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.
The near-tragedy of the Air Canada plane that almost landed on an SFO taxiway instead of its assigned runway reminded us of how small that airport is, something we learned during the air-traffic control exercise in our field trip to MITRE two years ago (Washington D.C., Sep 2015).
This year’s fall field trip, to another TTI/V member, Johns Hopkins APL, will feature neurally controlled prosthetic arms, cybersecurity collaboration, and the New Horizons Pluto fly-by. The preliminary agenda for the main meeting (Risk, Security, & Privacy) is posted, and registration closes August 18.
As Marc Levoy (San Francisco, Dec 2014) hinted it would, Google Glass is back, this time with a workplace focus (Sanjay Jhawar, Matt Kammerait, San Francisco, Dec 2016).
Meanwhile, maybe service robots should stick to delivering room service to hotel guests (Steve Cousins, San Francisco, Dec 2015). A Knightscope K5 “security guard” accidentally ambled into an office building’s fountain and drowned.
The Atlantic has an interesting article on the social and ethical considerations surrounding direct electronic brain interfaces. Such devices are only a few steps further down the path that Mary Lou Jepsen’s (Geneva, Sep 2005) startup, Openwater, is taking in building portable, inexpensive fMRI-like devices (Kendall Lee, San Jose, February 2012; Angelika Dimoka and Paul Pavlou, Paris, July 2011). Mary Lou will tell us about Openwater at our December meeting (overview / registration).
New York City is creating the U.S.’s first publicly funded virtual reality/augmented reality facility. NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering (Mark Skwarek, San Francisco, Dec 2016) was selected to develop and operate a hub for VR/AR at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, to open late 2017, while CUNY Lehman College will develop a workforce development center in the Bronx.
Speaking of Tandon, when we heard that researchers at the Technion and the University of Toronto have developed a way to analyze urban electrical use—for an entire city or a single building—based on the flicker of electric lights, we asked Tandon professor Greg Dobler (Austin, Feb 2016) about it. He replied, “I think it is an excellent idea; so much so that our Urban Observatory group did it last year.”
Anyone who heard novelist Mat Johnson’s hapless NPR tale earlier this month of losing 100 pages of original writing surely lost all sympathy when he said, “I went to my online backup service for the first time in a year, opened my account and discovered I had zero megabytes of stored information.” “Why weren’t you using Box or Dropbox!?” you probably screamed at the radio. Or, now, Google Drive. (Brewster Kahle, Seattle, Sep 2001)
And anyone who remembers the heyday of desktop publishing has to love any story with a hashtag #Fontgate and a tagline of “A word of advice: Don’t try forging documents from 2006 with a font released in 2007” (David Crystal, Brussels, Jul 2002). Best of all, the story has nothing to do with Russia.
The Washington Post’s Todd Frankel backs up Jonathan Taplin’s argument on behalf of musical copyright holders against YouTube (Boston, Apr 2017).
Multiple choice quiz: The limit of the human lifespan is (a) 115 (b) 125 (c) never. (Sonia Arrison, Atlanta, Feb 2014)
Selfie stick considered harmful to artwork, self. (Jelena Jovanovic and Christoph Kohstall, San Francisco, Dec 2014)
A person paints with his brains and not with his hands. —Michelangelo