Benefits of Membership
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.
Signs that Spring is in the air: The groundhog is giving way to the Easter bunny; songbirds are singing; and the U.S. Government is holding hearings and issuing regulations.
The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held a hearing on "The Internet of Things: Exploring the Next Technology Frontier” this week, and the Senate adopted a resolution that "the United States should prioritize accelerating the development and deployment of the Internet of Things in a way that recognizes its benefits, allows for future innovation, and responsibly protects against misuse,” after it held its own hearing back in February. IoT has been one of the longest-running topics for us, beginning with a detailed set of talks back in May 1996 that looked into Advisory Board member Mike Hawley’s “Things That Think” initiative.
As Eric Cheng led us to expect in his recent [next] talk (San Francisco, December 2014), the FAA is demonstrating its lack of nuance in the remote-controlled aerial vehicle space by requiring operators of Amazon's experimental delivery drones to have private-pilot certificates and to have their aircraft in their line of sight at all times. Note that the FAA is granting some waivers on a case-by-case basis to other commercial uses of drones, including for inspections of industrial operations by 3-D Robotics (Chris Anderson, San Francisco, Feb 2010).
Dave Isay is using his TED Prize winnings to take the StoryCorps project mobile with a self-directing app for iOS and Android. The goal is to collect, share, and archive the human experience, one story and relationship at a time. The project shares values with several others that have surfaced at TTI/Vanguard over the years, particularly Wikimedia's oral/cultural histories (Achal Prabhala, Washington, D.C., May 2012). The stories will join other stores of human knowledge and experience that we’ve heard about, such as Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive (San Francisco, Feb 2005) and Michael Naimark's Global Jukebox (San Jose, February 2003).
Former speaker and NY Times tech reporter John Markoff ("Horizons Then and Now,” with Federico Faggin, Rhiju Das, and John Markoff, San Jose, February 2012) took a look this week at the latest in metamaterials, focusing on their ability to bend images around corners and for “invisibility.” Three of the companies discussed have been spun out of Intellectual Ventures; Nathan Myhrvold discussed one of them, Kymeta, and its metamaterial antenna, when he spoke on "Solving Impossible Problems” (Seattle, December 2012). Also of note is Bogdan Popa’s talk on using metamaterials for acoustic cloaking (Miami, December 2011).
A recent article in VentureBeat News described research and upcoming innovations from member organization Dell Computer that showed some gratifying synergies with topics of the past few years, such as next-generation interfaces that continuously authenticate and detect emotion. Munir Cochinwala's "Multifactor Knowledge-Based Authentication” (Dallas, February 2007) is example of the former, while Rosalind Picard's "Ubiquitous Intelligence: The World Around Us Gets Smarter" (Marina del Rey, January 1997) is probably the earliest example of the latter. The whole VentureBeat article, which is largely a Q&A with Jai Menon, is worth reading.
Speaking of ubiquitous intelligence, this week the publisher Springer launched an open-access journal, Computational Intelligence and Complexity. TTI/Vanguard has devoted two entire conferences to complexity—The Challenge of Complexity (Los Angeles, September 2004) and Taming Complexity (Washington, D.C., October 2011).
Upcoming conferences on our radar include Philadelphia Tech Week, April 17-25. It will feature a number of talks and events by member organization Drexel University but we have to confess we’re most attracted by a 29-story game of “Tetris,” organized by a professor in the College of Media Arts & Design.
Did Advisory Board member John Perry Barlow’s "utopian vision for the Internet” in the 1990s "warp Silicon Valley”? Jacob Silverman, writing in last Friday’s Washington Post, seems to think so. What do you think?
"Cogito ergo sum.” René Descartes, 1637
The TTI/Vanguard Team