Tag: future

Woz predicts dystopian future with Apple still there

The founder of Apple is predicting a dystopian future where Jobs’ Mob, Google and Facebook rule a world which lives in deserts.

The theme of next weekend’s Silicon Valley Comic Con (SVCC), “The Future of Humanity: Where Will We Be in 2075?” Woz, who predicted the rise of portable laptops said that in 58 years, Apple will be still around.

“Apple will be around a long time, like IBM (which was founded in 1911). Look at Apple’s cash ($246.1 billion, as of the end of its last fiscal quarter). It can invest in anything. It would be ridiculous to not expect them to be around (in 2075). The same goes for Google and Facebook.”

Other areas will not be great either. There will be new cities in deserts which could be ideal locations for cities of the future, designed and built from scratch. People will shuttle among domed structures. Special wearable suits will allow people to venture outside, he said.

AI will be ubiquitous, Wozniak says. Like a scene straight from the movie Minority Report, consumers will interact with smart walls and other surfaces to shop, communicate and be entertained. Medical devices will enable self-diagnosis and doctor-free prescriptions, he says. “The question will be ethical, on whether we can eliminate the need for physicians,” he says.

Woz is convinced a colony will exist on the Red Planet. Echoing the sentiments of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose Blue Origin start-up has designs on traveling to Mars, Wozniak envisions Earth zoned for residential use and Mars for heavy industry.

Wozniak says there is a “random chance” that Earthlings will communicate with another race. “It’s worth trying,” he says, “but I don’t have high hopes”.

Intel Leixlip plant expansion could pave way for 450mm

Intel’s prospective expansion at its Leixlip site could be paving the way for a move to 450mm production.

Intel is about to get the nod for expansion to its Kildare plant soon, though intended 14nm production is only said to be going ahead at 300mm.

Future Horizons analyst Mike Bryant says that it is likely that Ireland will see the creation of Intel’s third 450mm, though it is unclear when Intel will begin moving to the advanced production method.

“If they perform this upgrade well then I think it’s reasonable to assume Ireland will be Intel’s third 450mm fab, probably in the 2020 timeframe,” he said. “The fab module will certainly be built large enough to handle 450mm equipment and I suspect the automation system will be dual-size capable.”

Given the significance of the investment to the Irish economy, apparently contributing around two percent to the national GDP, Bryan said he was “surprised” that the decision to go ahead with the plant had been recently delayed.  He claims that the plant is the “most important factory of any sort in Ireland”.

Intel told us that any upgrades to 450mm will not be part of the initial upgrade to the Leixlip facility, with any changes coming later in the decade.

“We expect 450mm wafer production to be ready for the second half of this decade,” a spokesperson said, adding that “the renewed investment in our Ireland fab operations will be sooner than that”.

Botnets grow and attacks will evolve

Websites hiding malware will evolve, as will botnets and the sophistication of attacks.

The depressing news form part of Kaspersky’s 2011-2020 cybercrime outlook report, which not only tells us what’s happening now but predicts what we can expect in the year 2020.

Back to now, it seems cyber criminals are moving away from sites that offer up illegal content such as pirated films and music, and onto sites that offer us services such as shopping and gaming. These attacks will often catch those who are too too au fait with technology, using a hidden piece of Java code, which runs and redirects to malicious websites.  

That’s not all we have to worry about with the company also claiming that within the next nine years, we’ll see some major changes that will affect the way we use PCs and the way hackers target us.

Interestingly, the security oracle has seen the downfall of Microsoft, claiming that we’ll soon be seeing the end of Microsoft’s OS domination.

It says that although the system will still stay as the key business platform, consumers won’t be tied to this. Instead they will have access to a huge range of alternative operating systems.

However, with the good comes the bad – that although cybercriminals will not be able to create malicious code for large numbers of platforms, they will look at different options to cause mayhem.

According to Kaspersky they have two ways of doing this. They can either make a weaker operating system their target, or specialise in Windows-based attacks on corporations.

This leads nicely into the next prediction that cybercrime by 2020 will be split into two groups.

The first will specialise in attacks on businesses, sometimes to order. They will include commercial espionage, database theft and corporate reputation-smearing attacks, all of which will be in demand on the black market.

Kaspersky predicts “hackers and corporate IT specialists will confront each other on the virtual battlefield.”

The second group will target what influences our everyday lives, such as transport systems and other services as well as stealing personal data.

As we become more evolved with technology and look at new ways to communicate without keyboards, spammers will have to work harder to send out those pesky mails. They’ll do it though, with Kaspersky claiming the “volume of mobile spam will grow exponentially, while the cost of internet-based communications will shrink due to the intensive development of cellular communication systems.”


Google funds futuristic monorail pod project

Google is to provide funding for a number of new projects, including a human-powered monorail pod project, which looks like something out of Futurama.

A New Zealand company called Shweeb has developed an interesting solution to traffic congestion and travel with a monorail system with attached plastic pods which people move along the track by pedalling.

The intriguing project is in its early stages, but already Shweeb has developed a working prototype, which sees numerous people cycle around in the pods at low heights. Plans showcase it among skyscrapers for public transport and through caves and forests for tourism and attractions.

It’s not quite as good as being sucked into a tube and spat out on the other side of town like our good friends Fry and Leela are used to, but it’s definitely a step in that direction. It could also be employed as a recreational thing, as the pedalling will be sure to keep us pretty fit. The problem for transport, however, is when someone gets tired and holds up the entire line until they get some energy back – but then it’s probably more of a Shelbyville idea.

Schweed is one of five companies who won $1 million as part of Google’s Project 10^100, which called for companies to submit their futuristic ideas to Google with the reward of substantial investment.

The other companies who won are working on things that are not quite as futuristic, but are nevertheless useful to humanity. Khan Academy is working on moving edution online, FIRST is a non-profict organisation focused on science and engineering education, Public.resource.org is attempting to make governments more transparent, while the African Insitute for Mathematical Sciences provides education to African students. All of these were awarded funding.

We’re not sure how successful the project will be, but it’s good to see Google investing in things like this. What’s it called? “Mono… doh!”

Google CEO warns of data explosion and future without privacy

Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, has warned of a frightening future where a data explosion will result in it being extremely easy to identify you, where you are, and what you are up to. Nothing to do with Google, of course.

Speaking at the Techonomy conference, he said: “If I look at enough of your messaging and your location, and use Artificial Intelligence, we can predict where you are going to go.”

Let’s face it, he’s not wrong there. With websites like FourSquare focusing on your location and users submitting details of their own free will, it is inevitable that a map of where you have been will be created, which can easily be used to identify and predict where you will be. Google won’t be exempt from this either, as it has hinted that its Google Me social networking site will be location-based too.

“Show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are,” Schmidt continued, not revealing if the “we” was meant to be Google. “You think you don’t have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You’ve got Facebook photos! People will find it’s very useful to have devices that remember what you want to do, because you forgot … But society isn’t ready for questions that will be raised as a result of user-generated content.”

The nightmarish future that Schmidt foresees is not as far-fetched as it may sound. Cynics could suggest it’s already here.

Google already knows what you search for through its search engine and stores that data for a long period of time. Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, and other social notworking sites regularly store your data, so much so that a new Facebook Users’ Union has started demanding payment for the data it uses.

Every forum you visit and post on gives another bit of info about you. If you link a screename to your real name someone out there will be able to match all the data. And this is only now; what happens when the data tsunami strikes us tomorrow?

Schmidt warns that we are not ready for it: “There was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing.”

In a stark warning, he added: “People aren’t ready for the technology revolution that’s going to happen to them.”

Note “to them”. This isn’t about raw data hitting the web. It’s your data, data you didn’t even know was going up there. The CIA doesn’t need to profile you; it just needs to browse the internet, because you will have inadvertently profiled yourself.

If that was not enough, €3 billion worth of data is lost in the EU every year, suggesting that even the companies that will help bring about this explosion of data are not ready for it. Much of the data will disappear into the ether, but some will inevitably get into the wrong hands – if there are any right hands – making it easier to find out who you are and nick your identity.

For those worried about privacy, the future looks grim. Schmidt said that there will be many benefits to the data explosion, but at the same time his company draws more and more wary eyes as it digs a deeper hole into the personal lives of others. 

Its database of search terms has caused concern for years. Its Streetview snooping has raised the ire of many. It has teamed up with the CIA to invest in web monitoring software intended to predict the future (which may be how Schmidt knows about what is to come). It has even started buying unmanned air vehicles with built-in cameras.

When Schmidt warns us of what is to come, of how we are not ready and how exposed we will be when the tide comes in, we have to wonder if much of it will be there because of companies like Google.

Human race has 200 years to live

Humanity has just 200 years to get its arse into space before the race is doomed to extinction, according to Brain of Britain Stephen Hawking.

The world famous boffin said that the only chance for long-term survival is to move away from Earth and begin to inhabit new planets.

Talking to The Daily Mail , Hawking said he was an ‘optimist’ but it could be touch and go for humanity in the next couple of centuries.

He said that there have been a number of times in the past when survival has been a question of touch and go. The Cuban missile crisis in 1963 was one of them.

Things are only going to get much worse in the future and the only way our species should be safe is if we spread into space.

Hawking made the news earlier this year when he warned about trying to make contact with other alien lifeforms in space as we could not be sure that they would be friendly.

Hawking said it was more important that we should make sure we survive and continue.

Human genetic code carries selfish and aggressive instincts that were a survival advantage in the past. It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next 100 years let alone the next thousand or a million, he said.

The last 100 years has seen remarkable progress but if we want to continue beyond the next 100 years our future is in space.