“We are losing privacy at an alarming rate – we have none left.”–John McAfee
Is privacy dead? Speaking on the Seeking Delphi™ podcast back in April, futurist Gray Scott said that privacy is not so much dead, as it seems to have become irrelevant. Our desire for free online content has motivated us to give it up for good. But this week’s lead stories, on surveillance levels in China and an A.I. that seemingly knows your behavior before you do, take the issue to whole new levels.
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
Privacy/Surveillance–Already using facial scanning technology to make sure students are paying attention in class, and brain wave sensors to determine workers’ emotional states, China has taken its Big Brother approach to controlling a step farther. Starting next year it will require RFID tracking chips installed on all newly registered cars.
–If tracking your every move isn’t creepy enough, computer scientists at the University of Bonn have created a software program that can predict your actions five minutes into the future. It might sound like a great thing to have at the race track (assuming it also would work on horses). But one has to wonder if it could ultimately lead to a Minority Report scenario.
Retail/Consumer futures–Do malls have a future in age of e-commerce? According to Westfield Corporation, a major mall operator, they do–though by 2028 they might look quite different.
Transportation/Electric Vehicles/Self-Driving Cars–According to a report by Washington-based think tank Securing America’s Future Energy, self-driving cars aren’t likely to steal your job until 2040 or so. They also project that autonomous vehicles will boost the US economy by $800 billion by 2050.
Elon Musk’s The Boring Company won a bid to provide underground transportation from downtown Chicago to O’Hare international airport. According to Musk, the high-speed electric vehicle system should be completed within 3 years.
Space Launch Systems–California-based SpinLaunch Systems has raised $40 million to develop a space catapult launch system by 2022. The aim is provide orbital launch capabilities for materials and supplies for under $500,000 per mission. The system will not be able to support manned missions–the G forces generated will be too great for human tolerances.
—An estimated half million bits of space junk–leftover pieces of old satellites and space craft–orbit the earth and pose a collision threat to future missions. Russia, among others, wants to develop a laser system to blast the annoyances out of orbit.
Robotics/Coming Attractions–The next Seeking Delphi™ podcast will feature an interview with Joanne Pransky, who bills herself as The Worlds First Robotic Psychiatrist.®