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Newsletter
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.

2017 March 17

On the 28th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal for the World Wide Web, he bemoans individuals’ lack of control over their data (Julian Ranger, London, Jul 2014; and to be addressed by Nicole Immorlica at our “Hyperconnected” meeting next month (registration, agenda), the uncontrolled spread of information and disinformation through social media (again, stay tuned for talks on this topic next month by Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia and David Robert Grimes), and a laser focus of political advertising (Elan Kriegel and Claudia Perlich, San Francisco, Feb 2017). The Web Foundation’s upcoming five-year strategy will key in on digital equality to address all of these issues.
www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/11/tim-berners-lee-web-inventor-save-internet
 
Also speaking at Hyperconnected is Alex (“Sandy”) Pentland (Washington, D.C., Oct 2011), on how Social Physics equations look at human behavior and “transcend the limitations of the traditional machine learning.” His latest startup, Endor, is designed to do just that.
www.techcrunch.com/2017/03/08/endor-emerges-from-mit-research-with-unique-predictive-analytics-tech/
 
Cloud providers rely on scale to have the necessary on-demand resources available for their customers. The downside: When a service crashes, as happened to Amazon Web Services last week, a broad swath of the Internet breaks (Adam Selipsky, San Francisco, Feb 2010; Charlie Bell, Santa Monica, Dec 2007).
www.cnbc.com/2017/03/12/miscue-calls-attention-to-amazons-dominance-in-cloud-computing.html
 
Targeted transcranial electrical brain stimulation has been shown to accelerate learning of complex tasks, such as piloting an aircraft (Rajesh Rao, San Francisco, Dec 2013; Kendall Lee, San Jose, Feb 2012).
www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/03/01/scientists-discover-how-to-download-knowledge-to-your-brain/
 
Icarus (the son of Daedalus) crashed before completing his mission. ICARUS (the DARPA paper-based drone delivery project) is designed to biodegrade after completing its mission. It’s the latest spin-out by Otherlab, whose first spin-out was the Other Machine Co. (Danielle Applestone, Detroit, May 2015).
www.otherlab.com/blog/post/industrial-paper-airplanes-for-autonomous-aerial-delivery
 
And say you’re building a drone or satellite from scratch…..
www.techcrunch.com/2017/03/02/nasa-released-a-ton-of-software-for-free-and-heres-some-you-should-try/;
 
But if you lose your spacecraft, as India did with its diminutive Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter, having NASA step in directly can be most helpful (Dennis Wingo, San Francisco, Dec 2014).
www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6769
 
From the Everything Old Is New Department: The development of synthetic, petroleum-based rubber was a triumph of chemical engineering and essential to the Allied victory in WWII. Now, researchers are making progress toward producing plant-based rubber—without relying on rubber trees. (For another rubber variant—metal rubber—see Jennifer Lalli, Atlanta, Dec 2004.) The intent is to spare rainforests while also leaving petroleum in the ground.
www.newsweek.com/2017/03/17/new-eco-friendly-renewable-tires-stretch-boundaries-rubber-production-564165.html?rx=us
 
What would drive quantum computing into the commercial realm? According to Rodney Van Meter (Tokyo, Mar 2017; San Francisco, Dec 2014), a big investment by Intel. Instead, the chipmaker doubled down on autonomous vehicle technology with a $15B to purchase of Israeli firm MobileEye.
www.reuters.com/article/us-intel-mobileye-idUSKBN16K0ZP
 
To follow up on  Rodney Van Meter’s regional meeting (“Quantum Information Technology Industry Pushes Up Roots”) held last week in Tokyo, you are invited to join the TTI/Vanguard Facebook group to watch the video, view his presentation, or read the Highlights of the event.
 
Apply for the first MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award, which is offering a $250,000 cash prize; deadline is May 1, 2017 (Joichi Ito, Barcelona, Jul 2007; Chicago, May 2011).
www.media.mit.edu/disobedience/
 
The movement to provide refuge for environmental government data by the Environmental Data Governance Initiative (EDGI; Lindsey Dillon and Matt Price, San Francisco, Feb 2017) was all over the news this past Saturday, with coverage by the New York Times and NPR. Looking for a data rescue event near you?
 
A mass-audience version of Gen. Michael Hayden’s view of U.S. intelligence was visible recently on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show. His more complete views, from last year’s Cybersecurity meeting (Washington, D.C., Sep 2016), are available to members in our archive.
 

“A sufficiently evolved AI would choose to fail the Turing Test.”—Steve Jurvetson (San Francisco, Dec 2013)

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