Tracking the Future
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Tracking the Future
Explore the most important technology and science trends! News, Analysis, Interviews, Presentations, Documentaries. All in one place at Tracking the future magazine
Curated by Szabolcs Kósa
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SABRE engine passes milestone tests

SABRE engine passes milestone tests | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
The team from UK firm Reaction Engines announced this morning that the SABRE engine technology, which could power a reusable spaceplane known as Skylon capable of entering orbit without additional rockets, had been proven in tests evaluated by the European Space Agency (ESA).
Reaction Engines has been testing the SABRE heat exchanger and anti-frost system using a standard jet turbine engine
The company called the technology, which could also lead to supersonic flights from Europe to Australia in four hours, ‘the biggest breakthrough in aerospace propulsion since the invention of the jet engine’.
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Trials imminent for implantable thought-controlled robotic arm

Trials imminent for implantable thought-controlled robotic arm | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
A researcher at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden has developed what is claimed to be the world’s first implantable robotic arm controlled by thoughts.
The first operations on patients will take place this winter
Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

neural prosthetics is here

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Could artificial intelligence take over Earth?

CNN's Phil Han looks at whether robots could one day take control of the world.
Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

Brief outlook about the risks associated to the rise of the A.G.I.The topic has definiately reached mainstream now.

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How space-based solar power will solve all our energy needs

How space-based solar power will solve all our energy needs | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
Humanity's demand for energy is growing at an astonishing rate. Combine this with an ever-dwindling supply of fossil fuels, and it becomes painfully clear that something innovative and powerful is required. There's one high-tech proposal that holds tremendous promise — an idea that has been around since the late 1960s. Here's how space-based solar power will eventually solve all our energy needs.
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Walking backwards into the future

Futurist Thomas Frey shares some of his predictions for what may lie ahead for humankind.

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Humanity’s last invention and our uncertain future

Humanity’s last invention and our uncertain future | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

A philosopher, a scientist and a software engineer have come together to propose a new centre at Cambridge to address developments in human technologies that might pose “extinction-level” risks to our species, from biotechnology to artificial intelligence.

“At some point, this century or next, we may well be facing one of the major shifts in human history – perhaps even cosmic history – when intelligence escapes the constraints of biology,” says Huw Price, the Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy and one of CSER’s three founders, speaking about the possible impact of Good’s ultra-intelligent machine, or artificial general intelligence (AGI) as we call it today.

“Nature didn’t anticipate us, and we in our turn shouldn’t take AGI for granted. We need to take seriously the possibility that there might be a ‘Pandora’s box’ moment with AGI that, if missed, could be disastrous. I don’t mean that we can predict this with certainty, no one is presently in a position to do that, but that’s the point! With so much at stake, we need to do a better job of understanding the risks of potentially catastrophic technologies.”

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Technology and Innovation Futures

Technology and Innovation Futures: UK Growth Opportunities for the 2020s is a report from Foresight, Government Office for Science, UK. It's a good and interesting overview of the most important emerging technologies, however it's completely missing 2 major themes artificial intelligence and robotics

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Replication Revolution: Best 3D-Printed Objects in Entertainment, Science and War

Replication Revolution: Best 3D-Printed Objects in Entertainment, Science and War | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Amazing 3-D printed creations are starting to surface at an incredible rate, demonstrating the innovation potential that the technique holds for almost every industry.
While these machines have been around for over two decades as a bona fide method of high-end design and manufacturing, they had largely gone unnoticed by the general public until the advent of compact, open source, free-software printers like the RepRap. This movement helped bring the technology to a wide group of users and allowed for small-scale commercial, educational, and domestic use.
Mass interest and adoption is now resulting in new concepts and designs in almost every segment of commerce. These following ten works represent the latest and greatest printed designs from a variety of categories, showing how 3-D printing is becoming an important element of design and innovation for products ranging from re-engineered jet engines to bionic eagle beaks to printed-plastic acoustic guitars.

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It's time to redesign our economic system

It's time to redesign our economic system | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The vital connection between economics and a healthy ecosystem is still not understood by mainstream economists and financial theorists – what will it take?


Via SustainOurEarth
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How Artificial Intelligence Can Change Higher Education

How Artificial Intelligence Can Change Higher Education | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Sebastian Thrun, winner of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for education takes is redefining the modern classroom


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How To Code A Life

How To Code A Life | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Synthetic biology, the newer, cooler branch of genetic engineering, has gained a lot of attention in recent years because of its innovative take on biology, as well as for its similarities with the hugely successful software industry — programs to automate DNA sequencing used to write new genetic code — but in roughly a decade of existence, the field hasn't achieved much of what it promises. Engineered microbes that produce sustainable fuels or turn carbon dioxide into plastic, bacteria that makes blood or antimalarial drugs, and organisms designed to attack cancer cells are just a handful of the potential applications from the biologically generated software.

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Why the Frontiers of Biology Might Be Inside a Computer Chip

Why the Frontiers of Biology Might Be Inside a Computer Chip | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

When David Harel started the experiment, the petri dish of mouse cells looked just like any other. Genes were being expressed, proteins were being made, and the tissue was being perfused with oxygen-rich blood.
But then things started to change. First one cell changed position and moved across the plate, followed quickly by another. Eventually, through migration and other changes in cell functionality and signaling, the cells had differentiated, with the lucky ones becoming fully-fledged thymus gland T cells. And it all happened in a fraction of the time that biologists would have expected based on several decades of physiological and development studies; after all, this experiment was happening inside a computer, in virtual organs modeled by complicated diagrams, simulating their real-world counterparts.

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Nick Bostrom - The intelligence explosion hypothesis

Nick Bostrom talks about different scenarios of technological singularity
Mr. Bostrom is a Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy & Oxford Martin School and he's the director of Future of Humanity Institute

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Techonomy 2012: Where's My Robot?

Your children may prefer their company, you may "hire" robotic workers, they may do our dirty work, and one may care for you in your old age. The future for robots seems boundless. Is there a limit to the invasion? Rodney Brooks of Rethink Robotics, MIT's Andrew McAfee, and John Markoff of The New York Times take a closer look at the present and future of robotics at the Techonomy 2012 conference in Tucson, Ariz.
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Giant robot debuts in Japan - Rough Cuts

A Japanese inventor created a giant, Mech-like robot controlled from within. The machine, called Kuratas, stands thirteen feet tall and is capable of speeds of up to six miles per hour.
Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

this is really cool

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How NASA might build its very first warp drive

How NASA might build its very first warp drive | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive.

Via Guillaume Decugis
Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

A still more glorious dawn awaits. Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise. A morning filled with 400 billion suns. The rising of the milky way..." - Carl Sagan

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Guillaume Decugis's curator insight, November 26, 2012 9:01 PM

Follow up on that fascinating story. Too good to be true?

Guillaume Decugis's comment, November 28, 2012 2:30 PM
Nice Carl Sagan quote!
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Proving quantum computers feasible

Proving quantum computers feasible | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

With a new contribution to probability theory, researchers show that relatively simple physical systems could yield powerful quantum computers.

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RNA-based vaccine could wipe out the flu forever

RNA-based vaccine could wipe out the flu forever | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

While traditional vaccines can offer annual protection from the latest flu strains, the viruses mutate and evolve so fast that we're right back where we started the following year. That's where a revolutionary new vaccine could change everything.

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What Could Disappear

What Could Disappear | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Maps show coastal and low-lying areas that would be permanently flooded, without engineered protection, in three levels of higher seas. Percentages are the portion of dry, habitable land within the city limits of places listed that would be permanently submerged.

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Manufacturing the future: The next era of global growth and innovation | McKinsey Global Institute

Manufacturing the future: The next era of global growth and innovation | McKinsey Global Institute | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Manufacturing the future: The next era of global growth and innovation, a major report from the McKinsey Global Institute, presents a clear view of how manufacturing contributes to the global economy today and how it will probably evolve over the coming decade.

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Scientists See Advances in Deep Learning, a Part of Artificial Intelligence

Scientists See Advances in Deep Learning, a Part of Artificial Intelligence | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Using an artificial intelligence technique inspired by theories about how the brain recognizes patterns, technology companies are reporting startling gains in fields as diverse as computer vision, speech recognition and the identification of promising new molecules for designing drugs.
The advances have led to widespread enthusiasm among researchers who design software to perform human activities like seeing, listening and thinking. They offer the promise of machines that converse with humans and perform tasks like driving cars and working in factories, raising the specter of automated robots that could replace human workers.

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3D printing - a new industrial revolution?

3D printing - a new industrial revolution? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Engineers and designers have been using 3D printing to create prototypes for many years, but falling technology costs are making it increasing accessible to other people.

3D objects are created by sending a digital file or scan to a printer which then builds the item layer by layer - a process know as "additive manufacturing".

The range of objects the technology can manufacture is rapidly expanding - in the medical sector it is being used for dental work, while the fashion industry is experimenting with it to produce clothing.


Rory Cellan-Jones investigates how an increasing affordability in 3D-printing technology could change the way items are manufactured.

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A leap forward in brain-controlled computer cursors

A leap forward in brain-controlled computer cursors | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Stanford researchers have designed the fastest, most accurate algorithm yet for brain-implantable prosthetic systems that can help disabled people maneuver computer cursors with their thoughts. The algorithm’s speed, accuracy and natural movement approach those of a real arm, doubling performance of existing algorithms.

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Designer Virus Pioneer Sees a Revolution Ahead for Synthetic Biology

Designer Virus Pioneer Sees a Revolution Ahead for Synthetic Biology | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

When researchers synthesized the poliovirus from scratch 10 years ago, it was a major feat in the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology. For the first time, scientists had chemically stitched together bits of DNA to create a functional virus without the guidance of a biological template.

Now the virologist who led that team, Eckard Wimmer of Stony Brook University, continues to push the field by constructing designer viruses and, potentially, designer vaccines. New York Genome Center spoke with Wimmer recently about the future of synthetic biology.

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Giant boxing robots reality show unveiled by Syfy

Giant boxing robots reality show unveiled by Syfy | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Ready for the next generation of robot combat? Syfy has greenlit and shot the first season of a new show where eight-foot-tall state-of-the-art humanoid robots will rock ‘em and sock ‘em in a boxing cage until one is defeated.
The future-shock new series is called Robot Combat League and the project has been kept under wraps until today. The action resembles a real-life version of last year’s hit movie Real Steel, with large menacing robots pounding away at each other in a satisfying shower of sparks and gushing hydraulic fluid.

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