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Category Archives: Futurist

Elon Musk Is Talking About Powering All of America with Solar – Futurism

Posted: December 13, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Solar U.S.A.

Elon Musk is talking, again, about his idea to turn 10,000 square miles in the U.S. desert into a solar farm that can power the entire nation. In a Saturday Twitter reply to an article by Treehugger about Bill Gates questioning the efficiency of solar power, Musk fired back that all you need is a 100 by 100 mile patch in a deserted corner of Arizona, Texas or Utah (or anywhere) to more than power the entire USA.

He first talked about the idea in 2015, and reiterated them in 2017, as Inverse points out. The batteries you need to store the energy, so you have 24/7 power, is 1 mile by 1 mile, Musk said at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island in 2017. One square-mile. Thats it.

Musk also linked to a University College London blog post, in which energy researcher Andrew Smith did some back-0f-the-envelope calculations, finding that a 10,000 square kilometer area far smaller than the 100 by 100 mile patch to be clear could generate about 500 Gigawatts at 21 percent efficiency, the average in Northwest Texas. Thats more than the U.S. annual average consumption of 425 GW.

But it would be an extremely expensive mega project as well. If you were to cover the patch with Teslas solar panel-covered Roof tiles, it would still cost about six trillion dollars, according to Popular Mechanics which is about the GDP of Japan.

READ MORE: Elon Musks Plan for One Giant Solar Farm Is a Little Insane, but Not Completely Insane [Popular Mechanics]

More on the idea: Elon Musk Tells National Governors Association How We Could Power the U.S. With Solar

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SpaceX Is Delivering Cannabis to the Space Station – Futurism

Posted: at 2:00 pm

That Sticky-Icky in Space

On Sunday, a SpaceX Dragon capsule docked with the International Space Station hauling nearly three tons of cargo. SpaceXs next ISS resupply mission is scheduled for March 2020, and while that trip might not include any super-buff mighty mice, itll be packing something equally unique: cannabis.

On Tuesday, agri-tech company Front Range Biosciences announced plans to send cannabis to the ISS. No, its not space-shipping weed to get astronauts high. Instead, itll send plant cultures of hemp, the legal cannabis strain with low levels of compound THC.

The cultures will remain in an ISS incubator for 30 days while BioServe Space Technologies (a Front Range project partner) monitors them remotely from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

After their 30 days in space, the cannabis cultures go home to Earth so Front Range can see what effect, if any, microgravity and space radiation had on their gene expression.

There is science to support the theory that plants in space experience mutations, Front Range CEO Jonathan Vaught said in a release. This is an opportunity to see whether those mutations hold up once brought back to earth and if there are new commercial applications.

READ MORE: A Company Is Sending Cannabis and Coffee to Space to See if They Mutate [Motherboard]

More on cannabis: Seven Ways Cannabis Legalization Will Make the Future Better

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Middle Eastern Nation First to Buy Drone Armed With Machine Gun – Futurism

Posted: at 2:00 pm

Before the end of the year, Turkey will become the first nation to get its hands on a brand new military drone equipped with a machine gun.

Its called the Songar, and it can carry 200 rounds of ammunition. A New Scientist story notes that the drone is accurate enough to hit a human target with every bullet fired from 200 meters (656 feet) away a devastating level of accuracy in the already troubling space of drone warfare.

Songar is the work of Turkish electronics firm Asisguard, and according to the companys website, a human can control the drone from a distance of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). Using a single controller, they can operate up to three Songars simultaneously during the day or at night, looking through the devices cameras and deciding when to fire their guns.

Asisguard equipped the drone with two systems designed to address the issue of recoil affecting accuracy. One uses a group of sensors that accountfor variablesranging from a targets distance to the current wind speed. The other uses robotic arms to manually move the gun as needed to counteract the recoil.

Songar isnt the first machine gun-equipped drone weve seen, and its easy to see why the devices appeal to militaries: with an armed drone, a soldier can attack the enemy while staying out of harms way.

But as more and more armed drones emerge, it seems like just a matter of time before militaries decide to remove human operators from the equation altogether. In fact, that may already be happening as United States Defense Secretary Mark Esper accused China in November of selling autonomous killer drones to nations in the Middle East.

So, while the drones that Asisguard plans to sell to Turkey later this month might require a human operator, theres a chance the next armed drones the nation adds to its arsenal will be autonomous and thatll be when things get really scary.

READ MORE: Turkey is getting military drones armed with machine guns [New Scientist]

More on drones: New Warfare Drones are Small as a Quadcopter

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Virgil Abloh Merges Fashion and Futurism with the Louis Vuitton Men’s 2054 Collection – Ocean Drive Magazine

Posted: at 2:00 pm

Imagined by Artisitc Director Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton Men's 2054 is a luxury lifestyle ready-to-wear collection built for the great unknown.

Fashion has long flirted with futurism. What began as a cutting-edge movement among early-20th century painters and sculptors quickly swept over the design studios and runways of Milan and Paris. It played out as a celebration of everything new, urban and industrialfabrics, designs, colors and cuts that reflected movement and speed.

But what exactly is futurism now that we are living in the future? It is here, in Louis Vuitton Mens 2054 capsule collection: 14 pieces made of 100% water-repellent technical fabrications with transformable features and multifunctional values. In the collection, Artistic Director Virgil Abloh revisits the idea of compressomorphosisfirst introduced in his pre-fall 2019 collection. The term applies to garments accessorized with wrapper bags into which they can be entirely compressed for travel purposes. For instance, the back pocket of an oversized coat unrolls into a life-size tent raised with included tent poles, the coats back-zip adornment transforming into the tent door; a padded over-shirt with multiple zips for adaptation compresses into its own back pocket and morphs into a pillow native to trekking.

The name is a nod to 1854, the year the house was founded, and signals a fusion of the past, present and future. In other words, its clienteles uniform 200 years from its point of origin. The future is now.

Pieces in the Louis Vuitton Mens 2054 collection range from $6,535 for the 3-in-1 parka to $920 for the 3D effect T-shirt, all at Louis Vuitton Design District.

Photography by: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

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Watch Terrifying Creeps Hack Ring Cameras and Spy on Families – Futurism

Posted: at 2:00 pm

December 12th 19__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Future Society

This week alone, there were four high-profile cases of creeps hacking into Amazon Ring cameras that families had installed inside their homes and using them to harass or spy on them.

In one, a man used the cameras speaker to harass a family with racist comments and by triggering their alarm, according to The Cut. In others, predators spied on and communicated with children through the cameras that had been installed in their bedrooms. The takeaway: putting a poorly-secured smart camera inside your home can readily put your family at risk.

A spokesperson for Ring told The Cut that the hackers didnt actually bypass the cameras security systems.Instead, they said, the individual users had used easily-guessed passwords or failed to enable security protocols like two-factor authentication.

But it seems unfair to expect customers to also become cybersecurity experts before buying their cameras wouldnt it be trivial for Amazon and Ring to make two-factor authentication a default setting or even a requirement for camera access?

READ MORE: Terrifying Videos Show Men Hacking Into Home Security Cameras [The Cut]

More on Ring: Smart Doorbells That Call The Police Are Going to Endanger Some Innocent People

Up Next__Report: Facial Recognition Should Be Banned From Everyday Life >>>

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Study: Many Extreme Weather Events Were Caused by Climate Change – Futurism

Posted: at 2:00 pm

See Clearly Now

Every year, the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society releases a reportabout all the studies published within its pages that attempted to determine the cause of extreme weather events that year.

Ever since the first annual report was published in 2011, an increasing trend has emerged: more and more fires, disastrous storms, and other events have been identified as symptoms of worsening climate change around the world, according to E&E News. Its a troubling pattern that drives home unfortunate realities: climate change means more than rising temperatures, and we can expect more meteorological devastation in the future.

The latest report analyzed studies that were published over the course of 2018. Of those, an overwhelming majority causally linked the weather in question to climate change.

Only one paper didnt, according to E&E News, but that may have been due to a limited data set not because climate change wasnt to blame.

Some of the studies found that the extreme weather events that they were analyzing were only possible in a world with a changing climate. For instance, a 2017 heat wave near Australia couldnt have possibly happened unless climate change was real and driving the wave itself.

And as our worsening climate creates entirely new weather problems, we may be stuck an ever-rising amount of new storms.

READ MORE: Climate change is influencing more disasters study [E&E News]

More on the environment: Scientists Are 99.9999 Percent Sure Humans Caused Climate Change

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End of the world: This futurist has some grim news for the middle class – MarketWatch

Posted: December 9, 2019 at 8:41 pm

This figure is the end of the world for the average people. It reflects a rather depressing picture: The state and the economy are advancing by storm but the workers are almost not benefitting from this progress and are left behind. It is almost a catastrophe.

Thats Dr. Roey Tzezana, a future studies researcher at Tel Aviv University and a research fellow at Brown University, referring to the growing gap between labor productivity and wages, as seen in this chart:

In other words, as automation continues to render jobs obsolete, the divide between the rich and everybody else will only continue to grow, and the middle class as we know it will cease to exist. Such a scenario will create a society of extreme pockets of wealth and those who can barely get by.

And thats a problem for everybody, he said.

It doesnt match the ideas of democracy because democracy is based on the middle class, Tzezana told Haaretz. It is harder for workers from the lower class to vote in an intelligent manner and make intelligent decisions. It is a situation that over time does not enable the continuation of democracy as we know it.

He used an example of a factory with 1,000 workers scaling back to just 100 by keeping those with high-level skills to operate the machines that replace the lower-level workers, who are then relegated to service jobs at markedly less pay.

This is not the problem of just one or two people, Tzezana continued. When a lot of people experience this drop, we are talking about an economic crisis: It is not just a problem only for those who cant pay their mortgages 60% of the sales of most companies are to the general public and if the public cant afford to buy a new computer, the entire economy enters a crisis.

To listen to more from Tzenana, check out his TED Talk:

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Futurist Predicts "The End of the World as We Know It" – Futurism

Posted: at 8:41 pm

Growing Divide

As jobsare automated out of existence, the division between the very wealthy and the very poorwill grow and any notion of a comfortable middle class will vanish.

Thats according to Roey Tzezana, a future studies researcher at Israels Tel Aviv University, according to Haaretz. That stands in contrast to the common argument that new jobs will emerge as others vanish, painting a grim picture for the workforce and global economy.

Tzezana argues that the jobs that tend to survive automation are lower-paying, according to Haaretz, meaning that as companies generate increased wealth, almost none of it ends up in the pockets of workers. Instead, more people are stuck living paycheck to paycheck, even if unemployment rates are technically low.

This figure is the end of the world for the average people, Tzezana said, speaking about the growing gap between labor productivity and wages. It reflects a rather depressing picture: The state and the economy are advancing by storm but the workers are almost not benefitting from this progress and are left behind. It is almost a catastrophe.

The end result? A society defined by pockets of extreme wealth but otherwise dominated by people who barely have enough to get by.

READ MORE: Futurist Sees The End of the World as We Know It for Average Person [Haaretz]

More on automation: Globally, Most Workers Think Robots Couldnt Handle Their Jobs

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Avoiding the ‘Robocalypse’ – CFO Magazine

Posted: at 8:41 pm

Will robots eventually take over the economy by performing most jobs? The opening-day keynote speaker, economist and futurist Jason Schenker, presented a pair of contradictory visionsat CFO Live, a recent conference hosted by CFO.

People are very focused on what I call the robocalypse, but the truth is, technology will end up creating a lot of jobs, he said.

As evidence, he pointed to Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing that from 2000 through the end of 2017 the number of U.S. retail jobs declined by 500,000. Over the same period, 700,000 jobs were added in transportation, warehousing, and storage.

The supply chain is moving around, becoming more technology-oriented and creating new jobs, Schenker observed. And by the way, the lowest-paying of those [700,000] jobs pay more than the highest-paying retail jobs. Youre going to see this continue on.

Today, he noted, many college graduates are looking ahead to careers in content and social media marketing. There were no such jobs 10 years ago. And 10 years hence, college grads will be positioning to take jobs that dont currently exist.

But Schenker didnt completely disallow the possibility of a kind of en masse replacement of human employees by robots coming to pass. A prime cause of such an event, for example, could be a jump in labor costs. The culprit likely would be entitlement programs Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and welfare which Schenker collectively characterized as a $200 trillion off-balance-sheet obligation for the U.S. government.

Among all the tax cuts in the federal tax reform bill passed in late 2017, he noted, nowhere to be seen were payroll tax cuts. In the decade ahead if we were to see payroll taxes of 25%, I would not be surprised, Schenker observed.

And if employers payroll tax tab were to rise from the current 7.5% of employee wages to 12.5%, they might think about automating more jobs maybe even more than is reasonable, because theyd be over-incentivized to do it, he concluded. Thats a risk going forward.

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Blockland Solutions Conference is underway at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland – Crain’s Cleveland Business

Posted: at 8:41 pm

Futurist author Jeremy Gutsche kicked off the second annual Blockland Solutions Conference Monday morning, Dec. 9, explaining how blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt the way companies and professionals do business.

"When we think about why blockchain is needed, it's to control and understand transactions in the world of human interaction once we start mechanizing and moving at a much faster pace," he said, challenging the audience to recognize that there is "more potential in our grasp than ever before" and that the pace of change is accelerating because of technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Blockchain is a decentralized, digital technology whose built-in security allows digital information to be widely and safely distributed. It provides the basis for digital currencies like Bitcoin. Advocates contend it will be used for such things as tracking how assets move through a supply chain, from producer to dealers to buyers, more securely than other technologies.

The conference, at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, is the brainchild of auto dealer-turned-tech entrepreneur Bernie Moreno, whose Bernie Moreno Cos. have largely moved out of the auto business and into blockchain investing. He sees the two conferences he has led as the beginning of an effort to put Northeast Ohio at the forefront of blockchain thought leadership.

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, an announcement is expected on the next step in the creation of City Block, the revamping of The Avenue at Tower City into an entrepreneurial and technology center. In July, Moreno's company and Bedrock Detroit LLC, the Dan Gilbert company that owns the ailing shopping center that fronts Public Square, announced a plan for a $110 million, 350,000-square-foot "entrepreneurial center" that will include corporate office space, co-working areas, cafes and a public plaza at the Huron Road entrance to The Avenue.

Gutsche closed his presentation by cautioning attendees to not simply look at the emerging technologies for their business value but also to consider how they can be used to make the world a better place.

"It's an exciting world, and you should be excited because here we are, innovators in the greatest period of human history," he said. "And the rate of change isn't only faster, it's accelerating."

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