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.
Perhaps not the Smart Home (Adam Dunkels, Vienna, Jul 2013; Mike Paull, Los Angeles, November 1998) we were expecting: Last week we noted that Samsung was using its own TVs to spy on its customers. Turns out, so was the CIA. Maybe. And it’s easy to check if it, or anyone else, is doing so.
Nor, it turns out, is the CIA able to hack through the end-to-end encryption of apps like Signal and WhatsApp, as Wikileaks initially alleged this week (Michael Hayden, Sep 2016
Washington, D.C.; John Perry Barlow and Eric Haseltine, Atlanta, Feb 2014).
Maybe we should worry more about unencrypted data, especially Facebook metadata. Michal Kosinski, lead scientist at Cambridge University’s Psychometric Centre, says that “with knowledge of 150 likes, their model could predict someone’s personality better than their spouse. With 300, it understood you better than yourself (Roxanne Christ, San Francisco, Feb 2010; David Reed, Toronto, Apr 2008).
Airbus: We love your car-flying-car-drone!
Volkswagen: We love your driverless electric car-lounge!
Coca-Cola’s 3-year-old incubator program, The Bridge (Guy Wollaert, Atlanta, Feb 2014) added two partners recently, Turner Broadcasting and Mercedes-Benz. One of the 29 startups participating, Bringg, has created an app that lets mom-and-pop stores make inventory reorders that are then bid on by local distributors. Orders are fulfilled in 1-4 hours, “compared to two or three days by traditional methods. The app then enlists gig economy workers (Robin Chase, Atlanta, Feb 2014) who deliver the requested stock on motorbikes.”
Remember when mobile phones were phones (Henry Tirri, Boston, Sep 2007; Tero Kuittinen; Dublin, Jul 2001)? Finnish firm HMD Global is re-releasing the Nokia 3310, which offers 31 days (days!) of standby life, utter indestructibility (it has survived 900-foot falls and washing machine cycles), a 2-megapixel camera, and an updated version of the classic game Snake.
Yet another AI-based personal assistant? Sony Corp. and Line Corp may team up “to co-create a new communication experience” (Kyle Roche, San Francisco, May 2016; Sunil Vemuri, Miami, December 2011; Michael Robinson, Geneva, September, 2005; Alan Kay, Seattle, Sep 1995).
How the Honey Bee Algorithm improved the Internet (Tim Landgraf, Washington, DC, Sep 2015).
A typo took down S3, a backbone of the Internet, at Amazon (Adam Selipsky, San Francisco, Feb 2010; Charlie Bell, Santa Monica, Dec 2007). And poor backup practices (Cedric Laurant, Miami, Jul 2005) at spamhouse River City Media exposed 1.4 billion email addresses.
Uber vs. law enforcement: The arms race is on. (Douglas Emlen, Washington, D.C., Sep 2016; Jeremy Heffner, Brooklyn, Jul 2016).
The first clients for “the world’s first robot lawyer” contested parking tickets with it. Now refugees are using it to file asylum requests (K. Krasnow Waterman, Atlanta, Feb 2014).
“Luck is in catching the wave, but then you have to ride it.”—Elon Musk