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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 November 10

Google has opened up for public use its Colaboratory development tool. Of course, the company can afford to do this because its AutoML framework can already program machine learning software better than its own engineers can (Gourab De, San Francisco, Feb 2017; Pedro Domingos, Washington, D.C., May 2009).
Research by TTI/V member firm Boston Consulting Group (Martin Reeves Boston, Apr 2017) and MIT Sloan Management Review shows that only 19% of companies are positioned as AI “pioneers.” Yet 84% of respondents agreed that "AI will allow us to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage. Reeves notes, "Clearly, 84% of companies are not going to come out of this competitively advantaged."
Bob Lutz: “We are approaching the end of the automotive era…. The tipping point will come when 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are fully autonomous. Countries will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents. [Then everyone] will have five years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap.” (Regional meeting: Autonomous Vehicles and the Future of Cities, Tysons Corner, Sep 2017; Arun Sundararajan, Boston, Apr 2017; Benedict Evans, San Francisco, Dec 2015; Tim Landgraf, Washington, D.C., Sep 2015)
We like this: TTI/V Advisory Board Members Peter Cochrane and Nicholas Negroponte are serving as advisors to Facebook Special Projects.
Hearing Sean Parker exultantly describe Facebook’s tactics for cornering the social-media market from the outset (San Francisco, Feb 2010) spurred one member of the TTI/V team to permanently boycott the pervasive platform. Now Parker is a “conscientious objector,” too, claiming that “social media networks purposefully hook and potentially hurt our brains.”
Is facial recognition good enough to log people as they drive across the U.S.–Mexican border (Andrew Bud, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017; Michael Miller, Atlanta, Feb 2008)? DHS hopes so, and is looking into the possibility with an industry one-day event next week at SRI International in Menlo Park (field trip, Feb 2017).
Or maybe DHS should deploy herds of sheep along the border, since they can quickly learn to distinguish human faces—even from photographs (Yann LeCun, Pittsburgh, Oct 2012; Michael Miller, Atlanta, Feb 2008).
In other sheep news, outfitting ovines with 360-view cameras has placed the Faroe Islands on the map—specifically, Street View on Google Maps (Nakhil Naik, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017; Brook DeLorme, Memphis, Sep 2006).
It’s not enough to stop—you have to get out of the way. As passengers looked on helplessly—fortunately no one was injured—a new driverless Las Vegas shuttle van remained stationary as it was hit by a truck that was backing up. The accident occurred within the first hour of the shuttle’s maiden run (Jeff Legault, Brooklyn, Jul 2016).
When the length of a day changes by a millisecond, we don’t think much of it. But what if it signals a period of increased earthquake activity? (Masumi Yamada, Paris, Jul 2011; Francine Berman, San Francisco, Feb 2005)

“Showing up is 80 percent of life.” —Marshall Brickman. Steven Cherry thought of this quote on Tuesday night. Earlier that evening, at the class he teaches as an adjunct at NYU’s engineering school, half the students raised their hands when he asked how many were eligible to vote. When he said, “keep your hands up if you voted today,” all the hands went down. But turnout was high in Virginia, including 9 precincts in the state dominated by college students and other millennials. Overall, the state saw a dramatic turnaround for the political parties from last year.
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