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.
Our collective hearts are with those still suffering in the Gulf region. We’ve been in contact with TTI/Vanguard’s Texas contingent and are are grateful to report that Advisory Board Member Doug Lenat and our members at Exxon, BP and USAA have weathered Harvey well.
Is climate-change responsible for an increase in hurricanes? The jury’s still out on that. However, it’s clear that this year’s extreme flooding in Houston, as in 2015 and 2016, is due in large part to diminished wetlands—almost 50% has been lost to development there in the past 25 years. Seven years ago, with Hurricane Katrina still fresh in the nation's memory, Charles Perrow (Philadelphia, Apr 2008) advised against urban development in storm-prone and/or low-lying regions.
Meanwhile, how much has technology been helping? On the one hand, we don’t seem to have made cellular networks, particularly base stations, any more robust than they were during, say, Superstorm Sandy (Stephen Sifferman, Pasadena, Feb 2006; Ike Nassi, Brussels, Jul 2002), despite relying on them more than ever. But at least we now have Airbnb, which has generously made rooms available for free during the time of greatest need (Arun Sundararajan, Boston, Apr 2017; Robin Chase, Atlanta, Feb 2014).
And just as Sandy, and earlier northeast storms, inspired talk of a sea wall in New York Harbor, there’s talk of a dike and other structures that could protect Houston (Huw Thomas, Vienna, Jul 2013).
Congrats to TTI/Vanguard member Bank of America, which recently filed another nine patents related to blockchain, bringing its total in that area to 30. We’ll be hearing about new cryptocurrencies from Peter Van Valkenburgh, Research Director at the Coin Center, at our December meeting (registration, preliminary agenda).
How does 200 terabits of data per square inch sound to you? It might be possible, using single-molecule magnets (Qing Cao, San Francisco, Dec 2016; Michael Strano, Charlotte, Dec 2010; Ralph Merkle, Atlanta, Dec 2004).
Have Google engineers really sped up TCP/IP by 14%? Surely yes—one of them, quoted in this Network World article, is the venerable Van Jacobson. (David Clark, Los Angeles, Sep 2004; Vint Cerf, Miami, Sep 2002)
But someone—Barry Lynn (Tokyo, Jul 2012; Philadelphia, Apr 2006)—has a bone to pick with Google——and with monopolists more generally. Not only does the concentration of power and production (Jonathan Taplin, Boston, Apr 2017) introduce supply chain risks, especially in times of crisis, but speaking up against Google as a monopoly just cost Lynn his job.
Researchers in China are building the world's first exascale supercomputer (Satoshi Matsuoka, Tokyo, Jul 2012), expected to be ready in 2019. The intended application is a combining of all maritime-related datasets in order to simulate “the oceans on our planet with unprecedented resolution.”
Elsewhere internationally, magnetic RAM (Garth Gibson, Washington, D.C., May 2013; Padmasree Warrior, Phoenix, Dec 2003) in Russia ...
… and an 'Unhackable' Computer Chip in Abu Dhabi. Serge Leef will talk about chip-level security at this month’s Risk, Security, & Privacy meeting.
And speaking of the upcoming meeting, the preconference readings are available. Enjoy!
“Predicting rain doesn't count. Building arks does” —Warren Buffett