CRISPR ‘gene drives’ to destroy entire populations

I’ve previously posted articles around the CRISPR gene editing method. This is a (relatively) simple way to edit genes, and there’s a huge groundswell of research and emerging applications.

In this case, researchers are looking to use CRISPR to destroy entire populations of invasive / non-native species (rats / mice). There was earlier talk of using it to destroy mosquito populations in an effort to avoid mosquito-related diseases. In other applications, it’s used to modify organisms (think bacteria for now) to consume or produce specific substances, or to treat genetic diseases.

CRISPR (and genetic editing more generally) is truly exciting and terrifying at the same time. It’s here in early stages and is moving very very fast.

**September 2018 Update**

Work continues on gene drive technology, and early trials have demonstrated effectiveness. The method will be scaled up and further tested before, likely, being approved for use in the wild.

Exponential graphics

[ archive post]

I always enjoy these articles around advancements in graphics technology and extrapolating it into the future. Our progress to date is both clear and exponential. Combining this with the advancements in AR/VR/MR/screen technology, there’s clearly a time coming where we will ‘cross over’ and actually consume more ‘generated’ visual input than the ‘real’ visual input that we mostly consume today.

This a little less jarring when you consider that your phone / computer / TV are all ‘generated’ visual input already. The continuing trend is likely towards more pervasive, smart/connected, and personalised (vs broadcast) visual input.

How Digital Nomads Are Leading the Seismic Shift in Where We Work

This is another trend worth watching. Telecommuting is not new, but it is fair to expect that the need for employees to congregate in a central office location will rapidly decline as collaboration technologies improve.

We could see a significant redistribution of people over a couple of decades. What I haven’t worked out is the impact on urban house prices – this directly impacts me. My guess is that prices will remain resilient in the great urban capitals of the world and may well increase in specific areas offering high connectivity and quality of life. Many other areas will suffer as demand falls away.

Exponential Growth Will Transform Humanity in the Next 30 Years

The author acknowledges that this article will seem ‘far out’ to most. It’s worth a read. Actually, most of the concepts here – brain-computer interfaces, AI, endemic connectivity, and acceleration of space flight capability – are already becoming reality. The only question is how this technology manifests and over what period of time?

Quantum Computers Could Crush Today’s Top Encryption in 15 Years

Basically no data is really secure over time, irrespective of encryption. I’ve posted some quantum computing pieces before as this topic is clearly moving from speculation to likely reality.

From the article:
“A recent report from the Global Risk Institute predicted that there is a one in seven chance vital cryptography tools will be rendered useless by 2026, rising to a 50% chance by 2031. In the meantime, hackers and spies can hoover up data encrypted using current approaches and simply wait until quantum computers powerful enough to crack the code have been developed.”

There are plenty of corporate challenges here, and you might also want to think twice about what you choose to back up to the cloud. Assume that any remnant copy of it will (effectively) decrypt in 10-15 years.

google earth on VR is amazing!

Google Earth is now available in VR. In my case, that’s the room-scale HTC Vive.

The experience is sensational, and I’m increasingly certain that VR will have a huge impact on society within the next decade. Travel, corporate collaboration, real estate markets, education, entertainment – there’s a large impact radius.

Google Earth VR allows me to ‘virtually’ visit anywhere in the world from the comfort of my home. I can visit remarkable fully-3D historic landmarks & natural wonders, stroll amongst the urban landscapes of Manhattan / London / Tokyo, fly through the Grand Canyon, or just scout out seemingly insignificant Pacific islands out of curiosity. It is an absolutely stunning experience and, given that it sits squarely within an exponential paradigm, will drop in price and expand in capability very very rapidly indeed. 10/10

Top 10 technologies in precision agriculture

It’s not necessary to read this article in full – just a skim. It’s all too easy to focus on urban consumer technology applications. The article explores a few ways that agriculture is rapidly evolving to a more smart/automated future – automated seeding, crop yield analytics, wireless crop monitoring, GPS-guided robotic seeding / harvesting vehicles, etc.

How the world reacted to the first iPhone 10 years ago

As we enter 2017, it’s worth reflecting on the fact that the modern smartphone era is just 10 years old – the original iPhone being released in 2007.

Smartphones moved from a seeming novelty to ubiquity in just a few short years. Apple, meanwhile, went from relative obscurity to the most valuable company in the world while Blackberry, Nokia, and Windows phone collapsed.

Disruptive tech moves mighty fast.