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.
Just days before top-ranking intelligence officials confirmed to the U.S. Senate’s Intelligence Committee that Russia had not only hacked the 2016 election but intends to do it again in 2018, TTI/Vanguard Advisory Board member Eric Haseltine predicted as much in his column at Psychology Today. (Michael Hayden, Douglas Emlen, Washington, D.C., Sep 2016)
And let’s not forget China. Top officials at the CIA, NSA, DIA, and FBI told Congress and the American public: Don’t buy Huawei and ZTE phones because doing so “provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage" (Serge Leef, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017). A bill introduced in the Senate last week would take that one step further by prohibiting the U.S. government from buying or using equipment made by Chinese telecommunications companies.
In our always-on world, devices that are not quite off still use significant amounts of power. Researchers at Stanford have designed a new system that receives ultrasound signals (Meredith Perry, San Francisco, Dec 2017). The shorter wavelengths let the receiver be smaller, operate at extremely low power, and with extended range. Perhaps that power could come from Wi-Fi signals (Vamsi Talla, San Francisco, May 2016)?
A new book, The Strength in Numbers: The New Science of Team Science looks at the fact that science is now done by groups that can number in the dozens—just two and a half years after Ben Shneiderman looked at the same phenomenon at our Collaboration and the Workplace of the Future (Washington, DC, Sep 2015) meeting.
Men outnumber women by 3 to 2 in Silicon Valley, a demographic problem that is defeating big data efforts to help them form relationships. “If a city is male-dominant, if a city is known for 16-hour work days, those are issues that dating apps can’t solve,” says an executive at OkCupid (Christian Rudder, Philadelphia, Jul 2015).
First, we need to be able to pronounce them: Skyrmions—spinning magnetic swirls that are 10 times smaller than the magnetic regions used on traditional hard drives—can now be detected at room temperature, a critical step in the effort to use them as magnetic data storage (Charles Barnes, Pasadena, Feb 2006; Mark Kryder, Atlanta, Feb 2004; Padmasree Warrior, Phoenix, Dec 2003; Michael Leonhardt, Phoenix, Dec 2003).
Scientists are learning how to optically control neurons even deep inside the brain (Ed Boyden, Salt Lake City, Dec 2009).
Someday our Fitbits will be patches of e-skin that we slap onto our arms. When that day comes, we’ll want them to be able to heal themselves when torn and also be recyclable. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder already have a prototype. (Hu “Tiger” Tao, Austin, Feb 2015; Sundaresan Jayaraman, Phoenix, Oct 1999). Next on our wish list: They should harvest their energy from body heat (Akram Boukai, San Francisco, May 2016).
A Google beta program makes the company’s Tensor Processing Units (David Patterson, San Francisco, Dec 2017) available to cloud customers. The TPU board has four custom ASICs and delivers 180 machine-learning teraflops.
Registration for Designing and Doing is technically closed, but there’s still time—and hotel rooms. Claudia (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be glad to help you register.
“Now and in the years ahead, we need, more than anything else, the honest and uncompromising common sense of science…. When more of the peoples of the world have learned the ways of thought of the scientist, we shall have better reason to expect lasting peace and a fuller life for all.” —Harry S. Truman