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.

2017 June 9

It’s not exactly watching Steve McQueen at Le Mans, but seeing drones duck under the Arc de Triomphe at 100 kph must’ve been pretty cool for the 36 pilots and 150,000 Parisians who turned out for the Drone Champions League competition last week. (Ian Glenn, Brooklyn, Jul 2016; Eric Cheng, San Francisco, Dec 2014; Evan Ackerman, Boston, Apr 2014)

Someday, we’ll beg the indulgence of our robotic overlords. Meanwhile, Boston Dynamics has traded one overlord (Google) for another (Softbank). The move puts two Autonomy (Brooklyn, July 2016) speakers under the same roof: Marc Raibert and Rodolphe Gelin of Aldebaran, which Softbank bought in 2015.

TTI/Vanguard member Airbus isn’t treading water—instead they’re spinning their wheels, as in putting exercycles on aircraft. Of course, that would require that cabins be reconfigurable. They’re working on that too.

Speaking of Airbus, an Airbus A330-class aircraft may debut sometime in the 2020s, thanks to Chinese money and Russian know-how. United Aircraft Corp. (Russia) and Comac (China) are teaming up in a Shanghai-based joint venture to produce a twin-aisle aircraft that can transport 280 passengers 7,500 miles (Dmitriy Tseliakhovich, San Francisco, Dec 2015; Eamonn Fingleton, Tokyo, July 2012).

Then there’s the question of whether we should privatize the air traffic control system. (Field trip, MITRE, Sep 2015; Angelika Dimoka and Paul Pavlou, Paris, Jul 2011; Glenn Roberts, Washington, D.C., May 2007). We’d love to hear our members’ thoughts.

In a new DARPA program, Oregon State University researchers will develop AI that explains its decision-making processes (Eric Mueller, Austin, Feb 2016; Patrick Henry Winston, Boston, Apr 2017; Doug Lenat’s Cyc project).

Did anything at Apple’s developers’ conference rock your world? Us neither. But the focus on Siri specifically and audio in general continues to fulfill the promise of speech interfaces, a topic TTI/Vanguard has been discussing since 1992 (Design As Strategy, Los Angeles, February 2011; Thad Starner, “Computational Interfaces for Mobile Environments,” Salt Lake City, Dec 2009; Mike Phillips, “Speech Interfaces for Mobile,” Santa Monica, Dec 2007; Extreme Interfaces, Geneva, September, 2005; Nicholas Negroponte, “Speech as the Primary Means of Interaction with Computers,” Boston, Oct 1992).

So many ways for Russian malware to hide, as Cory Doctorow (London, Jul 2010) explains.

Yet we’re learning more and more about the cyberattacks on the 2016 U.S. elections. (J. Alex Halderman, Washington, D.C., Sep 2016; Avi Rubin, Austin, Feb 2004; Bruce Schneier, Austin, Feb 2001)

And for something entirely unpolitical, University of Washington researchers have demonstrated 2-D magnetism in graphene (Subhasish Mitra, San Francisco, Dec 2015; Michael Strano, Charlotte, Dec 2010).

Magnetism, as you recall from physics class, is a powerful force that causes certain items to be attracted to refrigerators.”—Dave Barry

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