Futurology: The tricky art of knowing what will happen next 23 December 2010Last updated at 02:38 By Finlo Rohrer BBC News Magazine Cheap air travel was among the predictions (illustration from Geoffrey Hoyle's book) A 1972 book which predicts what life would be like in 2010 has been reprinted after attracting a cult following, but how hard is it to tell the future? Geoffrey Hoyle is often asked why he predicted everybody would be wearing jumpsuits by 2010. He envisioned a world where everybody worked a three-day week and had their electric cars delivered in tubes of liquid.
Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”. It doesn’t belong there. How Languages and Genes Evolve Together As human populations disperse, the separation leads to changes both in genes and in language. So if we look at human DNA and languages over time, we should find that they differ along similar geographic lines. It’s an intuitive theory, but difficult to prove. That is, until researchers decided to match large collections of geographic, linguistic, and genetic data on hundreds of human populations worldwide. A new study (PDF), published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, quantifies the complicated relationship between these three factors.
21 Photos Of Nature Winning The Battle Against Civilization You might have to plant the flowers in your backyard to see some green action, but plants will grow from just about anywhere if you give them enough time. If you abandoned your home today and returned many years later, you might find trees growing right out of your bedroom walls, and plants the size of beanstalks shooting straight up out of your floorboards. Plants are incredibly resilient, and can grow from the most unlikely places so long as they have a source of sun and water. These man-made objects, buildings, and entire cities are no match for the rapid growth of plant life. Check out these unbelievable photos of nature wining the battle against civilization. The Bicycle Tree
10 TRENDS FOR 2015 Jeff Bezos recently told shareholders that Amazon would have 10,000 Kiva robots by the end of 2014 (from just 1,400 in 2013), and that this could cut fulfillment costs for an average order by 20-40% (BCG, August 2014). And while lower costs will be central to the robot narrative told in boardrooms during 2015, smart business will be planning not just how robots might decrease their costs, but how they can also increase customer satisfaction, too. Draw inspiration from the examples below around how to use robots to initiate better customer service: more reliable, faster, richer, more personal, more convenient … the list goes on. Remember, this isn't about Man vs.
Futurology - Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks If you could see your future, would you try to make it better? If you were a Soviet in 1980 and you knew that spiraling debt would destroy your country, would you do something to stop it? If you were a German in 1933 and knew that the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State would lead to a world war, tens of millions of deaths, and the leveling of your nation, would you oppose it? Its safe to assume that we would all say yes to these questions. Our only excuse in letting these patterns reoccur is a claim that we can't see the future with any degree of certainty, but is this claim true?
The End of History? The short, strange era of human civilization would appear to be drawing to a close. The likely end of the era of civilization is foreshadowed in a new draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the generally conservative monitor of what is happening to the physical world. It is not pleasant to contemplate the thoughts that must be passing through the mind of the Owl of Minerva as the dusk falls and she undertakes the task of interpreting the era of human civilization, which may now be approaching its inglorious end. The era opened almost 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, stretching from the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates, through Phoenicia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean to the Nile Valley, and from there to Greece and beyond. What is happening in this region provides painful lessons on the depths to which the species can descend.
Robots are getting more like us and famous scientists are concerned If 1984’s cautionary tale, The Terminator, is anything to go by, humanity should be wary of any more advances in robotics or artificial intelligence. Elon Musk recently pledged $10 million to keep artificial intelligence from running amok, and physicist Stephen Hawking told the BBC in December: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Musk and Hawking are backed by other scientists, professors, and security analysts who are worried about the rise of artificial intelligence that doesn’t do what humans ask. Even so, scientists continue to research more human-like robots, with more human-like intelligence and thought processes. Here are a few examples from just this month: