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 

News of The Future This Week: August 19, 2018

“Those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” – John F Kennedy

 

What is a futurist? I get asked that all the time.  No, we don’t have crystal balls.  It’s not so much about predicting the future as it is about helping steer humanity to a better future.  This week’s news of the future kicks off with a new video by British futurist Ray Hammond that provides a succinct historical perspective on the study of the 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 

 Future Thinking–From Roger Bacon to Alvin Toffler and Ray Kurzweill,  Ray Hammond’s new video on The History of Futurists and Futurology provides a thoughtful perspective on thinking about things to come.

–And from last year’s annual meeting of The Association of Professional Futurists, my Seeking Delphi podcast, redux, asking the practitioners themselves, What is a Futurist?

 

Tesla semi (artist’s conception)

Future transportation–Elon Musk continues to lead the way when it comes to inventing the future of transportation.  His Boring Company aims to create a 3 mile long tunnel to Dodger Stadium to help ease Los Angeles traffic, to be operative by late next year.  And Tesla looks to roll out its first electric semi- truck, also in 2019.

Space Exploration/Commerce–Want to mine the asteroids?  Now it’s possible to get a master’s degree, or even a Ph.D., dedicated to exactly that.  The Colorado School of Mines offers the program to study the “exploration, extraction, and use of [space] resources.”

Meanwhile, China’s  announced plans to send two robots to explore the far side of the moon now has a launch target of this December. 

Graphene Jacket (image credit: Vollebak)

Material Science–A company called Vollebak has introduced the world’s first graphene jacket.  Light weight, water proof, and durable, it will only set you back $695.

Military Technology–Damn the cyber torpedoes, it’s full speed ahead for the US to build a megawatt laser weapon by 2023.  The aim is to intercept ICBM’s and hypersonic weapons.

The Human Condition–Millennium Project CEO and State of The Future lead author, Jerome Glenn, says that we have done better than most people expected.  He goes so far as to say, in the latest Seeking Delphi™ interview linked below, that “we are winning as a species.”  He does acknowledge critical issues that could derail the trajectory of progress, however.

Episode #24: The State of The Future, with Jerome Glenn

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 #24: The State of The Future, with Jerome Glenn

The future ain’t what it used to be.”–Yogi Berra

“We’re doing a lot better than people think.”–Jerome Glenn, on The State of The Future.

Ah, you have to love Yogi.  He had no idea what he was talking about.  But–surprise, surprise–the blind squirrel does occasionally find a nut.  Because the future and all of its possibilities–its challenges and opportunities–is constantly changing.  Just ask Jerome Glenn and his colleagues in Millennium Project,  who have issued 19 editions of The State of The Future over the past 20-plus years.  I did;  that is the basis for Seeking Delphi™ podcast #24: The State of The Future with Jerome Glenn.

All Seeking Delphi™  podcasts are available on iTunes, PlayerFM, and  YouTube.  You can also follow us on Facebook and on twitter @MarkSackler

 

Jerome Glenn: click for bio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking Delphi™ Episode #24: The State of The Future with Jerome Glenn

YouTube slide show, Episode #24

The State of The Future on Amazon.com

Global Futures Intelligence System

A reminder that this and all Seeking Delphi ™podcasts are available on iTunes, PlayerFM, and  YouTube.  You can also follow us on Facebook and on twitter @MarkSackler

News of The Future This Week: August 12, 2018

“I could have gone on flying in space forever”–Yuri Gagarin

 

Move over, Buck Rogers.  The U.S. administration wants to build a space force. With budget deficits approaching 10 figures, it could just be posturing–or wishful thinking.   Elon Musk inisists he isn’t posturing on getting to Mars, though.  He’s all over the space news this week–for a change.

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–U.S. vice president addressed the Pentagon with details of a proposed Space Force to be implemented by 2020.  With a trillion dollar deficit looming, and a congressional majority composed of Republicans who (supposedly) espouse smaller government, it will be interesting to see where the funding will come from.

–The space force may be in doubt, but it’s full speed ahead to Mars, as far as Elon Musk is concerned.  He convened a secret Mars workshop, attended by prominant scientists and engineers, to address colonization of the Red Planet.

Meanwhile, Russia intends to compete with Elon and his SpaceX for heavy payload launch capability–eventually.  Their rocket with 70 ton launch capacity is targeted for a rollout in 2028.  Don’t look now, Vladimir, but with ten years lead time, Elon is bound to build something bigger.

TESS, image credit: NASA

–For you exo-planet fans, new estimates from NASA suggest it’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite could identify up to 10,000 new alien worlds over the next two years.  As many as 3500 of them could be smaller than Neptune, down to and including Earth-sized planets.

Automation/future of work–  Back on the ground, Elon Musk has other issues to deal with.  His plans to fully automate a Tesla plant haven’t gone so smoothly.

Alternative energy/Environment–Elon has competiton in the alternative-energy trucking space as well.  The ironically named Nikola has reportedly raised $100 million dollars for the launch its hyrdrogen-powered trucking venture.  

The Human Condition–Millennium Project CEO and State of The Future lead author, Jerome Glenn, says that we have done better than most people expected.  He goes so far as to say, in this Seeking Delphi™ interview linked below, that “we are winning as a species.”  He does acknowledge critical issues that could derail the trajectory of progress, however.

Episode #24: The State of The Future, with Jerome Glenn

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: August 5, 2018

“Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?”–Edgar Bergen

 

The future of work is a very “now” debate.  While many see an A.I. job-killing armageddon over the next 10-20 years, others are more sanguine.  This week’s stories include some new published points of view that lean to the more optimistic side.

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–Worried about losing your job to A.I, robotics, or some such form of automation?  According to this report in Next Big Future, the 2020’s AND 2030’S could see a tech-driven economic boom.   Maybe it won’t be so bad.

–Boom or no, technology is bound to kill at least some jobs.  Two technology authors, reporting in Forbes, discuss the job opportunities in the era of man/machine interface.

To the above end, a Stanford scholar says that artificial intelligence will both disrupt and benefit workplace.

Image Credit: Tech Insider

Artificial Intelligence–Read any good novels lately?  According to one computer scientist, artificial intelligence may be writing them within ten years.  

Hackernoon explains the how and why of using A.I. to make better predictions.  Uh oh, I hope futurists won’t be rendered obsolete!

DARPA aims to help keep the current U.S. lead in development of A.I.  They’ve initiated an excelerated program to award $1-million breakthrough development grants within three months of proposal submission, with an aim towards providing results within 18 months of award.

A report from QY Research forecasts exponential growth in the market for A.I. software over the next few years.  They project the annual global market value to grow to $78 billion by 2025,  up from $2.65 billion in 2017.

Future Energy–A recent technology breakthrough could triple the output of solar cells.  Researchs in the UK have come up with a method to increase capture efficiency from 20% to 60%.

Award-winning Mars habitat design by Team Zopherus of RRogers, Arkansas

Space Exploration–Speaking of government research grants, NASA is in the game, too.  They’ve awarded $100,000 to five private enterprises competing to design a Mars habitat.

NASA has named a class of 9 astronauts to fly the first commercially built manned spacecrafts. Their partnerships with Boeing and SpaceX hope to yeild the first mission before the end of next year.

A new NASA report suggests it is impossible to terraform Mars.  Well, at least impossible using today’s technology.  Elon Musk isn’t buying it, and neither am I.  What about tomorrow’s technology?  What a bout Clarke’s first law?  “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

Coming Soon–The next Seeking Delphi™ podcast will feature and interview with Jerome Glenn, co-founder and executive director of The Millennium Project, on their most recent edition of The State of The Future.

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 

News of The Future This Week: July 15, 2018

“I believe we are on the dawn of a new era in commercial space exploration.”–Elon Musk

 

Yeah, well, ol’ Elon would say that.  His SpaceX venture is heavily invested and involved, both with NASA and other space faring concerns, and is somewhere between trying to colonize Mars long term and actually turning a profit, near term.  But in the final analysis, what they seem to be locked into is a race with Boeing to launch the first commercial manned space vehicle, and thus  get back to where NASA was over 50 years ago.

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–Despite all the bravado, Elon Musk may not be winning the race for the first commercial manned space launch.  A new internal NASA document suggests they believe that Boeing may beat them to the punch.

Oh SpaceX, were art thou?

–According to that same government audit report, neither company is likely to be ready to launch crews to the ISS in 2019.  It states that neither company is likely to be able to do so before Augist of 2020.

–While Boeing and SpaceX race to send crews into space, another concern has a loftier goal.  Israeli firm SpaceIL plans to launch the first privately-funded, unmanned lunar lander, in February of next year.  They’ll use a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in an attempt to claim the Google X prize.

Hail! Halil, Asgardia, land of the free and brave!

–Manned space commerce may still be a ways away, and space colonization even farther out.  But that hasn’t stopped Russian computer scientist Igor Ashurbeyli and the 200,000 denizens of self-acclaimed space nation Asgardia from naming him the first leader of the (as of now) virtual nation, as Futurism.com reports.

 Hail, Hail Asgardi…er…Freedonia…land of the free and brave!

Longevity/Anti-aging research–One of the leading figures in the radical human longevity field has tempered his former optimism.  In silico CEO Alex Zhavoronkov now thinks the 150+ year human lifespan he has long dreamed of won’t become reality any time soon.

On the other hand, researchers at Stowers Institute for Medical Research have made a stem cell breakthrough that could lead to antiaging therapy.  They’ve discovered the one cell in flatworms capable of regenerating an entire organism.

Future transportation–Do  you think self-driving cars are a bit out there?  Flying cars?   Now a French firm is proposing what amounts to a flying train. (Video below).

French flying train proposal.  Maybe they’re just giddy about the World Cup?

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