Future Culture

Futurist Writer Lei Kalina writes her tongue-in-cheek musings and ramblings on the growing worldwide phenomenon of the growth of the Future Culture in the 21st Century

Future Culture In The 21st Century

Future Culture In the 21st Century

Futures Studies, Foresight, or Futurology , according to Wikipedia, is the science, art and practice of postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them. Futures studies (colloquially called "Futures" by many of the field's practitioners) seeks to understand what is likely to continue, what is likely to change, and what is novel. Part of the discipline thus seeks a systematic and pattern-based understanding of past and present, and to determine the likelihood of future events and trends. Futures is an interdisciplinary field, studying yesterday's and today's changes, and aggregating and analyzing both lay and professional strategies, and opinions with respect to tomorrow.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sony's Nextep WristWatch Computers by Year 2020

Photo Credits: YankoDesign.com

YES, IT'S THE HEIGHT of uber-coolness!

Japanese designer Hiromi Kiriki has tapped Sony Nextep wristwatch computers for this breakthrough innovation slated for a year 2020 release : and what a cool sight on your wrist , indeed.

The raves ran the gamut from hush-hush whispers to all-out awe at what could be such a functional piece of digital technology. Check it out:

“As the two worlds of technology and our own personal lives become seemingly ever more connected, the demand for devices that are small, slim, and that serve a variety of internet based functions has risen over the past couple of years and that trend doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Sony is contemplating that very same train of thought and by unveiling the Hiromi Kiriki concept, are showing that they mean business when it comes to embracing innovation.”


Just like a lean-but-mean time machine-cum-wearable technology, making you drool at all the magic this little Sweetie can do. The device, designed to be worn as a bracelet, combines and juggles its digital tricks -- flexible organic light emitting diode or OLED displays along with holographic screen projectors, pull-out keyboards for your fingertips, and the whole hoopla of social networking variety from Facebook to MySpace, just like an all-around sleek device always keeping you in the loop within the no-limits territory of communications technology.

Industry analysts took note that this futuristic concept includes two major technologies being touted as “the big enablers of wearable computing” -- via the flexible and affordable OLED touchscreens, as well as holographic screens ( yes, ala Tom Cruise’s “Minority Report”).

Sony Wrist Computer Concept Sony Wrist Computer Concept Sony Wrist Computer Concept

When news about this beauty spread in techworld circles just last May 2010 after YankoDesign.com’s announcement, shortly after in June TED 2010 featured Minority Report’s highly futuristic data interface concept real-life inventor John Underkoffler -- and clearly a mind-blowing experience for TEDGlobal 2010’s audience.

BoingBoing.com reports:

“John Underkoffler led the team that came up with this point-and-touch interface concept innovation called the G-Speak Spatial Operating Environment. His company, Oblong Industries, was founded to move G-Speak into the real word -- building apps for aerospace, bioinformatics, video editing and more. But the big vision is ubiquity: G-Speak on every laptop, every desktop, every microwave oven, TV, dashboard.

“It has to be like this… We , all of us, everyday feel that. We build starting there. We want to change it all, “ Underkoffler says.

Interestingly, this could be what the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) , the leading United Nations (UN) agency for information and communication technology issues and the global focal point for governments and the private sector in developing networks and services, has observed years back, that more and more of our formerly “offline personal belongings” ( wristwatches, television, even our kitchens, automobiles, telephones) will make the inevitable move from offline to online: yes, the “Internet of Things”.

In an early 2005ITU statement, the agency predicted:

“With the benefit of integrated information processing capacity, industrial products will take on smart capabilities. They may also take on electronic identities that can be queried remotely, or be equipped with sensors for detecting physical changes around them. Such developments will make the merely static objects of today dynamic ones - embedding intelligence in our environment and stimulating the creation of innovative products and new business opportunities. The Internet of Things will enable forms of collaboration and communication between people and things, and between things themselves, hitherto unknown and unimagined.”

“It seems that we are standing on the brink of a new computing and communication era, one that will radically transform our corporate, community, and personal spheres. With continuing developments in miniaturization and declining costs, it is becoming not only technologically possible but also economically feasible to make everyday objects smarter, and to connect the world of people with the world of things.”

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Up Up and Away: Cloud Computing Technology Hits Asia

ALL ROADS LEAD TO KUALA LUMPUR this coming September 20th, as information technology security experts from around the globe – USA, Europe, Middle East . Africa and the Asia Pacific -- and global IT key players take part in presenting best practices and high-level tips for IT security strategies, increasing confidence and reducing risks in modern computing technologies, such as cloud computing, among others.

The conference will present high-level tips for increasing confidence and reducing the risks in cloud computing technology: bringing together throngs from the IT industry worldwide -- security administrators, security architects, senior technologists , security analysts, senior systems engineers, web security managers, security consultants, IT risk managers , among others -- as they share industry insights and strategies to strengthen the stronghold against the challenges of IT security.

The event, entitled The 4th Annual SecureAsia Congress 2010, is dubbed as “ one of the upcoming major event-conferences in Asia focused on the IT security sector which will provide CIOs, CTOs, business and IT executives with the latest IT security strategies, case-study presentations, growing technologies and the best practices that are vital to fight against the security challenges.”

Check out the conference’s sales pitch come-on for its attendees:

“This will be a must-attend event for decision makers and IT risk managers, as it offers a platform to network with the leading information security professionals to discuss the latest security issues and challenges. It will give an unrivaled opportunity to improve evocative and useful information related to IT security.”

With the advent of cloud computing technology slowly seeping through the Asia Pacific region and now here in the Philippines, drumbeating for this technology is getting louder and louder.

Cloud computing technology , simply put, is Internet-based computing, where shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, just like the electricity grid.

With a common “host” for Internet-based applications shared by interconnected virtual servers, among others, there is no need for computer infrastructure such as servers, no skyrocketing business expenses on software, with “pay-as-you-go” mode via cloud computing technology subscription: minus the hassles of maintenance and upkeep of infrastructure and software.

In a recent report by ComputerWorld Philippines, Singapore-based Information Security Forum (ISF) members revealed that cloud computing changed their information security risk landscape, but they maintain that “they are well-placed to address these security issues.

The ISF is a major independent, not-for-profit authority on information security, dedicated to reducing risk and resolving information security challenges.

According to the report: the vote of confidence in cloud computing technology was revealed in the ISF’s latest survey involving more than 300 of the world’s major companies and public sector organizations.

The rapid adoption of cloud computing was identified as one of the top information security challenges in the ISF’s latest Threat Horizon Report, which highlighted concerns on cloud computing focused on managing user identities and credentials, third-party service providers, emerging cloud technologies, protecting against new forms of malware and legal and regulatory issues, as mentioned by ISF senior research consultant Adrian Davis.

ISF informs: “In our latest report on cloud computing, we advise members to address five tasks: prepare a strategy; identify the impact on business operations; assess risks to data; ensure that information security is part of the decision-making process; and work under the assumption that cloud computing is already being used within the organization.”

In the Philippines, more and more are joining the cloud computing technology bandwagon, among them business industry leaders ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, Jollibee, among others.

IT solutions provider IT Group Inc. (ITG) jumps in the cloud technology joyride as well.

“We are moving up the clouds,” says ITG CEO and President Cris Gamboa. The technology’s advantages , such as scalability, dependability, optimized performance regardless of location , preserved functionalities even during upgrades , movement to multiple Virtual Private Servers (VPS) –- all these are part of the ITG decision to go into cloud computing.

“Cloud hosting saves money as acquiring physical servers and software licenses are things of the past, with costs only based on consumption via software-as-a-service (SAAS) subscription. VPS use in the “cloud” conserves electricity, which is part of energy conservation. With data recovery, the said process is easier, faster, and more efficient in case malfunctions occur.”

And on an environment-friendly note: lesser use of computer infrastructure would lead to concerted contributory efforts to ease global warming, energy conservation and promotion of the preservation of the environment.

“ITG is committed to its social responsibility for the community and the environment. More and more companies are making the move from offline business management solutions to cloud computing technology, and now using VPS for low overhead expenses and greener output. Having a single server device , energy is conserved , carbon emissions are reduced , and business processes become simplified and cost-effective.”

Gamboa points out: Philippine businesses are producing metric tons of carbon yearly, contributing greatly to global warming. ITG’s move to switch to cloud computing technology could pave the way for local industries to follow suit, reevaluate their systems, and also take responsibility for a greener environment.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bill Gates Gets Down On Third World Global Health

Photo Credit: GrandChallenges.org

“There is no bigger test to humanity than the crisis of global health . Without compassion we wont do anything. Without science , we cant do anything. “

That’s Bill Gates talking, folks.

When the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the opening of Round 5 of Grand Challenges Exploration, the billionaire couple’s project offering a US$100 million grant initiative to encourage innovation in global health research, both fans and skeptic groups alike had their heads turning.

The foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations , a five-year, $100 million initiative to promote innovation and achieve major breakthroughs in global health, comes on strong as all-heart and compassion for the Third World, described as exerting efforts to help develop and deliver low-cost, life-saving health tools for the developing world.

GatesFoundation.org presents itself as traversing beyond the innovations and breakthroughs in technology and its lucrative arena, and trudging through the burgeoning challenges and complexities of of 21st century living’s humane side, treading through the narrow road of extending a helping hand for the Third World, making sure that denizens of both worlds are leading meaningful and productive lives.

“Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people, especially those with the fewest resources, have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. “

Spearheading the project --- the Global Health Program which is under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation --- is Tadataka Yamada, M.D., who is former Chairman of Research and Development and member of the Board of Directors of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) , also past president of the American Gastroenterological Association and the Association of American Physicians , a master of the American College of Physicians , and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the US’ National Academy of Science , and the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences.

Yamada said in a statement published at the New England Journal of Medicine that the said foundation is willing to promote more aggressive and adventurous approaches to medical research , raring to jumpstart unconventional projects that could transform health in developing countries, and is “willing to take risks”. The Foundation is backing up hundreds of innovative early-stage projects with financial support over the course of 5 years, and shelling out $100,000 investment in each project.

The Global Health Program chief explains : “We want bold ideas — even seemingly wacky ones — that need just a little help to get tested. Proposals will require creative thinking but no preliminary data. We'll run each idea past two groups of reviewers — one composed of internal scientists, and another of partners and advisers with a history of identifying creative solutions to difficult problems. We expect many of these projects to fail, but we stand ready to put substantial funding behind those that succeed. “

Curiously enough, the global health initiative zeroes in on unorthodox and out-of-the-box mindsets and ways of thinking in bold, avante-garde fashion which could be typically Bill Gates in unconventional flavor. Yamada stresses the point . "We hope to hear from researchers of every age, on every continent, and from disciplines that don't typically focus on global health or even biomedical research … History taught us that innovative ideas can come from anywhere."

Meantime, Grand Challenges Explorations’ Round 5 zooms in on technological innovations and inventions on low-cost mobile phones’ applications benefitting priority global health conditions, new technologies on improving health for newborns and mothers, new breakthroughs showcasing protection against infectious diseases, creating new innovative breakthroughs promoting birth control .

Recently in the news and soaking in lukewarm controversy was the foundation’s granting of $100 million to medical efforts by James Tsuruta and Paul Dayton from the University of North Carolina,with ongoing studies on ultrasound waves’ effect of temporarily depleting testicular sperm counts, being lined up as latest breakthrough for possible male contraceptives.

With the said method, the ultrasound waves stop sperm production for six months, making the patient temporarily infertile.

Tsuruta says : "We think this could provide men with up to six months of reliable, low-cost, non-hormonal contraception from a single round of treatment… Our long-term goal is to use ultrasound from therapeutic instruments that are commonly found in sports medicine or physical therapy clinics as an inexpensive, long-term, reversible male contraceptive suitable for use in developing to first world countries."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cuddly Social Robot Petrimo Vs. Cyberpedophilia

We'll meet again online (Image: Mixed Reality Lab/National University of Singapore)

Photo Credit: Mixed Reality Lab

CYBERBULLYING AND CYBERPEDOPHILIA -- explained by social analysts as "sexual attraction to prepubescent children" is no doubt at an all-time high today , burgeoning through a societal sex crime crisis experienced by the United States in the early and mid-1990s, and spreading through Europe, particularly Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Germany, countries which found themselves in the "same predicament". From offline sexual abuse moral panics, these developing phenomena have crawled through online bullying and pedophilia, and have become the scourge of concern by the parental community and the society as a whole.

As cyberbullies are touted to be "emboldened when using electronic means to carry out their antagonistic agenda because it takes less energy and courage to express hurtful comments using a keypad or a keyboard than with one’s voice", the astounding statistics continue in steadily increasing figures. A 2005 US survey reported 73% of the respondents stated that they knew the bully, 26% experienced that the offender was a stranger, 10% revealed that their picture and/or video of them via a cellular phone camera, "consequently making them feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or threatened."

Check out the statistical reports:

"The internet is the new playground or schoolyard where pedophiles go to meet children. Cyber pedophiles almost always have a history of sexual conduct with children and now use chat rooms to contact children directly. Cyber pedophiles usually have interest in child pornography or sexual urges and fantasies with children. The legal system has seen an alarming increase in the number of pedophiles over the past several years. Statistics show that 1 in 5 children who use computer chat rooms have been approached by a pedophile and 1 in 7 kids who use the internet have been solicited for sex online. Law enforcement officials estimate as many as 50,000 sexual predators are online at any given moment."

Cyberpedophilia, meantime, targets the much-younger set of 6 to 10-year-old prepubescent children, with surveys suggesting that as many as 3 in 10 children have been subjected to bullying while online.

Enter Mixed Reality Lab , a project of the National University of Singapore and the Keiyo Media Design of the Keiyo University of Japan, has created the interactive "social robots" called Petimo: designed to guard children against cyberbullies and other online crimes, and borne from the reality that 18 percent of said prepubescent kids in the US use social networking sites, "thus there is a strict need of someone who vigils upon these minors so that they aren’t victimized by the cyber world, this is what the Petimos does so efficiently."

National University of Singapore's Adrian David Cheok , inventor of Petimo, explains that he wanted to use new media to help develop more natural human forms of communication, and that "Petimo is one step in this direction."

How does it work?

"Children will only be able to accept new online "friends" if their Petimos are brought into physical contact first, to guard against cyberbullies and paedophiles masquerading as children. The devices work in conjunction with an online social network called Petimo-World in which they are represented by avatars. By squeezing their physical Petimos, or pressing buttons on them, children can send messages or "gifts" to their online friends.

Parents are notified each time a friend request is made and can block approaches that concern them, so children only see and interact online with the avatars of approved friends.

Meantime, UK group E-Victims, advocating safety for both children and adults on online sex crimes, contend that the system may be quite limited with the restricted content of Petimo World as online children are bound to be bored .

"Children young enough to be content with a walled garden approach and its limitations will probably be too young to be seriously interested

in the chat element."

To this, UK

police officials last March called on social networking sites to place a standard "panic button" designed by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre on all pages, to help ensure safety for children against online sex crimes, and against cyberbullying and cyberpedophilia.

Meantime, advocates against online sex crimes on children also lament that the responsibility is not solely on social networking sites, as parents , too, have strong roles to play. Online practices such as anonymity and caution in disclosing information are very important, as well as installing certain filtering software which are able to block off pornographic contents if they were to receive pornographic materials in their inboxes, or when they surf the Internet.

"Companies or schools can also install software such as the BioObservation System using computer image analysis technology that can analyse computer images to identify pornographic or pedophile images on suspect computers and to alert the relevant authority when such offending images are received."

Mixed Reality Lab's Petrimo hits the US market late this year, and may also be due for distribution for the international market.

"Future of Communication"- Mixed Reality Lab, Adrian David Cheok

"Future of Communication"- Mixed Reality Lab, Adrian David Cheok

Mixed Reality Lab & Adrian David Cheok on Discovery Science Channel "Future of Communication" showing Petimo Childrens Social Robots ... Petimo ...