ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE 

Big Tech's AI Predictions for 2017
Lolita Taub | The Huffington Post
"For the final Cognitive Business post of the year, I asked artificial intelligence centric Fortune 500 leaders for their 2017 enterprise AI predictions. Microsoft, IBM, Baidu, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, GE, SAS, and Oracle responded. What they had to say is exciting..."

CYBERSECURITY

Artificial Intelligence Is Going to Make It Easier Than Ever to Fake Images and Video
James Vincent | The Verge
"Smile Vector is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s hard to give a comprehensive overview of all the work being done on multimedia manipulation in AI right now, but here are a few examples: creating 3D face models from a single 2D image; changing the facial expressions of a target on video in real time using a human “puppet”; changing the light source and shadows in any picture... live-streaming the presidential debates but making Trump bald..."

DRONES 

Artificial Feathers Let Drones Morph Their Wings Like Birds
Evan Ackerman | IEEE Spectrum
"Thanks to overlapping feathers and a joint at the end of the wing, most birds can fold their primary flight feathers back, which significantly reduces the surface area of their wings... These folding wings can vary their surface area by 41 percent. When the wing is completely retracted, lift decreases by 32 percent, and drag decreases by 40 percent, boosting the top speed of the drone from 6.3 meters per second to 7.6 meters per second."

BIOLOGY 

Why Humans Develop Sex Cells as Embryos—But Corals Don't
Phillip Ball | Scientific American
"The idea of ‘protecting’ mitochondrial DNA in quiescent eggs has been suggested previously. But there’s a problem with that picture: some mutation is good for our mitochondria. Mutation is the engine of evolution, enabling advantageous mitochondrial genotypes to arise."

NEW ECONOMY 

Free Cash in Finland. Must Be Jobless.
Peter S. Goodman | The New York Times
"Early next year, the government plans to randomly select roughly 2,000 unemployed people—from white-collar coders to blue-collar construction workers. It will give them benefits automatically, absent bureaucratic hassle and minus penalties for amassing extra income... The answers—to be determined over a two-year trial—could shape social welfare policy far beyond Nordic terrain."

POLITICS 

Why the Government Needs a Department of the Future
Amy Webb | Politico
"Futurists, political scientists and economists have been discussing a Cabinet-level department and secretary of the future for more than a decade. It is a necessary antidote to America’s short-termism and inability to break free from a continuous cycle of surprise and fear."

SILICON VALLEY 

Hell Is Silicon Valley People Who Won't Grow Up
Kara Swisher | Recode
"While you cannot blame tech for the death of manufacturing in the U.S., you can still draw a very bright line between the benefits of being able to make all sorts of great devices invented abroad and on the cheap to nearly every part of the sector. Did Silicon Valley, which has reaped the rewards of this system by amassing startlingly enormous piles of wealth, imagine that all this would not eventually have to be paid for by someone? Or as Trump’s main digital guru, investor Peter Thiel, has written: 'In a world of scarce resources, globalization without new technology is unsustainable.'"

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Alison tells the stories of purpose-driven leaders and is fascinated by various intersections of technology and society. When not keeping a finger on the pulse of all things Singularity University, you'll likely find Alison in the woods sipping coffee and reading philosophy (new book recommendations are welcome).