Consider this. Nearly every large animal on this planet is stronger than us. Almost every predator has claws, or venom, or sharp teeth. But humans have two advantages that have enabled us to survive and thrive – a large brain, and hands that can pick up and manipulate objects. At the very dawn of pre-history we were busy making stone tools, turning animal skins into clothing, and decorating our own bodies with things that we’d made. We just can’t help it. We have to make things. Give any human a physical object and they will try to do something with it.
In the modern world, we are constantly surrounded by machines and inventions – from the clothes we wear, to the houses we live in, to the cars, trains and planes we travel around in, to the computers and other electronic devices we use for work and leisure. In this article, I want to consider this special relationship between humans and the machines we create. I want to look at where this relationship with our creations is heading.
So I was just reading about a goldfish that can drive a car and I wondered, what if animals could talk?
What’s that? You want me to explain about the car-driving fish? Oh well it’s all here. Continue reading
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES2014) currently taking place in Las Vegas is packed full of smart glasses, like Google Glass.
Wearable tech is poised to transform the way we interact with technology. With a pair of smart glasses, you can begin to feel like superman, taking photos and recording videos of anything you see, and with the almost telepathic ability to interact directly with the internet and with your own automated personal assistant.
Don’t doubt that this will happen, just so long as the cost is affordable and the tech works in a convenient way. After all, just a few years ago, how many people would have imagined that we would be carrying smartphones everywhere and that email, Facebook and other social media would be just as important as face to face communication?
Smart glasses are just the latest in a long history of creeping augmentation of our abilities by technology. Observers of technology call this transition “Transhumanism” and predict an inevitable and exponential increase in how this impacts on our lives. Continue reading
Posted in Technology
Tagged Computers, Creativity, Facebook, Google, Health, Internet, Longevity, Prediction, Science, Technological Singularity, Technology, Twitter
When I was growing up in the 1970s, my friends and I used to play a card game called Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (it was a variation of Snap.) In those Cold War days nearly everybody believed that the world would be destroyed in a nuclear attack. Continue reading
The Earth has a diameter of approximately 12,742 kilometres. Do you think that sounds big? It’s pretty big. In the 16th century, the crew of Magellan’s ship completed the first circumnavigation of the world. It took them more than 3 years, and Magellan himself died during the journey. But now the International Space Station does it every one and a half hours. Continue reading
Posted in Technology
Tagged Belief, Creativity, Economic growth, Health, Industrial Revolution, Longevity, Money, Poverty, Science, Technological Singularity, Technology, Wealth
Two million years ago, early humans already knew how to make hand axes out of stone. A million years later they were still making exactly the same kinds of stone axes. Not exactly what you’d call rapid technological advancement.
Fast forward to medieval times and innovations were happening more quickly, but still it was likely that the son of a medieval peasant would do the same job as his father, using the same kinds of tools. Continue reading