Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Millenium Project

"The Millennium Project is a global participatory think tank connecting 55 Nodes around the world that identify long-range challenges and strategies, and initiate and conduct foresight studies, workshops, symposiums, and advanced training. It produces the annual State of the Future reports, the Futures Research Methodology series, the Global Futures Intelligence System, and special studies." - http://www.millennium-project.org/

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review & Recap

Methods and Domains

Prediction Markets 

. . . The results

. . . Why is the originator responsible for redemption?

. . . . . . instead of the most recent seller?


. . . What are the "trajectories of the future" we discussed?

. . . Let's apply each to UAVs!

Screens (CP)

. . . How does the Delphi method work?

. . . Let's apply it to screen technology!


. . . How does TRIZ work?

. . . Let's apply it to VR!

Electric Cars (DW)

. . . What were "Spoil sports of the prediction game"?

. . . Which can be applied to electric cars?


. . . How to "Really achieve your childhood dreams"?

. . . Can this be applied to AI?

3D Printing (CR)

. . . Recall unit "Building your personal futures"

. . . Can 3D printing play a role?

Education (CC)

. . . Recall the singularity

. . . What would be its effects on education?

As Time Allows

. . . we can 

. . . mix and match 

. . . other pairings 

. . . of techniques and domains

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Welcome to IFSC 4301/7399 Information, Computing and the Future!

Click the links above for the syllabus, course information page, and various HWs

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Some shortish videos suggested by various people in APF in 2014

From the US Air Force's Blue Horizons Program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Xpu2QqLnHY

http://www.amazon.com/Sawyer-PointTwo-Purifier-Bucket-Adapter/dp/B0051HHNJ8 million gallons of clean water, 15 gallons a day, for $100.

four+ minute clip called “The edifice” from Saul Bass’ (1968) academy award winning “Why Man Creates” ...humorously scans from nomadic times up through exponential growth of consumption, parking lots, ...

Hans Rosling clip effectively: 200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes. It seems to make people think. http://www.gapminder.org/videos/200-years-that-changed-the-world-bbc/#.U2tMD8fTbkU

"World Made of Glass" always elicits responses from college and university audiences.  The idea of having so many computational surfaces gets them going.  Maybe the opening family scene hits people where they live, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYCez_DoHpo .  
Noah's critique in The Future of Futures: http://noahraford.com/?p=1625

the classic Did You Know? videos -- Did You Know 3.0? (fast)  Did You Know 2014? (current)

...and a whole bunch submitted by one person without guaranteeing quality:

This site has a few future oriented videos

In 5-10 years, how will people get things done at work, at home, and on the go?
Watch the concept video to get a glimpse of the future of productivity, then explore the stories and technology in more detail.

Corning A Day Made of Glass

What will happen 5 days before the singularity

Watch as swarms of micro-robots run around making stuff


Future Living 2020 2030 Technology

Vision 2030 - Creating the World's IP System of the Future

Future in 2050  (stills of futury stuff)

Power of Nanotechnology Video #Blow Mind

Take A Journey To The Year 2020 - 2025 Future Technology

Future of Glasses, Wearable Technology 2015 - (Future Are Here)

"The World in 2030" by Dr. Michio Kaku

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Technology Transfer: an Example?


- Technology transfer and the WikiHyperGlossary project

- I will go to 15-minute conference call at 3:20
      You can work on next HW

- I will return here at 3:50
      ...to tell you what happened


- Technology transfer:

      Taking research results and turning them into technology that is used

- The technology, WikiHyperGlossary (http://whg.chemeddl.org/)

       For some basic info, see link I emailed to myself

- The strategy:

       I-Corps (http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/i-corps/resources.jsp)

            Some introductory slides:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some robot pics and videos

1. A few fun videos:

  • Big Dog: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNZPRsrwumQ
  • 10 amazing robots: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6feEE716UEk
  • (9 min.) Asimo vs HPR-4 vs NAO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_m56irWKeI
  • Ping pong: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIIJME8-au8
  • Sand Flea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b4ZZQkcNEo

2. Hard to believe these are not even brand new...

3. Robot gardening,
an artist's conception...

Art by Christine Marie Larsen, http://www.christinelarsen.com/, from her "Robot of the Month Club."

and in reality...

Recognize anything about the robots?

Discussion - what do you think??

My 2013 WFS talk:
"From Highly Centralized to Highly Decentralized societies"

4. Robot gardening: 
an existential perspective

Centralized infrastructure is risky

Example 1: power
    A 2-hour blackout is fun
    A 2-day blackout is no fun
    A 2-week blackout is traumatic
    A 2-month blackout - what are the consequences?
    A 2-year blackout - consequences?

Problem: electricity is highly centralized
    If fuel not delivered, no power
    If generating plant destroyed, no power
    If distribution lines stop working, no power
    No electricity, no communications
       No internet, TV, telephone...
       No communications...rumor takes up the slack
           (As it Earth 2100)
    Hard to store food or even cook without electricity

Solution: decentralize electricity generation

Solar panels on houses would keep each house going
   Highly decentralized!
   System is robust and can't break down catastrophically
   Solar panels are decreasing in price
   Spray-on solar "paint" may happen

In my opinion, this is a lucky trend 
   Because it is so important

5. Example 2: Food distribution by truck

    What if the trucks stop rolling?
       Drivers can't be paid
       Drivers are afraid of disease
       Country runs out of gas (& diesel)
       Rogue militias or bandits
    Things could get bad fast 
     Every home is its own farm
     Save money on groceries, too!
     But who has the time?
          ...and who has the expertise...
          (I can barely grow an unhealthy corn plant)

So how is that a solution?!
The real solution:
   Robotic gardening
   Instead of a roomba, a yardba
       (Let's call it a "farmerbot")

   It tends plants
   It weeds (surely possible even now)
   It senses needs of plants
       Soil too dry
       Etc. (it has a camera and such)
   It has lots and lots of time to fix problems
       Carry water,
       pick off bugs,
       apply chemicals leaf by leaf
       what else?

       Come home from work
       Small robots bring raw food to your door
       You might still have to cook it
             No biggie - your solar panels power the stove

   My opinion:
       This is important for the safety of civilization
       (In addition to saving money)

5. What other necessities of
    life and civilization
    are over-centralized?

    ...and can they be decentralized?

6. These "classic" robots won't feed you 
but they are cool in otherways!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u23Hqq8QbeE&feature=player_embedded (World's first controllable MAV monocopter, Robotic Samara (maple seed));

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/24303/?a=f (TR article with embedded video of how it was developed/works (copy at

Flying insectbot? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYDR-yC3wK0
That but with other robot video links at: http://actualites.epfl.ch/presseinfo-com?id=936

Big Dog: stable in snow, rocks, clear ice...even when viciously kicked http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHJJQ0zNNOM

Minibots in swarms: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/kilobots-are-cheap-enough-to-swarm-in-the-thousands

7. some newer robots...

Table tennis: 



Sand fleabot:

6-legged leaperbot:
(Insects have 6 legs, so "bugbot"?)

Mowglibot wants your seat:

Gekkobot will drive you up the wall:

Will these really "haunt your soul"?

(Named after Isaac, natch)

Build-ur-own gripper:

Current syllabus

Please let me know of any topic requests - we can try to incorporate them.

Tu 1/14/2014...General course information

     Introductory meeting
     Homework #1, due Th 1/23/14 (next year in 7 days instead of 9)
     Videos: top sci-fi shorts of 2013; some top shorts of 2012; here is one; do I get some sort of bragging rights? Here is the website & trailer; to be released "really soon"!
Th 1/16/2014...Trajectories of the future
     Reminder: Homework #1, due Th 1/23/14
Tu 1/21/2014...From geotagging to the end of privacy
     Crowdsourced spaceship piloting
     Delphi Method (i)
     Homework #2, due Tu 1/28/14, do hands-on how-to
Th 1/23/2014...Delphi Method (ii)
Tu 1/28/2014...Delphi Method (ii cont.)
     Homework #3, due Tu 2/4/14
Th 1/30/2014......Delphi Method (ii cont.)
     Work on HW3 if time allows 
Tu 2/4/2014...Snow/ice day
Th 2/6/2014...Prediction markets (ser. #2)
     Sample prediction market contract (ser. #12)
     Homework #4, due Th 2/13/14 
Tu 2/11/2014...Prediction markets review (due to weather absences last time)
Th 2/13/2014...TRIZ (ser. #2)
     Homework #5, due Th 2/20/14
Tu 2/18/2014...TRIZ (ii)
Th 2/20/2014...Spoil sports of the prediction game 
     #1: Observer Effect (ser. #1)
Tu 2/25/2014...Spoil sports of the prediction game 
     Homework #6, due Tu 3/4/14
     #2: Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
     #3: Quantum Tunneling
     #4: Butterfly Effect (ser. #6) 
Th 2/27/2014...Spoil sports of the prediction game
     #5: External perturbations
     #6: Existentialist angst
     #7: The care horizon
Tu 3/4/2014...Snow day!
Th 3/6/2014...Personal futures: 
      Homework #7, due Tu 3/18/14
     "How to Really Achieve Your Childhood Dreams" (ser. #3);
Tu 3/11/2014...Building your personal future workshop
      Also an example of a futurism web site
Th 3/13/2014...Building your personal future workshop II
Tu 3/18/2014...Building your personal future workshop III 
      Homework #8 (optional)
Th 3/20/2014...The singularity
     Movie discussion: Transcendent Man
Tu 3/25/2014...Spring break
Th 3/27/2014...Spring break
Tu 4/1/2014...The singularity (cont.)
     Transcendence trailer
     Singularity notes (see lifeExt.xls)
     Asimov's "The Last Question"
     Vinge's "Technological Singularity"
     Homework #9, due Tu Apr. 8, 2014
     Schedule student presentations
Th 4/3/2014...
Start movie discussion: Earth2100 (subtitled(ser. #4)
Tu 4/8/2014...Finish Movie discussion: Earth 2100
      A Resource page
Th 4/10/2014...Hands-on robotics (ser. #5)  
     Homework #10, Extended to Tu 4/22/14
Tu 4/15/2014...Hands-on robotics II (ser. #5)  
Th 4/17/2014...More robotics
   AIShield, safeguarding humanity and the risks of AI/robotics
   Some robot pics and videos
   Metrics for progress in robotics
   Robotic cars
Tu 4/22/2014...Student presentations: 
    Homework #11 (ser. #10), due Tu 4/29/14
Th 4/24/2014...Student presentation(s): none
     Research can be future technology: an example
Tu 4/29/2014...Student presentation(s): Joseph; Patrick
    Robotic Dilemmas
Th 5/1/2014...Student presentation(s):  John; B.;
Tu 5/13/2014 from 1:30-3:30 p.m.... Scheduled final (no test)
   Meets only for people presenting: T.
   Project due

Below are potential additional topics
   Flying cars and jetpacks (1, 2)      Lead-in article;
    Do scientific proofs exist?
         Homework (see unposted draft)
   Toxoplasmosis (see also Slate and The Atlantic articles)
         Homework (see unposted draft)
   Transitpeople on the move
   Will we find other intelligent life?
   Guest lecture (remote): Dr. Harry Pence (MilneBigData13-3.ppt)
  Futurist organization example
   nanotech: http://ethics.iit.edu/research/nano-ethics-bank
   Crowdsourcing innovation 
   3-D printing and rep-rap
   The future of the presidency (ser. #8)
   Peak oil, solar cells, and new energy (see peakoil.tv & tv.aspousa.org)
   Shift happens (& prediction heuristics)
   Hubbert peak for oil
   photovoltaics (solar cells) ser. #7
   Solar cells from agricultural waste
Trend analysis
   AIShield, safeguarding humanity and the risks of AI/robotics
   Some robot pics and videos
   Metrics for progress in robotics
   Robotic cars
Gaining long term perspective through time lapse videos
Video discussions II (last video not that great) 
Some rough notes on potential other discussion topics
TED videos and discussions
Backup plan for homo sapiens: space adventure
SETI: see end of this video
   Drake equation and such