Johnny Depp's new film Transcendence has had futurist fandoms in a lather for months.
For a long time, I was a crusty critic of twitter, I would now say wrongheadedly so.
In a recent conference promoting not only their latest gizmos but their company's animating vision as well, Google executives declared they were working toward a future in which technology "disappears," "fades into the background," becomes more "intuitive and anticipatory." Commenting on this apparently "bizarre mission for a tech company," Bianca Bosker warns that their genial and enthusiastic promotional language masks Google's aspiration to omnipresence via invisibility, an effort to render us dependent and uncritical of their prevalence through its marketing as easy, intuitive, companionable.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, celebrity tech CEO Peter Thiel is upset that movies like The Matrix and Avatar make technological innovation seem "destructive and dysfunctional."
It isn't easy to understand why the American response to comparably lethal mass-casualty events involving bombs and involving guns are so very different -- the one seeming to result always in more citizens under more surveillance, the other seeming to result always in more guns on the streets -- but in the aftermath of the latest illustration of this rather joyless and surreal ritual pairing of re
In works like Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World, Tim Wu has written clear and incisive critiques of a whole generation's conjoining of facile to flabbergasting market libertarian/ crypto-anarchist/ neoliberal assumptions and aspirations and conceits to an irrationally exuberant, digi-utopian, techno-triumphalist hype endlessly promising an end to borders, nation-states, identities, limits-to-growth. Of course, by 2006 the writing was really on the wall as far as the crypto-anarchistic Extropian no death! no taxes! Cyberspace home of mind crowd went -- and, gee, just sayin', some of us were already pointing out how imbecilic this sort of vision was in 1996, if not well before then -- but, the point is, Tim Wu was a critic of a prevailing techno-utopian ideology that symptomatically played out in variations and in levels of intensity across layers of discourse from the pages of WIRED to B-movie plots to ad copy to editorials to DARPA reports.
Over at the IEET, the Institute for Ethics (where actual ethics are rarely discussed) and Emerging Technologies (where the technologies are rarely actually emerging), futurologist Dick Pelletier has penned another of his incomparably desolating consolations, this one entitled (I kid you not), Overpopulated Earth?
Paul Krugman is right to say that the cancellation of Google Reader provides yet another demonstration of the failure of private profitability to provide for the maintenance of public goods, even though I disagree that it seems hard in the least "to envision search and related functions as public utilities," which is i
Claiming he has "lived with the shadow of the fall of Rome, [and] the failure of its intellectual culture," Tim O'Reilly fears that too many today "lack the will and the foresight to face the world's problems squarely, but will instead retreat from them into superstition and ignorance." More specifically, he warns that "conservative, backward
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Today, many voice long-familiar concerns about technological unemployment, where computers, robots, and machines are automating our jobs out of existence. In fact, some have gone so far as to call this the “robot jobs Armageddon.” So is this time truly different? Here are six overarching shifts in the world that are causing many to say, “Yes, this time may really be different!”
Self driving cars, 3D printing, robotics, these are just a few of the major technologies that are likely to bring massive disruptions in about every aspect of life. What do we eat? What would our work be like in the future? How do we travel? Where does our energy come from? The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure, the primary strategic advisory board for the Dutch government and parliament in matters relating to the physical environment and infrastructure, has initiated a foresight study to stimulate the public debate about the impact of disruptive technologies. It is not a traditional research project, but includes future imagery, crowd sourcing and technology assessment.
What is harder than finding the right answers? Asking the right questions.
In Zen Buddhism, a koan is a short story or question that is simply worth meditating on. There might not necessarily be a single good answer, but the process of contemplating the question itself is a worthwhile pursuit that may lead to sudden insights or enlightenment.
About a dozen years ago, we asked members of the World Future Society what they thought was the most valuable return for investing in the serious study of trends. We included a summary of their responses in our special report, The Future: An Owner's Manual (September-October 2002, adapted from March-April 2002 FUTURIST). The reasons are still apt today:
Who has better stories to tell than retired CIA officers who were not able to speak before? After over three decades in the CIA, Jack Devine, currently working in corporate intelligence with The Arkin Group (TAG), is now able to share his experiences and wisdom with the public.
Do you control your screens or do they control you? In tomorrow’s digital world you’ll decide what’s on your screens. With a personal paywall you will be paid for your attention. You’ll be able to sell your mind as often as you like.
Bacteria are being genetically modified for a range of roles, including conversion for easier extraction (e.g. coal to gas, or concentrating elements in landfill sites to make extraction easier), making new food sources, carbon fixation, pollutant detection and other sensory roles, clothing and cosmetics, special surface treatments, biodegradable construction or packing materials, self-organizing printing, and more.
As big data have shown their advantages in commerce, governance, surveillance and many other areas, now is the time to explore how to put them to use for humanity. Data generated by people, unstructured texts, digital traces and everything else could be used for agile responses to changes regionally. There is great potential to use data for well being and doing good. Leiden University's Peace Informatics Lab has hosted a high-level panel session on Big Data for Humanity. The discussion focused on meaningful ways to capture the world of data for designing deescalation programs and support systems for peace building and humanity.