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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Preparing synthetic biology for the world

Preparing synthetic biology for the world | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Synthetic Biology promises low-cost, exponentially scalable products and global health solutions in the form of self-replicating organisms, or “living devices.” As these promises are realized, proof-of-concept systems will gradually migrate from tightly regulated laboratory or industrial environments into private spaces as, for instance, probiotic health products, food, and even do-it-yourself bioengineered systems. What additional steps, if any, should be taken before releasing engineered self-replicating organisms into a broader user space?


Via Gerd Moe-Behrens
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Gerd Moe-Behrens's curator insight, January 25, 2013 2:19 PM

by
Gerd H. G. Moe-Behrens, Rene Davis and Karmella A. Haynes

"Synthetic Biology promises low-cost, exponentially scalable products and global health solutions in the form of self-replicating organisms, or “living devices.” As these promises are realized, proof-of-concept systems will gradually migrate from tightly regulated laboratory or industrial environments into private spaces as, for instance, probiotic health products, food, and even do-it-yourself bioengineered systems. What additional steps, if any, should be taken before releasing engineered self-replicating organisms into a broader user space? In this review, we explain how studies of genetically modified organisms lay groundwork for the future landscape of biosafety. Early in the design process, biological engineers are anticipating potential hazards and developing innovative tools to mitigate risk. Here, we survey lessons learned, ongoing efforts to engineer intrinsic biocontainment, and how different stakeholders in synthetic biology can act to accomplish best practices for biosafety."

http://bit.ly/W8eV9J

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Brain-Computer interface used for rehabilitation after a stroke

Within the TOBI european research project (www.tobi-project.org), led from EPFL (www.epfl.ch) by Prof. José del R. Millán, a patient of the SUVAcare rehabilitation clinic in Sion (Switzerland) uses a brain-computer interface (BCI) to help him recover the mobility of his paralyzed right arm. The EEG reads his brain waves as he concentrates on moving his hand; the computer recognizes the pattern and then sends an impulse in the electrodes stimulating the arm's muscles, as explains Dr. Abdul Al-Khodairy, physician at the SUVAcare clinic.
Scientists have found out that this technique can help disabled people to "reconnect" their brain to their muscles in certain cases - an effect that remains after using the BCI.

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How can we ensure that accelerating technological convergence enhances rather than harms humanity?

How can we ensure that accelerating technological convergence enhances rather than harms humanity? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Dramatic progress is being made in a number of important technology fields, with impacts that are hard to foresee.

The pace of development seems to be accelerating - because more and more engineers and technologists are working on improvements worldwide, and because of positive feedback loops. This observation raises the priority of of thinking hard about the potential impacts - before it becomes too late to influence the outcome.

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3D Printing and the Future of Shopping: Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen

"What we want...is not to be about 3D printing, but to be about empowering people to get what they want," said Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO of the New York based 3D printing company Shapeways. "We enable people to be involved in the products, and I think they like that."

Weijmarshausen believes that the growing popularity of 3D printing will revolutionize the ways we shop, giving consumers the choice to customize their products rather than settle for the small number of mass produced goods already on the market.

Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with Weijmarshausen to discuss 3D printing, the future of customization, and the economics behind the new technology

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Emin Novshadian's curator insight, March 24, 2015 8:26 AM

It can be interesting to design what you want and upload it and after a while a company deliver it to you

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Dr. Wade Adams: Nanotechnology and the Future of Energy

Dr. Wade Adams, Associate Dean of the School of Engineering at Rice University, passionately explains what nanotechnology is and why it is fundamental to solving many of the world's most pressing challenges.

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Sworoba OyetKep's curator insight, March 19, 2013 1:59 AM

In this video Wade Adams presents a seminar on nanotechnology and the future of energy. He discusses the history of nanotechnology and the people who have contributed to the field. He also talks about the functionality of nanotechnolgy and how this technology can be enhanced. The presentation gives a brief story of how a gold nanoshell that was used on animals to cure various types of cancer. Although it has not be approved by the government, this has been tested on humans with positive results. Extensive research is still being carried out on enchancing the capabilites of nanotechnology.

Jessica Wilds's curator insight, March 22, 2013 1:30 AM

In this video Wade Adams presents a seminar on nanotechnology and the future of energy. He talks about the people that contributed to nanotechnology and how it was discovered. He also discusses where nanotechnology is going in the future.

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Meet your next surgeon: Dr. Robot

Meet your next surgeon: Dr. Robot | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Thanks to big technological leaps, robots are becoming standard operating procedure.

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Henrik Safegaard - Cloneartist's curator insight, January 16, 2013 5:48 AM

Somehow i can't stop thinking, "Next step, Dr. Frankenstein" -

It's maybe not rationeal thinking but i find this so scaring. Imagine if it was you on the table and the robot arms start moving above you - huuuu it's freaking scaring ;-)

Szabolcs Kósa's comment, January 16, 2013 12:00 PM
I agree this can be scary, however you can expect completely autonomous surgical robots to appear in the very near future. that will be much more scarier than a human controlled one, that's for sure
gawlab's comment, January 16, 2013 9:43 PM
Well, I think I will be deeply asleep and we build them to be very good , well i hope so ;)
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Will Robots Do Jobs of the Future?

X Prize Chairman and CEO Peter Diamandis talks at the CIO Network about a future where the cost of living becomes essentially free.

Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

"we're heading towards a future of socialism"

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Are robots hurting job growth?

Are robots hurting job growth? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Technological advances, especially robotics, are revolutionizing the workplace, but not necessarily creating jobs. Steve Kroft reports.

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Mechanical Walking Space Man's comment, January 22, 2013 1:14 PM
No - helping to take care of the mundane and tricky... leaving humans to accelerate evolution
Mechanical Walking Space Man's curator insight, January 22, 2013 1:15 PM

Only the jobs humans are no good at doing well...

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Japan as the new normal: Living in a constrained economy

Japan as the new normal: Living in a constrained economy | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

A few nations and communities are already moving in the direction of a steady-state economy. Sweden, Denmark, Japan, and Germany have arguably reached a situation in which they do not depend on high rates of growth to provide for their people. This is not to say these countries have only smooth sailing ahead (Japan in particular is facing a painful adjustment, given its very high levels of government debt), but they are likely to fare better than other nations that have high domestic levels of economic inequality and that have gotten used to high growth rates.

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IBM's Watson Memorized the Entire 'Urban Dictionary,' Then His Overlords Had to Delete It

IBM's Watson Memorized the Entire 'Urban Dictionary,' Then His Overlords Had to Delete It | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Watson couldn't distinguish between polite language and profanity -- which the Urban Dictionary is full of. Watson picked up some bad habits from reading Wikipedia as well. In tests it even used the word "bullshit" in an answer to a researcher's query.

Ultimately, Brown's 35-person team developed a filter to keep Watson from swearing and scraped the Urban Dictionary from its memory.

Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

funny story: Watson being honest when put to the test

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Exponential Technology Literacy

Niell Jacobstein of NASA's Singularity University describes how artificial intelligence will change the world.

at TEDxSanMigueldeAllende

Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

Excellent talk. A fresh perspective on the topic.

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Has Humanity's Explosion Become a Population Bomb?

Has Humanity's Explosion Become a Population Bomb? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The world's population has exploded over the past century, growing from less than 2 billion to 7 billion people. And it's not stopping. The U.N.'s current projection is that humanity will number 9.3 billion individuals in 2050, and then hit 10.1 billion by 2100. Meanwhile, our energy resources are dwindling and droughts threaten our food supplies.
Have we reached a population crisis that will eventually destroy Homo sapiens entirely? How will we ever maintain our numbers at a sustainable size? The solutions to our population problem may be even more dangerous than the problem itself.

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Pondering Our Cyborg Future in a Documentary About the Singularity

Pondering Our Cyborg Future in a Documentary About the Singularity | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Doug Wolens's recent documentary takes on the complex, abstract concept of the singularity, which predicts a moment when technology will give rise to intelligence beyond the scope of human imagination. It sounds like sci-fi but, Wolens and others argue, there's no denying the sweeping impact of technology on human existence and the implications are worth thinking about. In the trailer for the film, below, scientists, futurists, and other experts describe what the singularity might have in store. 

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The personalized medicine revolution is almost here

The personalized medicine revolution is almost here | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

We are at the dawn of a new age of personalized medicine.
Just as Moore’s law transformed computing – and, as a result, all aspects of our professional and personal lives — so, too, will the interpretation of the human genome transform medicine. We are moving from the inefficient and experimental medicine of today towards the data-driven medicine of tomorrow. Soon, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and most importantly, prevention will be tailored to individuals’ genetic and phenotypic information.
As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, investments in molecular biology, bioinformatics, disease management and the unraveling of the human genome are all finally bearing fruit. Personalized medicine promises to revolutionize the practice of medicine, transform the global healthcare industry, and ultimately lead to longer and healthier lives.

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1.8 gigapixel ARGUS-IS. World's highest resolution video surveillance platform by DARPA

The ARGUS array is made up of several cameras and other types of imaging systems. The output of the imaging system is used to create extremely large, 1.8GP high-resolution mosaic images and video.

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Recession, tech kill middle-class jobs

Recession, tech kill middle-class jobs | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

For decades, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines; an Associated Press analysis finds that the future has arrived.

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NASA Beams Mona Lisa to Moon with Laser

NASA Beams Mona Lisa to Moon with Laser | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Call it the ultimate in high art: Using a well-timed laser, NASA scientists have beamed a picture of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, to a powerful spacecraft orbiting the moon, marking a first in laser communication.

The laser signal, fired from an installation in Maryland, beamed the Mona Lisa to the moon to be received 240,000 miles (384,400 km) away by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the moon since 2009. The Mona Lisa transmission, NASA scientists said, is a major advance in laser communication for interplanetary spacecraft.

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A Collection of Essays About What We Should Fear

A Collection of Essays About What We Should Fear | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Each December for the past fifteen years, the literary agent John Brockman has pulled out his Rolodex and asked a legion of top scientists and writers to ponder a single question: What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive tool kit? (Or: What have you changed your mind about?) This year, Brockman’s panelists agreed to take on the subject of what we should fear. There’s the fiscal cliff, the continued European economic crisis, the perpetual tensions in the Middle East. But what about the things that may happen in twenty, fifty, or a hundred years? The premise, as the science historian George Dyson put it, is that “people tend to worry too much about things that it doesn’t do any good to worry about, and not to worry enough about things we should be worrying about.” A hundred fifty contributors wrote essays for the project. The result is a recently published collection, “What *Should* We Be Worried About?” available without charge at John Brockman’s edge.org.

Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

Read the complete collection of responses here: http://www.edge.org/responses/q2013

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Ellen Jorgensen: Biohacking -- you can do it, too

We have personal computing, why not personal biotech? That's the question biologist Ellen Jorgensen and her colleagues asked themselves before opening Genspace, a nonprofit DIYbio lab in Brooklyn devoted to citizen science, where amateurs can go and tinker with biotechnology. Far from being a sinister Frankenstein's lab (as some imagined it), Genspace offers a long list of fun, creative and practical uses for DIYbio.

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Rise of the cyborgs

Rise of the cyborgs | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Of all the powers that we have imagined for the cyborg, which do we most covet? Their ability to see and sense detail in the environment? The ability manipulate things with the dexterity and power of a machine? Or perhaps it would be to command vast amounts of information which can be processed at tremendous speed?
If you chose none of those, you chose as any cyborg likely would have. The cyborg’s greatest power, that from which it derives the most satisfaction (to use that term loosely), must be the ability to see itself.

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Alistair Parker's curator insight, January 14, 2013 7:08 PM

add your insight...

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Kim Solez The Singularity Explained and Promoted January 2013

Dr. Kim Solez presents "The Technological Singularity Explained and Promoted" on January 10th, 2013 in the Technology and Future of Medicine course LABMP 590 http://www.singularitycourse.comat the University of Alberta in Edmonton Canada.

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Is it time to move past the idea that our brain is like a computer?

Is it time to move past the idea that our brain is like a computer? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Ever since the days of Alan Turing, neuroscientists have, in increasing numbers, compared the human brain to a computer. It's an analogy that makes a hell of a lot of sense, and it's done much to help us understand this remarkable grey blob that sits between our ears. But as a recent essay by philosopher Daniel Dennett points out, while the brain should most certainly be considered a kind of machine — one with a trillion moving parts — its inner workings are far removed from anything we have ever developed. Consequently, scientists need to take note and update their models accordingly. Calling the brain a "computer," says Dennett, is accurate, but insufficient.

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Another Tool in the Nano Toolbox: Berkeley Lab Scientists Use Electron Beam to Manipulate Nanoparticles

Another Tool in the Nano Toolbox: Berkeley Lab Scientists Use Electron Beam to Manipulate Nanoparticles | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Scientists from Berkeley Lab and the National University of Singapore have developed a way to manipulate nanoparticles using an electron beam. Based on their results, the scientists believe their approach could lead to a new way to build nanostructures one nanoparticle at a time.

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World Economic Forum – Global Risks 2013 Eighth Edition

World Economic Forum – Global Risks 2013 Eighth Edition | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2013 report is developed from an annual survey of more than 1,000 experts from industry, government, academia and civil society who were asked to review a landscape of 50 global risks.

The global risk that respondents rated most likely to manifest over the next 10 years is severe income disparity, while the risk rated as having the highest impact if it were to manifest is major systemic financial failure. There are also two risks appearing in the top five of both impact and likelihood – chronic fiscal imbalances and water supply crisis.

Unforeseen consequences of life science technologies was the biggest mover among global risks when assessing likelihood, while unforeseen negative consequences of regulation moved the most on the impact scale when comparing the result with last year’s.

Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

check out the video overview too: http://youtu.be/btP9uve633A

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Better than the Borg: The Neurotech Era

Better than the Borg: The Neurotech Era | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

What if you could read my mind? What if I could beam what I’m seeing, hearing, and thinking, straight to you, and vice versa? What if an implant could store your memories, augment them, and make you smarter?
Long the stuff of science fiction, technology that can directly tap into, augment, and connect human brains is becoming science fact. And that means big changes for all of us.

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