Top-5 Futures for September 11th – Organic Computers and New Humans

Posted By on September 11, 2015

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

Top-5 Futures for September 11th – Organic Computers and New Humans – This week a new human ancestor was discovered, organic computing makes brave steps forward, Internet Yami-Ichi gets ready for NYC, the effect on pollution in cities is explored, and Burning Man is over and maybe looking for a more permanent home.

Organic ‘computers’ made of DNA could process data inside our bodies

We invariably imagine electronic devices to be made from silicon chips, with which computers store and process information as binary digits (zeros and ones) represented by tiny electrical charges. But it need not be this way: among the alternatives to silicon are organic mediums such as DNA. DNA computing was first demonstrated in 1994 by Leonard Adleman who encoded and solved the travelling salesman problem, a maths problem to find the most efficient route for a salesman to take between hypothetical cities, entirely in DNA.

One of the biggest advantages of DNA over electronic circuits is that it can interact with its biochemical environment. Computing with molecules involves recognising the presence or absence of certain molecules, and so a natural application of DNA computing is to bring such programmability into the realm of environmental biosensing, or delivering medicines and therapies inside living organisms.

Via The Conversation

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New Human Ancestor Discovered: Homo naledi

Within a deep and narrow cave in South Africa, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger and his team found fossil remains belonging to the newest member of our human family. The Homo naledi discovery adds another exciting chapter to the human evolution story by introducing an ancestor that was primitive but shared physical characteristics with modern humans.

Because the cave system where the bones were located was extremely difficult to access, it could be speculated that these hominins practiced a behavior previously believed to be modern: that of deliberately disposing of their dead underground.

Via National Geographic

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Internet Yami-Ichi – NYC

If you are lucky enough to be in New York this weekend, you’ll be able to attend a flea market featuring internet related goods created by artists, everything from social media notification stickers to scarfs with malware virus knitted patterns.

Originally set up in Japan, these events have been happening around the world – here is a video showcasing the last one in Amsterdam back in May this year:

And, here is a fascinating video on where everything started – Japan

It began when our iPhone app was rejected by Apple and we couldn’t sell it anymore.

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Pedalling Through Pollution

Avoiding belligerent bus drivers or unwitting tourists popping out of taxis are just a few of the more obvious risks of riding a bike through city streets. Yet there could be another inconspicuous and nearly unavoidable danger that could take a toll on your health: air pollution. Identifying how hazardous exercise can be in an urban environment filled with noxious particles in the air is the goal of a new study by Columbia University researchers Steven Chillrud and Darby Jack. Using biometric sensors, a wearable pollution monitor, and GPS, the study will detail participants’ exposure to toxins as they cycle through city streets.

Via WNYC

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How was Burning Man 2015?

The man has burned. But, how was this year? Here’s a great video summarizing the best of this year’s festival (look out for Daisy from the EATArt Collective, here in Vancouver, BC).

And, they may be looking for a more permanent community to call home as well.

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Fly Ranch is, by all accounts, spectacular: It’s about 4,000 acres (880 of which are wetlands) with 23 hot and cold springs and around 40,000 feral horses. There’s one 104-degree lake that’s a couple hundred feet wide. Rod Garrett, one of the original architects of Burning Man, had drawn up plans for a Burning Man Fly Ranch city, a mix of homes and communal spaces built to blend into the desert.

Via NYMag

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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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