In futures thinking as in life, often it’s important to look back in order to look ahead. This week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, offering the perfect opportunity to do both.
If you could improve your body, would you do it? It seems a simple enough question with a simple enough answer.
But what if that improvement meant incorporating a mechanical device into your body? Suddenly the question isn’t so simple, is it? And if that integration required the prior removal of a limb, say an arm or a hand, that decision becomes even more complex and controversial.
It seems a day doesn't pass that we don't hear of yet another advancement that will change and improve our lives. Unfortunately, such advances can also have a very negative impact on the welfare of the people and society they should be improving.
At the closing plenary of WorldFuture 2011 in Vancouver, Thomas Frey of the DaVinci Institute presented Eight Grand Challenges for humanity. It was a thought provoking presentation, though not without its critics.
Recently, SF author Charles Stross posted his thoughts on why he doesn't think the Technological Singularity will happen. Here's why I think he may be wrong.
Today TOP500 released their latest rankings, which put Japan's K Computer in the number one spot with 8.162 petaflops, a jump of more than three times the performance of the now number two Tianhe-1A. How was such a sharp increase realized and what does it mean for supercomputing in the future?
The last few years finally saw the arrival of supercomputers capable of petascale performance. In all, seven systems from the US, China, Japan and France achieved the milestone of processing a million billion floating point operations per second (flops) by the end of 2010. But even before this target was reached, computer scientists and engineers were setting their sights on an even loftier goal: Exascale computing.
I consider myself a techno-optimist, but Watson's performance in Jeopardy's IBM Challenge has definitely exceeded my expectations. While I did predict Watson would win the competition, I didn't think it would be so dominant.
If, like me, you find President Obama's already overused "Win the Future" catchphrase catching in your throat, you might also be wondering how he decided on this feel-good, but nonsensical slogan. It seems incredible that an administration that so readily talks about future technologies doesn't give better consideration to the strategies behind their promotion. Reducing the dialog to the metaphor of competition diminishes it before it has even gotten started.
Essays and comments posted in World Future Society and THE FUTURIST magazine blog portion of this site are the intellectual property of the authors, who retain full responsibility for and rights to their content. For permission to publish, distribute copies, use excerpts, etc., please contact the author. The opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Future Society takes no stand on what the future will or should be like.
Free Email Newsletter
Sign up for Futurist Update, our free monthly email newsletter. Just type your email into the box below and click subscribe.
Star Trek Into Darkness: Eye candy for the amygdala. Yes, this is another Hollywood blockbuster depicting a dystopian future with big explosions and small innovations. However, the first ten minutes are worth the price of the ticket. I was pleasantly surprised to see J.J. Abrams using the Ancient Aliens theory and a huge wink to author Zecharia Sitchin's work in the opening scene located on the fictional (depending on who you ask) world of Nibiru.
Spray-on skin. Lab-grown ears. Human tissue grown in a petri dish. We're going deep into sci-fi territory (and it is already happening).
“Extropy” is celebrating its first quarter of a century. The idea was formally introduced as a philosophy of the future in 1988, and many things have happened from the end of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century. A new millennium has been born and the philosophy of extropy is well-suited for these new times of accelerating change, full of challenges and opportunities.
One definition of resilience is “the ability to cope with shocks and keep functioning in a satisfying way”. Resilience is about the self organizing capacity of systems. This means the ability to bounce back after disaster, or the ability to transform if a bad stage has happened.
This is my last posting for the next few days. I will be taking my office apart so that we can move to our new apartment downtown next Tuesday. I will be unplugged and disconnected except by tablet. Expect me to be back in the saddle before the end of next week probably in time to provide you with some more headlines. In the interim these are the stories I share with you this week:
Today, literally thousands of alternative transportation vehicles are coming out of the woodwork and they nearly all have the same problem – no place to drive them. Most are banned from biking and hiking trails, and they are neither licensed, nor licensable, for use on the streets. I’d like to discuss some new possible solutions and why Colorado is poised to take the lead in the alternative transportation marketplace.
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.