The Future is Rapidly Approaching

10 March 2014

This morning (02014.03.10) I’ve read postings having the following titles.

  • Sniffing out cancer with electronic noses — BBC.com
  • It’s time to build a bionic brain for smarter research — TheConversation.com
  • Bioprinting: Building living tissue with a 3D printer is becoming a new business, but making whole organs for transplant remains elusive — Economist.com
  • The rechargeable revolution: A better battery — Nature.com
  • Folding@home simulates activation of key cancer protein, could lead to novel drug design — Phys.org
  • SXSW Cognitive Cooking: Belgian Bacon Pudding — IBM on YouTube.com

The future is rapidly approaching, yet from a sociopolitical perspective it seems as though we can’t escape the 20th century.


Smartphones Remind Me of External Tape Drives

15 September 2012

Smartphones are external devices, but what’s external today might become internal someday.

Apple (AAPL) stock is nearing $700 per share and at one point on 14 September 02012 Apple Inc.’s market value exceeded $650 billion. Tweets about Apple’s iPhone 5 has flooded my tiny neighborhood of the Twitterverse and that has been frustrating because I am not a consumer of iWhatever products.

A couple months ago I quoted myself saying, “I’ll call my phone a smartphone when it starts paying the bills.” A couple of days ago I quoted myself saying, “If only smartphones made us smart.”

These days I believe the following is true: Smartphones are to humans as external tape drives are to computers. [And I am thinking of those old clunky external tape drives.]

External tape drives, once purchased and drivers installed, are often permanently attached to computers. Smartphones, once purchased and activated, are often permanently within reach of humans. I find it interesting that there are so many humans willing to be permanently tethered to a device when they are free not to be.

Over time many external drives got smaller and were able to became internal drives; in other words, they were installed in the computers.

It’s possible that smartphones will morph into supercomputers and get small enough so that they can be installed in humans. If this happens, then it makes for some interesting stuff to ponder. Some examples: Will the Digital Divide get wider? Will humans still be able to function (think) if their computer is down? Will humans still be able to function if their computers get disconnected from the Internet? What can happen to humans when their computer gets cracked? What happens to a human when they encounter another human who has a more powerful computer? Will humans have zero privacy? Will criminals hurt/kill humans in order to steal their computers? What happens to a person’s computer when they die? Etc.


The Future: Genetic Engineering, Nanotechnology, Robotics

29 July 2012

“The Future is genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and, ultimately, robotics,” says Ray Kurzweil.

TEDxNYU – Christopher Bradley – Synthetic Biology: This Will Change Everything“We’re using genes as programming languages,” says Christoper Bradley. “Biology plus engineering equals synthetic biology.”

Empire of the Ants is a good bad movie. At one point while watching it I thought nanoants. An ant would be a great way to introduce the topic of nanotechnology. Most people have seen ants. Ants are small, but we can see them with our naked eyes. A nanoant is one-billionth of an ant. In otherwords, take an ant and cut it into a billion equally sized pieces.

Most realistic android infant?“They plan to add voice, body temperature, skin, body movements, and smell,” says KurzweilAI.net.


Revisiting the ‘P’ in HPC

21 June 2012

“Don’t ask me about the ‘P’ in HPC…” is something that I’ve said a lot over the last half decade.

Readability.com::The Era of Pervasive Computing

The article uses the phrase “the Era of Connected Devices”, but I like the phrase “the Internet of Things.” I won’t bother listing the “things,” but the Readability.com posting was specifically focused on “sensors and devices that will monitor and sense our environments, collect data and provide timely and critical feedback.”

I like this quote: “Everything that will benefit from a connection will be connected.”

The following is something I wrote on 1 April 02009…

About the ‘P’ in HPC

HPC stands for High Performance Computing. Historically, the ‘P’ in HPC stood for “performance;” however, these days it stands for much more.

The following is my attempt to define HPC in one sentence.

HPC is a highly pervasive computing environment that
enables highly productive computing via a highly persistent
cyber-infrastructure that exploits highly parallel computing
to provide highly powerful computation.

With less than two years left in decade zero of the 21st century, HPC is really HP^6C — High Performance, Productivity, Pervasive, Persistent, Parallel, Powerful Computing.

HPC systems not only provide peta-scale computation, but they also provide powerful storage systems and, in many cases, powerful visualization systems (e.g. ASU’s Decision Theater).

HPC systems (which for the most part are hardware) need software and these days the software is way behind the hardware. In other words, today’s software is not even close to exploiting the power of HPC systems.


Human Genome; Autonomous Vehicles; Supercomputing; SpaceX

1 June 2012

From a sociopolitical perspective the 21st century has been a dud, but ignoring that…

Human Genome Project completed in 02003; DARPA Grand Challenge successfully met in 02005; DARPA Urban Challenge successfully met in 02007; TOP500 top supercomputer tops petaflops in 02008; IBM’s Watson wins Jeopardy! in 02011; SpaceX successfully completes its first mission in 02012.

[update::02012.06.01] This posting should have included the following… Yesterday (02012.05.31) the front page of the Arizona Republic had the following headline: “U.S. broadening cyberwar strategy”. Today the New York Times has a news story titled “Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran”. My gut tells me cyberwarfare, which I think is in progress, is going to be uglier than ugly.


Many Forms of Divides

14 May 2012

This posting is what I’ll call a “dropping” (i.e. it’s a topic that I want to write more about when time permits).

I’ve spent my entire adult life aware of the “Digital Divide.” The digital divide is a product of numerous factors and one of the factors is “affordability.” For the last 15 years I’ve learned about the “Educational Divide.” The education divide is a product of numerous factors and one of those factors is “affordability.” These days I’m starting to be concerned about a “Future Divide.” It, too, is going to be a multivariate function and one of the variables is going to be “affordability.” It’s possible the technological singularity will result in a huge “Future Divide.”


Two qubits… (0) Why? (1) SCREAM jobs

4 May 2012

It’s May 4th and my last posting was five days ago on April 29th. Summer break is approaching and I don’t know how much time this blog is going to get. Only time will tell (Duh! I know).

[qubit::0]

It’s graduation season. I’m excited about the future is a frequently encountered phrase and everytime I hear it I’d like to ask Why? I use the phrase frequently because I am excited about the future. Why? Because I’m a futurist and that’s exciting.

[qubit::1]

ChangeTheEquation.org has a posting titled “STEM Help Wanted”. The posting was about jobs, but again the STEM acronym sent me on a STEM, CSTEM, STEAM, CSTEAM, SCREAM detour.

STEM help wanted? Heck, yeah. I want stem cells to come to my rescue on an as needed basis. When I see STEM, I see the stock symbol for StemCells, Inc. [Note: I a nanoiota-sized STEM shareholder.]

Switch STEM to SCREAM and the CTEq headline morphs into SCREAM Help Wanted. SCREAM includes ‘Computing’ and ‘Robotics’. Scream “Help Wanted” and it morphs into a HELP WANTED scream.


A Couple Turing Test Moments

25 April 2012

I use a service called Timehop that sends me an email message everyday containing the tweets that my @nanofoo character tweeted one year ago. Today, 25 April 02012, Timehop reminded me that I tweeted the following on 25 April 02011.

#TuringTest RT @factlets: Software produced original music in style of great composers fools experts. http://factlets.info/SyntheticMusic

Notice the use of the #TuringTest hashtag in the tweet.

Yesterday, my @compufoo character tweeted the following.

#TuringTest RT @MachinesLikeUs Can computers pass as human? http://goo.gl/fb/uP6HW

Notice the use of the #TuringTest hashtag in the tweet.

LongBets.org::#1::By 2029 no computer – or “machine intelligence” – will have passed the Turing Test


Why HPC? Weather Prediction is One of the Many Whys

16 April 2012

Inevitably, when I speak about HPC (supercomputing [petaflops and exaflops], visualization systems, Infinite Computing, etc.), I am asked the following question: Why? (i.e. Why as in why do we need so many flops?) My response always starts with “weather forecasting…” with an emphasis on forecasting such things as hurricanes and tornadoes. Accurate storm predictions can save lives.

The following is a headline from the Friday, 13 April 02012, Arizona Republic: Saturday storms ‘life threatening’.

“We’re quite sure tomorrow will be a very busy and dangerous day in terms of large swathes of central and southern plains.” — National Weather Service (NOAA.gov) via the Arizona Republic

Various news sources reported the following.

National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., which specializes in tornado forecasting, took the unusual step of warning people more than 24 hours in advance of a possible “high-end, life-threatening event.”

The predictions ended up being extremely accurate: Tornadoes hit the midwest part of the United States hard on Saturday and Sunday.

The accuracy of weather forecasting is important because it can save lives. But right now the accuracy is critically important because of the need to establish trust among the populous.


The ‘C’ in SCREAMers

13 April 2012

The STEM and STEAM acronyms have become popular acronyms here in the early part of the 21st century. [If I’ve said this n times, I’ve seen it ++n times.]

I’ve never liked the STEM acronym. The first time I saw it I immediately asked “Where’s the Computing?” [And this is said out loud mimicking the way the old Wendy’s lady said “Where’s the Beef?” in those old Wendy’s commercials.] The same “Where’s the Computing?” question applies to the STEAM acronym. Sometime not that long ago I subjected the STEM and STEAM acronyms to the following question: “Where’s the Robotics?”

21st STEM and STEAM depend on Computing, so I originally proposed changing STEM and STEAM to CSTEM and CSTEAM, respectively. There three immediate problems: (0) CSTEM and CSTEAM are not really acronyms. (1) STEM and STEAM are too embedded in our society to change them (i.e. they’re immutable). (2) Where’s the Robotics?

Problem (1) might be impossible to repair, so I’m going to ignore that it exists. Problems (0) and (2) are eliminated with use of the SCREAM acronym. Let the Technology morph into technologies and bury it in the sciences (e.g. biotechnology and nanotechnology), the computing, the robotics, the engineering, the art and the mathematics.

I recently used STEMers and STEAMers to refer to scientists, technologists, engineers, artists, and mathematicians. SCREAMers include those plus roboticists and… oops… computerists? computists? compueers? computicians? computerologists? In those infamous grunts of Homer Simpson… D’oh! Hmm… It would be fun to be able to rewind to when there were no non-human computers and refer to the ‘C’ in SCREAMers as computers. SCREAMers are scientists, computers [humans], roboticists, engineers, artists, and mathematicians.

The ‘C’omputing in SCREAM includes both human and non-human computers. 21st century STEM, STEAM and SCREAM depend on all of us being “computers.”

The following was copied from Wikipedia.org…

The first use of the word “computer” was recorded in 1613, referring to a person who carried out calculations, or computations, and the word continued with the same meaning until the middle of the 20th century. From the end of the 19th century the word began to take on its more familiar meaning, a machine that carries out computations.