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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What seems absolutely reasonable is apparently true. Expose microbes to extreme environments and those that survive evolve and adapt more rapidly. A study appearing in Scientific Reports in August looked at six diverse natural environments and 40 meta-genomic samples to report on relative evolutionary rates in the microbial community. Environments included acid mine drainage, saline lakes, and hot springs. Evidence showed high mutation rates among microbes.
A labor of love is about to be carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) involving Opportunity, the ten-year veteran Martian rover. It seems fitting to write about this on Labor Day as the rover continues to set new records for distance and longevity on the Martian surface.
As we waited for the gate to open for the Buffalo Bisons-Pawtucket Red Sox baseball game last week on the last evening of our vacation, I noticed a gentleman nearby wearing a Chincoteague Island t-shirt. It turns out he and his wife had just come back from there after spending two weeks on vacation renting a beach cottage. And that led to a further conversation about the changing nature of the American Atlantic coast as sea levels continue to rise, a fact attributed to climate change.
Canadian Provincial Premiers Decide on a National Energy Strategy that Includes Climate Change Action
Quebec as the representative of French Canada often goes its own way. But not this time. Couillard intends to host a climate change summit in Quebec in the spring of 2015, prior to the international conference on climate change planned for Paris. In a rare display of unanimity Canada's provincial leaders at their annual conference have outlined a national energy strategy.
Do you control your screens or do they control you? Advertisers dive into your brain for free (to you) from the minute you begin to gurgle. In tomorrow’s digital world you’ll decide and filter what’s on your screens. One control will be a personal paywall so you can be paid for your attention. When this makes your mind into your property, you will be able to sell it as often as you like.
It is an inspiration to see the technological marvels that have gotten us to where we are today. And a great place to see this is Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Containing more than 35,000 items on exhibit and covering 37,000+ square meters (400,000 square feet), the Museum has been around for more than 80 years.
While away on vacation, I read about LiftPort Group, a Kickstarter-funded space elevator project that received over $110,000 U.S. from more than 3,400 backers. The company, located in Tacoma, Washington, originally sought $8,000, so one would think this was largely fantasy, but with the amount of money that has come in it would seem it owes its investors something more than one it has delivered to-date.
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!”