Miniaturization, robotics, and the hastening automation economy are coming together in interesting new ways. Personal drone delivery services could be a fast-arriving concept. Amazon announced PrimeAir in November 2013, to possibly be ready for launch in 2015 pending US FAA regulations of personal drone airspace.
With bitcoin nearly doubling in value in the last few weeks (surpassing USD $400 on November 9, 2013 and reaching USD $937 on November 29, 2013) (see this chart in Figure 1 and the real-time exchange rate), the question is whether it is just another inflationary virtual currency bubble like WOW gold and Second Life Lindens, or a trend that will endure.
With burgeoning progression in neuroscience projects across a variety of fields including stem cell generation, brain scanning, and natural language processing, the free will / determinism debate remains vibrant.
On the topic of autism, the two biggest areas of societal focus are first, the growing population of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) individuals (1/88 live births in the US; 66% college graduates on the ASD spectrum are unemployed), and second, providing resources for normalizing ASD individuals into day-to-day life activities such as work, housing, and dating.
The new mindfulness extends to every area of life. Communication and romantic relationships often exist now on much improved ground compared to even a few years ago. Now friendship is under the spotlight.
The first International Academic Polyamory Conference was held in Berkeley CA February 15-17, 2013 with approximately 100 attendees. Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. It is not new or revolutionary that individuals may be involved with more than one other party; what is new is the openness, acknowledgement, and support and encouragement of the situation.
Reductionism persists as a useful node in the possibility space of understanding and managing the world around us. However the possibility space is now expanding to higher levels of resolution such as a focus on complex systems. Learning and tools are ratcheting in lock-step.
Crowd-based models are becoming so pervasive that almost no major segment of modern life is left untouched by them. The concept of digital crowd models refers to the coordination of large numbers of individuals (the crowd) through an open call on the Internet in the conduct of some sort of activity.
The third annual CrowdConf on changing the future of work through Internet-based crowdsourcing labor models was held in San Francisco on October 23, 2012. The field is much larger compared to prior years (2011 and 2010), both practically and intellectually, as a range of industry vendors and other ecosystem members (e.g.; research organizations, foundations, financial community) attended the conference.
Stem cell therapies - treatments that involve the transplantation of stem cells, organs, or other cells into patients to improve the function of diseased or damaged tissues or organs - is a field that has been steadily advancing. Perhaps more than any other industry, stem cell therapies is poised to make a significant near-term impact on worldwide public health, and many individuals living today may experience stem cell-related therapies.
Synthetic biology is a field of science that has been emerging in the last few years and could have a significant future impact with the potential to pro-actively manage biology and reshape many industrial sectors.
Specifically, synthetic biology or bioengineering is the creation of living systems from nonliving chemicals designed on a computer; the design and construction of new biological entities such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells, or the redesign of existing biological systems.
With the aging of populations worldwide, increasing health care costs, and complexities inherent in conducting medicine in a data-rich era of genomics and personalized medicine, the understanding and potential re-engineering of human biological processes is critical.