News of The Future This Week: April 15, 2019

“We are an impossibility in an impossible universe”–Ray Bradbury

If you’re fed up with all the doings on our messed up planet,  this is the perfect week to be reading about news of the future.  Most of it takes place off of terra firma.

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–Even before the dust settled on the failed Israeli moon lander,  the enterprise behind it announced they will try again.

–At least three companies are set to test new rockets  by 2021, in a quest to win one of two Air Force contracts to launch up to 25 satellites between 2022 and 2026.  But Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin will have to compete with SpaceX’s already proven Falcon 9.

Image: Stratolaunch Systems

Taking a different approach to rocketry,  Stratolaunch completed the first test flight of the world’s largest aircraft.  The 385-foot wing span behemoth is designed to carry rockets to a height of 35,000 feet for orbital launch.

 Aerospace–The European Space Agency and Oxford-based Reaction Engines report that the design for a hypersonic space plane engine has passed a prelimiarny test.   At a projected top speed of 25 times the speed of sound, the vehicle could cut transit times from London to New York to under 60 minutes.

Astronomy–Even as the first image of a black hole was released, Next Big Future reported on a new telescope technology that will probe even deeper into the secrets of the cosmos.  A space based gravitation-wave array will team up with ground based telescopes by around 2030.

Despite the release of the first direct image of a black hole, New Scientist says there is still much about them we don’t know.

–Want to help name a dwarf planet?  You have until May 10 vote for the name of the largest unnamed object in solar system.

Image credit: Uber

Self-Driving Cars–Uber told investors that self-driving cars are critical to its future success.  It also warned that there is a lot that can go wrong.  You think?

–While Uber aims to dodge metaphorical potholes,  Tesla says it’s autopilot will soon be able to dodge literal ones.

Robotics–A new study of Major League Baseball pitch calls makes a strong case for robot umpires.

Undong Aging 2019–In case you missed it, here is the link to the Seeking Delphi™ Undoing  Aging 2019 highlight podcast.  YouTube slide show version below.

Seeking Delphi™ podcast/coming attractions:  Intel’s Katalin Bártfai-Walcott joins host Mark Sackler to discuss the future of ambient computing and digital twins.

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: March 19, 2019

“If you build a better mousetrap, you will catch better mice.”–George Gobel

And…exactly what happens if you build better mice?   Genetic editing seems to be making many strides in that direction.  The only question left is, will it ultimately make better people?

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–Researchers at UC, Berkeley, claim to have restored sight of blind mice by using a killed virus to insert a gene with green-light receptors into their eyes.  They hope human trials might begin within 3 years.

Longevity/Anti-Aging–Have you considered the potential impact that superlongevity could have on retirement and social security?  I have.  So has next big future in this think piece. I’ll be attending the 2019 Undoing Aging conference in Berlin later this month, and I intend to put the question to several of the key people there.

Future Cities/Autonomous Vehicles–What will the smart cities of 2050 look like? Peter Diamandis thinks autonomous vehicles will be a major part of it.

–Speaking of smart cities and autonomous vehicles, Hacker Noon, thinks the IoT can converge with vehicles to ease congestion. That’s something Rapid Flow Technologies is already doing (see YouTube podcast slide show link below).

–While we’re talking about autonomous vehicles, here’s another video demonstrating autonomous valet car parking at one of France’s busiest airports.

 

Robotics/Artificial Intelligence–Seeking Delphi first explored the concept of the robotic uncanny valley in a 2017 podcast interview with Heart of The Machine author, Richard Yonck.  Wired says eerie robot voices make them even more uncanny, and that nobody is talking about it. (Richard Yonck would probably disagree–he talked about it in his book).

–It seems that A.I. might not only replace many existing professions, it might be used to revive new ones as well.   A Chinese University is using A.I. as a sort of autonomous truant officer to monitor class attendance rates and reduce absenteeism.

Space/Space Commerce–25 nations are meeting this week to discuss treaties to prevent the militarization of space.  But a U.S. challenge to Russia and China over development of anti-satellite weapons could disrupt the whole process.

Maybe a SpaceX logo on the next space suit?

–NASA plans for a return to the moon may include commercial rockets.  The Verge reports that this may signal a paradigm shift in deep space exploration.

Seeking Delphi™ podcast/coming attractions: In the weeks ahead. look for David Wood on his newest book, Sustainable superabundance, Verne Wheelright on personal futures, and highlights from the 2019 Undoing Aging Conference (Berlin, Germany, March 28-30).

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: March 12, 2019

“I never questioned the integrity of an umpire. Their eyesight, yes.”–Leo Durocher

Is nothing sacred?  A year after World Team Tennis went to all-automated line calls, Major League Baseball is upping the robotic ante with a potential move to eliminate the human factor in calling balls and strikes.  The human factor of a Billy Martin or Leo Durocher kicking dirt on an umpire was largely eliminated with the advent of replay reviews.  Who knows where this will lead?

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.

Argue this!

Robotics/automation–The independent Atlantic League will serve as MLB’s testing ground for robotic umpires.  We’ll leave the other proposed rule changes they are testing to the sports blogs.

–If accurate ball and strike calls is a sublime use of automation, an opera singing robot might just be ridiculous. (see YouTube video below.)

–If a singing robot doesn’t make you scratch your head, how about a holographic virtual singer–who just happened to pack them in at a concert hall in China

–Cancer patients have been getting robotic surgery.  The New York Times reports the results may be less than stellar.

–Artificial intelligence may be better at diagnosis, though.  Science Daily reports that robots can detect breast cancer as well as radiologists. But I bet the robots get paid less.

Climate change–There’s something refreshing about a politician who actually has a long-term view of our future–one that goes well beyond the next election.  You and I may not agree with everything that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez advocates, but as  futurist, I have to admire her use of scenarios to envision a better, more sustainable world in 2050.

Space Commerce–Elon Musk continues to push for a permanently manned moon base.  But Discover says we need to learn how to mine there, first.

Electric Vehicles–For electric cars to become pervasive, they are going to have to become profitable for manufacturers.  A new McKinsey report suggests a path to that end.

Seeking Delphi™ podcast/coming attractions: In the weeks ahead. look for David Wood on his newest book, Sustainable superabundance, Verne Wheelright on personal futures, and highlights from the 2019 Undoing Aging Conference (Berlin, Germany, March 28-30).

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: March 4, 2019

“Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.”–Franklin Pierce Adams

Is artificial human memory possible?  Today’s lead story deals exactly with that possibility–and it links rather directly to a question I have about the quest to end, and even reverse, human aging.  If we live indefinitely, will we need some sort of artificial enhancement in order to hold decades or evern centuries of additional memories?  When you reach a certain age, after all,  it’s hard enough to remember what you had for breakfast.

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.

 Neuromorphic Computing/Memory–Researchers at UCLA claim they have created a neuromorphic “brain” out of synthetic nanowires.   They say it exhibits behavior similar to human memory.

Image: undoing-aging.org Click for link.

 Aging Research/Rejuvenation–Aubrey de Grey has become much more upbeat about the progress being made toward reversing human aging.  He now thinks robust human longevity extension could be here by 2037.  You can here his preview of the 2019 Undoing Aging conference (Berlin, Germany March 28-30) on the Seeking Delphi podcast here.   The YouTube slide show version of the interview is embedded at the bottom of this page.

Houston, the Dragon has landed. Image: NASA

NASA/Space Launch/Space Commerce–SpaceX successfully tested an unmanned launch of the first private passenger vehicle, reaching the International Space Station late last week.  If all goes well, the first manned mission will bring astronauts there later this year.  It would be the first manned U.S. space launch since the space shuttle was retired a decade ago.

NASA intends to test a nuclear powered rocket by 2024, per it’s 2019 budget.  Other advance propulsion systems are also in the works.

CRISPR/Biotech–Switzerland-based CRISPR therapeutics has become the first non-Chinese entity to use CRISPR genetic editing to treat a human medical condition.  The procedure was done in attempt to correct a genetic blood disorder.  Previously, Chinese researchers have used CRISPR to treat cancer.

A Chinese research group claims to have given a mouse night vision by a simple injection of nano particles into the animal’s eyes.  They say the effect has minimal side effects and lasts for up to ten weeks.

Breakthrough technologiesMIT has issued it’s annaul list of the top ten breakthrough technologies.  Custom cancer vaccines, a wearable ECG, and laboratory-grown meat are notable inclusions.

Wearables/Fitness–A university research team in Singapore says they have developed self-charging, fitness tracking socks.  The socks could also be used to power other wearables.

YouTube slide show of  the 2019 Undoing Aging preview podcast 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: November 28, 2018

“Land on Mars, half a million dollars–a round trip ticket.  It can be done.”–Elon Musk

“It’s not going to do any good to land on Mars if we’re stupid.”–Ray Bradbury

Even as NASA successfully deployed its latest Mars lander, Elon Musk was reasserting his intentions to go to Mars.  Literally.  Himself.  I hope I live long enough to see if he makes it.

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–Mars ho!  NASA has done it again, with the successful touchdown of the Mars Insight lander.

NASA Insight lander’s first view of Mars

–In a wide ranging interview, Elon Musk flatly stated that he doesn’t just want to send others to Mars, he wants to move there himself.  He set the odds of his doing so at 70%.  I’m guessing Vegas would set odds a bit longer than that.

–Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s marriage with NASA has taken another step closer to the altar. The first uncrewed NASA test of the Elon’s Space X Falcon 9 Dragon Crew rocket has been set for January 7 of next year.

CRISPR/gene editingThe assertion by a Chinese researcher that he has created the world’s first CRISPR gene-edited babies has created a major stir in the scientific community.  And Chinese authorities claim to have no prior knowledge of the venture.

Environment–Buried in all the headlines about the new US government report on climate change, is the staggering potential cost.  It could be a staggering $500 Billion per year by 2090.

Future Food–What is the government’s role–or what should it be–in regulating laboratory grown meat?  Wired asks that question in a new article.

Maybe good for your health–but ewww.

Sanitation–Everything else uses technology these days, so why not toilets?  Before you say “ewww,” consider that the FitLoo, a smart toilet created by the European Space Agency and MIT, can monitor feces for early signs of disease.  OK.  Now say “ewwww.”

Self-Driving Cars–In the latest Seeking Delphi™ podcast, with Alex Wyglinksi of Worcester Polytechnical Institute,  interconnectivity is the focus.

YouTube slide show, Seeking Delphi™ episode #26

Coming soon–part two of the three part “Future Driving” series on the Seeking Delphi™ podcast.  Flying cars!

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: November 6, 2018

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride”–John F. Kennedy.

I wonder how JFK would have felt about an electric bike ride.  Yes, an eBike.  They are coming, as everything, but everything, seems to be adding technology.

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 Transport–Cars, buses and trucks are going electric.  So why not bicycles? General Motors has revealed two models of electric bike it plans to market beginning next yearAnd they are conducting a contest to name them.

Borrrringgg

–While electric and self-driving cars are getting all the attention on the ground, and flying cars above the ground, Elon Musk keeps digging underground.  He announced that The Boring Company will preview its nearly completed transit tunnel in the L.A. suburb of Hawthorne on December 10, and plan to open for public rides soon thereafter.

Chinese tech giant Baidu is the latest company to announce entry into self-driving car development.  They plan to partner with Volvo and Chinese state automaker FAW.

–Is it a robot? Is it a transport? Is it supercart?  Electronics giant LG is developing a “smart” self-driving shopping cart it hopes to launch in Korea.  It will follow shoppers around and also help them to track their purchases.

Robotics/Automation–The good news?  Amazon will be hiring 100,000 seasonal employees for the holiday rush.  The bad news? That’s down from the 120,000 they hired last year.  Expanded use of automation and robotics appears to be the reason for the decline.

–Even as Amazon expands automation in its holiday fulfilment services, it’s about to get some serious competition for its automated Amazon Go stores.   Retail giant 7-Eleven has announced its intention to launch a cashier-less checkout system for its convenience stores.

_A Chinese startup company, Makeblock, has an interesting take on teaching students about robotics.  They produce LEGO-like do-it-yourself robot kits.

SpaceX floating helipad. Image: NASA

Space Commerce–Elon Musk can’t be in the news for only one technology.  His SpaceX company unveiled it’s floating helipad for space capsule recovery this week.

Asteroid mining company Planetary Resources has been acquired by blockchain company, ConsenSys.  Planetary Resources CEO, Chris Lewicki, who will join the new company, was interviewed on Seeking Delphi 2017 APF minicast #3 last year. (below)

 

Coming soon–a three-part Seeking Delphi™ podcast series on future driving–including episodes on self-driving cars and flying cars.

Seeking Delphi™ podcasts are available on iTunes, PlayerFM, or YouTube (audio with slide show) and you can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook