Once just a pipe dream of science fiction, suspended animation is here. While right now, it won’t be used to put astronauts in hibernation for long space journeys, it will be used in hospitals to buy precious time to try and save people who otherwise would definitely a goner. The technology is going to start human trials in hospitals in Pittsburgh, and since it’s the kind of thing that would only be used if you were in the kind of severe condition that you wouldn’t be able to give consent to having all of your blood temporarily replaced with a chilly saline solution, yes, you can opt out now, just in case. Or you could be a suspended animation pioneer, though that would require you to have a massive heart attack or be full of bullet holes, so it’s not really something you should wish for.
Last year, Apple announced iOS for your car, and with internet connected homes just around the corner, it’s likely that the rumors are true that Apple will be announcing a smart home platform to try and carve out a niche in a market that, barring a massive worldwide extinction event, is a near future inevitability. There are already smart thermostats, smart smoke detectors, smart appliance and smart door locks— all that stuff needs now is some sort of unifying platform, so you can control and sync these devices, and that’s the market Apple, Google and Microsoft are all aiming for. If you thought the smartphone market was big, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Every now and again, some dreamer, some architect, comes up with a plan for an amazing underwater city of the future, but so far it hasn’t come to fruition for one reason or another, but China may finally be the first to create a city under the waves.
While the promise of hover cars and hover car conversions won’t be met by 2015, in 2017, you will be able to get a pretty sweet hoverbike from Aerofex. If you want one, it’ll set you back $85,000, but son of a bitch, you’ll have a hoverbike that can carry up to 310 lbs and hover 10 feet off the ground at 45 mph, so there’s that. Oh, so it doesn’t go a hundred miles an hour, boo hoo. DID I MENTION IT’S A FUCKING HOVERBIKE?
The question of how robots would or should handle complicated ethical questions has been asked ever since the first basic robots were invented. We have built computers and robots to be impartial tools for accomplishing all sorts of tasks, but very soon, we’ll have to answer the question of robot ethics for real, especially when it comes to self-driving cars, which are just around the corner.
So the question is this:
A front tire blows, and your autonomous SUV swerves. But rather than veering left, into the opposing lane of traffic, the robotic vehicle steers right. Brakes engage, the system tries to correct itself, but there’s too much momentum. Like a cornball stunt in a bad action movie, you are over the cliff, in free fall. Your robot, the one you paid good money for, has chosen to kill you.
Should it? A human driver would invariably save its own life first, but when we become dependent on having robotic cars drive us around, should we build in that same kind of self-preservation instinct? Meaning the car would kill two people to save you? Or should we keep the robot brain impartial, relying on data to make its decision, even if it means you’re expendable?
What’s next after the world wide web? The term “Internet of Things” has been bandied about to describe a world in which everything from your wristwatch to your clothes, cars, walls and appliances are interconnected, but the National Science Foundation has given it a new name— FIA, or “Future Internet Architecture”, which later could be amended perhaps to “United Future Internet Architecture” just for fun. UFIA. It’s the future.
So Apple wants to make sure you can’t drop the dime on the 5-0 by letting your phone camera be remotely disabled
Time to shop Samsung— a new patent recently filed by Apple would allow someone else within a certain physical proximity to disable your phone’s camera. The non-threatening part of this technology would allow movie theaters to disable phone cameras to prevent piracy or for teachers to disable camera phones during a test to prevent cheating, but the part that’s got everyone upset is that it could also be used by law enforcement to disable camera phones in a certain radius during protests, arrests or other police actions.
There are 3D printers for plastics and for food, and now a Chinese company has started 3D printing houses, using concrete and building debris, building things up layer by layer. Without much labor, the cost of each small house comes in around $5000. In 1908, Thomas Edison envisioned a future where entire houses could be poured into a mold on the cheap, and now with 3D printing, that could become a reality.
While the idea of humanity building entirely new organisms from scratch is a loooong way off, maybe never, there is at least a starting place. The OpenWorm project aims to build a fully operational nematode worm, with all its organs and eyelets and whatnot working just as it would in the real world, only inside a “computer”.