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February 26 2014


February 14 2014

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February 10 2014


On The Road To The Self-Driving Car | On Point with Tom Ashbrook (NPR)

No more dumb cars, the Federal government decreed this week. Or at least, no mute cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday it will soon require all new cars to talk to one another. Share location, speed, direction and more, electronically. Vehicle-to-vehicle – “V2V” – communication. Right behind that comes the next frontier: self-driving cars. First they talk to one another, next they drive themselves. The auto industry, Google, and the law are all gearing up. This hour On Point: on the road to the world of the self-driving car. Source: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/02/05/self-driving-cars-google-x-computers

February 06 2014


How one man's Olympic design influenced your next trip to the public restroom (PRI's The World)

German designer Otl Aicher created the pictograms for the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich. His design has influenced not only future Olympic pictograms but many signs we see on a daily basis. http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-02-06/how-one-mans-olympic-design-influenced-your-next-trip-public-restroom

January 30 2014


Arthur C. Clarke’s Technologies

In our previous episode, we introduced Arthur C. Clarke, the amazing man and science fiction writer. Today we’ll be discussing his legacy and ideas on space exploration. You’ll be amazed to hear how many of the ideas we take for granted were invented or just accurately predicted by Arthur C. Clarke.

January 28 2014


Our Underground Future

When we think of underground space many of us think of carparks, subways and storage. Or we think of dark science fiction scenarios – mole people living deep below our cities! But as we move into an increasingly urbanised 21st century – is it time to rethink the way we construct? And start building down as well as up? A growing number of people think we should be making better use of our underground ‘real estate’ as a way to ease some of our future urban pressures.

January 15 2014


James Barrat on the future of Artificial Intelligence

James Barrat, author of Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, discusses the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Barrat takes a look at how to create friendly AI with human characteristics, which other countries are developing AI, and what we could expect with the arrival of the Singularity. He also touches on the evolution of AI and how companies like Google and IBM and government entities like DARPA and the NSA are developing artificial general intelligence devices right now.

James Barrat on the future of Artificial Intelligence

James Barrat, author of Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, discusses the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Barrat takes a look at how to create friendly AI with human characteristics, which other countries are developing AI, and what we could expect with the arrival of the Singularity. He also touches on the evolution of AI and how companies like Google and IBM and government entities like DARPA and the NSA are developing artificial general intelligence devices right now.

January 14 2014


Media Futures (1 of 4) - Newspapers | BBC World Service - The Documentary,

With more news now available online does the internet spell doom for the daily newspaper? As more and more news is available online, the idea of buying a traditional newspaper is fast becoming a thing of the past. Or is it? Some parts of the world are still enjoying strong print circulation. And even places like the west where newspaper sales are plummeting, it has often proved difficult to make the digital alternative pay its way. In part one of this four-part series, Mark Coles asks what is the future for newspapers? And if they survive, how will they need to change? http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0199y2s http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0199y26

January 13 2014


Vernor Vinge: What If the Singularity Does NOT Happen? - The Long Now

Non-Singularity scenarios Vinge began by declaring that he still believes that a Singularity event in the next few decades is the most likely outcome— meaning that self-accelerating technologies will speed up to the point of so profound a transformation that the other side of it is unknowable. And this transformation will be driven by Artificial Intelligences (AIs) that, once they become self-educating and self-empowering, soar beyond human capacity with shocking suddenness. He added that he is not convinced by the fears of some that the AIs would exterminate humanity. He thinks they would be wise enough to keep us around as a fallback and backup— intelligences that can actually function without massive connectivity! (Later in the Q&A I asked him about the dangerous period when AI’s are smart enough to exterminate us but not yet wise enough to keep us around. How long would that period be? “About four hours,” said Vinge .) Since a Singularity makes long-term thinking impractical, Vinge was faced with the problem of how to say anything useful in a Seminar About Long-term Thinking, so he came up with a plausible set of scenarios that would be Singularity-free. He noted that they all require that we achieve no faster-than-light space travel. The overall non-Singularity condition he called “The Age of Failed Dreams.” The main driver is that software simply continues failing to keep pace with hardware improvements. One after another, enormous billion-dollar software projects simply do not run, as has already happened at the FBI, air traffic control, IRS, and many others. Some large automation projects fail catastrophically, with planes running into each. So hardware development eventually lags, and materials research lags, and no strong AI develops. To differentiate visually his three sub-scenarios, Vinge showed a graph ranging over the last 50,000 and next 50,000 years, with power (in maximum discrete sources) plotted against human populaton, on a log-log scale. Thus the curve begins at the lower left with human power of 0.3 kilowatts and under a hundred thousand population, curves up through steam engines with one megawatt of power and a billion population, up further to present plants generating 13 gigawatts. His first scenario was a bleak one called “A Return to MADness.” Driven by increasing environmental stress (that a Singularity might have cured), nations return to nuclear confrontation and policies of “Mutually Assured Destruction.” One “bad afternoon,” it all plays out, humanity blasts itself back to the Stone Age and then gradually dwindles to extinction. His next scenario was a best-case alternative named “The Golden Age,” where population stabilizes around 3 billion, and there is a peaceful ascent into “the long, good time.” Humanity catches on that the magic ingredient is education, and engages the full plasticity of the human psyche, empowered by hope, information, and communication. A widespread enlightened populism predominates, with the kind of tolerance and wise self-interest we see embodied already in Wikipedia. One policy imperative of this scenario would be a demand for research on “prolongevity”— “Young old people are good for the future of humanity.” Far from deadening progress, long-lived youthful old people would have a personal stake in the future reaching out for centuries, and would have personal perspective reaching back for centuries. The final scenario, which Vinge thought the most probable, he called “The Wheel of Time.” Catastrophes and recoveries of various amplitudes follow one another. Enduring heroes would be archaeologists and “software dumpster divers” who could recover lost tools and techniques. What should we do about the vulnerabilities in these non-Singularity scenarios? Vinge ’s main concern is that we are running only one, perilously narrow experiment on Earth. “The best hope for long-term survival is self-sufficient off-Earth settlements.” We need a real space program focussed on bringing down the cost of getting mass into space, instead of “the gold-plated sham” of present-day NASA. There is a common critique that there is no suitable place for humans elsewhere in the Solar System, and the stars are too far. “In the long now,” Vinge observed, “the stars are not too far.” (Note: Vinge’s detailed notes for this talk, and the graphs, may be found online at: http://rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge /longnow/index.htm ) --Stewart Brand http://longnow.org/seminars/02007/feb/15/what-if-the-singularity-does-not-happen/

January 11 2014


Chang-Rae Lee Goes Back to the Less-Than-Sunny Future | The Dinner Party Download

Pulitzer-nominated novelist Chang-Rae Lee has been named one of The New Yorker’s “20 Writers for the 21st Century” but his newest book, “On Such a Full Sea,” is set in the future. A dystopian future to be exact, where the city of Baltimore has been converted into a labor colony where Chinese Americans produce food for the wealthier classes of society. While Lee insists to us that he is, in his own life, a sunny sort of person, he clearly knows how to create a fictional world that is simultaneously dark and beautiful – so we asked him to name some other alluringly twisted images of humanity’s possible future. I’m Chang-Rae Lee. My book is set in the former Baltimore, 150 years from now, and Baltimore is quite different. It’s a labor colony filled with workers who are of Chinese descent, brought over to produce fishes and vegetables for an elite charter class, partly because this world that they live in is pretty much poisoned beyond reckoning. I should note that “On Such a Full Sea” is also a love story, and though bleak, I hope contains a hidden beauty in a world that’s gone wrong. So here’s my list of three other dystopias that I think are bleak but still quite beautiful. “Blade Runner” The first film would have to be “Blade Runner.” Ridley Scott directed it in 1982. I’ve watched the movie probably 10-15 times. The lead investigator, Harrison Ford of course, sets out to track and destroy wayward androids in the strange city that’s dripping with dark liquids and neon lights. What makes it so cool is that it feels absolutely like a logical extension of all the things that we know today. You know, the ubiquitous ads, the sense of mobility and flight –  and then, of course, the idea that what’s human will be pushed forward, and maybe backwards, in certain ways so that we’re never quite sure who “we” are and who “they” are. All dystopian stories originate in what we fear now. It finds its expression in that future landscape.   “Melancholia” The second film is a movie by Lars von Trier called “Melancholia.” That came out a couple a couple of years ago. Basically this rogue planet called Melancholia is on a collision course with Earth. But what’s cool about this story is that, again, like all dystopic visions, it’s really about a current anxiety. It’s a very private one. It’s about depression. It’s not just that the world is ending; it’s that there’s been some desolation inside the psyches of these people, and therein are the worlds that are really colliding and being destroyed. In “Melancholia” the character’s concern is this feeling like she doesn’t belong in this world. I think a lot of depressives feel that way. They have a dystopic sensibility and perspective. A lot of people do who aren’t “normal” or of the mainstream. I’ve always held that immigrant novels can be read as dystopic novels. They describe what’s here, but the what’s here for those particular newcomers is like entering a strange and brave new world.   “To Build a Fire” Last but not least is a short story by Lack London. A very famous one called “To Build a Fire.” I don’t know if you remember this story from 7th grade or 8th grade, but it’s a fantastic story about a lone trekker trying to get back to the camp where his fellow trappers are. The problem of course is that it’s very very cold. The temperature starts to plummet 60-below and 75-below. We’re given all his desperate attempts to light a fire. The first fire gets him warm, but then it’s suddenly put out. He begins to realize that he’s got to light this other one, and he can’t quite do it. What I love about this story is that it feels as if we’re watching him on some distant planet trying to simply survive, but the thing about it is, it’s our planet. We realize how close we are to life and death. I’m actually a fairly sunny person. I don’t walk around the streets looking for, you know, all the potential ways in which we might find our demise, but I think in my dreams and at my writing desk, all those anxieties that I’ve been trying to ignore come back to me. I think that’s what focuses me sometimes. It wakes me up. It makes me feel in a strange way alive to think about all that menace that our landscape is full of. http://www.dinnerpartydownload.org/chang-rae-lee/

December 29 2013


95- Future Screens are Mostly Blue | 99% Invisible

We have seen the future, and the future is mostly blue. Or, put another way: in our representations of the future in science fiction movies, blue seems to be the dominant color of our interfaces with technology yet to come. And that is one of the many design lessons we can learn from sci-fi. Designers and sci-fi aficionados Chris Noessel and Nathan Shedroff have spent years compiling real-world lessons that designers can, should, and already do take from science fiction. Their new book, Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons From Science Fiction is a comprehensive compendium of their findings. All music (after pledge preamble) is by OK Ikumi. Podcast: Download (Duration: 24:49 — 22.8MB) http://99percentinvisible.prx.org/2013/11/21/95-future-screens-are-mostly-blue/

June 20 2013


Relativity, the Open Future, and the Passage of Time

Oliver Pooley a University Lecturer in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Oriel College, Oxford. He works in the philosophy of physics and in metaphysics. Much of his research focuses on the nature of space, time and spacetime. Oliver read Physics and Philosophy at Balliol College, and took an MASt in Maths at St John’s College, Cambridge, before returning to Oxford to do graduate work in Philosophy. Before taking up his current position at Oriel, he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Exeter College, Oxford.

April 03 2013


An update on the planets - The Science Show - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Missions are underway investigating Mercury and Mars, with plans underway for Jupiter. Is there life in our Solar System beyond Earth? If there is or was life, it would be associated with water. Three planetary scientists present brief updates on the missions underway, and the possibilities for a mission to Jupiter. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/an-update-on-the-planets/4534566

March 17 2012


Why Mobile Apps Must Die

Mobile apps are on a clear trajectory for failure. It’s just not possible to have an app for every device in my house, every product I own and every store I enter. Much like Yahoos original hierarchy gave way to Google’s search. Applications have to give away to a ‘just in time’ approach to applications. This talk will explain how applications must give way to a more universal approach to application distribution, one based on the mobile web and cloud services. The problem of course, is that the mobile web has both hands tied behind its back. Any mobile app today is locked away behind a browser ghetto: in effect, a sub OS inside a larger mobile OS. This isn’t just an arbitrary technology debate, a just-in-time approach to application functionality can unleash entirely new sets of application, ones which are impossible with native apps. This talk will layout how this problem can be fixed, and what changes need to take place, outside of just HTML5, for it to happen. Scott Jenson, Creative Dir, frog design As frog's Creative Director, Scott Jenson was the first member of the User Interface group at Apple in the late 80s, working on System 7, the Apple Human Interface guidelines and the Newton. After that, he was a freelance design consultant for many years, then director of product design for Symbian, and finally managed the mobile UX group at Google. You can follow frog Creative Director Scott Jenson on Twitter @scottjenson. http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP12580

Ambient Location and the Future of the Interface

UX designer Amber Case will share insights from her research in cyborg anthropology and talk about what really makes us human. Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist currently working at Vertigo Software. She founded CyborgCamp, a conference on the future of humans and computers. Her main focus is on mobile software, augmented reality and data visualization, as these reduce the amount of time and space it takes for people to connect with information. Case founded Geoloqi.com, a private location sharing application, out of a frustration with existing social protocols around text messaging and wayfinding. She formerly worked at global advertising agency. In 2010, she was named by Fast Company Magazine as one of the Most Influential Women in Tech. http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP992057

Where Do Science Fiction and Science Fact Meet?

What kind of future do you want to live in? What excites or concerns you about the future? Intel Futurist Brian David Johnson poses these questions as part of The Tomorrow Project, an initiative to investigate not only the future of computing but also the broader implications on our lives and the planet. Science and technology have progressed to the point where what we build is only constrained by the limits of our own imaginations. The future is not a fixed point in front of us that we are all hurtling helplessly towards. The future is built everyday by the actions of people. The Tomorrow Project engages in ongoing discussions with superstars, science fiction authors and scientists to get their visions for the world that's coming and the world they'd like to build. The future is Brian David Johnson's business. As a futurist at Intel Corporation his charter is to develop an actionable vision for computing in 2020. His work is called “future casting” – using ethnographic field studies, technology research, trend data and even science fiction to provide Intel with a pragmatic vision of consumers and computing. Along with reinventing TV, Johnson has been pioneering development in artificial intelligence, robotics, and using science fiction as a design tool. He speaks and writes extensively about future technologies in articles and scientific papers as well as science fiction short stories and novels (Fake Plastic Love, Nebulous Mechanisms: The Dr. Simon Egerton Stories and the forthcoming This Is Planet Earth). He has directed two feature films and is an illustrator and commissioned painter. http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP10471

January 29 2012


Mobile payments, Piracy and Facial Recognition - Download This Show - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Imagine doing away with your password and logging on to a website using facial recognition technology. We also examine the possibility of your mobile phone replacing your credit card. Also we wade though the numbers to find out just how much damage piracy is really doing to the entertainment industry. This week's guest panel includes Nick Ross, Editor of the ABC's Games and Technology website and Patrick Gray, cybersecurity journalist from Risky.Biz Brand new in 2012, Download This Show is your weekly access-point to the latest developments in social media, consumer electronics, digital politics, hacktivism and more. Beginning January 29, Download This Show will be presented by Marc Fennell (Hungry Beast, triple j) on Sundays at 9:30pm (with a repeat broadcast on Thursdays at 2pm), and will be available to podcast and listen online. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/downloadthisshow/29-january-2012/3790486

January 05 2012


The 3-D Printer - Future Tense - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

3-D printing techniques offer a chance to make manufacturing more efficient and flexible, but as we'll hear they also pose challenges to traditional labour relations and to intellectual property rights. Guests: Tom Standage, Digital Editor, The Economist Bre Pettis, Co-founder of Makerbot Industries Michael Weinberg. Staff Attorney, Public Knowledge Professor Berok Khoshnevis, Engineering, University of Southern California Further Information: Economist article on 3-D printing (http://www.economist.com/node/18114221) Makerbot Industries website (http://www.makerbot.com/) Thingiverse website (http://www.thingiverse.com/) Centre for Rapid Automotated Fabrication Technologies (http://craft.usc.edu/Mission.html) Behrokh Khoshnevis profile (http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~khoshnev/) Public Knowledge website (http://www.publicknowledge.org/) Public Knowledge resources on 3D printing (http://www.publicknowledge.org/3d-printing-bits-atoms) http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/the-3-d-printer/3667402

December 21 2011


The Atlantic Meets The Pacific: Exploring the Future of Gaming and Alternate Realities with Will Wright

Will Wright, creator of the Sims and the Spore, talks about the future of video games and digital learning in this conversation with Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic. This program is part of The Atlantic Meets The Pacific, sponsored by the Atlantic and UC San Diego. Series: "The Atlantic Meets The Pacific" [Public Affairs] [Science] [Show ID: 22776] http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=22776
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