Ariadne

Big data do do

Robert Hickson Nov 20, 2014

“Smart” toilets aren’t new. But there are smart toilets and smarter toilets. Several Japanese companies are selling models that will lift the lid, have anti-bacterial nanoparticles, give you a wash and do the flushing for you. But that’s more politeness than smartness. Another Japanese company, Toto, sells models that can do a simple urine analysis, as … Read More

Post-mortem futures

Robert Hickson Nov 03, 2014

With Halloween just past it’s a good time to consider end of life futures. While we are getting better at postponing death (including getting better at bringing those close to death back to life, transplanting “dead” hearts, as well as some successes against cancers), we’re not cheating it. People of European ancestry have in … Read More

A nose for the future

Robert Hickson Oct 23, 2014

It’s been a big time for noses recently. Who would have picked that? First up, a paper in PLOS ONE  indicated that losing one’s sense of smell may be a predictor (statistically speaking) of your demise (at least if you are older than 57). The authors speculate Olfactory function is thus one of the strongest predictors of 5-year … Read More

Growing “naughty bits” in the lab

Robert Hickson Oct 08, 2014

Biology has truly started conjugating with engineering now. All sorts of food and body parts are now being generated in the lab. While genetically modified crops and farm animals make the headlines, and raise concerns about environmental impacts, food safety, and ethics, there is a quieter synthetic biology revolution going on in labs. Synthetic biology is being used … Read More

Generationalisation

Robert Hickson Sep 28, 2014

An article in the Weekly Standard makes a good point about the vacuousness of some “generational analyses”. It’s hard to generalise about a diverse set of people based on when they were born, although that doesn’t stop many from reading their horoscopes every day. And as the Weekly Standard as well as others note, different studies of … Read More

Unthinking machines

Robert Hickson Sep 16, 2014

It’s interesting how “Watson”, the computing system from IBM, is gathering a persona around itself (or rather one is being woven for it). “Watson”, which garnered fame several years ago by winning a game show, is now doing scientific research, among other noble things. Though it’s still a distant forebear of HAL 9000, so the cult of persona doesn’t seem … Read More

Extreme futuring

Robert Hickson Sep 04, 2014

It would be a reliably accurate prediction that Zager & Evans’ “In the year 2525” will not be at the top of most futurist’s best song ever written list Looking 500 years & more ahead is unusual for your common or garden futurist. Most at the moment are only looking out to the year 2030 or 2050. However, earlier … Read More

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