News of The Future This Week: February 24, 2019

“I had to stop driving my car for a while… the tires got dizzy.”–Steven Wright

Elon Musk is at it again.  And if you believe him, there will be another excuse for bad driving available by the end of next year.  He says Tesla auto-pilot could be reliable enough for drivers to safely sleep behind the wheel.   Will Tesla really be ready?  Will the public be ready?  If not, it could end very badly.

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.

Self-Driving Cars–Elon Musk is promising Tesla drivers they will be able to nap behind the wheel by the end of next year. There are a lot of skeptics regarding that timeline–including myself.  And there are already a lot of drivers out there who seem to be sleeping.

Space/Space Commerce–Musk is also taking criticism in other areas as well.  In a widely publicized talk in New York this past week, Amazon CEO and Musk space commerce rival Jeff Bezos laid into the SpaceX goal of colonizing Mars.  He also had uncomplimentary words for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space tourism venture.  There’s nothing like commercial competition…

Regardless of what  Jeff Bezos thinks of Virgin Galactic, its spaceplane reached the boundary of space for the second time this past week.  And for the first time, it carried a passenger along with the astronaut crew.

–It’s a far cry from Mars,  but SpaceX did launch the first private lunar lander with its Falcon 9 rocket.  The lander was designed and built by Israeli firm SpaceIL.

–While  private ventures continue to gain the lion’s share of news headlines regarding manned flight and Mars exploration, NASA remains focused on exo-planets.  Universe Today reports on it’s proposed WFIRST space telescope, planned for a launch in the mid 2020-s.  They suggest it will be up to 100 times more powerful than Hubble and capable of detecting perhaps a million exo-planets.

Artists conceptioon: robot museum built by robots.

Robotics/Automation–What’s more au courant than a robot museum?  How about a robot museum that is itself built by robots?  That’s apparently what South Korea is planning to do.

5G/Mobil Technology–Even as Verizen unveiled plans for rolling out 5G technology to 30 cities later this year, Donald Trump called for 6G–which doesn’t even exist.

Coming soon to the Seeking Delphi™ podcast–Your Personal Future, with Verne Wheelright, a preview of the 2019 Undoing Aging conference with Aubrey de Grey, and a discussion with David Wood on his latest book, Sustainable Superabundance: A Universal Transhumanist Invitation.

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: February 16, 2019

“Diagnosis is not the end, but the beginning of practice.”–Martin H. Fischer

What will it take for artificial intelligence to replace doctors?  Probably a lot more than you think.  It is getting better and better–often superior to M.D.’s–at diagnosing illness.  But heed the quote above.  Diagnosing an illness is not treating it.  To do everything that a physician does will probably require AGI (artificial general intelligence) which, as of now, is nowhere in sight.

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.

AI/Medical Diagnosis–This from a study by a UC San Diego physician using data from a major Chinese medical center:  artificial intelligence can now diagnose some childhood diseases better than many doctors.

Cardiovascular disease is another area ripe for A.I. diagnosis.  IBM has entered into a partnership with the Broad Institute to develop such a system.

In other A.I. news,  Fast Company finds seven flaws in Donald Trump’s proposed initiative.

–Some AI applications are sublime, some are ridiculous.  In which category would you place a “smart” cat shelter that lets in felines, but keeps out canines?

Mars One–not as good an idea as some thought.

Space News–Mars One is dead.  Unless, just maybe, a mystery investor comes forward to save it.

Material Science-The Verge reports gallium nitride might be chip material of the future.  It could make them smaller and more energy efficient than those made with Silicon.

Heidi Toffler–The wife of iconic futurist Alvin Toffler has died at age 89.  She finally shares the credit with her late husband of Future Shock fame.

Self-Driving Cars–Science Daily reports that the University of Michigan is working on teaching self-driving cars to anticipate pedestrian movement.  It’s an important step towards making autonomous vehicles safe for prime time.

Easier walking directions?

Augmented Reality–Google is working on an augmented reality upgrade to its map app.  It’s specifically designed to be used with walking directions.

Coming soon to the Seeking Delphi™ podcast–Your Personal Future, with Verne Wheelright and a preview of the 2019 Undoing Aging conference with Aubrey de Grey.

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: February 8, 2019

“A finite world can support only a finite population; therefore, population growth must eventually equal zero.”– Garrett Hardin

 

We’ve been there before.   Gloom and doom predictions of explosive population growth.  And while estimates have been greatly toned down from those from the 1960’s and 1970’s, there are still dire warnings out there.  But what if there is an extreme alternative veiw to Garrett Hardin’s tragedy of the commons?  A radical new proposal is out, and depending on your point of view, the reason for it may or may not surprise you.

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 Demographics–A new book takes issue with UN projections of massive population growth in the coming decades.  According to Canadian journalist John Ibbitson and political scientist Darrell Bricker  in their new book, Empty Planet, world population will stabilize and start to decline in 30 years.  They also say that once the decline starts, it won’t stop.  Seems to me they are substituting one linear scenario for another, though.  If things shift once, they can shift again.

Future Driving/Autonomous Vehicles–With all the hype, you’d think our streets will be bustling with self-driving cars within the next couple of years–if not a few months.  Not so fast, says Tom Krisher, writing for the Associated Press.   He cites five sticking points, not the least of which is consumer acceptance.

–If the above isn’t discouraging enough, a University of California professor has a warning.  Self-driving cars might actually make traffic worse, rather than better, if they are not managed properly.

Artists conception of a generation starship next to a Saturn V rocket. Credit: Adrian Mann

Space exploration/colonization–How big would a generation starship need to be to support human survival for hundreds or even thousands of years?   Hint:  according to a new study reported on by Universe Today, it would make the Saturn V that launched astronauts to the moon look like a Mini Cooper.

–Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk keep up their relentless charge toward the final frontier.  Musk’s ambitious plan to send space tourists around the moon by 2023 was also reported on by Universe Today,  while Space.Com focused on Bezos’s vision for reusable spacecraft.

Biotechnology–CRISPR genetic editing may have come a step closer to becoming the reliable “DNA word processor” it has been hyped to be.  Researchers at  UC Berkeley–one of the pioneering institutions in CRISPR–have identified a new protein that may render the technique safe enough for human experimentation.

–While not initially focused on radical rejuvenation therapy, a $100 million Longevity Vision Fund has been launched to spur aging research.  The enterprise is the brainchild of Sergey Young, who in turn cites the inspiration of Peter Diamandis.  Look for more on the related subject from next month’s Undoing Aging conference in Berlin, Germany.

Coming next to the Seeking Delphi™ podcast–Your Personal Future, with Verne Wheelright and a preview of the 2019 Undoing Aging conference with Aubrey de Grey.

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: January 31, 2019

” I don’t know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.”–E.B. White

I don’t know how E.B. White would have felt about the chickens in this week’s future news; but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have changed his view of literature.  The chicken and egg thing is still ambiguous, though.

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–What came first, the chicken or the egg?  That age old question might take on new significance, as researchers at the University of Edinburgh have modified the cluckers to lay eggs containing anti-cancer drugs.  

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have reported a breakthrough with gene drive.  This is the technology that makes genetic changes that are passed on to offspring.  They have succeeded–with some limitations–in executing the current technology in female mice, the first such demonstration in a mammal.

Image: The Dali Museum

Artificial Intelligence–The so-called Uncanny Valley just got deeper and creepier.  An artificial intelligence-created clone of Salvador Dali now greets visitors to his museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.

–From the ridiculous to the sublime.  Centauri Dreams says A.I. might hold the key to succesful exploration of interstellar space.  Particularly in deep space, where communication with home base may take years to complete, unmanned probes will need to make intelligent decisions on their own.

–When it comes to assessing the current state of A.I., just how much is real and how much is hype?  The Verge gives its view of exactly where we are today and where it may be going.

The regulation conundrum: Pedestrian? Vehicle? Robochicken crossing the road?

Automation/Robotics–Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it R2-D2?  Futurism.com reports that regulators are clueless when it come to regulating Amazon’s delivery robots. Anybody surprised?

Flying Cars–Houston, we have a problem. Just when we though the age of the Jetsons was finally upon us, Wired reports a major obsticle.  the cost and complexity of carbon fibers may keep the aeiral vehicle population from attaining mass proportions.

In case you missed it, here is the Seeking Delphi™ podcast on flying cars, from November of last year.

 

Coming next to the Seeking Delphi™ podcast–Your Personal Future, with Verne Wheelright.

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: January 9, 2019

“Consumers are statistics.  Customers are people.”–Stanley Marcus 

The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show is underway in Las Vegas.  Considering the 180,000 attendees, perhaps we should be calling it the Statistics Electronics Show, per Stanley Marcus

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.

 CES 2019–Robots are everywhere at CES in Las Vegas.   Chinese firm Ubtech introduced two humanoid robots.  USA Today provided a CES robot overview, which it calls the robot revolution.

–In spite of Ubtech, one source reports that Trump’s trade war has cooled many Chinese tech firms on CES.

Bell’s Nexus flying taxi.

–It’s not exactly a flying car, but an Uber partner, Bell, introduced a vertical takeoff and landing flying taxi at CES.  For more on flying cars an VTOL check out Seeking Delphi™ podcast #27 from November of last year.

–It’s not electronics, but it is cool new biotechnology and possibly one of the most impressive things on display at CES 2019.  Impossible Foods, introduced it’s all veggie Impossible Burger 2.0, and critics are calling it virtually indistinguishable from beef.

–In a keynote address, Ford CEO Jim Hackett outlined ambitious plans for automotive connectivity to enable autonomous vehicles, encourage ride-sharing, and reduce congestion.  More on these subject is available in Seeking Delphi™ podcasts #26 (connectivity in autonomous vehicles) and #28 (intelligent traffic control).

–For more on these and other technologies featured at CES, check out these videos from CBS New York and CNBC.

Walking Car? Take a hike!

Automotive–Heard enough about electric, autonomous, and flying cars? Check out this: a walking car, from Hyundai. (OK, this concept was unveiled at CES, too, but it really deserves its own category.)

Quantum Computing–IBM revealed a 20 qubit quantum computer that will be it’s first commercial entry into the field. Still more from CES.  Honestly though, consumers may ultimately benefit from the fruits of quantum computers, but they are not likely to own one.  Relevent background is available from the Seeking Delphi™ SXSW 2018 minicast #3 with whurley.

Security/Facial Recognition–A new survey conducted by the Center for Data Innovation finds that most Americans are OK with the government using facial recognition technology. This is especially so when applied to airport security.

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 #28: Future Driving Part 3, Intelligent Traffic Control with Griffin Schultz

 “They say the Universe is expanding.  That should help with the traffic.”–Steven Wright

 

Autonomous vehicles? Flying cars? The concepts are exciting, but the truth is:  most of us will still be driving manually on the ground for many years to come.  And that means dealing with the motorist’s most persistent annoyance.  Congestion.  It costs time and money and tries patience.  But  advanced vehicles are not necessarily required to solve the problem.  In the final episode of the Future Driving series on the Seeking Delphi™ podcast, we explore intelligent traffic control with Rapid Flow Technologies CEO, Griffin Schultz.  Advanced sensors, edge computing and artificial intelligence are helping cities to lessen the occurrence–and the frustration–of traffic congestion.

Future Driving, Part 1, Self-Driving Cars,with Alex Wyglinski here.

Future Driving, Part 2, Flying Cars, with Kaushik Rajashekara here.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode #28, Future Driving Part 3: Intelligent Traffic Control with Griffin Schultz

YouTube slide show, episode #28

Links

Rapid Flow Technologies

Griffin Schultz

Surtrac

Pittsburgh experience

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

Podcast #27: Future Driving Part 2, Flying Cars, with Kaushik Rajashekara

“The hard part is, how do you make a flying car that’s super safe and quiet? Because if it’s a howler, you’re going to make people very unhappy.”–Elon Musk

“We wanted flying cars; what we got is 140 characters.”–Peter Thiel
 

  

Well, guess what?  We now have 280 characters, and we may finally be getting flying cars.  Well, some of us may get the flying cars.  They clearly won’t be mass market cheap for a very long time, if ever.  Part 2 of the Seeking Delphi™ Future Driving series presents an interview with  Kaushik Rajashekara. He is a University of Houston professor and IEEE fellow who has been tracking the subject for decades.  Me? I’ve been vaguely following it ever since The Jetsons.

Future Driving, Part 1, Self-Driving Cars,with Alex Wyglinski here.

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

 

 

 

Click for opening theme video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode #27: Future Driving, Part 2, flying Cars, with Kaushik Rajashekara

 

YouTube slide show of Episode #27.  Captioning recommended.

Terrafuggia TF-x click for video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aeromobil demonstration video

PAL-V test flight video

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