Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'm officially old.

I think I'm officially old. I joke about it all the time, but it's starting to hit home. Case in point: lacking anything worthwhile to watch on our dozen-dozen TV channels, we took a shot at a collection of pop music videos on Fuse TV. Other than the not-unreasonable hip-hop rhythm of the music, I had no ability to connect with any of it. Couldn't understand one bit of lyric, couldn't follow what, if anything, was going on in the video (beyond raw, disjointed sex and violence imagery), and didn't know anything about any of the "artists."

One thing to say: I'm certainly glad I'm not raising a teenager right now, having to explain to them what's wrong with what they're seeing in the music videos they're watching. I think it's more than I could take on.

Another indicator: I tried to post this rant on Facebook. It's too long as a "status," but I couldn't figure out where to click to post something longer. I see other people doing it. I'm Facebook-disabled as well, evidently.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Future is Arriving

We still don't have flying cars, a space elevator, or colonies on other planets, but the future is arriving (better late than never).

It seems we have consumer-available brainwave readers, an alternative to the much more invasive, yet much more capable surgically-implantable, non-penetrating electro-corticography arrays, either of which will very likely mean direct brain control of remote devices in the not-too-distant future. Combine that with the quadrotor drone project being worked on at U of Pennsylvania, and suddenly we can imagine a crazy near future where mind-directed, semi-autonomous drones are flitting around doing... well, a wide variety of things. Watch these videos to get an idea of what these little things can do:

Advances in machine vision and touch-sensitive artificial skin (here and here) are helping along machine autonomy, pushing us toward sci-fi androids that interact like humans. And it seems that we're going to start living longer, with lifespans stretching toward immortality, so we should be around to see a lot of changes. Not that we'll be able to handle them emotionally, but that's a different story.

I still want a flying car, and the ability to take an elevator ride to space, but I guess I'll have to wait for those. For now, it seems, there's plenty to pay attention to.