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.”

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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.


Planetary Resources… “The Asteroid Mining Company”

28 April 2012

“We’re going to change the way the world thinks about natural resources.” — via Website Asteroid Mining Mission Revealed by Planetary Resources, Inc..

“Planetary Resources’ mission is mine near-Earth asteroids for raw materials, ranging from water to precious metals.”

Peter Diamandis and Eric Anderson are the co-founders and co-chairmen of Planetary Resources Inc.

Hmm… From Ross Perot (my dad’s generation) to Ross Perot Jr. (my generation)…

“I am an investor in Planetary Resources, first and foremost, because I believe in the team behind it. I’m honored to be on the ground floor with a team that possesses this caliber of expertise, vision, drive and history of success.” — Ross Perot, Jr.

The investors in Planetary Resources Inc. is impressive: Eric Schmidt, K. Ram Shriram, Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., Larry Page, and Ross Perot, Jr.

PlanetaryResources.com::The Asteroid Mining Company


DARPA Announces a Robotics Challenge

10 April 2012

DARPA has announced a Robotics Challenge. Kudos to DARPA. 10 April 02012 might become an epoch year for the United States of America.

My initial thought when I heard DARPA was going to a #RoboChallenge was that they wanted to accelerate their transition to robotic soldiers, but my initial thought was wrong. The following was copied from DARPA.mil…

“Hardware, software, modeling and gaming developers sought to link with emergency response and science communities to design robots capable of supervised autonomous response to simulated disaster.”

I suspect DARPA wants to start with robots that are put to work when disasters occur and then use the technological advances to evolve toward robo-soldiers.

The following was copied from DARPA.mil…

This challenge is going to test supervised autonomy in perception and decision-making, mounted and dismounted mobility, dexterity, strength and endurance in an environment designed for human use but degraded due to a disaster. Adaptability is also essential because we don’t know where the next disaster will strike. The key to successfully completing this challenge requires adaptable robots with the ability to use available human tools, from hand tools to vehicles.

The winner of the #RoboChallenge wins $2 million. It appears the challenge ends 31 December 02014.

Kudos to DARPA for creating a Robotics Challenge. I think it’s probably a bad idea if the United States is not number one in robotics. This challenge will probably help our country accelerate its entrance into the Robotics Age.


Brian David Johnson Chats With will.i.am

25 March 2012

The following are notes from chapter 9 (“The Future of Education: Are We Ready?”) by will.i.am and Brian David Johnson in the The Tomorrow Project Anthology.

will.i.am says he is a “wannabe geek in the geek.” I’m sort of like this, too. Here is something that I posted to Facebook last month… I like being around geeks even though I’m just a pseudo-geek. Sometimes I experience geek envy.

Brian David Johnson (DBJ; an Intel Futurist) wrote that in 02011 “will made a big investment in education. […] Dean Kamen and will teamed up to make an hour-long documentary called i.am FIRST–Science is Rock and Roll.

I added the following quote to GDT::Quotes (my quote collection)…

The planet is full of people who aren’t thinking about the future. Shouldn’t we all prepare? I think we should.

And I think Mr. am is spot on.

I liked the following exchange between BDJ and will.i.am…

will.i.am to BDJ: “You’re a futurist. […] Where are we going?”

BDJ: “For me the question is: Where do we want to go?”

will.i.am: “[…] there are two we’s. There’s the we that are all moving forward and passionate about the future. Then there’s the second we that is staying back and lagging behind.”

will.i.am speaking on the topic of education…

“My cousin is 12 years old now. When she’s 22 is she going to be intelligent because schools are going to change in the near future?”

I think it’s possible the answer to will’s question is no. The education system in the United States needs to be blown up and I don’t see that happening in the near future (i.e. by the end of this decade).

will.i.am continued…

“Someone is going to have to think how to redefine education and mental stimulation to keep kids like her motivated and give her an idea of what she might be competing with.”

Of course “someone” is plural and i.am.hopeful that one of those someones will be will.i.am.


I Continue To Support the Arizona Science Foundation

1 July 2010

On 28 June 02010, I read Report touts contribution of Science Foundation on page B7 of the Arizona Republic. In the article Ken Alltucker reported the following.

“Science Foundation Arizona has returned more than $3 for every $1 the state has invested in the group’s university and non-profit grant programs over the past three years, a new report indicates.”

I logged into my AzCentral.com account and posted the following comment to Alltucker’s article.

This story should be on page A1; not buried on B7. If the Arizona Republic was serious about helping Arizona be a leading CSTEM state, then this would be A1 news.

Side-bar: STEM is a buzz-acronym and I’m not a fan of using it. Observe that I use CSTEM instead of STEM because STEM advances don’t happen without computing and computing gets lost in the STEM.

On 30 June 02010 (two days later), State should back real moneymaker was one of the Arizona Republic’s editorials. The Republic’s editorial included the following.

“A new evaluation shows the payoff from this public-private partnership from fiscal 2007 to 2009: 1,151 new jobs, 16 new companies, 84 patents and 11 technology licenses. And this remarkable achievement occurred in a severe recession.”

Many people (mostly politicians) use the phrase “worst recession since the great depression” instead of the phrase “severe recession” and it has been in this environment that the Arizona Science Foundation has been able to help Arizona become a 21st century state.

[side-bar] These days I’ve seen people (mostly educators) using STEAM instead of STEM, where the ‘A’ stands for the arts. STEAM, if used, needs to be CSTEAM. In addition, some people (mostly educators) use iSTEM, where the ‘i’ stands for integrated (not iPhone-based STEM). iSTEM, if used, needs to be iCSTEM.


Spending time thinking about the future

21 February 2010

I enjoyed Wired’s interview with Peter Thiel.

When asked by Wired how he spends his day, Thiel responded with: “I spend a lot of my time thinking about the future.

So do I!

Wired: You’re worried about economic stagnation, but you’re optimistic about artificial intelligence and space?

Thiel: I think we have to make those things happen. We should be looking at technologies that might lead to really big breakthroughs. As a starting point, let’s just go back to the science fiction novels of the 1950s and ’60s and try to run the past 40 years again.

So much of our future is the science fiction of the last 50 years ago morphing into everyday non-fiction.

Note: I used Wired’s interview of Peter Thiel to introduce AI to CS1 students.

Wired.com::Utopian Pessimist Calls on Radical Tech to Save Economy