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.

2018 March 16
The presentations, highlights, and citations from last week’s Designing and Doing conference are now available online and in the app. If you have any difficulty accessing the TTI/Vanguard archive, please contact Claudia (
Is U.S. federal R&D spending up 2%, as the administration claims, or did the fiscal year 2018 budget request “dramatically reduced funding for scientific exploration,” as a AAAS fact-check argues? (Tom Kalil, San Francisco, Dec 2017; Charles Vest, Washington, D.C., May 2009)
Those of us who participated in the Sep 2017 field trip to TTI/V member Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab had the pleasure of seeing the Parker Solar Probe up close. We even experienced the same Hololens augmented reality view that the probe’s mechanical designers have when collaborating and check tolerances. Now interested citizens of Earth can submit their names for a memory card that will venture to the Sun. The punsters at NASA are calling it this summer’s “hot ticket.”
There’s more to AR than just the visuals (Marc Levoy, San Francisco, Dec 2014). TTI/V member organization Bose’s new A/R glasses add an “audible layer of information and experiences.”
Tens of millions of people live in homes that are little more than tarps and scrap materials. Building houses the old fashioned way would take centuries. There has to be a better way, and there is—3-D print them, one house at a time, as Behrokh Khoshnevis showed us almost three years ago (Detroit, May 2015). A San Francisco non-profit is doing just that.
The State of Delaware will be testing mobile drivers’ licenses in a pilot study. In answer to the obvious John Perry Barlow question, (“Once I hand my phone to law enforcement, do they have access to everything on the whole phone?”), the program envisions letting officers “ping a driver’s smartphone to request their driver’s license information prior to walking to the vehicle.” Privacy is even enhanced, a press release argues, when a bar uses the license to verify age: there’s “no need to show a person’s address, license number and birthdate; the mDL will verify if the person is over 18 or 21 and display a photo.” (John Perry Barlow, Eric Haseltine, and David Vigilante, Atlanta, Feb 2014; John Perry Barlow, Daniel Weitzner, Barry Steinhardt, and Eric Haseltine, Toronto, Apr 2008;Marc Rotenberg, Austin, Feb 2001)
Bottled water is expensive, unregulated, and the bottles are prone to end up as trash (Heidi Kujawa, San Francisco, Dec 2016). And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the water is prone to contain high levels of microplastics, with possible health implications, a study by the World Health Organization has found. (Dean Kamen, Rick Smolan, Jersey City, Oct 2009; Thomas Harmon, Washington D.C., May 2007)
We love when this happens: DataRobot (Gourab De, San Francisco, Feb 2017) is partnering with Monsanto’s agriculture group (Erik Andrejko, San Francisco, Dec 2016) to apply AI to sustainable food production.
Speaking of speakers, a look at how “ISIS built a brand on social media,” authored by Renee DiResta (Detroit, May 2015) focuses on fake news and gaming the algorithms that get something trending or highly rated by a recommender system. (Douglas Guilbeault, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017; David Grimes, Boston, Apr 2017; Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Boston, Apr 2014)
Researchers in Brazil claim they can use fMRI studies to “predict and decode any unique musical piece” by looking at the brain. We may be even closer to Mary Lou Jepsen’s (San Francisco, Dec 2017) telepathy-via-brain-scans future than we thought.
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
 — Stephen Hawking

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