For the past few months, the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies has been working on identifying some of the most significant trends in technology innovation. Published in early February, 2012 by WEF, these represent ten areas that we as a council felt are likely to shake things up over the next few years in terms of their economic and social impact.
Professor Renate Loll (Utrecht University) talks about the question ‘What is time?’ from the perspective of theoretical physics. Often contra-intuitive but always fascinating, Loll reveals the secrets of a quantum theory of time.
On a long drive to my mom’s house earlier this weekend, my son Zar and I got into a long conversation about the nature of causality, which got me thinking about the old puzzle of where the feeling of the directionality of time comes from…
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaking at a Sept. 14, 2011 news conference, announcing the selected design of a new Space Launch System. The new heavy-lift rocket will take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before, create high-quality jobs here at home, and provide the cornerstone for America’s future human space exploration efforts. The booster will launch humans to places no one has gone before.
I was honored to be included in the 200th episode of The Future and You: “Over a hundred never before heard predictions about the future from dozens of past guests, a few possible future guests, several listeners and an assortment of people actively building the future we are all going to live in.”
A current trend in AI research involves attempts to replicate a human learning system at the neuronal level—beginning with a single functioning synapse, then an entire neuron, the ultimate goal being a complete replication of the human brain.
Rudy Rucker is a writer, a mathematician, and a computer scientist with thirty-two published books. In the 1980s he received Philip K. Dick awards for his cyberpunk novels Software and Wetware. He was a computer science professor at San Jose State for twenty years. His fantastic novel of the afterlife, Jim and the Flims and his autobiography, Nested Scrolls: The Autobiography of Rudolf von Bitter Rucker Life, both appear in 2011. Rudy also edits a speculative fiction webzine called Flurb.
Rudy Rucker - science fiction writer and professor of Computer Science - explains his vision of the future. As in his novel “Software” where computers ‘preserve’ the human brain, a so-called ‘life box’ database remains which keeps our memories alive.
Both the funniest and the most scientific of cyberpunk SF’s fab four, Rudy Rucker’s autobiography Nested Scrolls is a laid back groove, in the best sense. It’s funny, real, a bit off center… yet friendly and so thoroughly engaging that I was sorry that it ended. Maybe Rudy could live another life so that he could take us along, once again.
The United States has lost 28% of its jobs in high tech since its peak in 2000, claims a study released recently by the National Science Board. This means 687,000 positions have been lost. Why has this happened?
I hate what I’ve learned about Apple’s outsourcing to China. I hate hearing Professor William Black explain why he believes that Steve Jobs, who I admired very much in some ways, must have ignored repeated reports that employees were being cheated and endangered.
Reality is big. So our optimism must be confined to sentient beings in our forward light-cone. But I tentatively predict that the last experience below “hedonic zero” will be a precisely dateable event several hundred years hence. Here are five grounds for cautious optimism:
The practice of ritual killing  and human sacrifice  continues to take place in several African countries in contravention of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and other human rights instruments. In this 21st century, human beings are still being hunted down, mutilated, murdered or sacrificed for ritual purposes across the region. Several cases of kidnapping and disappearance of persons  are traced to the vicious schemes and activities of ritualists. In most cases, those targeted for ritual sacrifice are vulnerable members of the population — the poor, women, children, the aged and people with disabilities.
We recently learned that a friend of the IEET, Dominique Mainon, lost her battle with cancer several weeks ago. In her memory we repost this interview Dominique, screenwriter, filmmaker and author of, among others, Cinema of Obsession: Erotic Fixation and Love Gone Wrong in the Movies, Femme Fatale: Cinema’s Most Unforgettable Lethal Ladies, and The Modern Amazons: Warrior Women On-Screen. (First broadcast December 2009)
Interview with Professor Rod Flower FRS, chair of the Royal Society’s new report. Scientists hopeful our understanding of the human brain will improve the lives and performance of the UK’s armed forces. A report published 7 February by the Royal Society aims to debunk some common myths surrounding how militaries might use this type of research.
A space-based solar power (SSP) system capable of meeting the energy needs of millions of people could be “deployed within a decade using technologies that are today in the laboratory,” says John C. Mankins, a former manager of the Advanced Concepts Studies Office of Space Flight for NASA and widely considered one of the world’s leading experts on space-based solar power.
Existence is the most fundamental thing which is taken for granted. When we actually think about it, we all find it pretty mysterious, but I wonder if you realize just how mysterious it really is. Here’s a few things to consider.
The first is Occam’s Razor. A simple logic tool, right?
Zombies are a strange source of ethical inspiration, but as I mentioned to io9′s Lauren Davis, if academic ethicists get to spend all day talking about trolleys, I see no reason we can’t banter about the ethics of the undead.
In an earlier political posting I pointed out that the top federal income tax rate - for earned income - has seldom been lower than it is right now.. and the rate that Mitt Romney pays on dividends is half of that. Federal taxes, in general, are at one of the lowest points since 1912… suggesting that our current national argument about taxes ought to at least feature commensurately lower rates of anger.
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