FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, April 30, 2007

Bruce Sterling on Earth-Friendly Pervasive Computing

Noting that the word "computer" is disappearing from technologists' vocabularies, science fiction author and futurist Bruce Sterling believes that as the Internet subsumes computing, we are truly on the path toward a highly embedded wireless network in which nearly everything is a node:

In 2007 the computer gave up taking over the world. Instead the world took over the computer. The Internet became a wholly owned subset of Reality 2.0. When the actual world invades the virtual world, it scatters the computer into tiny physical pieces, some no bigger than dust. “Intelligent printing,” another modern darling, is semiconductor ink sprayed on cardboard. There’s never been a humbler, cheaper “computer.”

Sterling envisions a world in which the chips that drive it are powered by tiny amounts of ambient energy -- nearly any form of heat or light will do. Such chips would have such low power requirements that they wouldn't need a dedicated power source, and would use up hardly any natural resources.

Source: Futurismic

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Future of TV News

If news websites can allow users to subscribe to certain news categories, will TV news be able to do the same thing someday? Dave Winer of Scripting News muses on the possibilities, including the ability to block out categories in which the user has no interest. He even provides a mockup of an interface.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Is Tesla Getting the Electric Car Right?

If the internal combustion engine is the technology environmentalists love to hate, the electric car is the technology everyone else hates to love. Electrics have long had the reputation for being underpowered, inefficient, and no more eco-friendly than any other type of car, as the electricity needed to run them normally comes from fossil fuels.

Enter Tesla Motors, a California-based startup that has developed the Tesla Roadster, a stylish, high-performance electric car that can reportedly go from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds and travel up to 250 miles between charges. The Roadster is still in the prototype stage, but just as important as the car itself is the way that Tesla proposes to fuel it. Tesla envisions a distributed network of charging stations that draw power from sustainable, environmentally friendly sources.

Source: Long Tail

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Stem-Cell Treatment Cures Type 1 Diabetes

A clinical trial involving patients with type 1 diabetes (aka: juvenile diabetes) and stem cell therapy has shown that treatment with stem cells can help such patients produce their own insulin.

The stem cells, created from the patients' own blood, proved effective in 13 of 15 subjects in the trial, who no longer need daily insulin injections. However, more studies are needed to verify the findings and learn more about exactly how the therapy works. Experts believe that a widely-available stem cell treatment for type 1 diabetes is at least five years away. The research, furthermore, does not address type 2 diabetes.

The findings were published in the most recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Source: London Times

DIY Mobile Networks

Ever dreamed of having your own mobile phone network? If so, Sonopia offers customizable, "virtual" mobile networks for small businesses and nonprofit groups. Partnering with Verizon, Sonopia has offered networks to churches, rock bands, sports teams, and the National Wildlife Fund. Nonprofits can offers as an incentive to prospective customers a donation of profits to charitable causes.

Sonopia charges no setup fees, so even the smallest groups -- and even individuals -- can establish their own mobile networks.

Source: Springwise

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Top Ten Emerging Technologies for the Environment

Live Science has ranked the top ten emerging environmental technologies in a slide show format. Among the top-rated concepts (not all of which are new) that have the promise to reduce waste, conserve energy and protect natural resources are electronic paper, decontaminating microbes, and energy from waves and ocean temperature.

Monday, April 09, 2007

UK Government Envisions a Grim Future

In trying to analyze future threats to Britain's armed forces, the UK Ministry of Defence has created a chilling future scenario of global instability and devastating weapons.

Taking into account familiar threats such as global warming and the growing population in political "hot spots" such as the Middle East, the study also notes threats such as:

  • Self-directed weapons that need little or no human control

  • Implanatable information chips wired directly to the brain

  • "Flashmobs" that could be mobilized instantly by criminal or terrorist groups

  • A revival of Marxism and other radical political movements

  • The continued growth of militant Islam

Much of this instability will be driven by declining resources coupled with increasing numbers of people living in cities.

Source: Guardian

Monday, April 02, 2007

Apple Announces iPhone Release Date

Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 11 -- that's the date that Cingular has announced that it will begin selling Apple's long-anticipated iPhone. That date is also the first day of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.

Source: Crave