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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.

2015 February 06

It’s pretty nice in southern California (Come to San Diego! Come to San Diego!) but it’s been nothing but Storm und Drang in the northeast U.S. 

And on the cyberroads as well — are you as intrigued as we are by the pending Google/Uber brouhaha?  Google has every reason to draw new lines in the sand, what with Uber's tilt in the direction of self-driving cars and Apple's toward developing its own street view and search utilities.  And now we hear that Google may be ready to disrupt Uber altogether.

Of course, the most important beneficiary of self-driving cars will be pizza delivery. At the front end of getting a pizza, speech synthesis has come a long way since Donald Sherman used a Votrax voice synthesizer in 1974 to order a pie (large, with pepperoni and mushrooms). TTI/Vanguard has followed the progress of the field, noting how technology can benefit people with disabilities (Helene Mialet, London, Jul 2014; Sean Jamie Heywood, Jersey City, Oct 2009; Sean Scott, Boston, Sep 2007; Neil Scott, Atlanta, Nov 2000; Michael O'Malley, San Jose 1993).

Google’s other kerfuffle this week has been with the Internet Archive, which has taken the search behemoth to task for abandoning its long-time role collecting the past and making it searchable. We have to side with the IA on this one, and not just because Brewster Kahle has spoken twice (September 2001, Seattle; February 2005, San Francisco).

Big data doesn't need to know who you are to know who you are (Jeff Jonas, San Francisco, Dec 2014; Julian Ranger, London, Jul 2014; Alex "Sandy" Pentland, Washington, D.C., Oct 2011). (For those in a rush, here’s the money quote: “The old model of anonymity doesn’t seem to be the right model when we are talking about large-scale metadata.”) 

Indeed, whether we like it or not, we seem to be heading toward the "transparent society" predicted by David Brin (September 1998, Washington, DC).

The upside of big data—in this case, paintings of London from the 18th and 19th centuries, mashed up with Google Street Maps—is, of course, knowledge, understanding, and, sometimes, beauty. It reminded us of Rebecca Allen's augmented reality talk (Los Angeles, February 2011).

That also reminded us of our own favorite virtual reality expert, Fred Brooks (Charlotte, Dec 2010; London, Sep 1997). What better time to revisit his evolving views than the 40th-year anniversary of his most famous work, The Mythical Man-Month. (Or to reread the book! 

A transparent society is particularly susceptible to cyberattack. Summaries of Advisory Board Member Eric Haseltine's two thoughtful regional meetings, exposing Ten Myths of Cybersecurity and suggesting countermeasures to them, (Boston, January 20 and Washington, D.C., January 21) are officially now in the TTI/Vanguard archives.

Speaking of  TTI/Vanguard Advisory Board members, version two of Eben Upton's Raspberry Pi (Vienna, Jul 2013) is now available. Same price ($35), but now with an ARM quadcore chip (Gary Atkinson, London, Jul 2014) with increased memory for, ultimately, a six-fold performance improvement — enough to run Windows 10.

It is not the critic that counts,

The TTI/Vanguard Team


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