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Tracking the Future is a curated news collection. We explore the rapid advancement of science and technology and their long term impact on society
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If we can use solar photons to drive a sail, and perhaps use their momentum to stabilize a threatened observatory like Kepler, what about that other great push from the Sun, the solar wind? Unlike the stream of massless photons that exert a minute but cumulative push on a surface like a sail, the solar wind is a stream of charged particles moving at speeds of 500 kilometers per second and more, a flow that has captured the interest of those hoping to create a magnetic sail to ride it. A ‘magsail’ interacts with the solar wind’s plasma. The sailing metaphor remains, but solar sails and magsails get their push from fundamentally different processes.
IBM's Watson system defeated the human champion on "Jeopardy!" in February 2011 -- surprising the world.But that feat was a precursor to what is being called a "Machine-Reading Revolution," which is underway now.Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and entrepreneur Oren Etzioni reveal five ways it will change how you live.They say it will impact on how we find a hotel, follow our favorite sports team and receive medical advice.
The fusion of nanotechnology and medicine is changing healthcare as we know it. Organizations and government entities are investing huge amounts in nanotech R&D; life science technology innovators across the world are delivering new products and technologies that almost seem straight from a sci-fi movie.Take the "lab-on-a-chip" (LOC) concept, for example. Originally based on technology pursued by the U.S. military for detection of biological and chemical warfare agents, the LOC is now being used to examine DNA strands to identify cancer. Soon, researchers expect to have an LOC capable of rendering a complete diagnostic workup using just a drop of blood of urine.
As a new year approaches, the University of Notre Dame's John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values has released its annual list of emerging ethical dilemmas and policy issues in science and technology for 2014.
The Reilly Center explores conceptual, ethical and policy issues where science and technology intersect with society from different disciplinary perspectives. Its goal is to promote the advancement of science and technology for the common good.
The center generates its annual list of emerging ethical dilemmas and policy issues in science and technology with the help of Reilly fellows, other Notre Dame experts and friends of the center.
several interesting things
There may be an answer for people suffering from traumatic brain injuries. It's a device called a brain-machine-brain interface — and it has the potential to revolutionize the way brain damage is treated in humans.
From our genomes to Jawbones, the amount of data about health is exploding. Bringing on top Silicon Valley talent, one NYC hospital is preparing for a future where it can analyze and predict its patients' health needs--and maybe change our understanding of disease.
Big Data and Health Science in the Hospital
"We’re going to build a health care system where complex models are firing on an almost day-to-day basis."
In the future of the internet of things, Wi-Fi is going to be everywhere, and the internet will connect you to every person and thing on the planet via transportation, teleportation and telepresence. A trillion wormholes will let you reach out from anywhere on earth and hug your loved ones, or try on a new pair of shoes, or unlock your bike.
In the future beyond the internet of things, all your senses will be wired directly into the internet’s wormholes, and you’ll be completely indifferent to the location of your physical body. When you look around you, you won’t be looking into a nearby region of space. You’ll be surfing an internet that annihilates all time and space – the internet of everything.
"Did you know you have two wireless modems in your head? Your eyes constantly receive radio signals in the visible spectrum, and your sense of vision connects your brain to nearby physical things, like a de facto Local Area Network. But your sensory LAN connection only extends as far as your line of sight. It’s nothing compared to a Wi-Fi internet connection.
In the future beyond the internet of things, all your senses will be wired directly into the internet’s wormholes, and you’ll be completely indifferent to the location of your physical body. When you look around you, you won’t be looking into a nearby region of space. You’ll be surfing an internet that annihilates all time and space – the internet of everything."
An interesting thought.
In 2002 Stephen Wolfram released A New Kind of Science and immediately unleashed a firestorm of wonder, controversy, and criticism as the British-born scientist, programmer, and entrepreneur overturned conventional ideas on how to pursue knowledge.
Earlier this month, he teased something with the capacity to create as much passion — and, likely, much more actual change — in the world of programming, computation, and applications.
Across my forty years in the IT area there have been some big changes, we all have seen the impact of exponential growth of computing power on our lives. A constant in the advancement of the technologies has been the increase in the number of people who can use or design systems. At every step, as the glass rooms of my youth became the Smart Phones in our pockets, and much more.
The Natural Language system for code creation is another one of those shifts, destined to be even more impactful than the most significant shift of the past IMHO, when personal computers were designed for homes.
Wolfram is a hard guy to follow at times, speaking from my experience reading his "A New Kind of Science", but it is very likely his core ideas will emerge as an important part of the framework of future computerization as we all become part of the "Internet of Things".
A Japanese construction firm is proposing to turn the moon into a colossal solar power plant by laying a belt of solar panels 250 miles wide around its equator and beaming the energy back to Earth by way of lasers or microwave transmission.
The “Luna Ring” that is being proposed would be capable of sending 13,000 terawatts of power to Earth - more than three times more than the United States generated throughout the whole of 2011.
Shimizu is reluctant to put a price tag on the construction costs involved but, given adequate funding, the company believes construction work could get under way as early as 2035.
Robots and automated equipment would be developed to mine the moon’s natural resources and produce concrete and the solar cells required for the scheme.
Shimizu believes that “virtually inexhaustible, non-polluting solar energy is the ultimate source of green energy”.
El poder aprovechar los rayos del sol que le llegan a la luna casi siempre es una idea magnifica...aqui en la tierra muchas veces los paneles solares no pueden desempeñarse por motivos climatologicos pero en la luna estos serian minimizados casi por totalidad.
Splitting water into its components, two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, is an important first step in achieving carbon-neutral fuels to power our transportation infrastructure – including automobiles and planes.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool are developing synthetic skin that can be produced on a 3D printer and matched to a person based on their age, gender and ethnic group.
Traditional chicken, beef, and pork production devours resources and creates waste. Meat-free meat might be the solution.
It is increasingly clear that these "optional" choices for syntheic meat/food stuffs will soon become central to the caloric and nutritional needs for a good chunk of the globe's population.
Inspirational futurist Gerd Leonhard delivered a compelling, challenging, and at times chilling glimpse into a possible near future dominated by data, digital dependence and dramatic sociological changes. Over the next ten years, human to machine interfaces will take us far beyond connected fridges, self-parking cars and intelligent wristwatches -- and at an unbelievable pace, as real life begins to outstrip fiction. Artificial intelligence will augment our bodies and extend our personalities into devices as chips as small as 5 nanometres across become fast, cheap and embedded in everything. This is the new version of the internet: the internet of everything with up to 100bn connected devices. We will be living inside a computer -- and our mobile phones will function as an external brain.Future interfaces will lead to prediction markets, the quantified self, unprecedented access to huge amounts of information, moving from typing to gesturing to going inside a device to pull out data. We can already operate Google glass by blinking -- in the future, thinking will be enough. Used responsibly, this can bring unprecedented benefits, increased efficiency, vastly more comfortable and convenient lifestyles. But there is an equally huge associated risk, as well as the danger of unintended consequences in an age of exponential expansion in connectivity. One simple example is how by leapfrogging over television to YouTube in Indonesia has changed society, changed how people behave, act and think as they have become "more transparent, more digitally naked."And those risks are nowhere more evident than in the downsides of Big Data. An economy of data, worth up to 15 trillion dollars in new commerce and activities, could trigger #datawars over the power than massive money puts in play -- and pollution in the form of surveillance, lack of trust and flawed privacy. Privacy and security failure is the present as "the power of technology exceeds the scope of ethics". Cloud computing, big data, scanning technologies and other new technologies are running our lives in a deep way. Recent world events make it clear that capturing pretty much everything is technically possible -- yes, we scan, as Gerd punned. And growing awareness of that is set to cost the US, as international companies -- and even countries -- consider putting their clouds, and their business, elsewhere.Privacy will be the domain of the rich, able to afford encrpyted email and to opt out of permanent surveillance and intrusion. Privacy and trust have been eroded to the extent that police scanning the number plates of passing cars keep that information for up to five years; or bluetooth-enabled rubbish bins connect with mobiles to register anyone walking past. It's all possible; but being able to do it doesn't mean it should be done. Artificial intelligence, M2M communication, the Internet of Things -- none of this might happen unless we can forge new social contracts, ethics, a rule of law that makes us feel safe and lets us work. So what will be important for the industry in this future reality that is already upon us? Trust and ethics are key, according to Gerd. Without establishing a trust framework, no one will survive the next five years. Sector convergence and consumer power are shaping the market. People need to be given control, government laws on copyright and payment must be abandoned. "Forcing people to pay is like forcing people to love. It won't work" -- they will simply migrate to free and more. And telcos are no longer operating in a clear-cut sector, but are instead competing in an arena made of many, and often new, players.
Bioengineers dream of growing spare parts for our worn-out or diseased bodies. They have already succeeded with some tissues, but one has always eluded them: the brain. Now a team in Sweden has taken the first step towards this ultimate goal.
Acclaimed futurist Ray Kurzweil on the future of human life -- one where we print organs and play in total immersion environments.
To date, the 3D printing revolution has focused on the use of plastics – cheap printers' feedstock and high throughput. Until now 3D printing with metal has been prohibitively expensive because of the cost of titanium powders which currently sell for $200-$400 per kilogram.Rotherham based company Metalysis have developed a new way of producing low-lost titanium powder, which heralds a new era in additive layer manufacture, and will see greater use of titanium in components across the automotive, aerospace and defence industries.The Renishaw 3D printer, which is based at the Mercury Centre within the Department of Materials at the University of Sheffield, made the parts, demonstrating the feasibility of producing titanium components using additive layer manufacturing.The Metalysis process is radically cheaper and environmentally benign compared with existing titanium production methods, such as the energy-intensive and toxic Kroll process.
Our capacity to partner with biology to make useful things is limited by the tools that we can use to specify, design, prototype, test, and analyze natural or engineered biological systems. However, biology has typically been engaged as a "technology of last resort" in attempts to solve problems that other more mature technologies cannot. This lecture will examine some recent progress on virus genome redesign and hidden DNA messages from outer space, building living data storage, logic, and communication systems, and how simple but old and nearly forgotten engineering ideas are helping make biology easier to engineer.
Over the last half-year, Google has quietly acquired seven technology companies in an effort to create a new generation of robots. And the engineer heading the effort is Andy Rubin, the man who built Google’s Android software into the world’s dominant force in smartphones.
This video provides an overview of all current public and other large 3D printing companies at the end of November 2013.
At the Society for Neuroscience meeting earlier this month in San Diego, California, Science sat down with Geoffrey Ling, deputy director of the Defense Sciences Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to discuss the agency’s plans for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, a neuroscience research effort put forth by President Barack Obama earlier this year. So far, DARPA has released two calls for grant applications, with at least one more likely: The first, calledSUBNETS (Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies), asks researchers to develop novel, wireless devices, such as deep brain stimulators, that can cure neurological disorders such as posttraumatic stress (PTS), major depression, and chronic pain. The second,RAM (Restoring Active Memory), calls for a separate wireless device that repairs brain damage and restores memory loss.
Increible...en un futuro no muy lejano ya podremos mejorar la calidad de vida y humana gracias a estos avances.
How recursively self-improving organic robots will modify their own source code and bootstrap our way to full-spectrum
Drugs delivered by nanoparticles hold promise for targeted treatment of many diseases, including cancer. However, the particles have to be injected into patients, which has limited their usefulness so far.
In a paper appearing in the Nov. 27 online edition of Science Translational Medicine, the researchers used the particles to demonstrate oral delivery of insulin in mice, but they say the particles could be used to carry any kind of drug that can be encapsulated in a nanoparticle. The new nanoparticles are coated with antibodies that act as a key to unlock receptors found on the surfaces of cells that line the intestine, allowing the nanoparticles to break through the intestinal walls and enter the bloodstream.
This type of drug delivery could be especially useful in developing new treatments for conditions such as high cholesterol or arthritis. Patients with those diseases would be much more likely to take pills regularly than to make frequent visits to a doctor's office to receive nanoparticle injections, say the researchers.
Apocalyptic weapons are currently the domain of world powers. But this is set to change. Within a few decades, small groups — and even single individuals — will be able to get their hands on any number of extinction-inducing technologies. As shocking as it sounds, the world could be destroyed by a small team or a person acting alone. Here's how.
Time, space and matter were created 13.7 billion years ago, when the Big Bang occurred. This pale, blue planet, so termed by Carl Sagan, our earth, came into existence about 4.5 billion years ago. Life originated on earth about 3.8 billion years ago. Our species, the home sapiens, came much later at about 0.2 million years while recorded history is merely 6000 years old.However in the last 60 years or so, man has started to unravel many secrets of his own existence. There have been extremely rapid advances in science and mankind is now grappling with very profound aspects of life from intelligence, perception, aging all the way to death itself.Moving forward to the next 60 years, there are several areas of research, which will have an extraordinary impact on our lives as we move forward.