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 I read through dozens of blogs and news websites to find those things that we should be aware of.
Top-5 Futures for October 30th – Stop Eating Bacon looks at the WHO’s new warnings on read meat and cancer, robot motorcyclists, Google connecting the world with Project Loon, an amazing desktop biolab, and how Magic Leap is making VR more real.
The WHO’s new warnings about bacon and cancer, explained
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (known as the IARC) is tasked with evaluating potential human carcinogens, looking at everything from certain chemicals and herbicides to cigarette smoke and wifi. Based on the best available research evidence, the agency then classifies these items and behaviors as either definitely, probably, or possibly cancer-causing in humans.
On Monday, the IARC announced their findings on meat and cancer in the journal Lancet Oncology. They focused mainly on two types of meat: 1) Processed meats, which are transformed by salting, curing, or fermentation. This includes everything from hotdogs and bacon, to lunch meats like salami and prosciutto; 2) Unprocessed red meats, such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, and goat.
- Consumption of processed meat — including hot dogs, bacon, and lunch meats — can definitely increase the risk of cancer, according to a new statement from a World Health Organization research agency.
- The group also announced that eating unprocessed red meat, such as beef or lamb, can “probably” cause cancer, but the evidence here is less convincing.
- This is the direst warning on meat yet, although other major health organizations, including the scientific advisory committee for the US Dietary Guidelines, had previously recommended that Americans cut down on their meat consumption.
- The evidence of harm mostly relates to colorectal (colon and rectal) cancers in people who regularly eat meat. While the overall cancer risk is small, it increases depending on the amount of meat a person eats.
Yamaha’s robot motorcycle rider could challenge real racers
Humans might not be the fastest things on two wheels before long. Yamaha has unveiled Motobot, a robot designed to ride superbikes much like you would — it even has to twist the throttle to get moving. This initial version travels slowly and needs training wheels to avoid tipping over in a turn, so it’s not about to compete on the MotoGP circuit just yet. However, Yamaha ultimately hopes to get Motobot blasting along at more than 120MPH on a race track. It goes so far as to put racing legend Valentino Rossi on notice, as you’ll see in the promo video below.
Google’s Project Loon internet balloons to circle Earth
Google believes it is on course to have enough internet-beaming balloons in the stratosphere to form a ring over part of the world next year. It told the BBC the move would let it trial a continuous data service to people living below the balloons’ path.
The declaration coincides with the announcement that three of Indonesia’s mobile networks intend to start testing Project Loon’s transmissions next year.
Julie Legault’s Amino bio-engineering kit creates a bacterial Tamagotchi
Canadian designer Julie Legault has developed a desktop biolab to make synthetic biology more accessible, allowing users to hack DNA at home and monitor the progress of their creations. Legault described the Amino kit – which was developed with the MIT Media Lab and has been successfully funded through Indiegogo – as “a bit like an Arduino for synthetic biology”.
It comes as a square wooden box with a hinged plastic lid, similar to that on a record player. Amino contains everything required for users to undertake their own synthetic biology experiments at home – including bacteria, DNA, food, sensors and tools.
Magic Leap Gets More Real
This past week Magic Leap shared a new video that is from directly through the system and this time they say it’s real virtual reality:
See the last 4 week’s Top-5 Futures here:
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.