Astrophysicist Believes We'll Locate "Hundreds of Earth-Like Planets" by 2013

March 24 2009 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Information   Year: 2013   Rating: 5 Hot

Astrophysicist Alan Boss believes Nasa's Kepler Mission will turn up "hundreds of Earth-like planets", many of which will probably be "inhabited with something."

Considered a leader in the search for planets outside our solar system, Alan Boss says we are at a turning point in our search for extraterrestrial life.  He expects we are on the verge of finding many different Earth-like planets across the universe, and he expects it will be common to find life on those planets. He shares his ideas for how the United States can be on the forefront of the next great discovery: life on another planet.

IBM Gives Us a Look At The Future With Their "Five In Five"

December 01 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2013   Rating: 3

IBM held its Third Annual "Five in Five" which looks at emerging trends as well as what IBM itself is developing in their own labs around the world.  Here's the vid.


While previous predictions given by these "Five in Five" releases can be somewhat fanciful (like mind-reading cellphones for instance), this latest list has the refreshing feel of being very near and very possible.

Solar technology will be built into everything

IBM states that within five years we could be seeing thin-film solar technology built into everything around us.  This includes sidewalks, driveways, paint, windows and even clothing.  Their belief is that thin-film solar will get so cheap that it can be applied everywhere in our lives.  It's ability to be flexible also makes it easy to wrap around our daily devices which could benefit from a little extra power boost.  It's interesting to think that while some people are clamoring for white asphalt and roofing tiles to reflect the Suns energy and save on lighting, another faction will emerge that will want solar film instead.  Of course the question remains: are you going to want to hook a battery up to your clothing?

Your health can be pre-determined

Mapping DNA keeps getting faster and cheaper as the years go along.  It only makes sense that very soon people will begin to use that genetic information to look for hereditary traits that could impact your health.  In finding out you have a high chance of becoming diabetic, you may try and change your diet to avoid or delay its effects.  Basically, it's the movie GATTACA without being able to actually alter the DNA before birth.  I wonder how you'll take the news when they tell you that the junk food you so love is literally killing your body and taking years off your life.

Surfing the Web through speech

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The Zoo of the Future?

November 20 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future
Category: Biotechnology   Year: 2013   Rating: 3 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from

In my book, Jump the Curve, the final chapter is dedicated to the idea of “doing the impossible.” In short, it is my contention that unless you internalize the notion of accelerating change you will dismiss as “impossible” many things that will be imminently possible tomorrow due to the exponential nature of technological progress.

A wonderful case in point is this fascinating article from today’s New York Times claiming that it might soon be possible to regenerate a Wooly Mammoth for $10 million because DNA sequencing technology is continually getting more inexpensive.

Regardless of what one may think of the moral and ethical wisdom of recreating Wooly Mammoths, it is imprudent to dismiss the idea as impossible. Yet this is precisely what Rudolph Jaenisch, a biologist at the Whitehead Institute, has done by proclaiming the idea: “a wishful-thinking experiment with no realistic chance for success.”

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Goertzel: AI to be developed with Open Source and taught through Gaming

October 25 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Technology   Year: 2013   Rating: 4

At today’s big Singularity Summit researcher Ben Goertzel explained to the audience that achieving a working Artificial Intelligence will need to be accomplished through open source software. This of course is a hotly debated topic in the sense that the government may step in to stop development of such a thing. The idea that anyone in the world could then develop an AI freaks out military and political groups (not to mention a lot of the citizenry).

So how does an AI learn?

Ben says games will be used to teach computers to learn functions. You might have a virtual parrot which you’d teach to speak (the parrot being the virtual depiction of the AI itself), or by putting it through virtual world immersion in an interactive digital environment like Second Life, learn a basic skewed version of human reality.

You Too Will Surf Virtual Halls of the Dead

October 20 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Culture   Year: 2013   Rating: 12 Hot

The increasing richness of memorial media is a powerful by-product of accelerating change in technology, information and communication. In five years time, both broad public-facing and private 3d memorial media has a good chance of taking off, gradually catalyzing a shift in the way we interact with history and our dearly departed.

How do we properly remember and honor the dead? Our cultural answer to this question has changed over the millennia alongside with the invention of memory-enhancing technologies such as symbols, spoken language, writing, photography, video, digital information and the web.

Now the trend continues as powerful new disruptors such as social media, semantic search, virtual worlds and mirror worlds allow us to assemble, aggregate and interact with information about the dearly departed in surprising new ways.

On the most basic level, crowd-edited text-based structures like Wikipedia have already catalyzed an explosion of biographical data capture and made possible a growing niche of specialized human memorial websites.

Similarly, account-driven portals like’s Virtual Cemetery Project, MyCemetery, and World Gardens have been growing in popularity and each lay claim to being “The World’s First Online Memorial and Virtual Cemetery” or such.

In the physical world, progressive cemetery Hollywood Forever, which boasts the densest concentration of celebrity gravesites, has sparked a media memorial trend by displaying actors’ hilight reels beside their tombs. (Yes, for a pretty steep price you too can purchase your very own Lifestories Kiosk.)

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Might solid hydrogen power our future? New advances pave the way.

October 02 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2013   Rating: 4

How might storing electricity in the form of solid hydrogen change the future landscape of energy? We believe it could change the performance of mobile power, lower the cost of renewable energy production, and change the nature of refueling your car by ‘swapping out’ boxes of fuel.

Hydrogen & Electricity = ‘Hydricity’
Electricity powers the future. Look beyond the transportation sector of liquid fuels, and most devices and machines run on electrons. Today, we understand the important role of electricity in our world, and tomorrow we might understand its sister companion – hydrogen.

Hydrogen might be the most misunderstood and misrepresented piece of the future energy landscape. Devotees often overstate it as the savior of Planet Earth, and staunch critics underestimate its short term challenges for longer term potential in energy systems and materials science.

A ‘Hydrogen economy’ is an economy driven by electricity. The hydrogen is merely a way of storing electron power via chemical bonds of hydrogen. So hydrogen and electricity are one in the same thing. Ballard Power Founder Geoffrey Ballad has coined the phrase ‘hydricity’ to help people understand the balance of these electrons carriers.

Fuel cells capture energy released when coated membranes strip apart those hydrogen-hydrogen bonds and merge it with oxygen to get water. This is a much more efficient (and cleaner) process when compared to blowing up carbon-hydrogen bonds via combustion. But it is also harder and more expensive (at least today!).

Advances in Hydrogen Storage
The two challenges for hydrogen are production and storage. For now we’ll focus on an emerging platform for high density, low cost and safe storage systems based on ‘solid’ hydrogen.

News from Argonne National Laboratory on ‘crystal sponges’

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How Fuel-Efficient Will Cars Become By 2013?

July 29 2008 / by jvarden / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: 2013   Rating: 7 Hot

With fuel prices rising with no end in sight, both consumers and automobile companies have become more and more concerned with fuel-consumption. While drivers attempt to cut down their gasoline usage, automobile companies are researching and producing more fuel-efficient cars, some to come out as early as next year.

Solutions range from hybrids, fuel-efficient engines, pure electric, plug-ins, solar panels, and hydrogen-powered vehicles. Even with all these seemingly promising solutions, will we have fuel efficient cars available for consumers at an affordable price by 2013?

To help us imagine just what the market has in store for us over the next 5 years here’s a timeline based on the self-reported release dates of various major auto manufacturers (visual first, followed by extensive text):

2009 Vehicles:

- Released by General Motors late 2008, early 2009, is the Saturn Vue 2-Mode hybrid. Touted as the world’s most fuel-efficient V-6 SUV, the Vue 2-Mode hybrid has up to a 50% fuel economy increase for urban driving and an overall 30% increase through the use technology such as low-speed, electric only propulsion and regenerative breaking. It will be classified as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle.

- In February, Shelby SuperCars will be releasing the Ultimate Aero EV, which will be the world’s fastest electric car. SSC is known for the EV’s predecessor, the Ultimate Aero, the world’s fastest gas-powered car. The Ultimate Aero EV will have twin 500 hp electric motors powered by a battery. Other details regarding its production have not been disclosed.

- Sometime in the Spring, the next generation of Toyota Prius will be released, equipped with solar panels that will provide a portion of the energy to run the air-conditioning unit. Toyota is planning on bringing 450,000 of these solar-power capable vehicles to the market.

- Audi will be bringing out their 2009 A2, a compact, fuel-efficient car that manages to feature more cabin space than Minis. The A2 will have 1.2 to 1.8 liter engines, as well as diesels and will have a lowered amount of CO2 emissions, due to the European CAFE regulations.

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Web Video Viewers to Grow 4x by 2013

May 28 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future
Category: Entertainment   Year: 2013   Rating: 2 Hot

A new study from ABI Research forecasts the number of viewers who access video via the Web to nearly quadruple in the next few years, reaching at least one billion in 2013. “

“The rapid expansion of broadband video creates opportunities across a number of market sectors,” comments senior analyst Cesar Bachelet. “A wide variety of actors aim to gain a share of this fast-growing market: not only content owners such as the BBC and NBC Universal, and Internet portals such as AOL and Yahoo!, but also a range of new entrants including user-generated content sites such as YouTube and Dailymotion, broadband video sites such as CinemaNow and Lovefilm, and Internet TV providers such as Apple, and Zattoo

Sparked by increasing broadband penetration and rising connection speeds available to a growing percentage of the world’s population, online video is growing as quickly as the supporting infrastructure can be built. (cont.)

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The Swiss Army Phone of the Future: Part 1

May 05 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future
Category: Communication   Year: 2013   Rating: 9 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

It is sometimes hard to remember that it was only 15 years ago that the first cellphones came into existence. Moreover, they were big, bulky, expensive and of limited capability. Today, the average $79 cellphone serves as a phone, address book, MP3/TV player, camera, Internet browser, and video recorder. What else will they be able to do in the future?

For starters, as I explained in this piece a couple of months ago, the cellphone of the future will likely serve as a low-cost diagnostic technician that can tell you everything from if your breathe is bad to whether the pollen count is reaching such a level that your allergies might kick in. Beyond this, cellphones are likely to become an even more dependable security blanket for people. They already serve as a useful instrument in the event your car breaks down on the freeway, but two recent articles offer additional glimpses into how cellphones of the near future might function. Audi is now installing cellphones into its cars that will snap a picture of the the thief in the event your car is stolen, and in Japan women are now downloading recordings designed to ward off “gropers.” (cont.)

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You Don't Have to be a Brain Surgeon to See Where the Future is Headed

April 14 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future
Category: Business & Work   Year: 2013   Rating: 3 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from

The National Research Council of Canada recently released some very interesting news describing the progress that it is being made with the world’s first MTI-compatible, image-guided neurosurgical robot. The device is dubbed the NeuroArm.

Now, I’m no brain surgeon, but I have followed the progress that Intuitive Surgical has been making in the field of robotic-assisted prostectomies, and it might interest you to know that in 2005 the company was performing less 1% of all prostectomies. Today, it is performing over 50%!

The reason this is occurring is because the da Vinci robot (which is still controlled by a surgeon using a computer) is so precise that the surgery is only minimally invasive, and this allows the patient to leave the hospital in one to two days. Patients who have a traditional operation must stay five to seven days. Of course, this extra stay costs hospitals a great deal of money and they now have a vested interest in switching patients over to the robotic-asisted surgery. Not surprisingly, convincing patients to undergo a robotic-assisted operation has been made easier because they are not only told the scar will be much smaller but they will also get out of the hospital much sooner.

The NeuroArm and similar neurosurgical robots are the wave of the future. They may not be performing many operations today, but my guess is that just as Intuitive Surgical’s Da Vinci robots now control the prostectomy market, neurosurgical robots will contol the brain surgery market in 5 to 10 years.

If you are so inclined, I recommend the following 10-minute video from Wired Science which shows how the da Vinci robot is now beginning to assist with heart surgery: (cont.)

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Daniel Hopping on The Future of Retail

March 27 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Economics   Year: 2013   Rating: 6

President and CEO of Next Retail Group, Daniel Hopping is a futurist with some interesting things to say about the impact technology will have on the retail industry and tomorrow’s consumer.

First and foremost, like most of his peers, he’s cognizant of acceleration and expects “more change in how we live, how we work, and how we shop in the next 5 years than in the last 20”, citing huge changes in household demographics, storage capacity and information access as primary drivers of progress.

Accordingly, he points out that the physical “store of 5-8 years out is going to be operating on an infrastructure that does not yet exist” and thinks the evolving semantic web will have a great deal to do with that transformation.

These insights and many more are captured in a recent presentation by Hopping that he posted to YouTube just yesterday. It’s been edited down to just the essential points and makes for quick, enjoyable , MEST-compressed viewing (if only more folks would edit their presentations in such a manner):

“It’s going to be a very interesting next 5-10 years,” concludes Hopping. ... You’ll find no argument here. :)

IBM Predicts Five Future Trends That Will Drive Unified Communications

March 20 2008 / by memebox / In association with Future
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2013   Rating: 6

Yesterday at the VoiceCon conference currently being held in Orlando, IBM released predictions for five future trends that will increase demand for the fast-growing unified communications market and reshape the way businesses and workers communicate and collaborate worldwide.

The predictions, made in a keynote address by Mike Rhodin, General Manager of IBM Lotus software, included:

1) The Virtual Workplace will become the rule. No need to leave the office. Just bring it along. Desk phones and desktop computers will gradually disappear, replaced by mobile devices, including laptops, that take on traditional office capabilities. Social networking tools and virtual world meeting experiences will simulate the feeling on being there in-person. Work models will be changed by expanded globalization and green business initiatives that reduce travel and encourage work at home.

2) Instant Messaging and other real-time collaboration tools will become the norm, bypassing e-mail. Just as e-mail became a business necessity, a new generation of workers has a new expectation for instant messaging (IM) as the preferred method of business interaction. This will fuel more rapid adoption of unified communications as traditional IM becomes the core extension point for multi-modal communications.

3) Beyond Phone Calls to Collaborative Business Processes. Companies will go beyond the initial capabilities of IM, like click-to-call and online presence, to deep integration with business processes and line-of-business applications, where they can realize the greatest benefit.

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