The future is now and it's full of opportunities!

57

Remember the good old days, when we actually had time for a nice cup of tea with the family in the porch while the kids played out in the yard?

A few hours ago Microsoft spent $1 billion on AOL's patents

A few days ago facebook bought 750 patents from IBM as the social networking company attempts to strengthen its intellectual property portfolio in the wake of a lawsuit filed by Yahoo.

A few months ago Google bought Motorola Mobillity, gaining control of more than 17,000 mobile-related patents worldwide, with an additional 7,000 Motorola patent applications in the pipeline.)

A few days before that Apple bought 6000 patents from Nortel Networks Corp

What are patents, but ideas and what are ideas but the essence of future.

A few hours ago Facebook announce their Instagram deal.

A few days ago, google announced their augmented reality glasses.

On October 2, 2011, Ray Kurzweil, a radical futurist and prophet of innovation, holds up a smartphone. “This device is a billion times more valuable per constant dollar than the computer I used as a student at MIT in the late ’60s,” he says. “In 25 years, it will be the size of a blood cell. And it will be a billion times more powerful.”

 

The famously far-thinking inventor and author — critics would say too-far thinking — was addressing 37 executives from around the world who have assembled at the NASA Ames campus in Mountain View, California. Teleconferencing from Boston, Kurzweil appears onscreen like Oz the Great and Powerful in high def. His urgent message: Technology progresses at an exponential rate. Humans, having evolved to hunt game and avoid predators, are designed to think linearly.

If business leaders are to stay ahead of the curve, they need to internalize the confounding power of exponential progressions.

“It took the printing press 400 years to reach a large audience,” he says. “It took the telephone fifty years, the mobile phone seven years, and social networks only three.” The pace of innovation will only continue to accelerate, he says, because exponential evolution is built into the very nature of technology.

Kurzweil’s audience is the latest Executive Program class at Singularity University, an institution he co-founded with Peter Diamandis of X Prize fame. The school’s mission is to prepare the world take advantage of exponential change rather than being crushed by it. Drawn from C suites around the world — including Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chair and CEO Jim Gianopulos, SunPower CTO Tom Dinwoodie, and representatives of IBM, Investec, and the Brazilian military — students will spend the coming week learning how to think in exponential terms.

“I projected it out for 60 years,” he says, “and we’re right on the curve I laid out 30 years ago. How can this be? We’re measuring competition, innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship. These things are unpredictable inpidually. It’s like thermodynamics. Any given molecule is unpredictable, but the aggregate effect is consistent. There are millions of people involved in this curve, and the overall impact is remarkably predictable.”

Examples are everywhere. Processing power is following the exponential path outlined by Moore’s Law. 3D scanning and printing is turning manufacturing into a matter of bits and bytes; engineers have printed functional violins, airplanes, even 70 percent of the parts necessary to build a new 3D printer. The human genome project has brought medicine under the yoke of high-performance computation. Digital imaging equipment is scanning brains and fueling efforts to reverse-engineer the cortex. Nanotechnology is dependent on digital modeling, leading to the prospect of health-promoting, blood-borne nanobots.

{Gota run, got lots on my plate today. However, I plan to continue commentary and join it with the cloud chat here.}

As we migrate personal data to the cloud, it seems that we trade convenience for privacy. It’s convenient, for example, to access my address book from any connected device I happen to use. But when I park my address book in the cloud in order to gain this benefit, I expose my data to the provider of that cloud service.

When the service is offered for free, supported by ads that use my personal info to profile me, this exposure is the price I pay for convenient access to my own data. The provider may promise not to use the data in ways I don’t like, but I can’t be sure that promise will be kept.

Is this a reasonable trade-off?

For many people, in many cases, it appears to be. Of course we haven’t, so far, been given other choices. And other choices can exist. Storing your data in the cloud doesn’t necessarily mean, for example, that the cloud operator can read all the data you put there. There are ways to transform it so that it’s useful only to you, or to you and designated others, or to the service provider but only in restricted ways.

Early Unix systems kept users’ passwords in an unprotected system file, /etc/passwd, that anyone could read. This seemed crazy when I first learned about it many years ago. But there was a method to the madness. The file was readable, so anyone could see the usernames. But the passwords were transformed, using a cryptographic hash function, into gibberish. The system didn’t need to remember your cleartext password. It only needed to verify that when you typed your cleartext password at logon, the operation that originally encoded its /etc/passwd equivalent would, when repeated, yield a matching result.

Keep in mind that one of the key ingredients to the stabillity of our growth is the energy that drives it. Check out Justin Hall-Tipping's video on TED (Freeing energy from the grid) for some awesome Insight!