Thursday, December 10, 2009

New and Noteworthy (Brain Chips, Geoengineering, Helium-3 Shortages Already?)

In this edition, by way of

* A two-page piece in Computer World regarding a claim by researchers at Intel Labs (lab director and VP of research Andrew Chien, scientist Dean Pomerleau) and elsewhere (Charles Higgins, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona) that by 2020 we will be using our brains to interface directly with our computers.

While the article is interesting, there is not a whole lot in it to support these claims, which are exactly the kind I wish consumers and producers of futurism were more inclined to remember and test as a corrective to futurehype-the way I did with Ray Kurzweil's famous predictions for 2009 in The Age of Spiritual Machines. (Incidentally, I expect to test those predictions again at the end of this year, and don't expect to find my assessment changed much.)

* A reasonably meaty piece on geoengineering that ran in The Guardian last month, which touched on both the legal implications of such enterprises, and their possible place in the climate change debate.

• A piece from The New York Times on the prospects of "supercomputing for the masses." Of course, with the author's assessment being that "Just about any organization with a few million dollars can now buy or assemble a top-flight machine," this affordability is only a relative thing for the time being.

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