Future Trends – The Moon and Feeding the World

Posted By on December 16, 2016

Each week Nikolas Badminton, Futurist Speaker, summarizes the top-5 future looking developments and news items that I find to be inspiring, interesting, concerning, or downright strange. Each day he reads through dozens of blogs and news websites to find those things that we should be aware of.

In Future Trends – Mission to the Moon we look at Audi’s mission to the Moon, Universal Basic Income, Trump’s Labor Secretary, and what is consciousness.

Audi Mission to the Moon – From project man to project mankind.

Join the mission: http://www.mission-to-the-moon.com

Humanity’s greatest adventure is taking the next step: the first private voyage to the moon.
Go back four billion years in time to the first pioneers with international best-selling author Frank Schätzing.
See how Part-Time Scientists and Audi are taking the next step with the Audi lunar quattro.

Freedge: Fighting Food Insecurity with Connected Infrastructure

We designed and built the “freedge” system of smart-fridges to fight food insecurity based on interviews with food-shelf organizations and cultural probes with the public. Our freedge prototype and app addressed four major goals that we sought to address. Firstly we targeted short-term hunger by making a fridge which literally offers free food. In addition because of its digital nature using the freedge generates data which can be used to capture and display the scope of food insecurity.Secondly, we brought food donation closer to homes by making a device that could be walked to in a neighborhood rather than having to go to a centralfood shelf. Thirdly, we supported ad-hoc usage of the system through a web-app which is connected to cameras and locks inside the freedge, allowing users to view and reserve food from anywhere at any time. Finally, we created new ways to donate to the food insecurity cause, by crowdsourcing the the state and safety of food in the freedges, as well as their maintenance tasks.

Countries should put a universal basic income in place before robots take our jobs

In the Netherlands, a two-year test is tentatively set to begin in January 2017. An experiment in Utrecht will pay out different levels of benefits to welfare recipients under five models to see which works best. At least four other Dutch cities will start similar projects, according to a report by The Guardian newspaper.

But it is Finland that is perhaps of most interest to Norway and its sister Nordic countries, because the country is on track to be the first in the region to test a universal basic income.

If the Finnish Parliament says yes, something that is widely expected, a pilot project will start next year. After two years, the experiment will be evaluated.

The Finnish government will then decide whether to go ahead and make the universal basic income a permanent arrangement.

Read more at ScienceNordic

Donald Trump’s pick for labor secretary has said machines are cheaper, easier to manage than humans

Fast food executive Andrew Puzder, who President-elect Donald Trump is expected to tap as labor secretary, has advocated replacing some human workers with machines as a way for businesses to reduce costs associated with rising wages and health-care expenses.

While machines require regular maintenance and can sometimes malfunction, Puzder said, they are also easier to manage than humans and don’t pose the same legal risks. “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case,” Puzder told Business Insider in March.

Read more at The Washington Post

What Is Consciousness? Physicists Look for Answers

Recently, Nir Lahav, a physicist at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, went searching for this nucleus of conscious activity. He and his interdisciplinary team, which also included neuroscientists and mathematicians, used detailed scans of six brains to assemble an information map (or network) of the human cortex, the brain’s outer layer of neural tissue. With the map, they observed and recorded how certain parts of the cortex were connected to other parts. They charted regions of high connectivity and regions of low connectivity. The map approximated how information “flows” within the cortex, and showed where that flow is concentrated. The region with the highest traffic may very well be the seat of consciousness.

The region with the highest number of connections, which Lahav dubbed the “nucleus“, was primarily composed of the superior frontal gyrus, the cingulate cortex, Wernicke’s area, and Broca’s area. Though these areas are scattered across the brain, they were highly interconnected.

“This unique hierarchy is a single, highly interconnected component, which enables high levels of data integration and processing, probably involved in the highest cognitive functions,” Lahav and his colleagues wrote.

It may also be the seat of consciousness within the brain, they suggest.

“Indeed, all of the regions in the nucleus have been previously correlated to consciousness activities,” the researchers write. “The nucleus… is therefore a perfect candidate to be the high integrative, global work space region in which consciousness can emerge.”

Lahav next plans to analyze the whole brain, not only the cortex. Beyond this line of research, he has even grander ambitions.

“Physics tries to uncover the basic laws of nature by constructing general mathematical equations that can describe as many natural phenomena as possible,” he told RealClearScience. “These mathematical equations reveal fundamental aspects of reality. If we really want to understand what is consciousness and how the brain works we have to develop the mathematical equations of our brain and our conscious mind. We are not there yet, in fact we are quite far away from this goal, but I feel that this should be our ‘holy grail’ and we already started the process to get there.”

The new study was published online Aug. 2 in the New Journal of Physics.

Original article on RealClearScience.

Read more at LiveScience


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.

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