With data storage becoming increasingly important and increasingly vulnerable to hacking, it someday will be possible to store all the data on the internet in something the size of a shoebox, according to scientists at the University of Washington working on DNA storage.
WASHINGTON — Today, we will ponder the coming miracles of technology. The next few minutes will be a mostly Trump-free zone.
But first, did you hear that the president-elect doesn’t trust computers?
It’s true. He said that when he has an important message, he will write it down and send it by courier.
Really? Bicyclists whizzing all over the city? Trucks careening down Interstate 95 from Trump Tower to the Capitol? Special airplanes winging across the Atlantic and Pacific? Well, there’s always Twitter.
Meanwhile, back to the future.
All those children fascinated with robots are on to something. From micro robots doing surgery to immense ones building machines to titanic clashes of sports robots, we are in for a wild ride, a true revolution. Unfortunately, Americans who don’t have access to computers in public schools and don’t have the education to understand them will not have the capability to build them or benefit from exciting new developments.
Artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation are coming into their own. Even though some fear the rise of smart machines, thinking they will take over and wipe humans off the Earth, the processes of copying the human brain and finding patterns in data will change the world. Sadly, these smart machines will not be able to convince people who think they know everything that they, in fact, do not.
We are rapidly becoming energy independent. And even though some newly elected politicians have promised a bonanza of new coal industry jobs and more drilling offshore and on federal lands, renewable energy such as solar panels and wind energy is showing far more promise, especially as more research and development yields results. It seems that mining is physically dangerous to miners and damaging to the environment. Who knew?
With data storage becoming increasingly important and increasingly vulnerable to hacking, it someday will be possible to store all the data on the internet in something the size of a shoebox, according to scientists at the University of Washington working on DNA storage. More important, DNA storage will last thousands of years, compared with hard disks that crash and magnetic tape that lasts only a few decades. Of course, it will take political leaders who understand the value of this to make sure it gets done and is shared globally.
Lying, elevated to a daily art form in some circles, may become harder. The Wall Street Journal predicts a “lie-detecting camera at every pawn shop and border crossing.” The Russians already have something called a Fraudoscope that uses high-definition cameras and computer software to decode the results of interrogations. The art of the deal is getting trickier.
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers are working on ways for employers to predict such things as character and how employees will perform under stress and how to hire those who perform well. For example, something called “galvanic skin response” monitors skin electricity and sweat, finding that those who sweated when the stakes are low do the best when stakes are high. Being fired on a TV reality show? So yesterday.
As politicians vow to scuttle the health care insurance system, without knowing what to put in its place or the impact on Medicare and Medicaid, futurists say that in three decades, one out of every six people on Earth will be over the age of 65.
Dementia cases will triple. Cancer rates will double. Diabetes may affect one of every three adults.
Of course, we could start now to fund the research to prevent, cure and treat such diseases. Scientists are adamant that with the proper commitment, we could succeed. For some challenges, such as preventing diabetes, it could be a matter of just a few years.
Or we could reverse course and shake our fists, become more nationalistic and isolationist, turn our backs on international alliances, start trade wars and talk loudly about building more nuclear weapons.
See? I told you I wouldn’t write about Mr. T.