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.
Hats off to our members Brett Bonner (Kroger), Mike Cenkl (MITRE), and Anthony Norris (FedEx), named to Computerworld’s Premier 100 tech executives. Richly deserved!
Two other TTI/Vanguard members, BMW and Volkswagen, are separately going to use MobileEye to crowdsource real-time road data (where the crowd here is the vehicles themselves, not the drivers).
Those of you who think you’ve read (or sent) an out-of-office message before 2010, you must be mistaken--because that’s the year that IBM invented it, according the U.S. Patent Office, which awarded the company a patent for it in January, after years of wrangling. (Bruce Perens, Miami, Jul 2005; Roy Weinstein, Washington, D.C., Oct 2011)
Autonomous vehicles will use centimeter-precise cloud-based maps, but how to keep them up-to-date? An NYU research team is developing “a deep learning system that will allow self-driving cars to navigate, maneuver, and respond to changing road conditions by mating data from onboard sensors to information on Here’s cloud-based HD Live Map” (Alex Kendall, San Francisco, May 2016; Ian Oppermann, Paris July 2011).
The big fear for autonomous vehicles is the Automation Paradox (Bob Charette, Washington, DC, Oct 2014)—the point where more automation makes us less safe. Skills atrophy (Alan Kay, Washington, D.C., Oct 2011; can cashiers calculate change anymore?); and users lose situational awareness—as Ford’s test engineers did recently. Ford (K. Venkatesh Prasad, Detroit, May 2015) is now so afraid of the paradox that it’s decided to drive straight to so-called Level 5 (full autonomy) for its planned 2021 fleet of autonomous vehicles.
Misplacing your car keys is one thing. Losing the “world's only sample of metallic hydrogen” is another. Or maybe its near-absolute-zero storage failed, and it “just turned back into a gas” (David Eichinger, Montreal, Apr 2004).
Remember RePlast’s ability to fuse disparate plastics into BioBricks (Heidi Kujawa, San Francisco, Dec 2016)? A new polymer additive developed at Cornell would go one better, letting recyclers combine incompatible plastics into a single new substance.
VR firm DAQRI (Matt Kammerait, San Francisco, Dec 2016) says it has come up with a new form of holography based on “software-defined light.”
We learned from Ryan Lackey (Philadelphia, Jul 2015) that Cloudflare is willing to take a beating so that the websites it protects won’t have to. It seems as though it took one beating too many, with a large leak of personal information—about its clients’ clients—due to exploitation of the Cloudbleed security flaw in Cloudflare’s code. Odds are you are one of them. Time for a password-changing party?
If you were writing a Silicon Valley spy novel, you could hardly do better than an insider theft of “14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files” containing key corporate trade secrets (Antonio Rucci, Washington D.C., May 2010). That’s what LiDAR (Ian Oppermann, Paris, Jul 2011) developer Waymo is alleging in a lawsuit against Uber.
Lisa Yao is already booking her flight to TRAPPIST-1, the collection of seven exoplanets a mere 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius. Hopefully her hibernation pod works better than Chris Pratt’s in Passengers (Jeff Greason, Seattle, Dec 2006).
Colonizing Mars (Erika DeBenedictis, Vienna, Jul 2013) would be infinitely easier, especially if we can 3-D-print our habitats (Behrokh Khoshnevis, Detroit, May 2015) using native materials.
“You need to live in a dome initially, but over time you could terraform Mars to look like Earth and eventually walk around outside without anything on... So it's a fixer-upper of a planet.”—Elon Musk