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.


It’s Possible a Technological Singularity is Approaching

18 June 2012

In Gutenberg the Geek Jeff Jarvis wrote: “Our accepted wisdom today is that the change we are experiencing is pushing us forward at lightening speed. But I’m coming to wonder whether, instead, it is happening very slowly. That is, we are only at the bare beginning of the change we will undergo and we cannot fathom its full shape and extent.” I’ve come to wonder this also and it makes me think of the approaching technological Singularity.

Speaking of the Singularity… Coming Summer 2012: The Singularity Is Near Movie Trailer


Beyond Today — Peter Diamandis and Larry Page

24 May 2012

Technologies riding Moore’s Law… “Infinite Computing, Networks & Sensors, Robotics, 3D Printing, Synthetic Biology, Digital Medicine, Nanomaterials, Artificial Intelligence”

Quoting Peter Diamandis: “…technology has been the mechanism for turning scarcity into abundance.”

Near the end of his talk Diamandis predicted that by 02020 there will be “three billion new minds” on the Internet.

YouTube.com::Beyond Today – Peter Diamandis – Zeitgeist 2012

Next up is Larry Page: “…the pace of change is really accelerating.” Page told his audience that for many people in the world “their smartphone will be their first computer.”

I use and like Google+ (G+). Google+ has grown from zero users to 170 million users (April 02012) since it launched on 28 June 02011 (i.e. 11 months ago).

With respect Google Search, Page says the company needs to get to the point where they can “represent knowledge” and that they are “really looking at synthesizing knowledge.” In a nutshell: Semantic web.

Larry Page likes the University of Michigan slogan have a healthy disregard for the impossible.

YouTube.com::Beyond Today – Larry Page – Zeitgeist 2012


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


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.


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.


“Abundance” Chapter Two Review

18 March 2012

The following notes are from chapter two of “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think” by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

Interesting observation…

“Today most poverty-stricken Americans have a television, telephone, electricity, running water, and indoor plumbing. Most Africans do not.

Definitions are way too restrictive and in many cases totally bogus. The authors allocated a couple of pages to providing a “practical definition” of abundance.

“Abundance is about creating a world of possibility […]”

I’ve learned from Hans Rosling that learning about the future is easier if one is a possibilitist. This book assumes almost everything is possible.

A three tiered pyramid is presented. The bottom-level: food, water, shelter (basic survival)“. The middle-level is “devoted to catalysts for further growth like abundant energy, ample educational opportunities, and access to ubiquitous communications and information. The highest tier is freedom and health.

Sad, but true observation.

“Currently a billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.6 billion lack access to basic sanitation.”

The authors wanted readers to be aware of Friedrich Hayek’s catallaxy: the ever-expanding possibility generated by the division of labor.

I have a new found respect for the 1,200 watts two-burner cookstove.

A reasonable near term prediction.

“By 2015, the global market for personalized medicine is projected to reach $452 billion.”

Recall that health is in the highest tier of the pyramid.

Time to put on our possibilitist hat…

An end to most of what ails us by 2035?

It’s possible. In fact, 02035 is sooner than I would have guessed.