Do You Have 2, 3, or 4 Parents?

TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts

Tim Skaar Boston, Mass
Tim Skaar
Boston, Mass

FINDING:
Scientists are seeking FDA approval for mitochondrial DNA transplantation in Human eggs. A woman, who may have eggs that show a disorder, can have mitochondrial DNA transplanted from a donor egg.

The “damaged” DNA is removed from the woman’s egg, and new health DNA is inserted from the donated egg. The result once this egg is fertilized is a fetus, and ultimately an infant with 3 genetic parents. This has been successfully accomplished in monkeys, and human eggs, and approval is being sought in both the US and UK to bring a transplanted and fertilized egg to full term.

IMPLICATIONS:
The possible implications are endless. Is this a first step on the journey to designer babies? Might this lead to the elimination of certain disorders from the planet? Once these new combinations are introduced into the human gene pool, what unknown consequences might arise?

QUOTES:

“Up till now, all babies have had two genetic parents. That could soon change.”

“We have developed a technique that would allow a woman to have a child that is not affected by this disease, and yet the child would be related to her genetically,” Dieter Egli of the New York Stem Cell Foundation told NPR in October.”

SOURCE: NPR story
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/02/26/283022514/scientists-question-safety-of-genetically-altering-human-eggs

Is Immortality Hardwired Into Humans?

TOPIC
: Where does the almost universal concept that we are immortal come from?
TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts
FINDING:
When it came to researching where notions of immortality come from, researchers decided to focus on pre-life beliefs. Cultures tend not to focus on life before birth, so the selected groups of children in the study could not have preconceived beliefs.

The two groups from Ecuador were comprised of indigenous children in one, and urbanised children in the other. Both groups were very similar, however, believing they didn’t have bodies before birth, but they did have feelings and emotions existing before birth.
immortal
IMPLICATIONS:
 At an early age Humans express a belief in the immortality of feelings and emotions. The researchers posited that this may come from our highly developed social reasoning. The ability to know what someone is thinking, how they are feeling, their needs, and, then, how they might act is such an important part of what it means to be Human that it can spill into other areas of life without our knowledge. However, scientifically, we still cannot explain where our concept of immortality comes from.

QUOTES:

“I study these things for a living but even find myself defaulting to them. I know that my mind is a product of my brain but I still like to think of myself as something independent of my body,” (Natalie Emmons; study leader)

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SOURCES:
http://www.futurity.org/hardwired-believe-immortal/?utm_source=Futurity+Today&utm_campaign=5c70919a35-January_29_20141_29_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e34e8ee443-5c70919a35-206308793
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12220/abstract

– See more at: http://theimn.com/tesa/technology/Is_Immortality_Hardwired_Into_Humans?

GENETICALLY ENHANCED HUMANS TAKE A STEP CLOSER

Geoffrey Baines Edinburgh, Scotland
Geoffrey Baines
Edinburgh, Scotland

TOPIC: Stem cells are programmed to grow cartilage inside the body TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts

FINDING:
Researchers at Duke University have developed a way of incorporating viruses used to deliver gene therapy to the stem cells into a synthetic material that serves as a template for tissue growth.  and quality.

IMPLICATIONS:
The possibility of growing musculoskeletal tissues inside the human body – and more cheaply than can be envisaged outside of the body – tantalises the imagination with possibilities of lives being extended in both quantity and quality.

Other implications include strengthening healthy muscles and bones for sports and security purposes.  If the technology becomes mobile, it could be seen as a way of counteracting the affects of longterm space travel, allowing Humans to journey through the time and radiation barriers presently faced.
geneticallyenhancedeye

QUOTES:

“The resulting material is like a computer—the scaffold provides the hardware and the virus provides the software that programs the stem cells to produce the desired tissue.” (Futurity)

“While this study focuses on cartilage regeneration, [Farshid]Guilak and [Charles] Gersbach say that the technique could be applied to many kinds of tissues, especially orthopedic tissues such as tendons, ligaments and bones.  And because the platform comes ready to use with any stem cell, it presents an important step toward commercialisation.”  (Futurity)

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SOURCES:
Futurity: http://www.futurity.org/stem-cells-programmed-grow-cartilage-inside-body/?utm_source=Futurity+Today&utm_campaign=19d3465507-February_19_20142_19_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e34e8ee443-19d3465507-206308793

Original article: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/02/13/1321744111.abstract

– See more at: http://www.theimn.com/tesa/genetically_enhanced_humans

The Future of Education

TOPIC: The future of personalized education using technology

TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts

FINDING: Education systems need to adapt to be technology driven in order that the next generation

be equipped with a skill set required to be successful in the global economy. Currently young adults

exiting University do not feel prepared to work with technology unless they have specifically trained to be

in a technological field. Education system’s need to change their approach to encourage creative thinking

within a technological framework.

IMPLICATIONS: Although most people realize the importance of the use of technology in the

classroom, not many have taken their thinking to the level of Zhao, Khan or Thrun, where education

can be, should be, central in the delivery of education. These three leaders in education have been

developing ways to make this possible. Education is one of the largest social constructs that exists.

Changing the way education is delivered, from assembly line, compliance driven, somewhat local

expression to a personalized education taking into consideration skill levels, personalities, IQ’s, areas

of passion in relationship to the global community has the potential to change not just education, but

government and company management to our personal lives. This would change the role of the teacher

and could possibly lead to their current role becoming obsolete.

QUOTES:

Zhao – “Common Core standards — and tests used to measure whether students have met them — fail to capture the problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills needed for success in a global economy.”

Thrun – “Will we invest $100 million into a class the same way today we invest $100 million into a great movie? What would that do for the quality of education? A lot of people are arguing that the future will be somewhere in the flipped space, where you combine human services and classroom experiences with digital materials. Is that the true answer, or is there a way to deliver everything online? I think the question is still open. The biggest challenge that we face is to fully build this new medium to its potential.”

Khan – “Would either of you hire somebody whose education came solely from online classes or MOOCs?

SK: If you’re talking about the skills that we’re hiring for, the stuff that’s typically learned in college or graduate school, then absolutely. In fact, we already have. We recently hired two people and we didn’t even know what their degrees were, if they even had degrees. We hired them because of the work they did on the computer science platform on Khan Academy.”

SOURCE:

http://www.gazettenet.com/home/10212278-95/still-thinking-of-education-as-a-factory-at-hcc-forum-
scholar-yong-zhao-says

http://blog.ted.com/2014/01/28/in-conversation-salman-khan-sebastian-thrun-talk-online-education/

utm_content=bufferdb5d2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Quick Thinking Flying Robot

TOPIC: Really small, flying robot that can make quick decisions.

TESA:
Technology, Entrepreneurship, Society, Arts

FINDING: “Dutch scientists have developed the world’s smallest autonomous flapping drone, a dragonfly-like beast with 3-D vision that could revolutionise our experience of everything from pop concerts to farming.”

IMPLICATIONS: This technology has been developing for years but never before has it been this small or this smart. A “bug” that can fly around, potentially unnoticed, “seeing” what we see and recording data; a bug that can go into places where “radio control would be impossible”. It sounds like something from the movie Mission Impossible.

flying robot
flying robot

Beyond some of the less complex uses of this technology, such as spotting ripe fruit in a greenhouse or dressed up as Tinkerbell at Disneyland, it could be used to “spy” on people, record conversations and video record events happening behind closed doors where conventional (and legal by today’s standard) methods would be impossible.

This could have a serious influence on the laws surrounding the collection of evidence and it’s admissibility in court, among other areas. The DelFly could be the future undercover police officer, replacing the need to put people in harm’s way. As crimes become more complex, our laws and ways of enforcing them will need to also change in order to remain effective. The DelFly could be a useful tool in this way.

QUOTES:

“The Explorer has its own small lithium polymer battery that allows it to fly for around nine minutes, while it “sees” with its onboard processor and a specially-developed algorithm to make instant decisions.”

“Over the next few years, research continued and the machine became smaller and smaller, said Sjoerd Tijmons, 28, who helped write the algorithm for the latest DelFly Explorer’s “brain”.”

“But De Croon admits that humans are not quite able to produce swarms of autonomous robotic insects the size of bees or flies, mainly because of restrictions on battery life.”

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/dutch-scientists-flap-future-39-insect-39-drone-042306036.html

Connected Cars in the EU by 2015

TOPIC: New connected car standards putting Europe back into the “digital fast lane”.

TESA:
Technology, Entrepreneurship, Society, Arts

FINDING: EU establishes Communications Standards as a step towards making European Connected Cars a reality as soon as 2015.

IMPLICATIONS: The idea of my car communicating with the transportation infrastructure by a projection on my windscreen is amazing. Just last week there was a 100 car pileup on our main highway in Barrie just outside of Toronto, and hundreds more were simply stuck waiting for the firefighters to cut the metal median allowing them to turn around. Many of them could have been diverted long before had something like “connected cars” been in place.

Beyond the potential of increased safety, convenience factors and environmental benefits, the incredible amount of collaboration that is involved in connecting multiple countries, through varying networks, different vehicle makes and models, (among other sociopolitical differences) is an remarkable feat in and of itself.

Connected Car
Connected Car

As we discovered during the recent economic crisis, the global economy is far more connected than we realized as we live our everyday lives. We learned how the actions of some can have an enormous impact on us all. Connected Car Standards, I think, are a very positive step towards a future where our global connections will continue to grow. Might this development be a precursor of a future single global currency and perhaps even of a global minimum standard of living?

QUOTES:

“Imagine that you are driving along, and a message is projected on your windscreen, warning you of an accident that has just happened around the next corner. This could soon be a reality thanks to new European standards. Connected cars, able to communicate with each other and with road infrastructures, are expected to appear on European roads in 2015.”

“With this set of standards ready, connected cars are on the right track. Direct communication between vehicles and infrastructures will ensure safer and more efficient traffic flows, with great benefits for drivers & pedestrians, our environment and our economy. This shows Europe’s unique digital advantage. But for connected cars to really work, we also need more consistency in rules that underpin fast broadband networks. Our fragmented spectrum policy puts the brakes on our economy – now it’s time to get our connected continent up to cruising speed”

“Work on the Release 2 standardisation package has already begun to fine tune existing standards and deal with more complex use cases. European organisations cooperate closely with American and Japanese organisations to ensure that the systems are compatible across the globe.”

Source: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-141_en.htm

Rejection of Physical Contact

TOPIC Human SexualityJapanese man and woman lean away from each other

TESA:Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts

FINDING: The next generation of Japanese are less interested in sex

IMPLICATIONS:
Why are fewer Japanese young people interested in sex? Not only are fewer Japanese interested in sex, a growing number seem to be disgusted by human contact. We’ve known about dropping birth rates for a while. Is this a foreshadow of things to come? See my article, Two Mysterious Human Behaviors, for my ideas on this. Here’s the link: http://alexmcmanus.org/2013/11/13/two-mysterious-human-behaviors/

QUOTES

A survey earlier this year by the Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA) found that 45% of women aged 16-24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact”. More than a quarter of men felt the same way.

SOURCE

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex

Thanks for sharing this find: Click to Tweet Is the disgust with physical contact experienced by young Japanese, a weak signal of futures to come? Or nothing at all?

Extreme DIY: evolution, biohacking, and body modification

TOPIC
Body modification as performed by biohackers who desire to be cyborgs.

TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts
transhuman
FINDING:
What happens when you combine the skills of a computer hacker, the pioneering mentality of body modifiers, and the desire to become a cyborg and live forever? Whatever you call it — bizarre, stupid, avant-garde, the future — It’s happening in basements, garages, and hotel rooms right now. You just cannot make this stuff up. Above ground, biotech is a respectable domain of study and biolabs are socially acceptable spaces. Check out for example the TED talk referenced below. But, then ask yourself, Is Ellen Jorgensen’s TED talk naive and overly optimistic or pragmatic and reasonable? Watch the other videos, employ your own knowledge of human nature, and draw your own plausible scenarios of potential futures.

IMPLICATIONS:
The next tech-savvy generations may drive the DIY evolution revolution from the underground as they push the boundaries of what is “normal” and socially “acceptable”. The socially acceptable boundaries of what one can do to one’s own body may become increasingly blurred. What began with the bizarre practices of tattooing and piercing (which are now perceived by some as “normal”) will continue down a painful path towards an unimaginable end. (Please see the video referenced below about the man who drilled holes in his head in order to don a metal mohawk as an example of how far some are willing to go). A counter-trend of those totally “unscarred” may emerge as a counter point. The assumed right of Governments and corporations to own information and eventually even the human body may be challenged by rogue biohackers. Yes, there will amazing possibilities for personal biotech as well but this “spot” is about the current underground.

QUOTES:

In the future, hackers’ and activists’ disputes with restrictive governments may not only be about communication, information, and digital infrastructure, but may also shift into debates about our own technologically-improved physical beings. In the face of companies and governmental agencies developing implants that are protected by patents and secret test procedures, the question of how to remain in control of our bodies may turn out to be a very real pressing social issue…

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SOURCES:
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/10/18/the-brave-new-worldofbiohacking.html
http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-diy-cyborg



What If… Africa Banned Islam?

TOPIC
Conflicting Stories About an African Country Banning Islam
TESA:Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts
angola
FINDING: There’s a bit of an uproar and skepticism around a story that the sub Saharan country of Angola may ban — or at least not legalize — Islam.

IMPLICATIONS: We’ll have to wait and see what facts emerge and even then, given how public opinion causes officials to give a “new spin” to actions taken and things said, we may never know the intentions behind comments allegedly made by public officials from Angola. But what if some African country banned Islam? Would that country make itself a target for the more radical elements within Islam? Or, would it become a safe haven for those who favor greater connection to the west? Might this political posture spread to other nations? Or, would it vilify the nation that assumes this posture?

It is interesting to note that some westerners may make more “noise” about an African country banning Islam than they would about an African country banning Christianity. One  implication might be the loss of the unifying factor a religion can bring.  In order to progress, Africa may need a strictly religious phase to bring tribes together around one banner and to help eradicate the superstitions and behaviors that allow an epidemic like AIDS to spread. But which religion can best accomplish this? Islam, Christianity, Western Secularism, Buddhism, or some other religion with the capacities to transform behavior and bring tribes and people together under one umbrella?
QUOTES:

It is difficult at this point to determine which quotes may be accurate. Having said that, here’s an alleged statement from the minister of Culture, Rosa Cruz: “The process of legalization of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. Their mosques would be closed until further notice.”

SOURCES:
International Business Times
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
La Nouvelle Tribune
On Islam
Click here to tweet this spot.
Luanda

angola1

Robot Magic

 TOPIC: Self-Assembling Robot

TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts

FINDING: Small cube shaped robots — called M blocks — that can assemble themselves will get smaller and may become autonomous

IMPLICATIONS:

Imagine coming home and entering an apparently empty room. You walk to the window and begin to sit down.  Tiny robots immediately begin to assemble themselves into a chair the rises to meet you as you sit.

It will seem like magic,  but it’s just 21st century technology at work.  The applications for this kind of technology are immense. Imagine an earthquake damaged building or a bridge about to collapse. Call in the swarm of M blocks and watch them solve how to support the structures and spare human life.

Could we also see swarms of insect like things taking over the planet?  Come on. That couldn’t happen.

Welcome to the future.

QUOTES:

“In the future we envision … the modules …completely autonomously, in a distributed fashion, deciding how, when, and where to move… so we want to take a large group of cubes and tell them, “form this shape” …and have the cubes decide on their own how to accomplish that task.”

SOURCES:

MIT News Office

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