Future Trends – The Human Upgrade

Posted By on July 29, 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 – The Human Upgrade we look at the trends that we should be aware of today, July 29th, 2016. How we are seeing humans with incredible abilities, and those that want to be upgraded.

This woman can see 99 million more colors than the rest of us

Neuroscientists in the UK have recently announced that their 25 year long search for a tetracromath — a person with an extra type of cone cell in his or her retina — has finally come to a successful end. They estimate that the woman can see a staggering 99 million more colors than other humans, and they believe there are many more people like her waiting to be discovered.

Our eyes‘ retina house cone cells that can distinguish color variation in incoming light. Humans usually have three types of cone cells, each able to detect the presence of a single color — green, red, or blue — and are thus known as “trichromats.” Most color blind people and most other mammals only have two different types of cone cells, and are “bichromats.” As each cell can distinguish between 100 or so shades of the same color, each extra type of cone cell increases the number of colors we can see exponentially. So where a color blind person can see around 10,000 shades, a healthy human can see around 1 million different colors.

But what if human beings had not three, but four types of cone cells in their retinas? That would allow a person to see 100 million colors — colors most of us have never even dreamed of, colors we have no way of even imagining. The existence of such people, or “tetrachromats,” was first proposed in 1948 by Henri Lucien de Vries, a Dutch scientist researching with color blind patients. He found that while his male subjects had two types of normal cone cells and one mutant type that was less sensitive and didn’t pick up on its corresponding color (either green or red,) the female subjects had three normal cone cell types and one mutant type. Even if this extra type of cell didn’t actually do anything, it suggested that humans can have more than three types of cells.

Via 3Tags

The Rare Humans Who See Time & Have Amazing Memories

The “normal” form of the condition calledsynesthesia is weird enough: For people with this condition, sensory information gets mixed in the brain causing them to see sounds, taste colors, or perceive numbers as having particular hues.

But psychologist David Brang is studying a bunch of people with an even odder form of synesthesia: These people can literally “see time.”

Brang’s subjects have time-space synesthesia; because they have extra neural connections between certain regions of the brain, the patients experience time as a spatial construct.

In his research, Brang describes one patient who was able to see the year as a circular ring surrounding her body that rotated clockwise throughout the year. The current month was reportedly inside her chest with the previous month in front of her chest, reports New Scientist.

Via Discover

A third of U.S. adults say they’d be enthusiastic about a microchip implanted in brain

A third of U.S. adults in a recent Pew Research Center survey said they’d be “enthusiastic” about a brain chip to enhance their thinking power.

The survey of 4,726 adults examined public attitudes about three emerging technologies that could improve a person’s health, cognitive ability or physical capacity.

Responses showed that a majority of American adults are uneasy, or “worried” about all three. But in all three cases, at least a third of respondents were “enthusiastic.”

  • Using implanted brain chips to boost our thinking power: 69 percent worried vs. 34 percent enthusiastic.
  • Editing the genes of babies to eliminate hereditary flaws and diseases: 68 percent worried vs. 49 percent enthusiastic.
  • Transfusing synthetic blood to give people much greater speed, strength and stamina: 63 percent worried vs. 36 percent enthusiastic.

“Developments in biomedical technologies are accelerating rapidly, raising new societal debates about how we will use these technologies and what uses are appropriate,” said lead author Cary Funk, an associate director of research at Pew, in a statement. “This study suggests Americans are largely cautious about using emerging technologies in ways that push human capacities beyond what’s been possible before.”


Climate Change Formula: Rising Sea Levels + Coastal Megacities = Forced Migration | Parag Khanna

Via Big Think

Robots Might Be The Next Food Delivery Method In London

The London-based robot developing company and Skype co-founder, Starship Technologies, is set to start delivering food orders to London residents with self-driving robots. The initiative was born through partnerships with food delivery startups, Just Eatand Pronto.

The robots, which travel at a speed of 4 mph, have been tested by Starship for the past 12 months, and are now ready for the next phase of their development: real-life application through their partnerships with food delivery companies. The idea is that robots will be in charge of delivering meals to costumers within a 2-3 mile radius. The tests will also be running in Germany and their R&D base in Tallinn, Estonia.



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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