Archives for The Future

All Seafood Gone by 2050 — Overfishing and Overpopulation

New research suggests that all the world’s ocean seafood stocks will be gone by 2050…

WASHINGTON (AP) – Clambakes, crabcakes, swordfish steaks and even
humble fish sticks could be little more than a fond memory in a few
decades. If current trends of overfishing and pollution continue, the
populations of just about all seafood face collapse by 2048, a team of
ecologists and economists warns in a report in Friday’s issue of the
journal Science.

Read More “All Seafood Gone by 2050 — Overfishing and Overpopulation”

A World Without Elephants

This is so sad. Elephants are increasingly being wiped out due to encroachment by nearby human populations, and also by inept human attempts to help them — and of course by poaching. As their species is increasingly backed into a dead-end corner, and as older elephants are separated from their herds, younger elephants are developing psychological disorders and are becoming violent.… Read More “A World Without Elephants”

Why Machines Will Never be Conscious

Below is the text of my bet on Long Bets. Go there to vote.

“By 2050 no synthetic computer nor machine intelligence will have become truly self-aware (ie. will become conscious).”

Spivack’s Argument:

(This summary includes my argument, a method for judging the outcomeof this bet and some other thoughts on how to measure awareness…)

A.… Read More “Why Machines Will Never be Conscious”

Zooming Out in Time

For an interesting read — download this wonderful presentation on zooming out in time as a way to predict the future. It’s from a talk given at the Long Now Foundation. Nice visual slides illustrate how the world changes over vast timescales.

How to Build a Landspeeder

So as a kid you watched Star Wars and since then you’ve wanted your very own Landspeeder. The problem is, how to make things hover without using fans, magnets, or special effects? Well, a maverick UK scientist may have invented a way to do it.… Read More “How to Build a Landspeeder”

US Banking System Collapse in 2008?

I recently listened to a talk by Dr. David Martin, given at the Arlington Institute, a think tank I advise. You can listen to it here. It takes some patience to get to the main point — but you will be rewarded with a mind-blowing new perspective on what may unfold in the next few years.… Read More “US Banking System Collapse in 2008?”

You've Heard about Global Warming … Now Comes "Global Cooling"

Russian scientists are now predicting a period of "Global Cooling" will begin in 2012. Well at least the good news is that Al Gore can make a sequel. And I guess this means San Francisco will have even colder summers…er winters…now?… Read More “You've Heard about Global Warming … Now Comes "Global Cooling"”

Microsoft Photosynth is Incredible

Check out this video demo of Microsoft Photosynth — an experimental technology that combines multiple photos of the same thing into a 3-D model that can then be navigated and explored — it’s beautiful, visionary and well… just awesome.

Amazon Desertification May Start Next Year — Global Warming Could Increase by 50% — Note to Self: Find New Planet

Amazon Rainforest Faces Desertification

Amazon rainforest ‘could become a desert’

And that could speed up global warming with ‘incalculable consequences’, says alarming new research

The Independent (U.K.), July 23, 2006

The vast Amazon rainforest is on the
brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for
the world’s climate, alarming research suggests.

Read More “Amazon Desertification May Start Next Year — Global Warming Could Increase by 50% — Note to Self: Find New Planet”

Detecting Disease by Measuring the Breath

The next generation of the breathalyzer won’t just measure blood alchohol content, it will detect many types of disease as well. A laser-based technology for measuring the breath is being proposed as a viable alternative to blood tests.

A Tribe That Views Time Differently

A tribe in South America has been found to have a reverse concept of time from all known cultures:

New analysis of the language and gesture of South
America’s indigenous Aymara people
indicates they have a concept of
time opposite to all the world’s studied cultures — so that the past
is ahead of them and the future behind.

Read More “A Tribe That Views Time Differently”

Anti-Aging Molecule Discovered

South Korean researchers have synthesized a molecule that seems to not only stop, but also reverse, the built-in aging functions of cells.

A team of South Korean scientists on Sunday
claimed to have created a “cellular fountain of youth,’’ or a small
molecule, which enables human cells to avoid aging and dying.

Read More “Anti-Aging Molecule Discovered”

Water Powered Car — Too Good to Be True? Video.

OK this is a clip from Fox News, which is not normally a source that I consider to be factual or trustworthy — but it cerrtainly is an interesting story. The video clip profiles an inventor who has developed a novel method of converting water to useful fuel.Read More “Water Powered Car — Too Good to Be True? Video.”

Seeing with your Tongue

US military researchers are working on devices that augment human sensory perception, through the tongue:

By routing signals from helmet-mounted cameras, sonar and other
equipment through the tongue to the brain, they hope to give elite
soldiers superhuman senses similar to owls, snakes and fish.

Read More “Seeing with your Tongue”

Scenario: What would Happen if US got in a War with China?

This is a very interesting scenario showing how China could potentially trounce US forces in a single, calculated strike. While it doesn’t consider the option that US would retaliate nonconventially, shifting the game to a new playing field, it certainly makes a compelling case for China winning in a conventional conflict in their territorial waters at least.… Read More “Scenario: What would Happen if US got in a War with China?”

Neuro-Chips

Researchers continue to make progress in fusing living neurons with computer chips:

The
line between living organisms and machines has just become a whole lot
blurrier. European researchers have developed "neuro-chips" in which
living brain cells and silicon circuits are coupled together.

Read More “Neuro-Chips”

Location Awareness — The Next Big Thing

Japanese cell phone company KDDI is offering a new GPS-enabled 3D navigational tool to their 17 million subscribers (see article and picture). Their system helps consumers navigate city streets and even within buildings, using an innovative 3D map and audio directions.… Read More “Location Awareness — The Next Big Thing”

Harnessing The Collective Mind

Today I read an interesting article in the New York Times about a company called Rite-Solutions which is using a home-grown stock market for ideas to catalyze bottom-up innovation across all levels of personnel in their organization. This is a way to very effectively harness and focus the collective creativity and energy in an organization around the best ideas that the organization generates.… Read More “Harnessing The Collective Mind”

Russia Plans to Mine Helium-3 On Moon

The head of the Russian space corporation, Energia, has been quoted as stating that Russia is planning on setting up a permanent mining base on the moon to mine Helium-3. Helium-3 is a non-radioactive isotope of helium that is rare on earth but plentiful on the moon.… Read More “Russia Plans to Mine Helium-3 On Moon”

Quantum Computing Steps Forward

This is a great overview of the current state of the art in quantum computing, and how it could benefit all of us in the future.

Collective Intelligence 2.0

Introduction:

This article proposes the creation of a new open, nonprofit service on the Web that will provide something akin to “collective self-awareness” back to the Web. This service is like a “Google Zeitgeist” on steroids, but with a lot more real-time, interactive, participatory data, technology and features init.… Read More “Collective Intelligence 2.0”

Privacy Nightmare

The ACLU has a nice little animation of what life will be like once the government, and corporate America, have access to all personal data. It’s a nice little simulation.

Doomsday Vault to House World Seed Bank

The Norwegians are planning to create a deep underground vault near the North Pole to house a backup copy of seeds for all known varieties of crops. The goal is to ensure food supplies and enable humanity to regenerate in the event of nuclear war, global warming or other catastrophes.… Read More “Doomsday Vault to House World Seed Bank”

New Quantum Propulsion Being Researched By Air Force

A radical new form of propulsion is being researched that may enable travel from Earth to Mars in 3 hours, and travel to nearby stars in just 80 days. The system is based on a novel quantum theory termed Heim quantum
theory (HQT).… Read More “New Quantum Propulsion Being Researched By Air Force”

Big Thinkers' Most Dangerous Ideas

The Edge has published mini-essays by 119 "big thinkers" on their "most dangerous ideas" — fun reading.

The history of science is replete with discoveries
that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally
dangerous in their time; the Copernican and
Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious.

Read More “Big Thinkers' Most Dangerous Ideas”

A New Kind of Memory Aid

I recently read a report of new neuroscience research in which researchers are able to predict what a person will recall by analyzing their brainstate. You can read a summary here.

This reminds me of an idea I had a while back for using biofeedback to guide brainstates, in order to improve memory.… Read More “A New Kind of Memory Aid”

Amazon Launches new Service that Harnesses Networks of Human Minds to Do Tasks

Amazon has launched a new service that seeks to create a marketplace for human intelligence on the Net. The idea is to utilize humans like one might utilize intelligent agents, to help complete tasks that humans do better than computers — for example like image adjustments, formatting, tagging and marking up content, adding metatdata to documents, filing and filtering, etc.… Read More “Amazon Launches new Service that Harnesses Networks of Human Minds to Do Tasks”

Turing's Cathedral

George Dyson wrote a nice piece on his impressions from a visit to Google, and some speculations about the future of AI on the Net.

NASA Makes Plans to Deflect Possible Asteroid Hit in 2036

This just in

NASA has outlined what it could do, and in what time frame, in case a
quarter-mile-wide asteroid named Apophis is on a course to slam into
Earth in the year 2036. The timetable was released by the B612
Foundation, a group that is pressing NASA and other government agencies
to do more to head off threats from near-Earth objects.

Read More “NASA Makes Plans to Deflect Possible Asteroid Hit in 2036”

Towards a World Wide Database (WWDB)

I believe the next big leap for the Web is what I am calling "The World Wide Database." The World Wide Database is a globally distributed network of data records that reside on millions of nodes around the network which collectively behaves as a giant virtual, decentralized database system.… Read More “Towards a World Wide Database (WWDB)”