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.
It’s been a couple of weeks since the past Future Trends post as Nikolas has been on the road speaking to thousands of people across Canada so this week we have an extended edition – enjoy!
In Future Trends – DIY Iron Man vs. Cardboard Drones we look at a crazy Iron Man-inspired suit, Australia’s solar solutions, giving up driving, Police constant surveillance, the 4th Industrial Revolution, cardboard delivery drones, GMOs, and banks giving up the human touch
Daedulus is an insane, real-life flying Iron Man suit
One UK entrepreneur has transformed himself into a real life Iron Man of sorts, and he says his custom-built exoskeleton with six attached micro jet engines could do the same for just about anyone else.
Richard Browning is an oil trader with a penchant for technology and innovation. But he’s also a triathlete and ultramarathon runner who might be just a little obsessed with pushing the potential of the human mind and body.
A few years back he began investigating ways to innovate around the possibility of human-powered flight but found that a few well-funded University labs were already making significant progress, so he decided to pursue a different approach.
“We said, we’ll stick with the human mind and body bit, but go for augmentation with a bit of horsepower,” Browning told me via Skype.
Read more at CNET
South Australia to get $1bn solar farm and world’s biggest battery
A huge $1bn solar farm and battery project will be built and ready to operate in South Australia’s Riverland region by the end of the year.
The battery storage developer Lyon Group says the system will be the biggest of its kind in the world, boasting 3.4m solar panels and 1.1m batteries.
The company says construction will start in months and the project will be built whatever the outcome of the SA government’s tender for a large battery to store renewable energy.
A Lyon Group partner, David Green, says the system, financed by investors and built on privately owned scrubland in Morgan, will be a “significant stimulus” for South Australia.
“The combination of the solar and the battery will significantly enhance the capacity available in the South Australian market,” he said.
Read more at The Guardian
In 15 Years, Millions Of People Will Give Up Their Cars For Autonomous Ride Hailing
In L.A.–where commuters each spent an average of 104 hours stuck in traffic in 2016–most people drive to work alone. But in 15 years, a new report estimates, more than 2 million of them may have given up their cars.
Autonomous cars are likely to be on roads in three or four years. As adoption scales up, the cost of an Uber or Lyft (or whatever company replaces them) ride may drop roughly in half for consumers: not having to pay a driver will make the ride cost much less. The report, called Driverless Future, estimates how many car owners are likely to shift to hailing a driverless car because using an app is cheaper–and what that shift means for American cities.
“What we saw in the model–and we ran it a few different ways–is it’s going to be a monumental shift,” Joe Iacobucci, director of transit for Sam Schwartz, an engineering firm that partnered with Arcadis and HR&A to create the report, tells Fast Company. “Forty percent to 60% who are driving today will have an economic rationale to shift to those services.”
Read more at Fast Company
Facial-recognition technology will make life a perpetual police lineup for all
Police body cameras are widely seen as a way to improve law enforcement’s transparency with the public. But when mixed with police use of facial-recognition tools, the prospect of continual surveillance comes with big risks to privacy.
Facial-recognition technology combined with policy body cameras could “redefine the nature of public spaces,” Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology, told the US House Oversight Committee at a hearing on March 22. It’s not a distant reality and it threatens civil liberties, he warned.
Technologists already have tools, and are developing more, that allow police to recognize people in real time. Of 38 manufacturers who make 66 different products, at least nine already have facial recognition technology capabilities or have made accommodations to build it in, according to a 2016 Johns Hopkins University report, created for the US Department of Justice, on the body-worn camera market.
Rather than looking back retrospectively at footage, cops with cameras and this technology can scan people as they pass and assess who they are, where they’ve been, and whether they are wanted for anything from murder to a traffic ticket, with the aid of algorithms. This, say legal experts, puts everyone—even law-abiding citizens—under perpetual surveillance and suspicion.
Read more at Quartz
The Opening of the San Francisco Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Closing Plenary (World Economic Forum)
Cardboard gliders could revolutionise aid delivery in disaster zones
At the Otherlab research facility in San Francisco they’ve been experimenting with a completely new delivery system — one that’s both simple and high-tech.
“It’s a cross between a paper aeroplane and a pizza box,” says Otherlab’s Mikell Taylor, the chief executive of the company’s Everfly team.
Their prototype cardboard craft is known as the APSARA glider. APSARA stands for Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions. It looks like a miniature stealth fighter — it’s basically all wing — and that’s no coincidence.
“Stealth fighters and fighter jets, there’s some good engineering behind them, and so there’s a lot to draw on there in terms of what flies well and what flies efficiently,” Ms Taylor says.
“What we did was really start from the ground up to design a really efficient airframe to deliver goods the way they need to be delivered.”
As a result, the glider is heavy-duty, cheap and aerodynamic. Otherlab’s current model weighs around one kilogram and has a wingspan of about one metre. According to Ms Taylor, it can carry a payload of up to 10 kilograms.
One of the advantages of adopting a delta-wing shape, she says, is that the design can easily be scaled up. It also includes a series of simple off-the-shelf electronics that allow the craft to glide to pre-set GPS coordinates. After field tests, Otherlab claims an accuracy radius of around 10 metres.
Read more at ABC News Australia
Are GMOs Good or Bad? Genetic Engineering & Our Food (Kurzgesagt)
Kiss your bank teller goodbye
Artificial intelligence (AI) will become the primary way banks interact with their customers within the next three years, according to three-quarters of bankers surveyed by consultancy Accenture (ACN.N) in a new report.
Four in five bankers believe AI will “revolutionize” the way in which banks gather information as well as how they interact with their clients, said the Accenture Banking Technology Vision 2017 report, which surveyed more than 600 top bankers and also consulted tech industry experts and academics.
Artificial intelligence — the technology behind driverless cars, drones and voice recognition software — is seen by the financial world as a key technology which, along with other “fintech” innovations such as blockchain, will change the face of banking in the coming years.
Read more at The New York Post