We’re getting closer to the end of 2014 and it’s natural for writers to start reflecting on what this year has brought.
Technology has advanced further than ever before, and we’re more aware of both the benefits and detriments. Increasingly, we’re being challenged to think deeply about these changes because of how often we’re needing to adjust and the tension we feel as a result. Even as we believe an abundant future is before us, it won’t happen without disruption, both externally and, often more unsettlingly, internally.
Enjoy this week’s stories!
COMPUTING: The Inescapability of Ambient Computing
Paul McFedries | IEEE Spectrum
“The point of all this is to achieve two ideals. The first is ambient informatics, where information is always readily available. The second is ambient intelligence, a surrounding electronic infrastructure that responds to its environment, particularly the presence of people.”
CITIES: Five Reasons to be Optimistic About Sustainable Urban Mobility
EMBARQ | Sustainable Cities Collective
“Car-sharing, bike-sharing, pedestrianization, and congestion pricing are all on the rise as cities look to combat traffic congestion and improve quality of life…While many of these solutions have been around for decades, advances in technology have accelerated their integration and implementation. Many transport-specific technologies have helped to improve quality of service while reducing costs. Technology transfer between the developed and developing worlds has also played an important role.”
TRANSPORTATION: In a self-driving future, we may not even want to own cars
Jerry Hirsch | LA Times
“‘We would be very surprised if technology firms like Google and Amazon or ride-sharing firms like Uber, Lyft and Hailo were not designing or manufacturing, either in-house or via contract manufacturing, unique vehicles over the next engineering cycle.'”
CLIMATE: Harvard Scientists Say It’s Time to Think About Engineering the Climate
Brian Merchant | Motherboard
“If humankind maxes out our rate of greenhouse gas emissions to the point that it leads to a rise of 0.1°C per decade, the scientists figure it would require annual geoengineering—dusting the atmosphere with a load of sulfate—for 160 years to keep temperatures in the ‘normal’ human-friendly range. If we head toward an even heavier emissions scenario before pulling back, it could be twice that long. That’s 320 years of geoengineering, folks—three centuries of jets dusting the planet with faux-volcanic spray.”
VIRTUAL REALITY: Artist wants to walk in another man’s virtual reality shoes for a month
Kyle Orland | Ars Technica
“Despite the VR setup and the attempts to get Mark to mimic the events of The Other’s life, he will still have access to information from his other senses that will probably make it hard to fully accept his life has been taken over.”
CONSCIOUSNESS: How Star Trek May Show the Emergence of Human Consciousness
Jacob Lapota | Nautilus
“For many humans living in the real world, the fictional Borg are similarly unsettling. But why? What is it exactly about the Borg that irks us so? Could it be that somewhere in the recesses of our minds we sense something unpleasant about our ourselves when we view the Borg? What if they reflect a different kind of human mentality, one that was actually Borg-like?”
BRAIN: The Creative Gifts of ADHD
Scott Barry Kaufman | Scientific American
“People with ADHD characteristics are more likely to reach higher levels of creative thought and achievement than people without these characteristics…real-life creative achievement is associated with the ability to broaden attention and have a ‘leaky’ mental filter– something in which people with ADHD excel.”
CULTURE: The Big Future: What is the future of sex?
Arielle Duhaime-Ross | The Verge
“Despite the technological advancements that have taken place over the course of the last century, people who don’t want STIs or children still have to jump through a number of hoops to get to the good stuff.”
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