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 

The Future This Week: June 19, 2017

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”–George Bernard Shaw

It will take more than a few quarters to buy your one-way ticket to Mars.

If ever there was a definition of Shaw’s unreasonable man, in two short words, it would be: Elon Musk.  The man continues his unrelenting, unreasonable march toward a drastically different future for humanity.   This week, he revealed his plans for a $200,000 ticket to Mars.  Next week?  It’s bound to be something new.

Mars/Space Colonization–Elon Musk’s SpaceX published its Mars colonization plans online.   Through a variety of cost saving measures, they aim to bring down the cost of launching mass into space by some 5 million per cent–a $200,000 one-way ticket for colonists is what that initially adds up to.  They believe that a self-sustaining colony will need a population of at least 1 million people–an effort that will require thousands of spacecraft and several decades to accomplish.

Aerospace–According to Popular Science,  both the U.S. and China could be flying hypersonic (4000+ mph) aircraft by 2030.  The technology would revolutionize both civilian and military aviation and render current air and missile defense systems obsolete.

Environment/Agriculture–Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary, UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION, issued a statement warning that even while global food and water demand may as much as double by 2050, crop yields are in danger of falling due to desertification and land degradation.  She also forecast that up to 135 million people, worldwide, may be displaced by this trend over the coming decades.

Solar/Alternative Energy–A research team at Melbourne Institute of Technology has developed a paint that can generate hydrogen fuel.  They believe it could be commercialized within five years.  Maybe that Tesla won’t need a refueling station after all. (see video below)

Robotics/Military Technology–A report in The Daily Mail quotes a former British intelligence officer as forecasting a near term burgeoning of automated warfare.  He says the U.S. military may deploy more  robotic soldiers than human combatants by as soon as 2025.

A reminder that the Seeking Delphi™ podcast is available on iTunesPlayerFM and , and has a channel on YouTube.  You can also follow us on Facebook.

The Future This Week: May 15, 2017

“‘Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.”–Douglas Adams

If Douglas Adams were still alive today, he might be pleased to find that little yellow sun getting more and more regard every year.  Solar industry jobs grew at a rate 12 times faster than that of overall economy in 2016.  Solar panel installer was the single fastest growing job description in the U.S. between 2012 and 2016.  More respect for the sun, please.

Clean/ renewable energy– According to a report in Business Insider, findings by the Global Alliance of Solar Energy Research Institutes suggest that improved solar cell efficiency  and cheaper storage batteries will allow solar to surpass traditional fossil fuel production in cost-effectiveness by 2020.  Further, the report states that the entire electrical grid, as it now stands, may become obsolete by 2030 due to widespread localized production.

Biotech–A 24-year old doctoral student from Oxford University has created a prototype for an artificial retina.  It is thought to potentially be an improvement over the artificial retina that was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2013.  It represents the first use of synthetic tissue and is seen as possibly revolutionizing the bionic implant industry.

Jeff Boeke, one of the lead scientists in the Human Genome Project-Write (GP-Write), thinks that human genes will be able to be created synthetically within 4-5 years.  Boeke, who is director of the Institute for Systems Genetics at New York University, was speaking at a recent meeting of 250 genomics researchers and bioethicists  in New York.

Flying Cars–Toyota has entered the race to build flying cars.  They are backing a project called Skydrive,  which is developing a vehicle that can fly at 100kph (62mph) at a height of 33 feet.  They are hoping to commercialize it in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Robotics–If your worried about losing your job to a robot, consider the problem Japan has.  Their shrinking workforce is forcing firms to replace workers with robots.  So reports Daily

Augmented Reality (AR)–Cirque de Soleil has partnered with Microsoft to use its Hololens augmented reality device to visualize stage setups and choreography.  The technology was unveiled onstage at the recent Microsoft Build developers conference.



A reminder that the Seeking Delphi™ podcast is available on iTunes and PlayerFM, and has a channel on YouTube.  You can also follow us on Facebook.