Posts tagged futurism

Queer Vehicles Inventors Produce…
If you follow any sort of tech press you’ll have seen that PayPal and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk has a transportation plan for a high-speed, rail-based future.
Basic components: It’s people. In pods. Within Tubes. Traveling at 800mph (1,280kmh). Fueled by solar power. Because, future!
Der Spiegel takes a look at other transportation dreams that people have fetishized through the years. With names like the Dyno-Wheel Bus, Roller Steamer, Vactrain, Sea Slug, StarTram, and Rolling Ball, they’re strange dreams, indeed.
My personal favorite comes from this 1930s report by Modern Mechanix on the future of the bus. Forget Wifi, we’re getting “planes for side trips, billiard rooms, a swimming pool, a dance floor and a bridle path.”
Because, of course, when you’re on a bus what you really need is a bridle path. — Michael
Image: Popular Science introduces the “Rolling Ball” to the public, circa 1930. Via Spiegel Online.

Queer Vehicles Inventors Produce…

If you follow any sort of tech press you’ll have seen that PayPal and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk has a transportation plan for a high-speed, rail-based future.

Basic components: It’s people. In pods. Within Tubes. Traveling at 800mph (1,280kmh). Fueled by solar power. Because, future!

Der Spiegel takes a look at other transportation dreams that people have fetishized through the years. With names like the Dyno-Wheel Bus, Roller Steamer, Vactrain, Sea Slug, StarTram, and Rolling Ball, they’re strange dreams, indeed.

My personal favorite comes from this 1930s report by Modern Mechanix on the future of the bus. Forget Wifi, we’re getting “planes for side trips, billiard rooms, a swimming pool, a dance floor and a bridle path.”

Because, of course, when you’re on a bus what you really need is a bridle path. — Michael

Image: Popular Science introduces the “Rolling Ball” to the public, circa 1930. Via Spiegel Online.

The Future is Shiny, Bright and One Giant Touch Interface

Corning, a specialty glass and ceramics manufacturer, follows up on the success of their 2011 YouTube hit, “A Day Made of Glass" with a new installment that tries to answer the question of what’s actually possible today in the world of touch interfaces.

Via Mashable:

Last year’s video… brought in over 17 million hits on YouTube and left many in awe of Corning’s interpretation of what’s possible with photovoltaic glass, LCD TV glass, architectural display and surface glass, among others.

However, many left comments on YouTube asking which technology is actually possible with today’s resources and pricing. This time around, though, new technologies and applications are highlighted, such as glass tablets, multitouch-enabled desks, solar panels, augmented reality, electronic medical records and anti-microbial medical equipment.

Run Time: ~10:00 (but worthwhile).

In the brief history of photography, 175 years or so, a lot of it has been going out someplace and bringing back your image as a trophy, as a spoil or as a treasure and I think those days are ending pretty quickly.

The photographer Paul Shambroom to Wired’s Rawfile. In Digital Age, Sourcing Images Is as Legitimate as Making Them.

In a lengthy Q&A with Wired, Paul Shambroom suggests that photography is rapidly evolving — morphing might be a better word — into a field that includes working with and collecting the world’s digital output as seen on Flickr, Picassa, Facebook and other photo sharing platforms, as well as new(ish) tools that let us mix, match and mashup that output such as Microsoft’s Photosynth.

He also goes futuristic and thinks that some day we’ll be able to take a picture anywhere in the world without actually being there.

Read on.

Robots, Video and the News

A South Korean startup called Shakr is automating video news production for the web.

To do so, they run a semantic analysis of top news stories, send out bots to gather images and publicly available video about the story, send out another bot to gather text to be read by an automated voice, mash it all together and boom, a video’s produced on the topic.

The company says it can do it almost in realtime.

Via ReadWriteWeb:

Shakr is lead by David Lee, an entrepreneur we wrote about first for his work on video chat platform Tinychat. Lee says the new company has raised seed funding and has already secured a deal with Tatter Media, a large South Korean blog syndicate. Shakr will automatically produce video versions of that company’s bloggers text, in near real time. A consumer-facing app will also allow end users to create multi-media shows out of their home media assets.

"For writers the transition to video is lucrative but extremely expensive on the front-end," Lee says. "We will help bloggers and small online news sites compete with the powerhouses of online content by turning out video even faster than the big boys do."

A network of “little guys” all participating with the most powerful parts of their computers will enable Shakr to create news video automatically, faster than Fox News or CNN. That’s the company’s aim - but there’s no need to stop at news, either.

If this sounds vaguely familiar, you might remember that the StatSheet sports network is written by robots

When human beings acquired language, we learned not just how to listen but how to speak. When we gained literacy, we learned not just how to read but how to write. And as we move into an increasingly digital reality, we must learn not just how to use programs but how to make them. In the emerging, highly programmed landscape ahead, you will either create the software or you will be the software. It’s really that simple: Program, or be programmed.

curiositycounts:

The New York Times R&D Lab imagines the kitchen table of the future

They sure have a lot of money to play with. Looks like they were experimenting with new business models too.  

What will the news media look like in 15 years time? Working on a story about this for my newspaper/site/blogs www.tijd.be... — Asked by mixedrealities

What will it “look” like.

I think if you visually graphed possibilities the future falls on a curve with this as a worst case scenario:

sopravvissuta alle bombe...

and something like this as a best case scenario:

Rainbows + Unicorns, 2009

you’ll start to understand future possibilities.

Where journalism as an industry falls along these lines largely depends if it can successfully crack the digital business model nut. Some trends that we are seeing though is a simultaneous consolidation by established brands of where we get our news (see here and here, for example), a blossoming of niche publications and aggregators that focus specifically on chosen verticals (see here as a sort of example) and increased social layers on top — or behind — the news outlets we follow (for example, here and here).

Who the actual players will be is anyone’s guess. Mine’s that there will be companies started by today’s 10-year-olds that will knock our socks off and be household names.

A truism to keep in mind, whatever I just wrote will probably be obsolete sometime next week.

Photos: Rainbows and Unicorns, 2009, by Mr. Red and sopravvissuta alle bombe…, by MIgraciónTOtal via Flickr.

Microsoft wants you to touch yourself.

Via Fast Company:

The idea behind Skinput is that mechanical vibrations travel differently through your bodydepending on where they originate. Or, as the robotic voice in the video below explains: “Variations in bone density, size and mass, as well as filtering effects from soft tissues and joints, mean different locations are acoustically distinct.” The Skinput team is developing software that would listen for the vibrations—through, for example, an armband on your bicep—and then turn them into instructions for a particular device.