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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Would it be boring if we could live forever?

Would it be boring if we could live forever? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Some futurists predict that we'll be able to halt the aging process by the end of this century — if not sooner. The prospect of creating an ageless society is certainly not without its critics, with concerns ranging from the environmental right through to the spiritual. One of the most common objections to radical life extension, however, is the idea that it would be profoundly boring to live forever, and that by consequence, we should not even attempt it.

So are the critics right? Let's take a closer look at the issue and consider both sides.

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Cyborg America: inside the strange new world of basement body hackers

Cyborg America: inside the strange new world of basement body hackers | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Shawn Sarver took a deep breath and stared at the bottle of Listerine on the counter. “A minty fresh feeling for your mouth... cures bad breath,” he repeated to himself, as the scalpel sliced open his ring finger. His left arm was stretched out on the operating table, his sleeve rolled up past the elbow, revealing his first tattoo, the Air Force insignia he got at age 18, a few weeks after graduating from high school. Sarver was trying a technique he learned in the military to block out the pain, since it was illegal to administer anesthetic for his procedure.

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Don’t Fear the Cybermind

Don’t Fear the Cybermind | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

We have all become a great cybermind. As long as we are connected to our machines through talk and keystrokes, we can all be part of the biggest, smartest mind ever. It is only when we are trapped for a moment without our Internet link that we return to our own humble little personal minds, tumbling back to earth from our flotation devices in the cloud.

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Artificial intelligence – can we keep it in the box?

Artificial intelligence – can we keep it in the box? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

We know how to deal with suspicious packages – as carefully as possible! These days, we let robots take the risk. But what if the robots are the risk? Some commentators argue we should be treating AI (artificial intelligence) as a suspicious package, because it might eventually blow up in our faces. Should we be worried?

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Why Our Current Missions to Space Could Create Sentient Robots

Why Our Current Missions to Space Could Create Sentient Robots | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Space is the domain of robots. NASA is about to land the semi-autonomous robot Curiosity on Mars within the next few days, where it joins its two less-sophisticated robot brethren, Spirit and Opportunity. There's a good reason why these rovers are the first Earthlings first to set foot — or rather, tire treads — on Mars. Even the simplest robot can survive in space better than a human can.

As we program more and more of our smart machines to explore space, we might discover a lot more than microbial life in the waters of Europa. Instead, says celebrated science historian Richard Rhodes (author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb), we might unwittingly create the first sentient robots.

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A Future Worth Working Towards

A Future Worth Working Towards | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

There isn’t enough in the world.

Not enough wealth to go around, not enough space in cities, not enough medicine, not enough intelligence or wisdom. Not enough genuine fun or excitement. Not enough knowledge. Not enough solutions to global problems.

What we need is more. And we need it soon. The world population is doubling every 34 years. Instead of turning back the clock, we must move towards the future.

There is a bare minimum that we should demand out of the future. Without this bare minimum, we’re just running in place.

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Hugo de Garis - Singularity Skepticism

Hugo de Garis speaks about why people are skeptical about the possibility of machine intelligence, and also reasons for believing machine intelligence is possible, and quite probably will be an issue that we will need to face in the coming decades.

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Could Minority Report come true in your lifetime?

Could Minority Report come true in your lifetime? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

What if we could know about a crime before it happens? We could avoid huge amounts of suffering — but even though that goal fuels stories like Minority Report and Person of Interest, it seems to be far away from reality. Until now.

Experts say the field of "predictive policing" has advanced by leaps and bounds. And soon enough, the cops may have the ability to tell the future. Already, pilot projects have been able to predict the rise of a new drug market in Pittsburgh — and that's just the beginning. Here's what the experts told us.

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Sight

A short futuristic film by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo. 

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DNA Vaccines: The Future Of Disease Control

DNA Vaccines: The Future Of Disease Control | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Right now, we protect people and animals against diseases by inoculating them with vaccines based on real infectious agents - but that brings risk of reinfection and the expense of cultivating and handling deadly viruses and bacteria.

The future may mean DNA vaccines, basically cutting out the biological middleman.

DNA vaccines are not new but they haven't taken off - an entire anti-science political sphere rejects both vaccines and genetic modifications so combining both is not making them feel better.

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Blade Runner for real: The days of augmenting human bodies with “mods” are coming

Blade Runner for real: The days of augmenting human bodies with “mods” are coming | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Do you want legs that let you jump 10 feet high? Or a body that “impresses chicks”? Or a brain that can be electronically pulled back from extreme depression? Computer experts of today think that the day will be coming when human cyborgs will be possible?

Two computer-savvy medical students, who noted they were not doctors, gave the presentation at the Defcon hacker conference on Saturday. Christian “Quaddi” Dameff and Jeff “Replicant” Tully said that the day is not so distant when we will be able to “mod” our organic bodies with inorganic mechanical and electronic materials that enhance our augment our basic abilities. They refer to the coming era of human augmentation as “transhumanism.” The subject, which they illustrated with the above picture of actress Megan Fox of Transformers fame, is a controversial one that brings up questions of ethics of technologists who can make the worlds of sci-fi movies such as Blade Runner, where “replicant” cyborgs imitate humans, come to life.


Via Robert Farrow
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The Threat of a Jobless World

The Threat of a Jobless World | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

People are seriously worried. I’ve been in a number of conversations recently where people are very worried about our coming era of automation where fewer and fewer jobs will be left for people to do.
At the same time, our best thinkers don’t seem to have good answers for what comes next. Our best colleges are training students for jobs that will no longer exist. Our business leaders are myopically focused on what’s best for them. They have an obligation to hire the fewest number of people they can get away with, and to trim staff and expenses wherever possible. And politicians don’t know what to think because there are no lobbyists for the future unemployed.
In the past, the vast majority of our layoffs were caused by economic downturns. As we move into the future, the tide will shift, and the majority of our layoffs will be caused by automation and technology.
With all the chaos and uncertainty of a workerless world looming, I’d like to step you through some of the reasons why it will not be as bad as the doomsayers are predicting.

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Seth Lloyd on Programming the Universe

Seth Llyod is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His talk, "Programming the Universe", is about the computational power of atoms, electrons, and elementary particles.

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The 22nd Century at First Light: Envisioning Life in the Year 2100

The 22nd Century at First Light: Envisioning Life in the Year 2100 | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

A special report by members and friends of the World Future Society

 

A child born today will only be 88 years old in the year 2100. It’s time to start thinking and caring about the twenty-second century now.

The next 88 years may see changes that come exponentially faster than the previous 88 years. What new inventions will come out of nowhere and change everything? What will our families look like? How will we govern ourselves? What new crimes or other threats loom ahead? Will we be happy? How?

THE FUTURIST invited WFS members and friends to submit forecasts, scenarios, wild cards, dreams, and nightmares about the earth, humanity, governance, commerce, science and technology, and more.

So, what do we see in this “first light” view over the next horizon? A fuzzy and inaccurate picture, no doubt, but also an earnest attempt to shake out our futuring instruments and begin improving them. To build a better future for the generations who are depending on us, we’ll need the best tools we can develop.

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Soon, space robots like Curiosity may evolve even greater intelligence

Soon, space robots like Curiosity may evolve even greater intelligence | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

After more than eight years of planning and a 254-day journey through the cold emptiness of space, NASA’s Curiosity rover has finally landed on Mars. Curiosity is the most advanced mobile robotic science lab to ever explore another planet and thus this is an exciting moment for NASA and the world.

But robotics and artificial intelligence continue to advance at an exponential rate. As we look towards the future of space exploration in the next decade and beyond, we can expect the next generation of space robots to be orders of magnitude more powerful and intelligent, while at the same time costing a fraction of Curiosity’s $2.5 billion price tag.

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Twitter / MarsCuriosity: No photo or it didn't happen? ...

Twitter / MarsCuriosity: No photo or it didn't happen? ... | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Curiosity Rover: No photo or it didn't happen? Well lookee here, I'm casting a shadow on the ground in Mars' Gale crater

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CONGRATULATIONS TO NASA AND JPL FOR SAFELY LANDING THE MOST COMPLEX SCIENTIFIC DEVICE EVER ON THE SURFACE OF ANOTHER PLANET! GO CURIOSITY!

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Artificial Intelligence, Robots & humans: A Cyberpsychological perspective

Artificial Intelligence, Robots & humans: A Cyberpsychological perspective | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The constant advancements in computing power, machine learning algorithms and breakthroughs in relevant technologies is setting the interaction between humans and computers on a road where sometime in the near future advanced Artificial Intelligences (A.I.) will engage with people in many meaningful ways.

The possibility of a machine with consciousness raises many philosophical, psychological and sociological questions about the nature of consciousness itself and what it really means to be intelligent. The computational modelling of human cognitive abilities can play a significant role in the advancement of cognitive psychology, giving a better understanding of people’s own intelligence. Going from natural to Artificial Intelligence, there are many challenges and risks to be met, but also great opportunities.

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Back to the Future: Predicting 2012 in 1987

Back to the Future: Predicting 2012 in 1987 | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

For millennia, philosophers from Nostradamus to the estimable Ms. Cleo have tried and failed to divine prophecy from the stars – yet the human impulse to foresee our future continues to endure. And who better to predict the unpredictable than those who spend their lives dreaming of tomorrow: science fiction writers?

That was the idea behind the Writers of the Future’s Time Capsule Predictions, anyway. In 1987, as part of L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest, a dozen highly regarded science fiction authors were asked to envision what our world would be like in a quarter-century: 2012.

How did the predictions fare? Some better than others.

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Jaan Tallinn on the Intelligence Stairway

Jaan Tallinn, one of the founding engineers of Skype and a philosopher of modern technology, believes the impact of artificial intelligence has reached a crucial threshold. In his talk for Sydney Ideas at the University of Sydney he presents his model for the Intelligence Stairway.

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What will we be eating in 20 years' time?

What will we be eating in 20 years' time? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Volatile food prices and a growing population mean we have to rethink what we eat, say food futurologists. So what might we be serving up in 20 years' time?

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The Future is Ours

Created to inspire by Michael Marantz:

michaelmarantz.com - twitter.com/michaelmarantz
Produced by Already Alive alreadyalive.com


Imagine the future as a movie, consider this a trailer to that movie.
The future excites me so much, that is why I made this. We need to be inspired by the immense possibilities of the future and work extremely hard to achieve them. We can do it, we just have to commit.

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Cosmos: A Three-Movement Choral Suite [Carl Sagan Tribute Series]

Cosmos is a three-movement choral suite composed by Kenley Kristofferson using the text of 20th-century astronomer and science popularizer, Carl Sagan. Recorded by Antiphony at the Manitoba Museum (Planetarium) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on May 29th, 2012.

 

 

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Race Against the Machine: Andrew McAfee at TEDxBoston

"We ain't seen nothing yet when it comes to technology's impact on the labor force." 
Automation redefined blue collar employment and reshaped a global economy. Now, technology is replacing higher skilled jobs by augmenting human brainpower the way steam engines augmented human labor. Andrew McAfee braces us for a fundamental transformation in the future of work.

 

Andrew McAfee studies the ways that information technology (IT) affects businesses and business as a whole. His research investigates how IT changes the way companies perform, organize themselves, and compete. At a higher level, his work also investigates how computerization affects competition, society, the economy, and the workforce.
He and Erik Brynjolfsson are co-authors of the ebook Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy.


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Synthetic biology: 'playing God' is vital if we are to create a better future for all

Synthetic biology: 'playing God' is vital if we are to create a better future for all | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Synthetic biology means different things to different people. Its leading scientists want to create, characterise and, crucially, standardise individual pieces of DNA. The purpose is to build biological circuits with specific functions, in much the same way that you might arrange components to make an electrical circuit. Others want to produce new versions of genetic code with entirely new letters and entirely unnatural versions of DNA.

The ability to design and build biological systems provides a new way to understand how living things work, yet the field is much more about engineering than it is about pure science. However, many synthetic biologists are seeking to solve problems in more efficient ways than traditional engineering does, with potential applications ranging from fighting pollution and cancer to manufacturing fuel and drugs.

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Embrace the cyborg revolution

Given the current social, economic and political developments it becomes clear that we seem to have reached a ceiling in our intellectual ability to address the complex issues that society is facing. Society lacks the intellectual capacity required to assess the holistic nature of the current challenges. Without that analytic capacity it will be impossible to come up with the right answers. We have arrived at times like this before in our history and they typically led to collapses of civilisations and the arrival of serious declines in living standards. If we are to avoid similar calamities, we need to break through that ceiling and find new tools to help us to create a smarter society.

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