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

Follow me on twitter @MarkSackler

Follow Seeking Delphi on Facebook @SeekingDelphi

Connect with me on LinkedIn Mark Sackler

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

 

Follow me on twitter @MarkSackler

Follow Seeking Delphi on Facebook @SeekingDelphi

Connect with me on LinkedIn Mark Sackler

 

 

 

Podcast Episode 1: The Abolition of Aging

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.”–Woody Allen

In episode one of Seeking Delphi, the podcast, I talk with David Wood, chair of  London Futurists, about his book The Abolition of Aging. Relevant links to this weeks’ show below the audio track.  This is part 1 of a two part program.  This week: can we do it?  Next week: Should we do it, and if we do it, what are the implications?

 

 

 

David Wood

Episode #1: The Abolition of Aging, Part 1;  running time 26:9

 

 

David Wood bio

The Abolition of Aging by David Wood

Immortality by Dr. Ben Bova

Chinese exoscale computer

5G 2035 Economic Forecast

Airbus Flying Cars

Follow me on twitter @MarkSackler

Follow Seeking Delphi on Facebook @SeekingDelphi

Connect with me on LinkedIn Mark Sackler

 

 

 

Coming Soon: Seeking Delphi, The Podcast.

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”–Thomas Jefferson

www.cartoonstock.com Used with permission

http://www.cartoonstock.com
Used with permission

It’s not likely that Thomas Jefferson meant to disparage study of the past, it’s just, like Albert Einstein’s missive that imagination is more important than knowledge, he meant that it is our dreams of the future that enable us to build a better world.

I’ve been dreaming about the future since I was a kid.  Daydreaming, my parents would have said, and my wife certainly would say.  But that’s OK.  Somebody has to do it.  If humankind is going to survive the the challenges that lie ahead, somebody needs to be thinking further ahead than the next pay check, the next quarter’s profit, and the next election.   Let’s do it together.

On Seeking Delphi, the podcast, I’ll address many of the myriad uncertainties that lie ahead, some of them with existential consequences.  Some of them just for fun. But all of them the stuff that imagination–and dreams–are made of.

Premiere date:  January 25, 2017.

 

 

 

zuklunft__square__1485349627_95436

 

R.I.P.–Alvin Toffler

“The future always comes too fast and in the wrong order.”–Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler

The world lost its foremost futurist in the past week,  a man who was one of my heroes.   Alvin Toffler taught the world how to think about the future some 45 years ago.  It’s a lesson the world should relearn.   I read Future Shock way back in 1973–and have been thinking about it–and the future–ever since.

The quote above describes the cause of the disease–the human psychological malady–he calls future shock.  He made me think about the implications of a future that comes too fast and too hard for most people to comprehend or tolerate.  It made me think about the dangers of thinking improperly about the future–or avoiding the thought of it at all.  I’ll go into detail on these issues–and the potential remedies thereof–in future posts.  In the meantime, I take off my virtual digital hat to the man who just may have been the foremost futurist of all time.

Writing in the New York Times on July 6, Farhad Manjoo lays out clearly and concisely why Toffler’s ideas are so relevant today.  I highly urge you to read this piece, and to read Future Shock if you’ve never done so.  I intend to reread it now.  We have never needed foresight more than we do today.

For (mostly) lighter fare,  visit my other blog,  The Millennium Conjectures.

 

The Bleeding Edge

“Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.”–R. Buckminster Fuller

“Engage your mind before you shift your mouth into gear.”–Unknown

My father used to warn me about talking before thinking.   This definitely applies to blogging as well.  One should cogitate before pushing the “publish” button.

I said in a previous post that I would present two major types of articles herein,  but I didn’t think before pushing that button.  As it turns out, there will be three.  As previously promised, the first category of posts in the How to Think About The Future category will summarize basic methods, philosophies and general assumptions about foresight.

The second, category, The Future of…, will tackle the future of various domains of human endeavor, such as education, politics, environment, economy, healthcare and various subsets thereof.

The third category, the one I left out originally, is The Bleeding Edge, which will delve into critical emerging technologies that may potentially upend the established course of human activities, for better or for worse, or probably both.   Here are some of the hot topics to look forward to,  hopefully in the not-to-distant future.

Gene Editing–Last November, a New York Times Magazine article,  aptly titled The CRISPR Quandary, was even more aptly subtitled A new gene editing tool might create an ethical morass–or it might make revising nature seem natural.  As this ground-breaking technology is advancing far faster than the ethical and regulatory guidelines to control it, it is well on its way to doing both.

Artificial Intelligence/The Singularity–While CRISPR has so far escaped broad public scrutiny,  Artificial Intelligence certainly has not.  With warnings of the potential dangers of strong AI from the likes of Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk getting big play in the media,  even while Ray Kurzweil waxes almost poetic on the virtues of an A.I. singularity.  The controversies continues to grow.

Robotics–The combination of robotics and A.I. is rapidly accelerating, offering the potential for great convenience and efficiency, but also wholesale upheavals in the world of work.  Some pundits project that automation of various forms may obsolete up to 50% of all jobs in the near future.

3D Printing–No field of work is more susceptible to job loss due to automation than is manufacturing.   And while the progress of 3D printing has been much slower than some other technologies, it still holds out the promise of an eventual sea change in the world of fabrication–potentially breaking up major national and regional manufacturing plants into hundred of thousands of small local sites.  The skills to design and run 3D printing applications are specialized and very different from those of traditional manufacturing.

Nanotechnology–If ever there was a double-edged sword in technology, this is it.  While the most optimistic prognostications outlined by Eric Drexler in his landmark 1986 book, Engines of Creation, are still a distant pipe dream,  progress is being made.   And while those optimistic dreams envision a world of unlimited abundance on demand, the most pessimistic counter views see the potential for catastrophic human harm, either inadvertently or by intentional malice.  Kurt Vonnegut warned of these dangers as long ago as 1963 in his sci-fi classic Cat’s Cradle.

Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality–Poised to become a hot new consumer electronics category, Virtual Reality devices offer a wide range of very useful applications, from education, to training and entertainment.  But there are downsides, too.  Will some people get so addicted to it that they lose contact with actual reality?  And at least one futurist has forecast a huge market for virtual reality porn.  If you’re not familiar with the concept of teledildonics, well, you might be in for a shock.

Blockchain–The shared public ledger technology that enables Bitcoin cryptocurrency is rapidly being advocated and to some extent deployed in a variety other domains including education, law and banking. It is massively distributed, open, and indelible.  But even this might have some downside.

The hope here is to cover these and many other emerging technology issues in the coming weeks and months.  Keep an eye out for an accompanying podcast as well, assuming I can get my technical act together.

Physics and The Future (Part two)

Note: This is the second part of an article originally posted in 2012 on my first blog, The Millennium Conjectures™.  Now, it’s time to invent a future in which I figure out what to post next.

I Conjecture:  Every Possible Future Exists

Part Two: Quantum Mechanics and The Future

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”–Alan Kay

Note: In case you had not surmised it, the most literal title for this conjecture would be “Every Physically Possible Future of Our Universe Exists.”   There is probably not a future in our universe where the laws of physics will change to allow Harry Potter to cast a patronus spell on demontors.

Inventing the quantum future at NASA

Alan Kay’s proposition suggests a philosophical viewpoint that emerges from this conjecture.  But for a better quote to describing its why and wherefore, I harken back to the E.B. White words from Conjecture #2Everything that is not forbidden is mandatory.  It all boils down to Quantum Mechanics.   Many physicists have latched on to this notion;  given enough time, every physically possible combination of matter and energy is bound to occur.  It’s all just a matter of probability.  That said, there are clearly at least two distinct ways of looking at it, depending on which interpretation of quantum mechanics you ascribe to:  Copenhagen or Many Worlds.  Although there are other interpretations, these two have garnered the lions share of advocates in the scientific community, and the notion that every possible future exists can emerge from either one of them.  (See Quantum Weirdness 102 and 103 in The Millennium Conjectures™ for an explanation of both ideas.)

The difference between the two as pertains to the future can easily be stated as virtual vs. actual.  The Many Worlds interpretation asserts that every physical possibility will become an actual reality in an infinitely expanding sea of parallel universes.  Every possible future is, or at least becomes, physically real.  On the other hand, Copenhagen implies that there is no absolute physical reality until the quantum wave function breaks down, that there is only probability on the sub-atomic level until we observe it. From this we can infer that every possible future exists only as a statistical  probability, and only the one we ultimately experience will actually exist.

So what’s the difference?  There isn’t any.  It makes no difference, from the practical experience of entities conscious in a single one of them, whether the futures are real or virtual; we can’t tell the difference.  Every one of those physical realities is still a real possibility.  The good news?   There most certainly is a future out there where you win the lottery!  The bad news?  The only sure way to “invent” that future is to buy every possible number combination.  I don’t recommend quitting your day job.  😦