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.

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