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.
U.S. cities are being ranked according to the likely impact of AI on jobs (Ian Stewart, Brooklyn, Jul 2016; John Markoff and Mike Hawley, San Francisco, Dec 2016; Andrew McAfee, Jersey City, Oct 2013).
"AI, Autonomy, and the Future of Work" will be the topic of a talk by longtime member and two-time speaker Vishal Sikka (San Diego, Feb 2009, and Santa Monica, Dec 2007) at December's [next] conference. The registration deadline is just two weeks away.
On a recent visit to member firm CAE, Marc St-Hilaire claimed that Canada may be leading the world in AI research. Google's Geoffrey Hinton argues that case this week in a blog post.
In other news on the AI front this week, researchers are predicting hypercharged economic growth (Geoffrey West, San Francisco, May 2016), and Saudi Arabia has granted citizenship to humanoid robot (James Barrat, Boston, Apr 2014)—and she's not even wearing a hijab (a bit of a double standard?).
Theoretical physicists come up with theories; that's what they do. Experimental physicists devise—you guessed it!—experiments to test those theories; that's what they do. When replicated data doesn't match predictions, the theoreticians go back to the drawing board, which they're about to do in light of results from CERN's BASE and ALPHA experiments (Wolfgang von Ruden, Geneva, Sep 2005, and London, Jul 2010). At issue: the distinction between matter and antimatter—and the very existence of the universe.
Russ Warner's Converus (Washington, D.C., Sep 2016) uses the pupil's reaction to stress as a way to root out lies, while Swedish and German researchers have used the same reflex to conclude that humans are evolutionarily inclined to fear snakes and spiders (Todd Blackledge, Charlotte, Dec 2010). But is the ocular-motor response of 16 six-month-olds adequate scientific evidence?
Speaking of which, does Animal Weapons author Douglas Emlen (Washington, D.C., Sep 2016) need to look at flora next? New research suggests that plants like the scarlet gilia wildflower and the weedy thale cress "get tougher and meaner when attacked."
LEGO has been celebrated in song and film. Now it's being used in renovation and repair (Heidi Kujawa, San Francisco, Dec 2016).
The EPA cancelled talks at a Rhode Island conference by three agency ecological research scientists who co-authored a report on the effects of climate change on the Narragansett Bay Estuary. (Michael Mastrandrea and Noah Diffenbaugh, San Francisco, Dec 2014; Lindsay Dillon and Matt Price, San Francisco, Feb 2017)
Researchers troubled by the accumulation of space junk in low-Earth orbit are considering how to better track—and zap—space junk (Jordi Puig-Suari, Boston, Apr 2017; Dan Durda, Washington, D.C., May 2007). But will it just join the ever-increasing number of decommissioned spacecraft that litter the ocean floor of Point Nemo—otherwise known as the oceanic pole of inaccessibility?
Add to John Henry Clippinger's (Atlanta, Feb 2014; Boston, Sep 2007) many titles "Tokenomist" (!). He's just joined Cashaa, a blockchain-based financial services initiative, as an advisor.
CRISPR/Cas9 genomic manipulation by Chinese researchers has produced pigs able to regulate their body temperature and therefore remain lean (Alicia Jackson, San Francisco, Dec 2015; George Church, Boston, Jun 2015; Ryan Phelan, San Diego, Feb 2015) in order to produce low-fat bacon (Nynke van den Akker, Vienna, Jul 2013). But this might be the opposite of what Americans want.
In other CRISPR/Cas9 news, Harvard chemical biologist David Liu has found a method of genome editing even more precise than the already-conventional cut-and-paste: direct transformation of cytosine into a thymine-like nucleoside; similarly for adenosine into inosine, which behaves like guanine.
"People who have nothing to hide don't behave this way." —TTI/V member and computer scientist Richard DeMillo (Atlanta, Feb 2008, and Austin Feb 2004), after workers wiped clean a computer server important to an electronic-voting lawsuit against Georgia election officials.