The future is a peculiar place, in that it often seen as uninhabited, like a chessboard, where if a series of strategic moves occur, the responses will predictability be this or that. In other words, if people are involved, we all already know how they will react. Perhaps that mindset arises by the enormous amounts of attitude/motivation-related data now being collected—as Edward Snowden reports in his memoir, Permanent Record—with that outcome in mind. But of course Snowden himself is an example of how the actions of a single person can lead to cultural sea changes.
With the release of a new report, “Will America Embrace National Service?” the Brookings Institution convened a discussion on National Service: Rebuilding America’s Civic Fabric, October 10, 2019. The report and the event were co-sponsored by Brookings’ Future of the Middle Class Initiative and Service Year Alliance.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s newly formed (2018) Center for Strategic Foresight held its inaugural conference September 10, 2019, focusing on the policy implications arising from two major trends: increased international activity in space and the weaponization of misinformation, particularly with the use of social media.
If you follow AI, you have probably read about what happened when chess and Go masters were matched against AI using deep learning. To put it politely, AI humbled the mere mortals. Yann LeCun, a professor at NYU and a scientist affiliated with Facebook, recently co-shared the Turing Award (1 million USD) for his role in the development of deep learning.
Edward Seymour Cornish, founder and first president of the World Future Society and editor of its magazine, The Futurist, died August 14, 2019. He was 91. A longtime Maryland resident (Bethesda and Rockville), Cornish had been living at Olney Assisted Living in Olney, Md., during his battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
In 1984, political scientist Philip Tetlock observed at a meeting of the U.S. National Research Council’s Committee on American Soviet Relationship how contradictory many authoritative predictions the participants held on the future of the Cold War. As well, he noted their dismissal of the opinions of equally qualified colleagues on the committee.
In Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military (W.W. Norton, 2018), astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (with co-author Avis Lange, a research associate at the Hayden Planetarium) relates the history of the relationship between scientists who seek to expand our knowledge of the universe and the strategists who seek to expand their dominance of it.
Robotics has gotten a bad name in some circles from too many screen scenarios and “what if” thinking about manufacturing assembly lines that has often overreached actual development. However, robotics in medicine is seeing breakthroughs in post-stroke physical therapy and post-injury rehabilitation.