3 things direct from the future

2nd Edition

Once per week I will deliver “3 things direct from the future”. A 2 minute read that will always give you:

  • one thing that can help,
  • one thing to be wary of, and
  • one thing to amaze.

If this sounds interesting to you then please subscribe.

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1. One thing that can help.

The University of Washington completed an experiment (in 2013!) where one participant sent a brain signal through the internet to move the arm of another participant 1 mile away. No keyboard, no wires, no words.

Scientific American outlines in this article (https://bit.ly/2DMJtNT) the progress that has been made in brain-to-brain communciation including networking human brains together to solve a problem.

“Words are a very lossy compression of thought” Elon Musk posted on Twitter. OK he also posted “The rumor that Bill Gates & I are lovers is completely untrue” but lets stick to the first one. Musk is saying that we are losing original meaning through requiring words to communicate and he has a point.

Imagine the potential for those who struggle with language or hearing. Is this a potential lifesaver? Or should it be in the next category…

2. One thing to be wary of

Deepfake videos are getting a lot of attention lately but a potentially more dangerous technology has slipped under the radar. AI can now write amazingly human-sounding text and this is being deployed at scale for both good and bad. You can decide which category your kid using it to write their assignment for them falls into.

As described in this article (https://bit.ly/3aktaDF) you just need to write some text to give it a start and it will continue to write original text in the style you gave it and is undetectable by humans.

As it is so often, this technology has some wonderful use-cases (realistic chatbots for mental-health support and customer service), and some nefarious ones like generating bias-and-bogus news stories in great quantity. One of the major text generation technologies, OpenAI, delayed its release to the public until they could produce a reliable tool to detect what it was producing!

Here’s hoping the social networks have the detection up and running before the US presidential election.

3. One thing to amaze

Flying cars

Flying cars! Once the symbol of the future (OK I watched The Jetsons a lot) but hardly talked about today (unlike driverless cars, hyperloops, and transport through tunnels – OK Elon is really good at promotion!). Well it’s back on the plan thanks to the Japanese government throwing money at it (https://bit.ly/30PDvnZ) and promising real flying cars in operation in 2023. While there are thousands of promising flying car projects underway, I love this one as the “car” is small enough to fit into 2 regular size car spaces.

On pure facts flying cars are the solution:

  • roads are expensive to build
  • roads have very limited capacity
  • roads need to be built on land
  • driverless cars don’t solve any of the above

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads….

Have a great week.

Daniel J McKinnon

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