Alphabet’s ‘Founder’s Letter’ penned by Sergey

Hi Future Fans,

I’m not going to comment too much on this, however will recommend that you read it. It’s Alphabet’s ‘Founder’s Letter’ penned by Sergey (linked).

He touches on the ever-increasing power of computation in its many forms, and refers to “the new spring in artificial intelligence (as) the most significant development in computing in my lifetime”.

He describes that we are truly in a technological renaissance, with transformative advances becoming commonplace.

He also describes the weight of responsibility and the deep questions around how these technologies (and AI in particular) will impact the world.

These are all topics that are close to the heart of any futurist!

Personally-tailored desease & gene therapies

Hi Future Fans,

The future promises personally-tailored desease & gene therapies, and a world of tiny machines in our blood and cells that will enhance their capabilities.

The linked article is fantastic. It outlines a new method whereby scientists have controlled the movement of a nano-scale machine INSIDE A CELL. The control was capable enough that they could move in the shape of the letters “N” and “M”. Whilst tracing letters isn’t all that helpful, this particular capability is mind-blowing and a good signpost of things to come!

Exponential computing

Hello Future Fans,

I’ve not posted for a while, since I’ve been travelling. Today I want to re-connect with one of my favourite topics, being the exponential nature of computing; in terms of power, size, and architectural advancements. I’m surely going to be a little guilty of confirmation bias (a tendency to find information that confirms one’s own world view), however the raw numbers can’t be denied!

Firstly, I wanted to touch on nvidia’s ‘DGX-2’ announcement. This is basically an AI-focused supercomputer-in-a-box. It can be yours for only $399,000.

The DX-2 is remarkable for a few reasons. Firstly, the claimed 2-petaflop (quadrillion calculations) per second puts it in the class of the world’s fastest supercomputers just about 9-10 years ago. IBM’s roadrunner supercomputer, based at Los Alamos National Laboratory, cost $120 million to build and broke the 1-petaflop barrier back in 2008. These things aren’t directly comparable for various reasons; however, the pace of change is both evident and exceptional. Continue reading “Exponential computing”

AI dominance & the master algorithm

Hi Future Fans,

I’ve been quiet for a couple of weeks due to work, so now is a good time to launch into some good old-fashioned AI commentary!

Clearly everyone will be aware of AI by now, and we’re seeing AI driving huge progress in language translation, voice recognition, autonomous navigation, image recognition, disease diagnosis (e.g. radiology) and endless other fields. Over the next couple of posts, I’ll look at some specific exciting applications of AI, and will balance this with some cautionary tales.

Today, however, is about the AI arms race! Continue reading “AI dominance & the master algorithm”

Brain-computer interfaces

Hello Future Fans,

Today I’ll continue briefly on the topic of brain-computer / brain-Internet / brain-to-brain interfaces.

I’ve linked a great robohub article below. It talks about a tech concept called neurograins. These are tiny, sophisticated, wireless devices that will be designed to sit around the cerebreral cortex. They will detect, and possibly directly influence, neural activity i.e. they could read and then influence thoughts. Sitting inside the skull will greatly improve the capability of these devices to detect the activity of neurons vs the usual external sensors.

This kind of technology is entirely new and, frankly, mostly speculative at this point. The embedded video, however, runs through many real life steps that have already been taken on this journey. It then ends by looking at some of the potential risks (having one’s mind controlled!) as per Bobby’s comment on my last post.

The Singularity will change everything

Hi Again, future-curious folks,

Today I’ll move away from imminent developments like 5G and will instead cast into the more distant future. It’s a bit dense; hope you like it!

I was talking with my father in law recently (hi Rob!) about the Singularity. There are a few definitions of this and, in summary, it’s an assumed period ~30 years away where technological change will be so substantial that the fundamental nature of humanity & life will have shifted so dramatically as to be unrecognizable from today. Continue reading “The Singularity will change everything”

Why low latency 5G matters

Hi Followers,

Two posts ago, I bought some attention back to the truly remarkable step-change promised by 5G mobile connectivity. I mentioned that this step change is related both to the outright speed and also (importantly!) the low latency across the network.

I spotted this venturebeat article drilling into the latency area a little more, and describing some of the real applications that this will unlock, like wireless high fidelity VR/AR and remote guidance capabilities for autonomous vehicles.