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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The Next Transitions in the Technium

What kinds of developmental thresholds would any planet of sentient beings pass through? The creation of writing would be a huge one. The unleashing of cheap non-biological energy is another. The invention of the scientific method is a giant leap. And the fine control of energy (as in electricity) for long-distant communications is significant as well, enabling all kinds of other achievements. Our civilization has passed through all these stages; what are some future transitions we can expect -- no matter the fashions and fads of the day? What are the emergent thresholds of information and energy organization that our civilization can look forward to? Most of these thresholds are gradual, so we can't assign dates, but each of these structures seem to be a natural transition that any civilization must reach sooner or later.

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The Next 50 Years: Will Tech Solve Humanity’s Problems?

Experts from Intel Corporation discuss major problems facing humanity, including global warming, an aging world population and the relentless pace of technology. Will better technology solve these problems or are humans hitting a fundamental physical barrier to progress?

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The future of food

The future of food | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

How can we feed the 2.5 billion more people – an extra China and India – likely to be alive in 2050? The UN says we will have to nearly double our food production and governments say we should adopt new technologies and avoid waste, but however you cut it, there are already one billion chronically hungry people, there's little more virgin land to open up, climate change will only make farming harder to grow food in most places, the oceans are overfished, and much of the world faces growing water shortages.

Fifty years ago, when the world's population was around half what it is now, the answer to looming famines was "the green revolution" – a massive increase in the use of hybrid seeds and chemical fertilisers. It worked, but at a great ecological price. We grow nearly twice as much food as we did just a generation ago, but we use three times as much water from rivers and underground supplies.

Food, farm and water technologists will have to find new ways to grow more crops in places that until now were hard or impossible to farm. It may need a total rethink over how we use land and water. So enter a new generation of radical farmers, novel foods and bright ideas.

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Project Bifrost: Rockets of the Future?

Project Bifrost: Rockets of the Future? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Project Bifrost is an ambitious study examining emerging space technologies that could lay the foundation for future interstellar flights and investigates the utility of fission for future space missions.

Project Bifrost was initiated by Research Lead Tabitha Smith (Strategic Officer of General Propulsion Science) and Brad Appel (Program Manager of Nuclear Propulsion at General Propulsion Science), working in collaboration with Icarus Interstellar Inc. a nonprofit foundation dedicated to achieving interstellar flight by the year 2100.

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Lisa Harouni: A primer on 3D printing

2012 may be the year of 3D printing, when this three-decade-old technology finally becomes accessible and even commonplace. Lisa Harouni gives a useful introduction to this fascinating way of making things -- including intricate objects once impossible to create.

- by TEDtalks

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Playing God - BBC Horizon

Adam Rutherford meets a new creature created by American scientists - the spider-goat. It is part goat, part spider, and its milk can be used to create artificial spider's web.

It is part of a new field of research, synthetic biology, with a radical aim: to break down nature into spare parts so that we can rebuild it however we please.

This technology is already being used to make bio-diesel to power cars. Other researchers are looking at how we might, one day, control human emotions by sending 'biological machines' into our brains.

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World building 302: Psychology, beliefs, and other times

"The past is a different country; they do things differently there."

In my last essay I discussed the likely and predictable environmental and technical constraints on writing fiction set in the 21st century, specifically looking at 2032 and 2092 as yardsticks. But I said virtually nothing about probably the most important factor in defining what our world might look like in the near future — namely, how we perceive it, and how our perception of our world feeds back into the way we behave (and how this in turn determines its shape).

This is of necessity a much fuzzier and more incoherent, flexible view of the future. But let's start with the predictive element that looks most likely — that the future will be about cities full of elderly people who are afraid of the sky — and then ask what this means.

- by Charles Stross

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Your top 20 predictions for 2112

Your top 20 predictions for 2112 | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Crowdsourced predictions organized by BBC UK, inspired by ten 100-year predictions made by American civil engineer John Elfreth Watkins in 1900.

Many of the "strange, almost impossible" predictions made by Watkins came true. Here is what futurologists Ian Pearson (IP) and Patrick Tucker (PT) think of the submitted ideas.

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Do We Need Doctors Or Algorithms?

Do We Need Doctors Or Algorithms? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Eventually, we won’t need the average doctor and will have much better and cheaper care for 90-99% of our medical needs. We will still need to leverage the top 10 or 20% of doctors (at least for the next two decades) to help that bionic software get better at diagnosis. So a world mostly without doctors (at least average ones) is not only not reasonable, but also more likely than not. There will be exceptions, and plenty of stories around these exceptions, but what I am talking about will most likely be the rule and doctors may be the exception rather than the other way around.

- by Silicon Valley investor Vinod Khosla, the founder of Khosla Ventures

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Will our popular culture survive into the future?

Will our popular culture survive into the future? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Many works of science fiction agree that we'll all be reading Shakespeare until the heat death of the universe. But what about the works of Isaac Asimov, George Lucas, JK Rowling, and Steven Moffat? What, if any, cultural legacy will we leave to people the who come after us, and will we like the way that legacy looks?

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Do We Really Want Immortality?

Do We Really Want Immortality? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Here's the safest prediction for the next 100 years -- that mortality will be a major theme. Assuming we don't blow up the world, or fall into some other catastrophic failure mode, human beings will inevitably focus on using advanced technology to cheat death.

 - by David Brin

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Our Grey Goo Future: Possibility and Probability

Our Grey Goo Future: Possibility and Probability | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Not necessarily grey, and not necessarily gooey, “grey goo” is both a nanotechnological substance which increases exponentially without practical limit, and a hypothetical scenario in which the mass of planet Earth – or the universe – is ecotophaged into self-replicating nanobots.

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A Future History

A Future History | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Predictions about the future of technology are so often wide of the mark, yet for many of us they’re irresistible. They fuel our passion for science fiction and the expansive philosophy of thinkers like Olaf Stapledon. To begin 2012, Tau Zero founder Marc Millis offers up a set of musings about where we may be going, a scenario that, given the alternatives, sounds about as upbeat as we’re likely to get.

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Ray Kurzweil - Exponential Learning & Entrepreneurship

Inventor & futurist, Ray Kurzweil on DNA, 3D printed buildings, prediction accuracy, adjusting to change, neuroscience and innovation in schools and learning.

 

Talk presented at the Learning Without Frontiers Conference - January 25th 2012, London (LWF12)

 

http://www.learningwithoutfrontiers.com

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Envisioning the future of technology

Envisioning the future of technology | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
Speculating about emerging technologies.

Understanding where technology is heading is more than guesswork. Looking at emerging trends and research, one can predict and draw conclusions about how the technological sphere is developing, and which technologies should become mainstream in the coming years.
Envisioning technology is meant to facilitate these observations by taking a step back and seeing the wider context. By speculating about what lies beyond the horizon we can make better decisions of what to create today.

Envisioning technology is a work in progress by London-based technologist/designer Michell Zappa.

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Abundance

Peter Diamandis - founder and chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation- shares his optimistic vision of the future: Abundance


check out his book with the same title here:

http://abundancethebook.com/

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Fault Lines - Robot wars

What is the role of robots and drones in wars and how will they shape the future of the US military?

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Synthetic Biology: the potential and the problems of re-engineering life

Professor Jamie Davies, Professor of Experimental Anatomy, presents "Synthetic Biology: the potential and the problems of re-engineering life".

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Driverless Cars: A Driving Force Coming to a Future Near You

Driverless Cars: A Driving Force Coming to a Future Near You | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Keep in mind that the first wave of driverless vehicles will be luxury vehicles that allow you to kick back, listen to music, have a cup of coffee, stop wherever you need to along the way, stay productive with connections to the Internet, make phone calls, and even watch a movie or two, for roughly the same price.
If you think this vision is far off, think again. Over the next 10 years we will see the first wave of autonomous vehicles hit the roads, with some of the first inroads made with vehicles that deliver packages, groceries, and fast-mail envelopes.
Here are a few thoughts on how this industry will develop.

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World building 301: some projections

What is the world going to look like in 2032? And in 2092?

- by Charles Stross

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Hod Lipson on The Robot Scientist: Mining Experimental Data

Big Ideas presents Hod Lipson of Cornell University exploring his work in such areas as evolutionary robotics and programmable self-assembly, Lipson delivers a lecture entitled The Robot Scientist: Mining Experimental Data for Scientific Laws, from Cognitive Robots to Computational Biology.

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Talking To The Future Humans

Talking To The Future Humans | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Steve Fuller is a sociology professor who’s interested in how technological enhancements can improve the human body and mind. This could lead to a world full of superhumans, like Robocop but without the desire to brutalise criminals. There’s a whole movement that thinks this way and it’s called transhumanism. The idea is that technology can help us live longer, be stronger and faster and more intelligent, and generally make us better human beings than the pathetic mortals we are now.

So, maybe in a near future, race and wealth divides will be replaced by those who have technological enhancements and those who are just boring old flesh and blood. Maybe we’ll go to the doctors for updates similar to those for computer software, or there’ll be plastic surgery for the brain. Maybe you didn’t get that job because a cyborg had a better CV than you. Sounds like sci-fi, but it could be reality if the transhumanists are right.

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The Third Industrial Revolution

Join Jeremy Rifkin as he describes how the five-pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution will create thousands of businesses and millions of jobs, and usher in a fundamental reordering of human relationships, from hierarchical to lateral power, that will impact the way we conduct business, govern society, educate our children, and engage in civic life.

 

Jeremy Rifkin is president of the Foundation on Economic Trends and the bestselling author of nineteen books on the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment. His books have been translated into more than thirty five languages and are used in hundreds of universities, corporations and government agencies around the world. His most recent books includeThe Third Industrial Revolution, The Empathic Civilization, The Hydrogen Economy, The European Dream, The End of Work, The Age of Access, and The Biotech Century.

 

http://www.foet.org/

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The Singularity and Its Discontents

The Singularity and Its Discontents | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The concept of “the Singularity,” a moment in the not-too-distant future when we will manage to create superhuman intelligence, either in machine form or by augmenting our own brains with biotechnology, is particularly effective at inspiring this kind of technophobia or technophilic zealotry. Mathematician and Science Fiction author Vernor Vinge coined the term in a 1993 article – analogizing our inability to envision a post-A.I. world to modern physics’ inability to explain what happens at the center of a black hole. In the hands of Futurist Ray Kurzweil and friends, the Singularity has evolved into an inspirational movement with its own Institute and University, both dedicated to hastening the coming of the big event and ensuring that its outcomes are beneficial – rather than disastrous – for mankind.

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Paddy Ashdown: The global power shift

Paddy Ashdown claims that we are living in a moment in history where power is changing in ways it never has before. In a spellbinding talk at TEDxBrussels he outlines the three major global shifts that he sees coming.

 

 

http://www.ted.com 

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