel-digging enterprise has just landed its first paying customer, The Las Vegas Convention Center.  The center’s board of directors, as part of a $1.4 billion expansion plan, has allocated $46 million for two tunnels beneath the 200-acre site.  They will be cut to provide passage for electric vehicles and pedestrians.

Anti-Aging–George Church and his Rejuvenate Bio team have been relatively secretive about their efforts, to date, to reverse the effects of aging in dogs and mice.  But maybe we will learn more this summer, as Church has been confirmed as a speaker at LEAF’s Ending Age-Related Diseases conference in New York,  July 11-12.

–LEAF (Life Extension Advocacy Foundation) released the first installment of its LifeXten Show.  YouTube link below.

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: May 14, 2019

“I would love to have a robot butler.”–Brett Ratner

“I think I’d take a human butler over a robot one.”–Tom Felton

Want one of these?

Are you disappointed that we still don’t have flying cars?  Well then, you might also be bummed out that we don’t have robot butlers, either.  And while one company is trying to provide those robot butlers by an odd hybrid operated by human remote-control, I’m thinking it’s still a bit premature.  I won’t be letting a robot handle a bottle of ’83 Lafite Rothschild any time soon.

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.

Robotics–If Alexa, Siri, or even a Roomba, is not enough for you, the Japanese firm MIRA may have just the answer.  They plan to launch the world’s first robot butler service. But there’s a rather odd catch, and it’s maybe a bit creepy.  The robots won’t operate autonomously. They will be operated by remote control by employees of MIRA.

–Robots in the home might have a ways to go.  But robots in the hospital?  Those are here now. (see below)

5G/mobile technology–Even as the U.S. and China square off in a battle dominate the emerging 5G segment of cellphone technology,  Russia is making a desperate play to make up for it’s own lagging effort.  They want to scare US consumers into thinking it’s dangerous. Will anti-5Gers become the kindred spirits of anti-vaxxers?

Future Thinking–Ever notice that experts are often spectacularly wrong in forecasting the future of their fields?   According to the Atlantic magazine,  that’s because they view things too narrowly, and they cite a study to prove that broad thinking generalists often make better forecasters.

Fast Company says China’s propensity to take the long view will win in the end, economically.  They aim to be the global center of trade and commerce, and a divided, short-term oriented U.S. government may be no match for them.

Uber–Also for the Atlantic,  a word of caution on Uber.  Their tepid IPO might just be a reponse to their risky view of the future.

Lunar Exploration–The Trump administration wants the U.S. to return astronauts to moon by 2024.  They even have shifted some money to NASA for the project.  But the ultimate cost of said missions is still not been made public.

Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin have unveiled the desgin for their Blue Moon  lunar lander, which they also target for a 2024 touchdow.  It’s an impressive looking structure, but methinks the name Blue Moon might have some I.P. issues.

This is what Blue Moon conjures up for me.

 

Seeking Delphi™ podcast/coming attractions:  John C. Havens on IEEE’s new volume, Ethically Aligned Design, laying out their proposed framework for the safe and beneficial development of A.I. and other automated systems.

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: April 24, 2019

“My opinion is it’s a bridge too far to go to fully autonomous vehicles.”–Elon Musk, 2013

“We’ll have a fleet of robo taxis by the end of next year.”–(paraphrased), Elon Musk, this week

Ah, you have to love Elon Musk. Or maybe not.  If he were a politician, the election opponents would be all over him for flip-flopping.  Ok, so we’ll allow him to change his mind in light of further technological developments.  The problem is, some pretty big names in field of autonomous vehicles don’t agree with him.  And as for his track record on Tesla promises…well, you know the drill.

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.

Autonomous Vehicles–Barely two weeks after Ford CEO Jim Hackett admitted that “the industry overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles,” Elon Musk shot back with a much rosier, prediction. He’s forecasting that Tesla will roll out a fleet of self-driving taxis by the end of next year, even as many other automotive executives are suggesting that 10 years is a far more realistic timeframe than one year.

–Tesla posted this video of an autonomous road trip (below)

Elon unveilled a Boring Company hyperloop test tunnel in California last year

Hyperloop/Boring Company–On another Elon Musk front, his The Boring Company made a major step towards a formal government approval of its first subterranean hyperloop transport system.  It filed a 505-page environmental assessment study on the impact of its proposed NY-Philly-Baltimore-DC underground transit loop.  Musk says an initial 16 tunnels for the route between Baltimore and D.C. could be completed in 15-23 months.  Judging by the number of state, local and federal agencies that have to sign off on the proposal, it’s likely to take a lot longer than that to get the needed approvals.

CRISPR/gene editing–One of the inventors of the gene editing process, CRISPR, has a strong message for us.  Jennifer Doudna says we’ll be eating CRISPR-edited foods within 5 years.

–On the other hand, Nature News reports that working with CRISPR-edited lab animals is proving to be a challenge. Key among those challenges is keeping them alive.

Space–China continues to ramp up its space efforts.  They plan to launch an asteroid-comet mission in 2022.  On a more disturbing front,  they are apparently using U.S. satellite technology to ramp up their global surveillance efforts.

Meanwhile, a more restrained NASA has assembled and tested it Mars 2020 rover.

Gig economy–According to this opinion piece in OneZero, the gig economy may be broadening the rich/poor gap.

Surveillance/Existential Risk.–Techno-philospher Nick Bostrom may be best known as a dyed-in-the wool transhumanist, and the man who first proffered the suggestion that all of us may living in an simulation.   Now–going one step farther than Stephen Hawking’s suggestion that we might need a global government to keep tabs on the existential risks of technology–Bostrom has suggested that global surveillance of every single human might be the only thing that can save us.

Seeking Delphi™ podcast/coming attractions:  John C. Havens on IEEE’s new volume, Ethically Alligned Design, laying out their proposed framework for the safe and beneficial development of A.I. and other automated systems.

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: April 15, 2019

“We are an impossibility in an impossible universe”–Ray Bradbury

If you’re fed up with all the doings on our messed up planet,  this is the perfect week to be reading about news of the future.  Most of it takes place off of terra firma.

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.

 Space Commerce–Even before the dust settled on the failed Israeli moon lander,  the enterprise behind it announced they will try again.

–At least three companies are set to test new rockets  by 2021, in a quest to win one of two Air Force contracts to launch up to 25 satellites between 2022 and 2026.  But Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin will have to compete with SpaceX’s already proven Falcon 9.

Image: Stratolaunch Systems

Taking a different approach to rocketry,  Stratolaunch completed the first test flight of the world’s largest aircraft.  The 385-foot wing span behemoth is designed to carry rockets to a height of 35,000 feet for orbital launch.

 Aerospace–The European Space Agency and Oxford-based Reaction Engines report that the design for a hypersonic space plane engine has passed a prelimiarny test.   At a projected top speed of 25 times the speed of sound, the vehicle could cut transit times from London to New York to under 60 minutes.

Astronomy–Even as the first image of a black hole was released, Next Big Future reported on a new telescope technology that will probe even deeper into the secrets of the cosmos.  A space based gravitation-wave array will team up with ground based telescopes by around 2030.

Despite the release of the first direct image of a black hole, New Scientist says there is still much about them we don’t know.

–Want to help name a dwarf planet?  You have until May 10 vote for the name of the largest unnamed object in solar system.

Image credit: Uber

Self-Driving Cars–Uber told investors that self-driving cars are critical to its future success.  It also warned that there is a lot that can go wrong.  You think?

–While Uber aims to dodge metaphorical potholes,  Tesla says it’s autopilot will soon be able to dodge literal ones.

Robotics–A new study of Major League Baseball pitch calls makes a strong case for robot umpires.

Undong Aging 2019–In case you missed it, here is the link to the Seeking Delphi™ Undoing  Aging 2019 highlight podcast.  YouTube slide show version below.

Seeking Delphi™ podcast/coming attractions:  Intel’s Katalin Bártfai-Walcott joins host Mark Sackler to discuss the future of ambient computing and digital twins.

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: March 19, 2019

“If you build a better mousetrap, you will catch better mice.”–George Gobel

And…exactly what happens if you build better mice?   Genetic editing seems to be making many strides in that direction.  The only question left is, will it ultimately make better people?

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.

 Genetic Editing–Researchers at UC, Berkeley, claim to have restored sight of blind mice by using a killed virus to insert a gene with green-light receptors into their eyes.  They hope human trials might begin within 3 years.

Longevity/Anti-Aging–Have you considered the potential impact that superlongevity could have on retirement and social security?  I have.  So has next big future in this think piece. I’ll be attending the 2019 Undoing Aging conference in Berlin later this month, and I intend to put the question to several of the key people there.

Future Cities/Autonomous Vehicles–What will the smart cities of 2050 look like? Peter Diamandis thinks autonomous vehicles will be a major part of it.

–Speaking of smart cities and autonomous vehicles, Hacker Noon, thinks the IoT can converge with vehicles to ease congestion. That’s something Rapid Flow Technologies is already doing (see YouTube podcast slide show link below).

–While we’re talking about autonomous vehicles, here’s another video demonstrating autonomous valet car parking at one of France’s busiest airports.

 

Robotics/Artificial Intelligence–Seeking Delphi first explored the concept of the robotic uncanny valley in a 2017 podcast interview with Heart of The Machine author, Richard Yonck.  Wired says eerie robot voices make them even more uncanny, and that nobody is talking about it. (Richard Yonck would probably disagree–he talked about it in his book).

–It seems that A.I. might not only replace many existing professions, it might be used to revive new ones as well.   A Chinese University is using A.I. as a sort of autonomous truant officer to monitor class attendance rates and reduce absenteeism.

Space/Space Commerce–25 nations are meeting this week to discuss treaties to prevent the militarization of space.  But a U.S. challenge to Russia and China over development of anti-satellite weapons could disrupt the whole process.

Maybe a SpaceX logo on the next space suit?

–NASA plans for a return to the moon may include commercial rockets.  The Verge reports that this may signal a paradigm shift in deep space exploration.

Seeking Delphi™ podcast/coming attractions: In the weeks ahead. look for David Wood on his newest book, Sustainable superabundance, Verne Wheelright on personal futures, and highlights from the 2019 Undoing Aging Conference (Berlin, Germany, March 28-30).

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: March 12, 2019

“I never questioned the integrity of an umpire. Their eyesight, yes.”–Leo Durocher

Is nothing sacred?  A year after World Team Tennis went to all-automated line calls, Major League Baseball is upping the robotic ante with a potential move to eliminate the human factor in calling balls and strikes.  The human factor of a Billy Martin or Leo Durocher kicking dirt on an umpire was largely eliminated with the advent of replay reviews.  Who knows where this will lead?

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.

Argue this!

Robotics/automation–The independent Atlantic League will serve as MLB’s testing ground for robotic umpires.  We’ll leave the other proposed rule changes they are testing to the sports blogs.

–If accurate ball and strike calls is a sublime use of automation, an opera singing robot might just be ridiculous. (see YouTube video below.)

–If a singing robot doesn’t make you scratch your head, how about a holographic virtual singer–who just happened to pack them in at a concert hall in China

–Cancer patients have been getting robotic surgery.  The New York Times reports the results may be less than stellar.

–Artificial intelligence may be better at diagnosis, though.  Science Daily reports that robots can detect breast cancer as well as radiologists. But I bet the robots get paid less.

Climate change–There’s something refreshing about a politician who actually has a long-term view of our future–one that goes well beyond the next election.  You and I may not agree with everything that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez advocates, but as  futurist, I have to admire her use of scenarios to envision a better, more sustainable world in 2050.

Space Commerce–Elon Musk continues to push for a permanently manned moon base.  But Discover says we need to learn how to mine there, first.

Electric Vehicles–For electric cars to become pervasive, they are going to have to become profitable for manufacturers.  A new McKinsey report suggests a path to that end.

Seeking Delphi™ podcast/coming attractions: In the weeks ahead. look for David Wood on his newest book, Sustainable superabundance, Verne Wheelright on personal futures, and highlights from the 2019 Undoing Aging Conference (Berlin, Germany, March 28-30).

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