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.
Two Washington University business-school researchers have developed a machine-learning modeling tool for farmers to help farmers choose which crop varieties to plant. It sounds like a lower-tech version of the Climate Corp/Monsanto AI tools Erik Andrejko told us about (San Francisco, Dec 2016).
Since then, Erik has moved to a startup, Wellio, “the first intelligent platform that helps people plan, shop, prepare and enjoy healthy meals at home.” Erik will be back to tell us about it at Intelligence, Natural and Artificial, June 11–12, in Brooklyn, N.Y. (registration, agenda).
Google’s DIY platform for building a Google-Home-like smart speaker was designed around the Raspberry Pi Zero (Eben Upton, Detroit, May 2015; Vienna, Jul 2013) but previously consisted only of software. Now the voice kit includes the board as well.
Do Google Home and its ilk represent a new stage in accessibility for the blind and others (Neil Scott, Atlanta, Nov 2000; Michael O’Malley, San Jose, Jan 1993)? Yes and no.
Feeling bombarded by texts, phone calls, alerts, and emails (Gloria Mark, Pasadena, Feb 2006; Bill Macaitis, Washington, D.C., Sep 2015; Hanoch Levy, Seattle, Dec 2012)? Head to the National Radio Quiet Zone in rural West Virginia, and free yourself of the burdens of cellular, Wi-Fi, television, and radio.
Len Kleinrock, Bob Metcalfe (St. Louis, Sep 2008; Dublin, Jul 2001; St. Louis, Apr 1994), and Tim O’Reilly (Washington, D.C., Dec 2005) weigh in on possible must-haves for any eventual Facebook killer. Although they differ, the consensus opinion is that individual control (Julian Ranger, London, Jul 2014) and the power of network connectivity must hold sway (David Reed, Miami, Feb 1999).
“The four major credit card companies—American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa—are ending the requirement for signatures for in-store purchases this month.” We can all rejoice, but especially TTI/V member firm Kroger.
In other member-related news, last week’s bombing of Syria was the “battlefield debut of a stealthy new Lockheed Martin air-launched cruise missile.”
A new law in the state of Georgia would open up cybersecurity experts to prosecution, even for vulnerabilities found during research and “even if you’re ethically reporting them.” Two-time cybersecurity speaker Adam Ghetti’s (Washington, D.C., Sep 2016; Atlanta, Feb 2014) firm, Ionic Security, is based in Georgia.
168 million email addresses later, an Arkansas hacker has finally been caught. (Bob Flores and Junaid Islam, Washington, D.C., Sep 2016; Richard Demillo, Atlanta, Feb 2008; Merrick Furst, Philadelphia, Apr 2006)
We’re going to Mars! Well, maybe. A key Congressional committee vote on Tuesday, okaying a $20.7 billion NASA budget for 2018/2019, called for a human Mars mission in 2033 (Earth and Mars are nearest one another every 15–17 years). Perhaps more importantly, the bill restores $471 million for Earth science that was cut in the Administration’s proposed budget. (Erika Debenedictis, Vienna, Jul 2013; Daniel Clancy, Phoenix, Dec 2003)
The days when you were safe from facial recognition software (Larry Zitnick, Philadelphia, Jul 2015; Michael Miller, Atlanta, Feb 2008; Alex Vasilescu, Phoenix, Dec 2003) in a stadium filled with 60,000 people are gone.
… But at least you’re unidentifiable in the dark, right? Um, no. Thermal image facial recognition is here. (Irmak Sirer, Los Angeles, Mar 2018; Greg Dobler, Austin, Feb 2016; Bill Parrish, San Francisco, Dec 2013)
Good friends are usually in sync with one another. Turns out, so are their brain waves. (Mary Lou Jepsen, San Francisco, Dec 2017; Rajesh Rao, San Francisco, Dec 2013)
The 2018 March for Science was apparently smaller than last year’s, but no less passionate. Our favorite signs: "Get real. Scientists do not conspire. We can't even agree on authorship order" and “We’re not just resistors, we are transformers.”
“Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”
— Elon Musk