Understanding the coming future …

This is an awesome blog post about many of the key terms, areas of research, and conversations that are going on around the world related to the coming future.  Anyone interested in the future ought to read through this list of key terms, and the associated links, and come up to speed on what the great minds around the planet are thinking of.

This list of terms and links will take you on a great journey through some amazing theories and discussions … this is the type of thinking that I live for.  For those who don’t want to read it all … we’re in for a wild ride!

Must-know terms for the 21st Century intellectual: Redux. George P. Dvorsky has created a list of the most fundamental and crucial terms that re-define the human condition and should be known by any expert generalist.

They include Accelerating Change, Anthropic Principle, Artificial General Intelligence,… [KurzweilAI.net Accelerating Intelligence News]

More molecular assembly …

Ok … this is my day for finding interesting articles on molecular
manufacturing.  I really like this one … a MIT team using
genetically modified viruses to manufacture.

Battery electrodes self-assembled by viruses. Genetically modified viruses that assemble into electrodes could one day revolutionize battery manufacturing.

The MIT team genetically modified viruses to create the electrodes.
They introduced snippets of single-stranded DNA that caused the
virus… [KurzweilAI.net Accelerating Intelligence News]

Writing a 10nm point size

I caught this today … IBM going further and further with their
molecular-scale lithography.  They are now able to write compounds
onto a substrate at sizes down to 10 nanometers.  We are getting
closer and closer to molecular manufacturing at a whole new scale.

IBM uses atomic microscope for direct writing.
IBM has unveiled a new method of direct writing (like an inkjet
printer) to substrates that harnesses an atomic force microscope (AFM)
to electronically control molecular-scale lithography.

For semiconductors, IBM’s new electronically controlled … [KurzweilAI.net Accelerating Intelligence News]

Early uploading research

I love being alive as we approach the next singularity.  There is
so much technology research occurring, and expanding in all
directions.  Uploading is coming to a neighborhood near you. 
For those of you not familiar with concepts of uploading,
this is where computers are used to run simulations of a brain …
simulating all of the neural activity, and possibly then providing
interfacing with the real world.  In the future, this might even
be a simulation of your brain.  If it is a simulation of your brain, how much of your identity does it share with you?

So to do this, you have to scan the brain, create a neural map, then
simulate the entire neural network within a computer.  How likely
will we see something like this in our lifetime?  Well … it’s
already begun:

Blue Brain Power: Modeling the brain with a supercomputer.
Future Watch: The Blue Brain Project starts by mapping neurons in rats
to simulate brain activity in the neocortical column, and it might
eventually map the entire brain.
[Computerworld Linux News]

Accelerando … Science Future

If you have not yet read Accelerando I suggest that you purchase or
download (Yes! He has a free version that you can download!) a
copy.  I am a big fan of Neal Stephenson’s SnowCrash and Diamond
Age, and this is yet another a fun book to read.  Charles Stross
has done an awesome job of extrapolating today’s technology and
research into a great possible future.

Go get it … read it.  Welcome to the future …

Carver Mead @ Telecosm

Carver Mead is an amazing speaker … I always love to hear him
speak. Here at Telecosm he is the after dinner speaker, and the
title of his talk is Science and Society: timing the crests and troughs of opportunity in life and science.

His talk started with a conversation about the vacuum tube, and how
Edison created the foundation. He elaborated and explained the
next series of experiments with vacuum tubes, and how they progressed,
and eventually how this research led to the creation of the
transistor. From there he progressed into a discussion about the
discovery of the first superconductor. What makes his story
telling so amazing is his presentation of the subject, his in-depth
knowledge of the subject, and his ability to communicate so clearly.

It’s funny to hear his mild disdain for Bohr and others who, in his
words, discouraged alternative views of quantum physics. He jokes
about how students today are not taught collective quantum systems, but instead a strange model of photons. He refers to his “little green book” as the source of learning about collective quantum effects. His little green book is titled: Collective Electrodynamics: Quantum Foundations of
… I’m going to have a buy a copy.

He closed his presentation by referring to the few people, from his
perspective, that are truly thinking again about physics at a different
level … from a different perspective … instead of just blindly
following the directions that were laid out decades ago.

Accelerating Change 2005

I’ll be going to my friends conference – Accelerating Change 2005
– again this year.  John Smart
has again put together a great
line-up of speakers and it looks like it’s going to be drinking from a
fire hose … I’ll be working to blog the event as best as
possible.  The Acceleration Studies Foundation
is John’s contribution to the world, and to
exploring the rapidly evolving world that we live in.

If you read through the Conference Schedule
you can get a good idea of the caliber of speakers.  If you want
to listen to last years conference for examples, go visit
ITConversations and browse through the Accelerating Change 2004 Archives.

I missed last years conference, and have to admit that some of these
ITConversations from last year just blow me away … I can’t wait for
next week.

K. Eric Drexler … the father of nanotechnology?

It is always interesting to hear K. Eric Drexler
talk about the current state of nanotechnology. He recently
created a new web site to reference a lot of general information about
Nanotechnology called e-drexler.com … it has a lot of good links on the subject.

It is obvious that Eric is still driven to communicate the
possibilities and benefits surrounding nanotechnology, and he is
passionate about it. There is considerable issue around the debates between Eric and Richard Smalley. Even Ray Kurzweil has his thoughts on the subject.

I have to agree with Eric … I do not question the feasibility … and
I believe it would be irresponsible to not pursue the conversation.

Ralph Merkle … Distinguished Professor of Computing

I really enjoy listening to Ralph Merkle speak. He obviously
loves what he is doing, and he knows a lot about his field. He is
working at Georgia Tech … or should I say playing … and is involved with the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing. He is currently co-Authoring a book with Robert A. Freitas Jr.Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines … A general review of the theoretical and experimental literature pertaining to physical self-replicating systems

He is really up on the current arguments about What is nanotech? and has a long list of examples of numerous nanotech products that are arrivingon the market –
from cosmetics to kitchen and bathroom surfaces, sun glasses coatings, etc.

There are also a variety of lawsuits are now arguing “What is
nanotech and what is not?” due to funds that are claiming nanotech

The arguments against the feasibility of molecular manufacturing are
causing more and more critical examination … and more people are
starting to see the possibility.

It’s always great to hear the details of the “State of NanoTech” from someone that is so plugged in.

Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson …

There are few people that can see the potential of future
technologies. I believe that it takes someone with both technical
and business sense that can see what is possible … and someone who
does not limit their thinking. Steve Jurvetson is such a person.

Steve is a Managing Director of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson
… one of the firms that I believe really understands what to look at
in Nanotech. It was cool to see that several of their portfolio
companies joined together to build a NanoCar

There was a lot of good information and perspectives about NanoTech …
that Nanotech is the overlap of numerous disciplines … Lab
experiments are moving from real
to simulation (e.g. using wind tunnels moving to simulation of wind
tunnels) … and that Patents are continuing to be an issue that
are going to require exploration. He talked about many of the
perspectives on the importance of education, and showed some very
interesting graphs on the growth of PhD grads in America.

DFJ has a large portfolio that I have to admit I really like … some
of the areas of their investments are: Bio-Nano-Organic Hybrids,
Bioinformatics & Materialinformatics, Nano Manufacturing and Tools,
Photonics, Optical Integrated Circuits, MEMs, and many others.

I’m going to look into many of their investments … they are in
various stages of growth with many of them already offering
products. This is a list that I was able to put together:

  • Zettacore – molecular memory
  • Arryx – holographic laser steering
    • Steve showed an amazing video of using Arryx laser tweezers to trap, hold and move a
      single sperm, and then weigh the DNA of that sperm to determine if it contained male or female DNA. This sorting is designed for the cattle industry to pick cows and bulls for different purposes. The same laser can then kill the sperm if it’s the wrong type!
  • EGeen – biotechnology
  • Intematix – Combinatorial Materials R&D
  • D-Wave Systems – commercializing superconducting quantum computational systems
  • Imago – providing 3-dimensional imaging and analysis capabilities to nanotechnology
  • HyperNex – crystallographic microstructure monitors for production control in semiconductor
  • Media Lario – design, manufacture, characterisation and assembly of high precision mechanical
    and optomechanical systems
  • Nano Opto – creates new classes of densely integrated, modular nano-optic components
  • Microfabrica – a leader in microdevice manufacturing
  • NeoPhotonics – integrate optical communication on a low cost, proprietary, scalable
    manufacturing platform
  • BinOptics – designs, develops, and manufactures monolithically integrated optoelectronic
    components based on indium phosphide and other semiconductor materials
  • SiWave – specializes in Optical MicroSystems and MEMS Fabrication and Product Development
  • Luminus Devices – solid state lighting through practical applications of photonic lattice
  • SoliCore – superior energy products through technology advancements – Solicore’s exclusive
    next generation Polymer Matrix Electrolyte and unique processing technologies
  • FlexICs – pioneering the manufacturing of semiconductors on plastic at ultra low
  • Molecular
    – offers a novel technique of lithography and 3-dimensional printing, capable of
    patterning nano-scale devices and structures
  • Konarka Technologies – builds revolutionary, light-sensitive products using next generation
    nanomaterials that are coated on rolls of plastic
  • Coatue – organic electronics (acquired
    by AMD)

  • NanTero
    – developing NRAM™, a high-density nonvolatile random access memory chip, using

  • NanoCoolers
    creating tiny machines without moving parts that will cool electronic devices