Please see our weekly newsletter collection below. Our own staff and members contribute bits and bytes of interesting news and articles. They say that futurists make funny historians but we do our best to bridge that divide by illustrating our past themes and speakers as they develop and evolve. We hope that you enjoy reading these communications as much as we enjoy creating them for you. And if you have any news to share, please contact any member of our staff.
We're enjoying your feedback on our newsletter – thank you very much! You will see some of the topics we discuss appear in future polls during our conferences — and if there is a question that you’d like to ask the group or you have some news to share, please do let us know. We're also collecting predictions for 2015 so put on your thinking caps, dream big, and let us know!
In an article entitled "Google Can Now Describe Your Cat Photos,” our own David Bader of Georgia Tech is quoted (albeit without quotation marks) in the Wall Street Journal’s Digits column this week. The new technology could lead to big improvements in the accuracy of Google’s image-search results, which today often rely on text found near a photo on a web page. One day it might help people search vast libraries of untagged photos or videos stored on smartphones, says David Bader, a professor of computer science at Georgia Tech. A startup called Viblio is using similar research out of Simon Fraser University to automatically categorize videos.
Supercomputer-generated global simulation video of the year-long ebb-and-flow of atmospheric CO2 (James Lovelock, Washington, D.C., 2007)
CO2 was a key topic at a one-day symposium, Geography 2050, at Columbia University this week. TTI/Vanguard member Brian Hibbeln of the Naval Postgraduate School and the NCR Remote Sensing Center, his colleagues Rebecca Vacinek and David Lerner, and TTI/Vanguard Director Steven Cherry were in attendance.
GPS has changed geography, of course, and now maybe physics, at least a little bit. Researchers are looking to repurpose the GPS satellite network (Per Enge, Phoenix 2003) to search for dark matter.
In other news, the Takata airbag issue is a prime example of the cascading problems that stem from single-sourcing that Barry Lynn spoke about in Tokyo, Jul 2012. This story has been in play for quite some time, but it keeps escalating:
In the fashion of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine (Brewster Kahle, San Francisco, Feb 2005), Twitter has announced it is making available for search its full archive of public tweets since the service's inception. Twitter’s own James Kondo spoke (Tokyo, Jul 2012) about the real-time use of the service during the 3-11 tsunami.
An Uber executives musings about investigating the personal lives of journalists have been greatly overblown (e.g., in the Washington Post, where the headline was "Uber exec proposed publishing journalists’ personal secrets to fight bad press”) http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/11/18/uber-exec-proposed-publishing-journalists-personal-secrets-to-fight-bad-press/) but the potential for that sort of misuse of information certainly exists, and was described quite clearly by Steven Levy nearly two decades ago (Palm Springs, Feb 1995). Information wants to be free (Stewart Brand, Pasadena, Feb 2000, and San Diego, Feb 2002), but not abused.
Corporate-offshoot use of crowdfunding (Adam Fudakowski, London, Jul 2014) took another step forward with the lightning-fast million-dollar Indiegogo funding of a proposed tablet by Jolla, a Finnish-based cellphone maker.
WhatsApp is encrypting all communication among its users when they message using an Android device (Jon Callas, London, Jul 2014).
With the upcoming American holiday and our December meeting quickly following, our next newsletter will be December 12. In the meantime, we wish you and yours a lovely Thanksgiving.
The TTI/Vanguard Team