Category: future

We really are living in the future

so the other day I noted my card wouldn’t work on Amazon. Called the bank apparently the old Chinese problem occurred again. This time they expressed me a new card. But it’s funny when I spoke to the rep at the bank she mentioned their phone app. I told her I was downloading it as I spoke.

And once I had the app logged in I did something, I scanned a check in. You just scan in the front and back, put in the amount and press submit. Nice!

Now the card – they aren’t the standard magnetic cards anymore. Sure they still have that big wide mag-stripe on the back. But they have a few more interesting features. Like the chip – that once is a 21st century thing, plus the fact that you can just wave the card in front of a payment terminal. That last part gives me the screaming heebie jeebies though. But then I realize you have to be VERY close to the payment terminal for it to work. It’s essentially RFID.

But it gets better. Because I’m signed in to google it automagically linked the new card to google pay. It really has gotten very cool.

Now we’ll move onto cars. They are a FAR different beast than they were even 20+ years ago. The fact that every month I get a report on all the systems in the car via email I love. Of course I do know that the connectivity for it do that is cause for some concern. I mean a nefarious or rogue actor could have some real fun with that.

And I keep getting emails from Sirius – why on earth would I even pay $5 a month when I have spotify on my phone and the phone hooks up to the car quite nicely.

Plus we have to remember the entirety of the car is controlled by a computer these days. From electric power steering to the fact the brakes and gas pedal aren’t connected via mechanical means but via a wire. That one fascinates me. Because it also means the car is hackable.

The Coming Bright Future

This is interesting. Apparently the we’re on the verge of some very great innovations.

In it noted futurist Ray Kurzweil prognosticates on the time frame for the disruptive events to come.

Here it is in a nutshell.

· Within 5 years the exponential progress in nanoengineering will make Solar power cost-competitive with fossil fuels

· Within 10 years we will have a pill that allows us all to eat whatever we feel like and never gain any unwanted weight

· In 15 years, life expectancies will start rising faster than we age

· In about 20 years 100% of our energy will come from clean and renewable sources, and a computer will pass the Turing Test by carrying on a conversation that is indistinguishable from a human’s.

The only issues I see in regard to solar energy is that we really haven’t gone too far with storing the energy they generate. But there is hope, I’ve seen that solar cells are getting more and more efficient with yields over 40% or more. They don’t need direct sunlight, just grey light will do the trick.

Then of course there are some advances in battery technology. A new nano-engineered lithium-ion battery has much greater capacity and power density. Those are two key elements. Capacity is just how much time you can get, whereas density is the current available.

His estimate that within 10 years there’ll be a pill we can take which allows us to eat anything with no ill effect is already coming true with the studies on resveratrol.

Life expectancies are going up, just incrementally right now but we’re looking at some exponential lengthening of human life. If you’ve ever watched Back to the Future II, there’s a line where the Doc explains that he had his colon replaced.

This isn’t so far off. The more we understand the bio-chemical processes of the human body, the more likely we are to do major overhauls. Go in get a new heart, lungs, liver, large and small intestine, kidneys, etc. See you in 60 years. Next thing you know you’re 256 years old.

It all falls into a line from Angels in America, once you KNOW your enemy you can vanquish him. We’re increasingly knowing more and more.

As to his prediction of total renewable energy, that’s when we move to a Kardashev Type 1 society. The transition will be difficult but we’ll do it.

And a computer passing the Turing test, I believe it’s going to happen sooner than he does. There’s already an artificial intelligence on Second Life, it’s attained the intelligence of a 4 year old thus far, but it will get better as it learns and grows.

I’d say that we’ll see true intelligence in a computer within five years. I say that because there are many groups pursuing the goal right now.

The future will be interesting to say the least. But it brings up a good point, we work because we have to do so. What happens when the machines are better at it than we are? How do we derive income then?

Mike Judge’s Idiocracy

This is scary stuff. It’s scary because I’m witnessing the specter of the laughable No Child Left Behind act, the increasing cost of higher education, etc.

And while I don’t actively watch and read entertainment things I’m painfully aware of their impact on society. That people know more about celebrities than their politicians strikes me as being the ultimate in ridiculous.

So Mike Judge made a movie that extrapolates what the future will be like, in this case the year 2505. Apparently Judge shopped the movie to Fox who declined to distribute the film to theaters. The DVD is coming soon and I can’t wait – just search follow this search on YouTube to watch clips from the movie.