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.
Congratulations to Amanda Randles (San Diego, Feb 2015) for winning the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award “for developing HARVEY, a massively parallel fluid dynamics simulation capable of modeling the full human arterial system at subcellular resolution and fostering discoveries that will serve as a basis for improving the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of human diseases.”
And congrats to Vijay Sankaran, Chief Information Officer at member firm TD Ameritrade, for being named to Investment Advisor’s IA25 for 2018 as one of finance’s “most influential and inspirational industry players.”
Does Ray Ozzie’s (San Francisco, May 2016; Atlanta, November 2000) new scheme for using public key cryptography to allow law enforcement to unlock smartphones avoid the standard objections to key escrow that date back to the Clipper Chip of the 1990s?
Two representatives and one senator, all Democrats, are reintroducing legislation that would fund the Office of Technology Assessment. The office, which provides Congress with non-partisan advice, was defunded in 1995 but never terminated (Tom Kalil, San Francisco, Dec 2017). Similar legislation has been introduced in every Congress for twenty years, so we can guess how John Nay (Washington, D.C, Sep 2017) and his Skopos Labs would score its chances this time around.
Some governmental changes don’t require Congress to weigh in. As such, the Environmental Protection Administrator has proposed a rule to require all data pertaining to its scientific decision making to be made public—which sounds good, but raises profound and expensive privacy concerns (Arvind Narayanan and Suzanne Barber, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017) that in practice would restrict the science underpinning the EPA—and therefore constrain its ability to enforce regulations.
Researchers at UCSD have developed a “noninvasive wearable system” for monitoring gastric health (Larry Smarr, San Jose, Feb 2012). The hope is to replace manometry, in which a catheter is sent from the nose down to the stomach.
It’s easy to be of two or three minds about the Sprint T-Mobile merger. On the one hand, neither has had the critical mass to fully compete with Verizon and AT&T. On the other hand, as the Washington Post notes, four has been the magic number of competitors from an antitrust point of view. On the third hand, four has not been so magical when it comes to air travel, where prices in many markets rose dramatically when the number of major airlines dwindled to four. Last year an op-ed in the New York Times called the major airlines an “abusive cartel” and in a Congressional hearing, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Ca.), said “It's an absolute joke that there's competition in the airline industry.” (David Reed, San Francisco, May 2016; Gordon Castle, Philadelphia, Jul 2015).
If you were with us in Detroit three years ago (Making Stuff, May 2015), you might be wondering how the city is doing. The NY Times has a beautiful and interesting photo essay looking at that question (spoiler: pretty well, but not out of the woods).
In related news, apparently Elon Musk (Tesla field trip, San Francisco, May 2016) recently discovered that the conventional car companies (K. Venkatesh Prasad, Detroit, May 2015) aren’t run by idiots.
Save the Date: For those who enjoyed the Enterra Summit last year in Napa, and especially for those who couldn’t attend, there will be one this year in Boston, July 9-11. As last year, the meeting is devoted to AI and cognitive computing and free to TTI/Vanguard members. Contact Kelly Baughman if interested.
Can transistors get below one nanometer? Scientists at the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Spain have found a way to use graphene to break the diffraction limit (Qing Cao, San Francisco, Dec 2016; Subhasish Mitra, San Francisco, Dec 2015).
Past speaker (and apparently assiduous newsletter reader) K Waterman wrote us after last week’s edition that her “new favorite scooter is the urb-e (electric, low mph, but very foldable/portable),” which she test-rode at last month’s SXSW. (We love hearing from our readers!)
Automakers can’t get autonomous vehicles onto the roads fast enough, Part 1:The U.S. is shy about 60,000 truck drivers, with not enough Millennials replacing retiring Baby Boomers.
Automakers can’t get autonomous vehicles onto the roads fast enough, Part 2: Researchers at the University of Calgary have found that just a few autonomous vehicles can influence for the better the human drivers sharing the road with them.
… As it happens, that’s the very topic Dan Work of Vanderbilt University will address in a talk at our September 13–14 meeting, Less Is More.
In the meantime, you can recap the March 2018 conference in Los Angeles on Designing and Doing: The Reinforcement Papers are in the member archive.
“There is no doubt about precisely when folks began racing each other in automobiles. It was the day they built the second automobile.”
— Richard Petty