Ariadne

Signs from the near future

Robert Hickson May 20, 2014

A tumblr site called Signs from the near future by Fernando Barbella imagines what technologies may be widely used not so long from now. Its cleverly done, and gets you thinking. Although the strapline “We better get used to them …” implies a lack of control or choice, which I hope won’t be the case. The Verge highlighted … Read More

The “Bionic Olympics” 2016

Robert Hickson May 15, 2014

The Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research Robotics has announced it will be holding a Cyberathlon in October 2016. (The BBC has a brief synopsis – the Cyberathlon site can bring up security certificate warnings). Its open to those with arm or leg prosthetics, as well as wheel-chair bound athletes and those with exoskeletons. There’s also … Read More

Counting sheep scenarios

Robert Hickson May 14, 2014

I’ve just come across this research project – Counting sheep – being run by Anne Galloway at Victoria University’s School of Design. It is exploring how cultural studies and design research could support public engagement on the development & use of science and technology. In a post last year I had asked if any NZ design groups … Read More

A myopic vision of the future

Robert Hickson May 05, 2014

The New York Times has a disappointing short article/graphic titled “A vision of the future from those likely to invent it“. Disappointing because they interview only 7 people, all from/associated with Silicon Valley, who are supposedly “driving the technological transformation”. Sure the internet is likely to have a large role in our future lives, but they have taken … Read More

Future war & peace

Robert Hickson Apr 29, 2014

While this past weekend the country has looked back on wars past, what of the future of war? There are two questions here – will there be wars in the future, and if so, how will they be fought? Armed conflicts have been declining (both in terms of number of wars and casualties) over recent decades, particularly following … Read More

Nuclear manoeuvres

Robert Hickson Apr 13, 2014

Is the world moving toward a nuclear power renaissance? The following chart from Technology Review shows that while traditional nuclear energy nations are scaling back, others are building nuclear power plants. Japan is moving to reactivate nuclear plants , although the opposition political party wants to phase them out. China in particular is … Read More

Fuel from water?

Robert Hickson Apr 10, 2014

Will we shortly be able to stop drilling oil and get fuels straight from the water around us? That’s been promoted for many decades now, but we may be getting closer. The US Naval Research Lab announced this week that they have a way of converting carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater into hydrocarbon fuels. And used it … Read More

Canada’s emerging technologies metascan

Robert Hickson Apr 09, 2014

The Canadian Government’s just released a report on emerging technologies. It looks out over the next 15 years and focuses on digital technologies, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies and neuroscience technologies, which they consider have the potential for disruptive rather than incremental innovation. As you’d expect they consider biological enhancements, nanofactories, robots, wired-up everything. There are no major surprises in their findings. Some … Read More

Influential futures reports from the past

Robert Hickson Mar 18, 2014

It was, apparently, “Future Day” on the first of March. I didn’t see that coming, and Google didn’t have a Doodle commemorating it so it can’t be that big a deal yet. The School of International Futures celebrated it, after a fashion, by listing five important futures publications in the last half century. Their criteria were … Read More

Mythical magic munitions

Robert Hickson Mar 11, 2014

There may be still a few discoveries and technologies out there, or yet to see the light of day, that will be “magic bullets” which will solve a pressing problem. As, for example, penicillin once did. In parts of Silicon Valley that hope probably still springs eternal, at least if you can develop an app from it. Think of all … Read More