Extinction Timeline Through 2050

May 05 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Culture   Year: Beyond   Rating: 7 Hot

Wondering when national currencies, intimacy, natural childbirth and Rocky films will go the way of the dodo? Here’s a fun timeline of extinction events for the 1950-2050 range by futurist and Future Trends Book author Richard Watson:

Chronicles of Extreme Future Part 5: Utopia

May 02 2008 / by Fictionthis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Transportation   Year: Beyond   Rating: 8 Hot

Underwater cities have been a dream of futurists. Starting from Atlantis to the evasive Captain Nemo.

The first underwater built city in Dubai was a scientific breakthrough. Located just off the coast of the man made “World” islands, it was the first under water facility capable of sustaining prolonged life under water. It was built in the shallow waters, merely ten meters from the surface allowing plenty of natural light to seep through.

At first air was pumped from the outside until a new air harvesting technology called “air farming” was adopted in 2020. Air farming is literally a network of fields of sea plants, saturated with pumps and filtering systems, extracting and transporting air to the underwater city. The switch from external to internal air came in 2022 which introduced a new era of development under water. It was later discovered that air produced and extracted straight from the ocean was so beneficial to human health that the underwater cities quickly became the preferred choice for the rich and famous. Nicknamed “Utopia”, it became the centre of the scientific advancement. (cont.)

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Enlarge Our Minds to an Idea that is Out of This World

May 01 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Business & Work   Year: Beyond   Rating: 6 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from www.jumpthecurve.net

(Editors Note: Earlier today, my colleague at Future Blogger, Dick Pellitier, had a thoughtful piece on the prospect of a space elevator. I would like to add my two cents to this debate. The following article was written this past fall and originally appeared on TechCentralStation).

In the fall of 1825, New York Governor DeWitt Clinton boarded the Seneca Chief and traveled 500 miles from Buffalo to New York City to mark the opening of the Erie Canal. It was the beginning of an enterprise of immense economic and political significance in that it expanded the reach of American commerce and established New York as one of the world’s leading financial centers.

It is easy, in retrospect, to think the canal’s success was ordained from the beginning. It wasn’t. In 1810, when DeWitt Clinton, then mayor of New York City, first proposed building the 363-mile, 83 lock canal, Gouverneur Morris, responded by saying “Our minds are not yet enlarged to the size of so great an object.” Another Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, was more biting in his criticism, writing to Clinton, “It is a splendid project, and may be executed a century hence. It is little short of madness to think of it this day.”

Jefferson’s reasoning was solid. The project was budgeted to cost $6 million—a sum then equal to three-fourths of the federal government budget. In fact, the scale of the project was so massive that it was determined it would be the biggest public works project since the Great Pyramid and would consist of digging and removing over 11 million cubic yards of earth. It is no wonder that many decried it as “Clinton’s ditch.”

Fortunately, Clinton persisted and while he wasn’t able to persuade the federal government to support the idea, he did win over the citizens of New York and in 1817 the state legislature approved the funding for the project. (cont.)

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Stewart Brand on Cities and Time

April 18 2008 / by cyrusbryan / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Environment   Year: Beyond   Rating: 9 Hot

As a response to Accel Rose’s post on the future of cities by Stewart Brand, I thought I would pass this along as a supplement. It’s a one-hour presentation on the “City-Planet”, a long-term trend barely noticed by anyone.

According to Brand, “The massive urbanization of the world now going on is changing everything, affecting economics, the environment, and global population—- most of it, in surprising ways, for the better. The more I delve into the subject, the more I find it packed with news which is not being widely reported or thought about.”

This is one of a monthly series of Seminars About Long-term Thinking, given every second Friday in San Francisco, CA, organized by The Long Now Foundation .

Here’s the google video of the Long Now talk:

Chronicles of Extreme Future Part 3: The ID Card

April 18 2008 / by Fictionthis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 4 Hot

Cross-posted from the blog of new fiction-focused startup fictionthis.com.

National ID cards were introduced in 2011.

At first they were simply embedded in passports, containing personal ID data. Second Generation ID Data chips were designed to have uploading capabilities and contained even more data, including criminal and medical records. Third generation ID Chips had an option to be inserted under your skin and gave access into your ID data base in any government institution, which made forgetting or losing your license or social security details a thing of the past.

For military personnel it was compulsory to have it inserted. Unauthorized access to military installations was simply non-existent from that moment on. Generation Four chip nicknamed “Quattro Access” became an instant hit with the younger generation. It allowed access to personal finance as well as personal storage space to share music, files and photos. (cont.)

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Time Travel: Swiss CERN project could validate theories

April 14 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Space   Year: Beyond   Rating: 6 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the Time Portal. In a few moments we will beam your minds all the way back to the year 2008, where you will each live a day in the life of your early 21st century self. Although your bodies remain here in the year 2110, your minds will travel back in time and merge with your younger self. We hope you enjoy this unique learning experience.

The above scenario is fiction of course, but researchers at the new CERN Particle Accelerator in Switzerland believe their machine can recreate conditions like the “big bang” which brought time and space into existence, and create baby black holes and wormholes; elements that many believe offer the best chance to validate or dispute the concept of traveling backwards in time.

Princeton University’s Richard Gott describes wormholes as shortcuts through space and time that connect two distant points, like a worm tunnel through an apple. “You jump into the wormhole and instantly pop out on Alpha Centauri; you’ve gone through a tunnel that connects two places in spacetime.”

Although today’s laws of physics cannot rule out time travel, the idea is laden with problems. Say we travel back in time and stop our parents from getting together. This would prevent us from being born; we could not exist and our journey in time couldn’t happen – scientists call this a paradox. We created a past different from the one that already exists.

Clearly, mischievous time travelers cannot change the present. People are not suddenly disappearing because a rerun of events has prevented their birth. Therefore, something is stopping time travelers from changing our present, and physicists Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, and others believe they know what it is – parallel universes. (cont.)

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Tomorrow's household robots will become amazingly intelligent

April 07 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 15 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

For years, entrepreneurs have been trying to create robots to perform life’s physical drudgeries. Building mechanical bodies has been easy, but creating artificial minds to control those bodies has been frustrating.

After countless commercial failures though, things are beginning to change. Computer power now provides enough thinking ability for robots to become financially viable.

With the ability to program more intelligence into robots, tomorrow’s silicon creatures will be able to provide adequate home maintenance and care for family members when needed. But here’s the concern; these futuristic ‘bots may be required to make decisions that could affect our lives, and experts predict that people will place more trust in robots that express human consciousness than those that simply act like machines.

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Earth 3000 - A glimpse at what life might be like in 1,000 years

April 07 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Space   Year: Beyond   Rating: 15 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

Of course, nobody can predict exactly how the future will unfold over the next ten centuries, but by projecting advances in biotech, nanotech, infotech, and cognitive sciences expected over the next four-to-rive decades, we see changes that will radically transform humanity into highly intelligent futuristic beings with ability to resolve the social, ethnic, and technological problems that plague society today.

Let’s begin our perspective on the future with this question – will we meet aliens by 3000? Considering the number of Earth-like planets possible in the universe, mathematical probability suggests that we will. They may look different than us, but we will share common traits – every life form in our universe is made of similar atoms and governed by the same physical laws. If our new-found friends have eyes and clear skies, they will gaze at the same stars and galaxies as we do; and we can all trace our origins back to a common genesis – the Big Bang.

Astronomer Nikolai Kardashev devised a scheme to rate civilizations based on energy consumption. Type-I civilizations utilize all the solar energy striking their planet; Type-II’s, all the energy in their solar system; Type-III’s, their galaxy; Type-IV’s, the universe, including the mysterious dark matter.

Type-I’s terraform their planet, control weather, and coexist peacefully as a global village. Type-II’s build space colonies and explore nearby stars. Type-III’s roam their glazy; develop extra-terrestrial relations, and time-travel through wormholes. Type-IV’s become masters of the cosmos and traverse parallel universes.

Physicists’ rate today’s civilization at Type 0.7, but with progress expected in nanotech, strong artificial intelligence, and quantum computing; forward-thinkers believe we could reach Type-I by 2100, Type-II by 2200, Type-III by 2500, and Type-IV by 10000.

Using the above timetable, Earth 3000 would enjoy Type-III benefits. In Parallel Worlds, physicist Michio Kaku says, “By the time civilization has reached Type-III, it will access energies 10 billion times those found on Earth today”. (cont.)

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Saturday Morning Cartoon: Future of Farming

April 05 2008 / by Marisa Vitols / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Health & Medicine   Year: Beyond   Rating: 2

This week’s Saturday morning cartoon is another lovely paleo-future animation, this time on the future of farming by MGM and produced by Fred Quimby. This cartoon portrays a comical vision of the future farm, a “wonderland of mechanical inventions together with mechanically improved livestock.” Enjoy!

Space 2108 - a brief glimpse at the next 100 years in space

April 02 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Space   Year: Beyond   Rating: 7

By Dick Pelletier

“Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the three-hour Las Vegas-Mars Hyperspace Express. In a few moments we will leave Earth atmosphere and experience a quantum leap as we achieve greater than light-speed travel. Be sure to glance out your window during our hyper-speed mode and watch the stars flash by at dizzying speeds; truly one of the most breathtaking views in the galaxy. Expected arrival at Branson-Bigelow Spaceport is noon Martian time; we hope you enjoy your trip.”

The above scenario is fiction of course, but German scientist Burkhard Heim who developed this radical theory believes that hyperspace propulsion systems will become a proven concept within five years; and could be fully operational by the end of this century.

Heim’s theory adds two components to Einstein’s four-dimensional space-time; a repulsive anti-gravity force similar to dark energy that appears to expand the universe, and a bold idea that accelerates a spacecraft without using any fuel.

If Heim’s idea proves correct, it will radically change space travel. Forget spending six months holed up in a rocket on the way to Mars, a round trip on the hyper-drive could take as little as five hours. And for longer trips, adventurers could visit Alpha Centauri, 4 light years away, in as little as 30 days. Hyperspace propulsion could bring travel to the stars within reach for the first time.


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Merging with machines inevitable, scientists say

April 01 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 9

By Dick Pelletier

Today, we are entering the beginning stages of a society that many futurists believe will not end until man and machine become completely integrated into a single being – an enhanced human.

The biotech revolution, from 2010 to 2020, promises to correct many of our biological flaws including vulnerability to disease and telltale signs of aging. Doctors will re-grow cells, tissues and organs to replace aging body parts; and by as early as mid-2020s, most humans can look forward to an extended healthy lifespan of 200 years or more.

Molecular nanotech marks the next step in our march towards this futuristic society. From about 2025, we will enjoy home-replicators that provide food, clothing, and essentials at little cost; and tiny nanobots that roam through arteries and veins keeping us forever fit and healthy.

The final stage of achieving this remarkable future lies in supercomputers and artificial intelligence; powerful robot-like machines that many predict will outthink humans by 2030. These silicon marvels will possess reasoning and logic similar to our own, but can share data and knowledge millions of times faster than we can with our slow human language; a desirable feature that many humans will want to incorporate into their bodies, experts say.


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Space Elevator Concept Takes Some Damage

March 31 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Space   Year: Beyond   Rating: 8

It’s time to recalibrate those space elevator predictions. A new study published in the journal Acto Astronautica claims that the potential for catastrophic wobble is much higher than previously predicted.

Even if a space elevator could be built, it will need thrusters attached to it to prevent potentially dangerous amounts of wobbling, says Lubos Perek of the Czech Academy of Sciences’ Astronomical Institute in Prague. The addition would increase the difficulty and cost of building and maintaining the elevator. – New Scientist

Check out this video to see what might befall a space elevator not supported by thrusters:

Now that’s one extreme, world-class case of whip-lash.

(via New Scientist)