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 April 27

Over the past 10 years, “lidar patents had an annual compound growth rate of 21 percent” (Ian Oppermann, Paris, July 2011). Of course, the main application for lidar is autonomous vehicles. At June’s Intelligence, Natural and Artificial meeting, Simon Tong will describe how the UK startup FiveAI is working to build AVs that don’t require GPS.
Speaking of June’s meeting, earlier this month a declaration of cooperation on Artificial Intelligence was signed by 25 European countries, agreeing to cooperate widely on ethical and legal issues as well as research and development. (James Barrat, Boston, Apr 2014)
Facebook is hiring chip designers, presumably for machine learning. Sounds a lot like domain-specific computing, which we heard about at last year’s [next]. Specifically they’re looking for experience in ASIC (Dave Patterson, San Francisco, Dec 2017) and FPGA (Doug Burger, San Francisco, Dec 2017). Facebook would be joining an already-pretty-crowded field.
When we were in Marina del Rey last month for Designing and Doing, did you try one of the Bird electric scooters? (Danny Kim, San Francisco, Dec 2013) Now Bird and two other companies have invaded San Francisco, to the dismay of local residents. (Then again, it must be noted that this a city that was outraged when Google started running buses down to Mountain View for its employees.)
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Patent Office’s ability to take a “second look”—i.e., to review and cancel issued patents (Roy Weinstein, Washington, D.C., Oct 2011). The EFF is pleased, but not everyone else is.
When buzzwords collide: Hong Kong will see a university–industry joint research laboratory on blockchain that will consider, among other things, how to protect it “in the face of attacks by powerful quantum computers.” For a discussion of how to protect blockchain from real attacks, recall Yorke Rhodes’s talk (Washington, D.C., Sep 2016).
If millimeter wavelengths (Robert Heath, San Francisco, May 2016; Regional Meeting, Sundeep Rangan and Marco Mezzavilla, Brooklyn, Oct 2016) aren’t part of 5G in its initial rollout, what’s the difference between it and 4G?

One difference is governmental support. Last week, Representatives Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) launched a Congressional 5G Caucus.
What happened when Amazon “lost control of a small number of its cloud services IP addresses for two hours on Tuesday morning”? We don’t know all the consequences, but among them was an outflow of “about $150,000 in digital coins from unwitting end users.” A Ohio-based ISP apparently announced fraudulent routes, leading to the hijacking of over a thousand Amazon IP addresses. TTI/Vanguard has been worrying about DNS security since at least Stephen Crocker (Austin, Feb 2004) warned us about it. (Then there’s Ryan Lackey’s new DNS, which we mentioned a couple of newsletters ago.)
“A research project funded and co-run by NASA is looking to leverage the Ethereum blockchain’s smart contracts technology to automate spacecraft maneuvering while avoiding space debris.” If any of our devoted readers understands how that would work, please let us know. (Reid Williams, Boston, Apr 2017; Yorke Rhodes, Washington, D.C., Sep 2016; Vitalik Buterin, Philadelphia, Jul 2015)
Meanwhile, back in the real world, member firm Lockheed Martin will soon deliver key aeroshell panels to Sierra Nevada Corp. for its Dream Chaser, a spaceplane that has a NASA contract to deliver cargo to the International Space Station, beginning in 2020.
Bill Regli, of member organization University of Maryland, wonders if AI-enhanced entertainment (Roger McNamee and Jonathan Taplin, Marina del Rey, Mar 2018) isn’t as big a threat as AI-enhanced cyberweapons, in a provocative article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
We’re always interested in what you and your organizations are up to. Write to Lisa Yao or Steven Cherry with your news!

“The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control, and not the other way around.”
 — Dr. Ishiro Seriwaza in Godzilla (2014)

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