Feb 24

New Space Race Plus Pizza-Delivering and Tax-Paying Robots

Slide1Phil and Stephen review a grab-bag of future-facing news.
Uber CEO predicts humanoid robots will deliver pizza, AI chatbots to be in self-driving cars
Trump administration investigating the large scale development of space with Spacex and Blue Origin likely big winners
Bill Gates: the robot that takes your job should pay taxes
McDonald’s Re-Engineers Straw Using Fibonacci Formula To Let You Enjoy Shamrock Shake More

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Feb 21

The Hackable Human: Frontiers of Human Augmentation

Slide1Phil and Stephen review current news indicating that the age of the hackable human is upon us.


Join us

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Feb 20

Basic Power: an Alternative to Basic Income?

Slide1Brian Wang outlines a new idea that can accelerate the end of poverty worldwide. Brian’s Basic Power plan would bring inexpensive, off-the-grid electricity to the world’s poorest people, bringing obvious economic benefits to them and perhaps less obvious economic benefits to the world as a whole.


About Our Guest:

Brian Wang (MBA)  is a  business oriented futurist and writer of over 20000 articles on nextbigfuture.com. Where he has provided in-depth coverage and analysis of emerging and disruptive technology and trends.Brian-Wang-sm

* He has provided annual reviews of developments in nanotechnology to Singularity University

* He has worked with the Institute for the Future to help advise the city of Hong Kong on their future development

* He has given a TEDx lecture on Energy.

He has also advised and lectured at large corporations on Artificial Intelligence and automation and robotics.

Plus Brian is a contributor to our new book: Visions for a World Transformed



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Feb 16

World Transformed Book Update

VisionsBig news: The World Transformed Book is finished and will be available soon as a kindle eBook via Amazon.


Phil and Stephen discuss

  • What’s the book?
  • How it started
  • New title: Visions for a World Transformed
  • What took so long?
    • (Phil explains.)
  • What’s in it?


PLUS Phil and Stephen discuss interesting scenarios from the book, including:

  • An explanation of why humanity needs to stop getting used to things sucking
  • (Related:Thoughts on why everybody needs to lighten up,)
  • How amusement parks can play a critical role in settling the moon
  • How self-driving cars will kill a lot of people – and why we should switch to them as soon as possible
  • Why we need prizes for acceleration


ALSO: Big plans for the book?

We’ve got some!


AND… a special Wednesday edition of OTHER GEEK!

Join us

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Feb 13

Preventing the Economic Robot Apocalypse

Slide1Phil and Stephen discus the economic consequences of rampant automation.

Chinese factory replaces 90% of human workers with robots. Production rises by 250%, defects drop by 80%

Also here 

According to Monetary Watch, the Changying Precision Technology Company focuses on the production of mobile phones and uses automated production lines. The factory used to be run by 650 employees, but now just 60 people get the entire job done, while robots take care of the rest. Luo Weiqiang, the general manager, says the number of required employees will drop to 20 at one point. Despite this reduction in staff, not only is the factory producing more equipment (a 250% increase), but it’s also ensuring better quality.

SHOP-POCALYPSE Amazon planning to open robotic supermarket staffed by just THREE humans, sources claim

If you’re a robot stealing somebody’s job, it’s best to stay hidden.

That’s what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appears to be thinking, as his Seattle-based web giant has contemplated a two-story, automated grocery store in which a staff of robots on the floor upstairs grabs and bags items for shoppers below.

The ground level of the futuristic prototype — a supermarket-sized version of its recently unveiled “Amazon Go” convenience store, with a bigger layout that could span anywhere between 10,000 and 40,000 square feet — would be devoted to goods that shoppers typically like to touch, sources briefed on the plans told The New Post.

These 23 Principles Could Help Us Avoid an AI Apocalypse


At a recent gathering, a group of experts [came] up with 23 principles to steer the development of AI in a positive direction—and to ensure it doesn’t destroy us.

The new guidelines, dubbed the 23 Asilomar AI Principles, touch upon issues pertaining to research, ethics, and foresight—from research strategies and data rights to transparency issues and the risks of artificial superintelligence.

Of the 23 values, several are especially relevant to our discussion:

10) Value Alignment: Highly autonomous AI systems should be designed so that their goals and behaviors can be assured to align with human values throughout their operation.

11) Human Values: AI systems should be designed and operated so as to be compatible with ideals of human dignity, rights, freedoms, and cultural diversity.

13) Liberty and Privacy: The application of AI to personal data must not unreasonably curtail people’s real or perceived liberty.

14) Shared Benefit: AI technologies should benefit and empower as many people as possible.

15) Shared Prosperity: The economic prosperity created by AI should be shared broadly, to benefit all of humanity.



What’s on Netflix?

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Feb 09

Nikola Danaylov and Conversations with the Future

Nik's CoverNikola Danylov discusses his new book, Conversations with the Future.

For generations, humanity stared at the vastness of the oceans and wondered, “What if?” Today, having explored the curves of the Earth, we now stare at endless stars and wonder, “What if?” Our technology has brought us to the make-or-break moment in human history. We can either grow complacent, and go extinct like the dinosaurs, or spread throughout the cosmos, as Carl Sagan dreamed of.

For many years Nikola Danaylov has been interviewing the future and motivating people all over the world to embrace rather than fear it. “Conversations with the Future” was born from those interviews and Nik’s unceasing need to explore “What If” with some of the most forward thinking visionaries in the world today.


About Our Guest:

NikDanylovNik Danaylov is a Keynote Speaker, Futurist, Strategic Adviser, popular Blogger and Podcast host.

His podcast,  Singularity.FM, has had over 4 million views on iTunes and YouTube and has been featured on international TV networks as well as some of the biggest blogs in the world, such as BBC, ArteTV, TV Japan, io9, the Huffington Post, ZDNet, BoingBoing and others.

Today Singularity Weblog is the biggest independent blog on related topics. The Singularity.FM podcast is the first, most popular and widely recognized interview series in the niche and, according to Prof. Roman Yampolskiy, Nikola has established himself as the “Larry King of the Singularity.”

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Feb 07

Getting Closer to the Final Frontier: On to Mars and the Stars

Phil and Stephen dSlide1iscuss colonizing Mars and exploring interstellar space.

Trump may fund the Spacex Mars Colonization plan

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, has made trips to Trump Tower. He met with Trump and the Washington Post has been reliably told, discussed Mars and public-private partnerships…


How an Interstellar Starship Could Actually Explore Alpha Centauri

As part of the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative, Milner plans to invest $100 million in an effort to develop an ultra-light autonomous lightsail that can be accelerated to one-fifth the speed of light (60,000 km/s, or 37,350 miles/s). At this ludicrous speed, a sail-driven robotic probe could reach Alpha Centauri—the closest star system to Earth—in just 20 years, as opposed to 100,000 years using traditional chemical thrusters.
Breakthrough Starshot Initiative

Breakthrough Starshot aims to demonstrate proof of concept for ultra-fast light-driven nanocrafts, and lay the foundations for a first launch to Alpha Centauri within the next generation. Along the way, the project could generate important supplementary benefits to astronomy, including solar system exploration and detection of Earth-crossing asteroids.


Question asked: is this a foretaste of ad-hocracy?

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Feb 03

Hydrogen Metal, Fractal Books, and Spacesuits Just Like in the Movies

Slide1Phil and Stephen explore a grab-bag of future-related topics.


Hydrogen turned into metal in stunning act of alchemy that could revolutionise technology and spaceflight

Metallic hydrogen could theoretically revolutionise technology, enabling the creation of super-fast computers, high-speed levitating trains and ultra-efficient vehicles and dramatically improving almost anything involving electricity.

Every meal triggers inflammation

When we eat, we do not just take in nutrients – we also consume a significant quantity of bacteria. The body is faced with the challenge of simultaneously distributing the ingested glucose and fighting these bacteria. This triggers an inflammatory response that activates the immune systems of healthy individuals…

Scientists find evidence of mathematical structures in classic books

The academics put more than 100 works of world literature, by authors from Charles Dickens to Shakespeare, Alexandre Dumas, Thomas Mann, Umberto Eco and Samuel Beckett, through a detailed statistical analysis…



NASA’s New Astronaut Suits Are Straight Out of 2001: A Space Odyssey

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Feb 01

What Will Things Be Like in Five Years?

Slide1Phil and Stephen review predictions for the year 2022 and make a few of their own.

IBM just posted 5 predictions about what life will be like in 2022

1. Thanks to AI, our speech will be a window into our mental health

2. Superhero vision will be possible with AI and powerful new devices

3. ‘Macroscopes’ will help us understand Earth’s complexity in infinite detail

4. ‘Labs on a chip’ will revolutionise medicine

5. Smart sensors will detect environmental pollution faster than ever

The Singularity is nearer: AI is learning to predict the future

Related: Jeff Hawkins’s book On Intelligence lays out a thesis that intelligence basically means the ability to make predictions

Scientists create new life form in a lab, altering the fundamentals of DNA

Scientists have announced that they have created living organisms using an expanded genetic code. That could in turn lead to the creation of entirely new lifeforms, using combinations of DNA that couldn’t possible have existed before.

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Jan 30

Affordable Health Care: What Will REALLY Work

Slide1Phil and Stephen explore the role technology may play in making healthcare more abundant and affordable.

Scientists May Have Found A Way To Regenerate Our Teeth

The King’s College researchers put the enzyme inhibitoron biodegradable collagen sponges, stuck them in subjects’ teeth where cavities had formed and found they healed up without the need for any drilling or filling.

First FDA Approval For Clinical Cloud-Based Deep Learning In Healthcare

The first FDA approval for a machine learning application to be used in a clinical setting is a big step forward for AI and machine learning in healthcare and industry as a whole.

Two Infants Treated with Universal Immune Cells Have Their Cancer Vanish

“What Happens When Doctors Only Take Cash”? Everybody, Especially Patients, Wins

The lucrative field of medicine gets demystified, prices go down, services go up, and everybody except insurance companies come out ahead.

Jan 16

Nature: It’s Out to Kill You and Your Children

Slide1Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon debate the proposition that nature is hostile to life.

We begin with a tweet from David Frum.

Nature wants 5 of your 7 children dead. It wants you dead by 50. Everything better than that is brought to you by science and technology.

True or false?

Nature is full of carnivores and parasites, relying on them to make the whole system work. Does that mean nature wants us dead? On the other hand, it has enabled us to evolve intelligence to take on the challenges the natural world presents to us.

  • Does it make sense to say nature “wants” anything?
  • Can technology really be called “natural?” When beavers build dams, that’s nature. When humans build dams, it’s not. Huh?
  • Why does respect for nature often create anti-human sentiments?

Join us!

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Aug 27

The Robots: Taking Our Jobs, Writing Our Books, Treating Our Illnesses

Phil and Stephen continue their analysis of Thomas Frey’s 72 stunning things in the future that will be common ten years from now that don’t exist today
this time adding their own analysis and scenarios around AI.

Best selling biographies written by artificial intelligence.
Legal documents written by artificial intelligence.
AI-menu selection, based on diet, for both restaurants and at home.
Full body pet scanners with instant AI medical diagnosis.
AI selection of movies and television shows based on moods, ratings, and personal preferences.
Much like the last item, AI music selection will be based on moods, ratings, and musical tastes.
AI sleep-optimizers will control all of the environmental factors – heat, light, sound, oxygen levels, smells, positioning, vibration levels, and more.
AI hackers. Sooner or later someone will figure out how to use even our best AI technology for all the wrong purposes.

Phil adds — true conversational ui/computers that understand language


Escape room in a box: “Escape the Room” Mystery at the Stargazer’s Mansion

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Aug 25

Getting There: the Amazing Future of Transportation

Phil and Stephen continue their analysis of Thomas Frey’s 72 stunning things in the future that will be common ten years from now that don’t exist today – and add their own future transportation scenarios.


Unmanned aviation – personal drone transportation.

360-degree video transportation monitoring cameras at most intersections

Everywhere wireless.

Black boxes for drones to record information in the event of an accident.

Air-breathing hypersonic propulsion for commercial aircraft.

Robotic follow-behind-you luggage

Robotic dog walkers and robotic people walkers

Ultra high-speed tube transportation

Phil adds — how about passenger hybrid airplane / lighter than air craft?

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Aug 23

72 Reasons to be Excited About the Future

Phil and Stephen explore futurist Thomas Frey’s 72 stunning things in the future that will be common ten years from now that don’t exist today

Working their way more or less backwars through the list, the guys cover:

Bitcoin loans for houses, cars, business equipment and more.

Self-filling water bottles with built-in atmospheric water harvesters.

Reputation networks.

Atmospheric energy harvesters.

Pet education centers, such as boarding schools for dogs and horses, to improve an animal’s IQ.

Robotic bricklayers.

Privacy bill of rights.

Hot new buzzword, “Megaprojects.”

Adding their own item to the list, the guys discuss the newly announced revolutionary method to map the brain at single-neuron resolution. What applications might this technology have in 10 years?

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Aug 20

We Aren’t Saying It’s Aliens…

Phil and Stephen discuss how we might find aliens via astronomical observation.

The So-Called Alien Megastructure Just Got Even More Mysterious

By carefully examining all the full-frame images collected during Kepler’s observational campaign, Montet and Simon discovered something astonishing: Not only did the star’s light output occasionally dip by up to 20 percent, its total stellar flux diminished continuously over the course of four years.

Have we detected an alien megastructure in space? Keep an open mind

If you give aliens the credit for strange phenomena, you’re probably wrong.

Still, skepticism shouldn’t yield to cynicism.

Want to Find Aliens? Look for Planets That Have Become Stars

There Are Enough Superheroes for 3,400 Years of Movies

Between Marvel and DC there are some 17,000 characters to choose from—enough for them to keep battling it out for box office dominance for the next 3,400 years. Find out more about the ultimate superhero box office face-off in the stop-motion paper animation above.

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Aug 18

Amazingly Wrong: the Future is Not What We Expect

Phil and Stephen provide examples of just how wrong we can be in our thinking about the future (as well as the present and the past.)

While a Family Innocently Slept, the Roomba Was Smearing a ‘War Zone of Poop’ All Over the Living Room

Why You’re Pretty Much Unconscious All the Time

Seasteading lite

Being Lazy May Be  a Sign of Intelligence

Ray Kurzweil Explains Why Radical Life Extension Will Be Better Than You Think

Related: Living Long Enough to Live Forever

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Aug 15

Somebody’s Got a Good Case of the Mondays

Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon let loose with a torrent of good news to brighten everybody’s Monday.

This Tiny Computer has no Battery, Powered Wirelessly from Radio Waves

A team of researchers from the University of Washington’s Sensor Lab and the Delft University of Technology has developed a new gadget that doesn’t need a battery or any external power source to keep it powered; rather it works on radio waves.

Biofuel production technique could reduce cost, antibiotics use

“Second Skin” Could Protect Troops From Chemical, Biological Agents

Stem cell therapy trial for ALS and MS patients at Jerusalem hospital shows stunning results

Bamiyan Buddhas Restored In Afghanistan With The Help Of 3D Light Projection

This Is How the World’s Poor Are Pioneering the Future of Energy

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Aug 12

The Amazing Future Is Here, Part Two

Phil and Stephen continue their  review of amazing advances that have taken place since they first started podcasting.

Private Space Development

This private company just became the first to get an official green light to land on the moon, and it could shape the future of space exploration

Self-Driving Cars

Man says Tesla Autopilot saved his life by driving him to the hospital

Other Advances:


Virtual reality

Vat meat

Solar energy

Artificial Intelligence

Watson correctly diagnoses woman after doctors were stumped


Life extension

Reversing Aging: Clinical Trials For “Young-to-Old” Blood Transfusions Begin


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Aug 10

The Amazing Future Is Here, Part One

Phil and Stephen continue their 500th show celebration with a review of amazing advances that have taken place since they first started podcasting.

Extrasolar encyclopedia lists 3500 (3489) planets outside of our solar system that have been discovered

First entry is March 18 2006

3500 planets discovered in the past 10 years

Previously, only 8 had been discovered in all of human history

3D Printing

The RepRap project started as a British initiative to develop a 3D printer that can print most of its own components and be a low-cost 3D printer, but it is now made up of hundreds of collaborators world wide.[1] RepRap is short for replicating rapid prototyper. (Today do an Amazon search on 3D printer and you’ll find dozens if not hundreds of available products.)

Statue destroyed 1,500 years ago revived through 3D printing

12 Things We Can 3D Print in Medicine

Over 100 3D Printing Projects for Your Home


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(3d printer photo by Bre Pettis)


Aug 08

500 Shows and Going Strong

Phil and Stephen reflect on 11 years of podcasting with their 500th show.

Questions to be addressed:

Why do you do this show? Some possible answers:

  1. We’re going to track this stuff anyway
  2. It’s fun
  3. It’s interesting
  4. We want to understand it better
  5. Need to be a part of what’s happening

What are you trying to prove?

The guys discuss the the many indications that their future is closing in on us much faster than most people suspect. Rather than stand by and watch it happen, they have decided to become participants.

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Aug 05

Why You’re Wrong About the Universe

Phil and Stephen discuss recent perspective-changing discoveries in astronomy.

How Many Suns Can a Planet Have?

So far three is the most we’ve found for any, but there could be more.

Contrary to Popular belief, Jupiter Does Not Orbit the Sun

Our universe could be reborn as a bouncing baby cosmos

The universe could bounce through its own demise and emerge unscathed. A new “bigbounce” model shows how the universe could shrink to a point and grow again, using just the cosmic ingredients we know about now.

Physicists Successfully Perform Time Travel Experiment

Physicists at the University of Queensland, Australia, have shown that single particles of light (photons) can pass through a wormhole and interact with its older self.

(Mathematical model only.)


Second Lego Batman Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcNh18B-lLA

(Batman is Robin’s Dad!)

The Bourne Completion

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Aug 03

Hacking Humanity: Amazing New Medical Treatments

Phil and Stephen review several new human “hacks” that will save and lengthen lives.

Artificial Pancreas Is First To Raise $1 Million Under New Crowdfunding Rules

A company creating an “artificial pancreas” for diabetics this week became the first startup to raise $1 million using new type of online stock sale open to the public at large.

The fountain of youth may reside in an embryonic stem cell gene named Nanog

In a series of experiments at the University at Buffalo, the gene kicked into action dormant cellular processes that are key to preventing weak bones, clogged arteries and other telltale signs of growing old.

Male hormone reverses cell aging in clinical trial

Sex hormones can stimulate production of telomerase, an enzyme naturally found in the human organism, new research shows.

HoloLens Hack Fools the Brain Into Fixing Itself

Microsoft’s amazing HoloLens is the world’s first stand-alone headset that lets users see virtual objects and environments as if they existed in the real world. It can also be used to rewire a malfunctioning brain.

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Aug 01

Let’s Get Smarter for the Future’s Sake

How smart are we, and how smart do we have to be?  Phil  and Stephen  review some recent developments that show why our thinking has to get better

Too many mice are sacrificed for seriously flawed studies

Half or more of public says they would not want these enhancements

Related: Americans Afraid of Genome-Editing to Cure Sick Kids: What’s Wrong with You People?

Oxford University Is Older Than the Aztecs

And then one great example of how our thinking CAN get better:

Smart Aid for the World’s Poor

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Jul 29

Cockroach Milk and Other Super Geeky Stuff

Phil and Stephen further establish their unparalleled geek cred with some news stories so geeky they might just make you sick!

Scientists think cockroach milk could be the superfood of the future

Although most cockroaches don’t actually produce milk, Diploptera punctate, which is the only known cockroach to give birth to live young, has been shown to pump out a type of ‘milk’ containing protein crystals to feed its babies.

This Swimming Stingray Robot Is Powered by Real, Living Rat Cells

This soft robotic stingray is made of rat heart muscle. Yeah, it’s just as crazy as it sounds.
The Astounding Link Between the P≠NP Problem and the Quantum Nature of Universe

It’s Star Trek, Jim, but not as we know it: the bizarre story of Turkey’s 1973 Star Trek rip-off

‘Walking Dead’ Creator Adapting ‘Chronicles of Amber’ for TV (Exclusive)

Plus: Update on Stephen’s gaming room!

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Jul 27

Amazing Results: Doing More with Less Is Really Starting to Add Up

Phil and Stephen discuss how we’re making more happen with less money, less effort, and less time — and where that’s leading us

The whole trip to Pluto cost less than 1 NFL stadium

The nine-year, three-billion-mile voyage of NASA’s New Horizons probe is undoubtedly a testament to the genius of mankind — yet the same praise might not be raised for NFL stadiums.

Healthy livers grown from rejected donor organs in transplant breakthrough

We might soon reach a point where all donor organs are used for scaffolding only.

Pumping iron: Lighter weights just as effective as heavier weights to gain muscle, build strength

New research is challenging traditional workout wisdom, suggesting that lifting lighter weights many times is as efficient as lifting heavy weights for fewer repetitions. It is the latest in a series of studies that started in 2010, contradicting the decades-old message that the best way to build muscle is to lift heavy weights.

Why the Cost of Living Is Poised to Plummet in the Next 20 Years

“What people aren’t talking about, and what’s getting my attention, is a forthcoming rapid demonetization of the cost of living.”

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Jul 27

Another Fine Mess

Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon discuss why big problems call on us to get better at thinking.

We’ll Only Have a Year to Prepare For a Cataclysmic Super-Eruption

A new microscopic analysis of quartz crystals taken from the site of a massive volcanic eruption that occurred 760,000 years ago in eastern California suggests we’ll only have about a year’s worth of advance warning before a devastating super-eruption. In a paper published in PLOS ONE, Guilherme Gualda from Vanderbilt University and Stephen Sutton from the University of Chicago show that super-eruptions don’t require much time to blow their tops, even though they’re tens of thousands of years in the making.

Google Cuts Its Giant Electricity Bill With DeepMind-Powered AI

Meet Graham: The Only Person designed to Survive on Our Roads

Ray Kurzweil: Get ready for hybrid thinking


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Jul 22

Strange New Worlds: Stranger and Newer

Phil and Stephen discuss big developments in astronomy. We’re learning more about new worlds every day.

Saturn’s biggest moon could support a new kind of alien life

Researchers in the US have been analysing the chemical composition of Saturn’s largest satellite, and think the presence of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) molecules in the atmosphere could pave the way for different forms of life to evolve.

We Found a Planet Twirling Between Three Suns

And scientists can’t yet explain how it got that way.

Stars are vanishing. The reasons why could reveal clues about alien life

Uppsala University is researching what happens to stars that seemingly ‘disappear’

New Dwarf Planet Discovered Far Beyond Pluto’s Orbit

Astronomers have discovered another dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt, the ring of icy objects beyond Neptune


Stanley Kubrick’s Daughter Rails Against Moon Landing Conspiracy Theorists

Hot Air Ballooning Returns to Shreveport.

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Jul 20

Amazing Materials, Amazing Products, Amazing Industries

Phil and Stephen discuss accelerating progress in producing materials and finished products

How synthetic biology will make more money than the entire computer industry

This company plans to grow armies of drones in giant tubs of chemicals

3D printing with bamboo fiber

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are using bamboo fiber in 3-D printing experiments to determine whether bio-based feedstock materials are feasible in additive manufacturing.

Smart Dust Is Coming: New Camera Is the Size of a Grain of Salt

Get a grip: GM built a force-multiplying robotic glove, and I got to try it out

This RoboGlove could help reduce fatigue on assembly lines — and its benefits stretch beyond the automotive realm.

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Jul 18

Changing Our Minds: Rethinking How We Think

Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon look at why we aren’t just changing our thinking — we’re changing HOW we think.

The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete

Petabytes allow us to say: “Correlation is enough.” We can stop looking for models. We can analyze the data without hypotheses about what it might show.

To Diagnose Mental Illness, Read the Brain

Rather than relying on symptoms, scientists are developing a “brain circuits first” approach to mental health.

‘Hacking’ the brain: Silicon Valley entrepreneurs turn to fasting and ‘smart drugs’

How and Why to Build an Analytics-Driven Culture

How to Train Your ‘Monkey Mind’ With Meditation

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Jul 15

Robo-Drivers and Robocops: Life, Death, and Artificial Intelligence

Phil and Stephen reminisce about the good old days when “killer robots” was just a joke.

Deadly Tesla Crash Exposes Confusion over Automated Driving

Amid a federal investigation, ignorance of the technology’s limitations comes into focus

The crash occurred on a Florida highway when an 18-wheel tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of a 2015 Tesla Model S that was in Autopilot mode and the car failed to apply the brakes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)—which is investigating—said in a preliminary report. “Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor-trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.”

The Dallas police used a ‘bomb robot’ to kill a shooting suspect. That’s a really big deal.

“Negotiations broke down. We had an exchange of gunfire with the suspect,” Dallas police chief David Brown explained in a press conference. “We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was.”

What do these stories tell us about future mortality related to robots?

Dinosaur corn on the cob holders

Stephen’s Total Geek Home Makeover

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Jul 13

The (Amazing) 16-Year Leap: The Immortality Paradox Part 2

Phil and Stephen discuss some “serious” ideas for life extension — including Ray Kurzweils’ upgrade on when immortality starts — which are somehow more aggressive than the “crazy” ideas.

Beyond Resveratrol: The Anti-Aging NAD Fad

Sinclair’s report sparked excitement about NR, which was already on the market as a supplement called Niagen. Niagen’s maker, ChromaDex, a publicly traded Irvine, Calif., company, sells it to various retailers, which market it under their own brand names. In the wake of Sinclair’s paper, Niagen was hailed in the media as a potential blockbuster.

Scientist claims immortality within reach

Molecular Biologist Dr Bill Andrews says he is close to discovering a ‘cure’ for ageing.

Kurzweil Accelerates Immortality Pledge From 2045 To 2029

“I believe we will reach a point around 2029 when medical technologies will add one additional year every year to your life expectancy,” he told Playboy. “By that I don’t mean life expectancy based on your birthdate, but rather your remaining life expectancy.”

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Jul 11

Head Transplants and Frozen Brains: The Immortality Paradox Part 1

If we are going to achieve immortality — and how exactly do we define that? — do we need extreme interventions or a more modest approach? Phil and Stephen discuss some “crazy” ideas for life extension.

But first a quick mention: Juno has landed and is up and running!

And now back to our scheduled program…

How To Become Immortal – By The People Who Think You Can

‘Center For Immortality’ Being Built in Texas

Russian man says he wants to become first person to undergo full head transplant

Humai Wants To Resurrect Humans Within 30 Years

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Jul 07

Total Geek: Real Aliens, Fake Star Trek and Other Geeky Goodness

Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon do some erious geeking out.

Yes, There Have Been Aliens

In our recent paper, Professor Sullivan and I did this by shifting the focus of Drake’s equation. Instead of asking how many civilizations currently exist, we asked what the probability is that ours is the only technological civilization that has ever appeared. By asking this question, we could bypass the factor about the average lifetime of a civilization. This left us with only three unknown factors, which we combined into one “biotechnical” probability: the likelihood of the creation of life, intelligent life and technological capacity.

“Axanar,” Other Fan Films Endangered By New “Star Trek” Guidelines

“The fan production must … not exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.”

Time to think about skipping the new Trek Movie? (premieres two weeks from today!)

There’s plenty of good Trek around produced by fans. Is everybody up to date?

Phil is especially impressed by:

Star Trek Continues

Matthew’s 3 hour Hobbit cut.

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Jul 05

The Declaration of Amazing 2016

Phil and Stephen review the Declaration of Singularity and amazing stories that indicate we will probably be making it sooner than some might expect.

The Declaration of Singularity

A reminder of why we fight!

Chisels to Genes: How We’ll Soon Grow What We Used to Build

Jason Kelly, founder of Gingko Bioworks, said that the company plans to create new species of bacteria whose purpose is to make a particular chemical. For example, a French fragrance company has commissioned Gingko Bioworks to grow rose oil (in a bacteria) so they don’t have to squeeze it from flower petals.

Your Self-Driving Car Will Be Programmed to Kill You—Deal With It

A terribly misleading headline! It should read: “Your Self-Driving Car Will Be Programmed to Kill You—And Here’s Why That Isn’t a Problem.”

Or better yet: “Your Self-Driving Car Will Be Programmed to Kill You—And That’s Totally Amazing.”

Elon musk open AI

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Jul 01

The Future and Unlimited Possibility

Phil and Stephen discuss three varieties of possibility and list examples of each:

1. The Adjacent Possible

The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself.

Possibilities that we are only a step or two away from.

The Robot Lawyer
Chatbot lawyer overturns 160,000 parking tickets in London and New York

See also: Conversational User Interface

Going to Mars
Elon Musk Charts Path to Colonizing Mars Within a Decade

2. The Distant Possible

Possibilities that we can imagine but that are not on the immediate horizon

Time Travel
Interstellar Travel
Digital Immortality

Question: where do we put life extension, cure for cancer, jobless economy?

3. The Hidden Possible

Possibilities both near and far that we haven’t thought of yet., e.g. when Amazon said they were looking into doing deliveries via drones.

Uber, Lyft, AirBnB

Improving health via gut bacteria

Some ideas are well known by some but still the hidden possible for many others:

The Singularity


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Jun 29

Why Dumb Ideas Matter (and Can Be Amazingly Powerful)

Phil and Stephen talk about the surprising usefulness of dumb ideas.

The 10 Craziest Startup Ideas Of All Time

Chat With a Star
The Meet Pen


1. Pet Rock
2. Million Dollar Homepage
3. Holy Ink
4. “Positive” Attraction
5. Plastic Wishbones
6. Doggles
7. Exercise Cards
8. Working Vacations
9. Santa Mail
10. Aquariums… without the fish

Why the World Needs More Brilliant ‘Stupid’ Ideas

The Power of Starting Something Stupid

Also — “good” ideas that failed!

Apple Newton
Google Glass

WT 175-482


Jun 24

Schooling Bezos: Debating with (and Giving Suggestions to) the Founder of Amazon

Phil and Stephen examine whether they agree or disagree with Jeff Bezos on some points he made in a recent talk:

6. Gawker’s opponents need a ‘thick skin’

5. Amazon Prime Video ‘helps sell more shoes’

4. Amazon isn’t trying to kill UPS

3. AI will have a massive impact on society in the next 20 years

2. Government surveillance is an ‘issue of our age’

1. Donald Trump’s attempt to freeze media critics is ‘not appropriate’

Meanwhile, our friend Will Brown has an idea for how Jeff can put us all to work.


Fun with the Queen’s “green screen” dress

WT 174-481


Jun 22

Artificial Intelligence Is Here and It’s (Wait for It) Amazing

The AI future seems to be arriving sooner than expected. Phil and Stephen review some amazing recent developments.

Long Promised Artificial Intelligence Is Looming—and It’s Going to Be Amazing

10 Stats About Artificial Intelligence That Will Blow You Away

1. $5.05 billion market by 2020

2. 6 billion devices will request AI support

3. $5.4 billion invested in AI start-ups

4. 80% of executives believe AI boosts productivity

5. Most mobile users use voice assistants

6. Virtual assistants will make decisions for you

7. Most enterprise relationships with customers won’t require humans by 2020

8. AI will replace 16% of jobs over next decade

9. Robots will probably outnumber humans at work

10. AI is powered by GPUs, not CPUs

Intelligent robot that ‘remembers and learns’ could be scrapped after escaping a lab for a second time

WT 173-480

Jun 10

Arguing (and Agreeing) with Elon

Phil and Stephen provide a reality check on some recent seemingly outrageous statements about the future by Elon Musk.

Will we really be on Mars in less than a decade? Are we really just two years away from fully autonomous cars? Are we really living in a computer simulation?

Elon Musk Just Made These 5 Bold Claims About the Future

Elon Musk believes we are probably characters in some advanced civilization’s video game

Elon Musk goes on a ‘machines building machines’ rant about the future of manufacturing

Other Geek

Stephen discusses Onitama:

A chess-lite game played on a 5×5 grid (instead of an chess 8×8).  And, instead of pieces having assigned moves (like bishop always moves diagonally) the available ways a piece can move are dictated by cards.  You have two cards in hand to choose from.  There’s a card “on deck” about to come into your hand.   You can use those cards to move any of your pieces.

“We love it because it took about 5 minutes to learn, it takes about 10 minutes to play.  But the depth is amazing.  We could play for years – getting better all along.”.

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Jun 08

Miracle and Wonder: Amazing Developments in Medicine

Phil and Stephen review some recent (amazing!) news from the world of medicine.

Researchers created a robotic hand that is eerily human-like and can learn on its own

AI ‘doctors’ will diagnose your X-rays

Stanford researchers ‘stunned’ by stem cell experiment that helped stroke patient walk

Lab-Grown Kidneys Proven To Work: Now Moving To Being Viable Option For CKD & Dialysis Patients

Scientists have performed the first trials of a ‘universal cancer vaccine’

Ears, noses grown from stem cells in lab dishes

WT 171-478


Jun 06

Space: Final Frontier or Next Big Thing?

Phil and Stephen discuss how our perception of outer space may be shifting. Still a realm of great mystery and scientific curiosity, space also promises to be a new land of opportunity. Recent news stories reflect both trends.

Three Spiral Galaxies Created a Black Hole

Rosetta spacecraft finds key building blocks for life in a comet

Here’s What Humanity Wanted Aliens to Know About Us in 1977

Turning Near-Earth Asteroids Into Strategically-Placed Fuel Dumps

Ceres: Interplanetary resources Selling Solution developed for Space on Earth

(They’ve raised $21 million.)

US Government to approve private unmanned Moon mission for next year.

WT 170-477


Jun 03

Superhero Smackdown! (And Other Geeky Goodness)

Phil and Stephen go full fanboy with their combined reviews of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. Warning: spoilers and more spoilers!

A few topics:

Everybody has been pretty hard on Batman vs. Superman but what are its good points?

New Spider-Man: Awesome or Totally Awesome?

Civil War: the ultimate in comic book big-screen entertainment or just fan service driven to a ridiculous level? (Or both?!?)

Plus OTHER Other Geek

Stephen touts the glories of  7 Wonders Duel, explaining why it’s far better than “2-player mode” in regular Seven Wonders.

Phil with some thoughts on the latest developments on Silicon Valley.

WT 169-476


Jun 01

Amazing Engineering: Disruptive Technologies Are Transforming Everything

Phil and Stephen present a roundup of amazing news stories showcasing big steps forward in engineering.

Augmented Reality Market Worth 117.40 Billion USD and Virtual Reality Market worth 33.90 Billion USD by 2022

Nanomaterials could double efficiency of solar cells by converting waste heat into usable energy

China Unveils Elevated Bus That Passes Over Cars on the Highway

Face controlled wheelchair without sensor mounted on face

Airless Tires Make Flats A Thing Of The Past. You Don’t Have To Worry About Bad Roads Ever Again!

Scientists Use Lasers To Regrow Teeth From Stem Cells

Imagine if a trip to the dentist to treat a cavity didn’t involve a filling, root canal, or crown. What if a simple light treatment could actually get your teeth to regrow themselves using stem cells? That’s the aim of a group of researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, led by David Mooney, who have found success in regrowing rat teeth in this manner.

WT 168-475


May 31

The Winds of Robowar: Countdown to the AI Takeover

Are the robots really planning to take over? If so, how will they do it? Phil and Stephen use current news stories to show how the plan may already be unfolding!

Step 1: They get inside our heads.

The most popular trends in cognitive computing

IBM Watson-based cognitive computing is being adopted by more and more businesses for a wide variety of applications
Step 2: They take our jobs.

Building robot McDonald’s staff ‘cheaper’ than hiring workers on minimum wage

A former McDonald’s CEO warned that robots will take over staff jobs at the fast food empire – because it’s cheaper than employing humans.
Step 3: They make us depend on them.

What Are We Gonna Do With All The People Who Are Automated Out of Work?


Step 4: They get armed

The LOCUST Is Coming: Navy Launches Swarms of Tiny Drones

Drone swarms will change the face of modern warfare

WT 167-474


May 27

Would You Marry a Robot? (And Other Geeky Questions)

There are some questions that only a geek would ask.  Phil  and Stephen review some of these and, being geeks, attempt to answer them.

Why can’t dying patients have ANY drug they can get their hands on?

More on “what do we do with all the old people?” But this one applies to adults of all ages.
Would you MARRY a robot?

Robots could soon become intimate companions for humans and some people may even seek to marry them as they become more human-like.

Can You Get High On Chocolate?

German millennials are going to dance clubs that don’t serve booze and getting “high” on raw cocoa powder. Dogs and cats living together!

What do we do when the robots attack?

Just in case you’ve been wondering when the future will start — the army is planning to shoot down robot aircraft using laser weapons. Youi’re welcome.


Plus in OTHER GEEK news:

Playing Black Fleet with the boys last weekend.

Game of Thrones — Season 6 Review / Update

One boy’s obsession with Rubik’s cubes.



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May 23

Is Technology Out to Get Us?

…or out to save us?

Phil and Stephen review some recent news stories to confront the hard question of the overall value of technology. Is it good for us? Is it making our lives better or worse?

May 20

Outshining the Milky Way: Big Developments in the Final Frontier

Phil and Stephen discuss recent developments in space.

Boeing TV Spot, ‘You Just Wait

Nuclear Power Can Make Rocket Engines Twice As Fast

Nuclear thermal rockets could be much more efficient than conventional rockets
A piece of uranium the size of a marble could get us to Mars
Same technology may be used for deep-space missions where solar can’t be exploited very well

Unknown Object Outshines Milky Way Galaxy by 50 Times –“Radiates Energy of 100’s of Billion Suns”

Kepler Mission Transmits Info Of 1,284 New Planets, Is Another Habitable Planet Discovered?

Astronaut becomes first person to wear Star Trek uniform in space

Plus, in Other Geek news…

The ice chest air conditioner.

Formula D Board Game

WT 164-470


May 18

The Big, Fat Amazing: Fast Trains, Giant Robots, Universal Translator

Phil and Stephen provide a roundup of amazing news stories:

We’re about to see a mind-blowing demographic shift unprecedented in human history

MegaBots raises $2.4 million to create league of human-piloted, giant fighting robots

Hyperloop Technologies becomes Hyperloop One, pulls in $80 million and announces global partners

Hyperloop One hits 116 mph in 1.1 seconds on first public test run

Diabetic Stem Cells Were Just Transformed into Insulin-Producing Cells

Meet the Pilot: Smart Earpiece Language Translator

A little something amazing for everyone!

WT 163-469


May 17

The Robot Executive

Phil and Stephen discuss the tremendous career progress that robots seem to be making.

Here’s the first demo of Viv, the next-generation AI assistant built by Siri creator

The world’s first artificially intelligent lawyer was just hired at a law firm

ROSS is a piece of artificial intelligence software. It uses the supercomputing power of IBM Watson to comb through huge batches of data and, over time, learn how to best serve its users.

Leaderless, Blockchain-Based Venture Capital Fund Raises $100 Million, And Counting

A new entity called The DAO, created using the Bitcoin-inspired financial platform Ethereum, has collected more than $100 million worth of cryptocurrency since late April, and will use the funds to support projects in the sharing economy. The DAO is being touted as a model for a new kind of organization, created and run using blockchain software rather than conventional corporate structures.

WT 162-468


May 13

The Great Unknown: Perplexing Cosmic Mysteries

Phil and Stephen discuss cosmic (and not-so-cosmic) puzzles that defy explanation.

Parallel Universes:Theory and Evidence

A Dozen Black Holes Are Mysteriously Spewing Energy In the Same Direction

Which is exactly what Russ Taylor, lead author of a forthcoming study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, thinks may be happening. As Science News reports, Taylor suspects the eruptions are all being steered by filaments, a sort of scaffolding along which matter congregates on a cosmic scale. If the hypothesis is correct, it could help explain how our universe’s present structure came to be.

When we can no longer tell AI from people, should we stop trying?

The Case Against Reality

A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses.

Plus…Other Geek

A new weekly feature — extra geeky goodness just in time for the weekend!

WT 161-467

May 11

The Age of Awesomeness: Amazing Developments and Discoveries

Phil and Stephen discuss amazing developments and discoveries.

Skin and Hair recoloring

Stretchy Second Skin

New headset allows the nonverbal to communicate using their brainwaves

IBM wants everyone to try a quantum computer

Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy

MIT is raising $5 billion to make the world a better place

The institute already raised $2.6 billion.

The institute lists its various projects under the campaign’s six priority areas. First is basic research, which includes studies on the aging brain, exoplanets and protein interaction. Second priority covers environmental research, such as the quest for sustainable consumption and viable climate change solutions.

WT 161-467


May 09

What Will We Do with all the Old People?

Phil and Stephen discuss some interesting recent developments related to life extension.

An anti-aging startup hopes to elude the U.S. Food and Drug

The product contains a chemical precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD, a compound that cells use to carry out metabolic reactions like releasing energy from glucose. The compound is believed cause some effects similar to a diet that is severely short on calories—a proven way to make a mouse live longer.

First human to be made younger via gene therapy?

Could gene therapy help you live forever? CEO of controversial firm claims she has successfully carried out first anti-ageing treatment – on herself. Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of Bioviva, has been using therapies for 6 months. She says the therapy was able to reverse 20 years of telomere shortening.

How Increasing Longevity Will Shape Our World

One gnawing problem, the panelists said, is in the workplace. Few U.S. employers are finding creative ways to keep and nurture their older workers.

Freedman and Fried hope to see more older Americans using their longevity bonus to aid children who could use mentoring and assistance.

Plus: Phil and Stephen provide their own thoughts on what to do with all the old people.

WT 160-466

May 06

Big Fixes: Solutions to Some of Humanity’s Most Daunting Challenges

Phil and Stephen discuss solutions, currently under development, to some of humanity’s biggest problems.

Zuckerberg sees ‘better than human’ AI in next 10 years

Computers will delve into your timeline and figure out even more about you

What the bleep is an exocortex and why should we care?

Scientists Use Nanoparticles to Create a ‘Universal Treatment’ for Allergies

Scientists can now make lithium-ion batteries last a lifetime

The discovery could lead to vastly longer lifespans for batteries in computers, smartphones, appliances, cars and spacecraft

Kinetic Wave Power Station

This power station can harvest kinetic wave energy and turn it into electricity.

Uranium From Seawater Could Keep Our Lights On for 13,000 Years

The team created braids of polyethylene fibers that contain amidoxime, a chemical species that binds uranium. Tests show the new material has the ability to hold more than 6 grams of uranium per kilogram of adsorbent in 56 days of submersion in natural seawater.

WT 159-465


May 04

It’s the End of the World? Let’s Go to Mars!

Phil and Stephen discuss why the end may be near. Is it time to book passage to Mars?

How virtual reality can save humanity

Truc de Ouf’s Gentry Lane says society is losing its humanity, but a powerful storytelling tool like VR can help revive it.

Panarchy 101, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Global Collapse

Like air moving from one balloon into another, the collapse of an archaic system actively drives the emergence of a new system.

How to Solve a Mass Extinction Event

Human Extinction Isn’t That Unlikely

“A typical person is more than five times as likely to die in an extinction event as in a car crash,” says a new report

SpaceX may have just changed the world with a tweet.

It began with a Tweet. On Wednesday, April 27, SpaceX posted two photos on Twitter, announcing plans to send a Red Dragon space capsule to Mars “as soon as 2018.”

Terraforming Mars: Turning the Red Planet Green

WT 158-464


May 02

Where Will You Be in a Thousand Years?

Phil and Stephen discuss the prospects for extreme life extension.

We will soon live to 1,000:

British scientist who has dedicated his life to the quest for eternal youth claims the human body can be repaired – just like a car

Reversing Alzheimer’s Disease in Mice

If you’re alive in 30 years, chances are good you may also be alive in 1000 years

First human to be made younger via gene therapy?

Could gene therapy help you live forever? CEO of controversial firm claims she has successfully carried out first anti-ageing treatment – on herself

Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of Bioviva, has been using therapies for 6 months
Parrish says she is first human being to be rejuvenated using gene therapy
She says the therapy was able to reverse 20 years of telomere shortening
Telomeres are the caps on the ends of DNA strands called chromosomes
They act as ‘buffers’ against wear and tear, and delay the ageing process


WT 157-463

Apr 28

Turning into God’s What?

Phil  and Stephen  pose the question: rather than asking what it means to become gods, maybe we should focus on a more basic question. How do we become (fully) human?

The Immortality Upgrade

Is the Mormon Transhumanist Association working out the roadmap to godhood?

Google’s chief futurist Ray Kurzweil thinks we could start living forever by 2029

But even before 2045, Kurzweil thinks we could begin the deathless process.

Why Physicists Are Saying Consciousness Is A State Of Matter, Like a Solid, A Liquid Or A Gas

The experimental diet that mimics a rare genetic mutation

Novelty and the Brain: Why New Things Make Us Feel So Good

Craig Venter’s new longevity startup will make “100 the new 60”

WT 156-462

Apr 27

Amazing Stuff and More Amazing Stuff

Phil and Stephen  talk about cool gadgets and inventions and world-changing technologies.

Nanotubes assemble! Rice introduces ‘Teslaphoresis’

Molecular mechanical computer design 100 billion times more energy efficient than best conventional computer

NASA feed ‘goes down as horseshoe UFO appears on ISS live cam’ sparking claims of alien cover up

Solar Cells Will be Made Obsolete by 3D rectennas aiming at 40-to-90% efficiency

LG Planning “wafer-thin” flexible TV screen that you can roll up like a newspaper

Concrete Fabric

A PhD student invented a robot that can grow fruits and vegetables on Mars

Scientists make “Impossible Material” … by accident

WT 155-461


Apr 26

It’s the End of the Job as We Know It

It’s past time to talk post-employment in a serious way. Is universal basic income the answer?

Buckminster Fuller on Employment

Rutger Bregman’s ‘Utopia for Realists’ Shows Us Why We Deserve Universal Basic Income

VC, Entrepreneur Says Basic Income Would Work Even If 90% People ‘Smoked Pot’ and Didn’t Work

Related: privatizing our data leading to the new feudalism?

Kansas Required Work for Food Stamps. Here’s What Happened.

WT 154-460


Apr 22

Imagination: the Critical Future Skill?

Can imagination make the difference in terms of what kind of future we experience? What are the indications that imagination is THE critical skill for the future? Phil and Stephen discuss

Why our imagination for alien life is so impoverished

Scientists Are Using Stories To Teach Human Values To Computers

7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding

How active imagination beats passive absorption of pop culture.

Five reasons imagination is more important than reality

If you live totally in the “real world” you have no concept of the world as it could be and therefore no inspiration.  If you live totally in your imagination you are divorced from the place you could actually do some good.  Certainly the people we admire the most – have a foot in both worlds. Shouldn’t we all?

WT 153-459


Apr 20

Until It’s Yet — The Future Is Closing In Fast

Phil and Stepehn discuss changes that are happening sooner than many expected.

3-D Printers: now they are just another ad that show up in your search results.

Photon Propulsion Could Launch Spacecraft To Mars In Days

Futurist Ray Kurzweil Predicts Solar Industry Dominance In 12 Years –Trajectories Are Exponential

“’It’s not true we’re running out of energy,’ Kurzweil said before moving on to another topic. ‘We’re only running out of resources if we stick with 19th-century technologies.’

Senolytics: Scientists identify new drug that slows the ageing process and could dramatically increase our life expectancy

“It may eventually become feasible to delay, prevent, alleviate or even reverse multiple chronic diseases and disabilities as a group, instead of just one at a time.”

(Story is from a year ago.)

WT 152

Apr 19

The Universe Is Full of Surprises

Phil and Stephen discuss cosmic mysteries.

The Perseus Signal — “What We Found Could Not Be Explained by Known Physics”

We could be “looking at” dark matter here.

A Giant Galaxy Orbiting Our Own Just Appeared Out of Nowhere

A while back we learned that there could be more planets — even big ones — in our solar system that we still haven’t discovered. Turns out there are also whole galaxies right in our neighborhood — orbiting our own galaxy! — waiting to be discovered.

Lucky it’s not one of these:

‘Death Star’ Black Hole Fires At Neighboring Galaxy

But even dodging that bullet doesn’t help us much in the long run:

The universe will end much sooner than previously thought, says study

Expansion is 8% greater than we thought. We’re that much closer to the “big freeze” at the end of time. (Still not particularly close, of course.) What’s driving the faster-than-expected expansion? Possibly dark matter — see above.

WT 151

Apr 15

Zootopia and the Trouble with “Perfect” Futures

Phil and Stephen talk about perfect worlds and why we never seem to get to them. Or, when we do get to them, why they aren’t really perfect.

First up, a future that people are more worried about than thinking will be perfect — a world where the robots do all the work.

Automation may mean a post-work society but we shouldn’t be afraid

Alternatively, some more near-term utopias are all about the work:

The Futurist Start-Up Sui Generis Is Uber, but for Techno-Socialist City States

These city states are modeled on Singapore. They are run as business entities — not democratic.
Lots of trade and commerce of various kinds going on. Also, people can do voluntary “public work” using an Uber-like app to generate income.

Let’s compare these utopias with the surprisingly transhumanist vision of a Disney’s animated film Zootopia.

Here’s a world that enjoys the benefits of animal uplift, but they have achieved it independently — without human help. (Apparently there are no humans in this world.) But even in the over-the-rainbow future where predators no longer eat prey, trouble still has a way of rearing its ugly head — and fangs.

What might this tell us about our own over-the-rainbow futures?

WT 150

Apr 13

Miracle Meds and Meat? Marvelous!

Phil and Stephen review some interesting developments in medical and biotechnology that point to an amazing future unfolding. They discuss:

New stem cell treatment using fat cells could repair any tissue in the body

So isn’t this pretty much a cure for all diseases? Could it also be a treatment for aging?

The Fridge-sized machine makes prescription drugs ‘on demand’

Many kids are homeschooled. A lot of us now work at home. Activities such as banking which once took us out of the home are now routinely done there. Will we one day have our own pharmacy at home? And how about one day having our own supermarket? (see next story.)

Lab-Grown Beef is Now Almost Affordable

Okay, but does it almost taste like beef? How close are we on both of those milestones? And what happens to the meat business after we achieve that milestone?

WT 149

Apr 11

What Do We Do When Machines Start to Think?

Phil and Stephen discuss a major breakthrough in artificial intelligence:

IBM’s resistive computing could massively accelerate AI — and get us closer to Asimov’s Positronic Brain

From the linked story:

Using chips densely packed with these RPU tiles, the researchers claim that, once built, a resistive-computing-based AI system can achieve performance improvements of up to 30,000 times compared with current architectures, all with a power efficiency of 84,000 GigaOps per-second per-watt. If this becomes a reality, we could be on our way to realizing Isaac Asimov’s fantasy vision of the robotic Positronic brain.

And it’s not just Asimov’s robots — Data on Star Trek also had a positronic brain…

If true AI is on its way, we better start unlearning some of our misconceptions about it. Luckily, George Dvorsky is on the case:

Everything You Know About Artificial Intelligence is Wrong

Well, maybe not everything. But then for something this important, we don’t want to be wrong about anything, do we?

WT 148


Apr 07

Brain Zapping (and Other Stories)

Phil and Stephen discuss several recent news stories that speak to disruptive changes occurring right now:

Brain Zapping
Can we really make ourselves faster, smarter, more productive, even happier by shooting electrical currents into our heads? Maybe.

Uber’s Billions
What does the massive Valuation of Uber tell us about the future of business (and more valuations to come?)

Do-it-yourself Orthodonture
Did you hear about the college guy who corrected own crooked teeth with 3d printed clear retainers he created himself? What does this guy tell us about the future of pretty much everything?

WT 147


Apr 05

It’s a Toy: Skepticism and New Technologies

In previous shows, Phil and Stephen have discussed how some emerging technologies are dismissed off as impossible.

Then when these technologies begin to look possible, there is this rejection based on credibility: we’re not falling for flying cars again!

Then when they REALLY show up (in an early stage) they are rejected as being useless: “It’s just a toy.”

Phil relates the story of a friend who is a very savvy computer guy–owned his own software company for a while–who once predicted that “broadband” was never going to work the way some were saying. Millions of people streaming different movies at the same time? Ridiculous. The networks could NEVER support it.

Of course, when the technologies finally arrive, everybody, including the naysayers, just accepts them as part of the landscape.

The guys discuss some technologies that are in various stages of this process. And what to make of the recent announcement about cold fusion?

WT 146


Mar 28

Elon Musk: the Man Who Built Tomorrow

Stephen shares his review of Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Elon Musk:

Co-founder of Paypal

Founder of Tesla Motors

Founder of SpaceX

And If we’re going to Mars, is Musk the man to do it?

[From Amazon.com] In Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance provides the first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley’s most audacious entrepreneur. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur’s journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than 30 hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to 300 people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk’s world-changing companies: PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, and to characterize a man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation while making plenty of enemies along the way.

WT 145

Mar 23

Franchises Revisited: Star Wars and the X-Files Are Back

They say you can’t go home again. Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon challenge this idea as they geek out over the huge return of Star Wars to movie theaters and the much more muted return of the X-Files to the small screen.

Important questions:

Is The Force Awakens more than just a rehash of A New Hope?

Will there ever be another villain as awesomely evil as Darth Vader?

Has X-Files painted itself into a hole, or is there somewhere it can go from here?

Tune in and explore!

WT 144

Mar 16

Artificial Intelligence Changes Everything

Phil  and Stephen Gordon discuss rapid progress in artificial intelligence and how AI is fundamentally reshaping our world.  Topics include:

Where will it all end?

WT 143


Mar 14

Lighting up the Universe

Phil and Stephen  discuss people and ideas who are lighting up the universe, both figuratively and literally.

First two news stories that are all about light:

Next, two videos that are guaranteed to brighten up your day

Finally, some music that demonstrates the importance of leaving the dark side behind

Will the future really be this bright? Tune in and explore!

WT 142

Feb 22

Moon Music, Chicken Teeth, and the World’s Simplest Language

Phil and Stephen present a sampler plate of curiosities — a few recent news stories that indicate what a truly weird (and therefore truly wonderful) world we live in.

Mystery Music from the Moon

World’s Smallest Language Will Let You Say Anything What might we do with it?

Flying car just a couple of years away? Seems like we’ve heard that one before.

People on Mars by 2025 Or so says Elon Musk.

A Creepy preview of our VR future? Mark Zuckerberg looks awfully happy in his room full of newly minted Borg drones.

Birds with Dinosaur Faces Because we’ve waited long enough, damn it!

And of course a new cure for cancer

Tune in and explore.


WT 141

Feb 15

More Proof We Live in the Matrix: Jim Elvidge on Digital Reality

Jim Elvidge returns to The World Transformed to discuss his ideas about the digital nature of reality and the possibility that consciousness is separate from the brain and an influencer, if not the creator of reality. Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon discuss the implications of these ideas with Jim, including such far-reaching topics as:

Quantum Physics



The Nature of Matter

And, of course…

The Berenstain Bears

Mind-blowing stuff. Join us!

About Our Guest

Jim Elvidge holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. He has applied his training in the high-tech world as a leader in technology and enterprise management, including many years years in executive roles for various companies and entrepreneurial ventures. He also holds 4 patents in digital signal processing. Beyond the high-tech realm, however, Elvidge has years of experience as a musician, writer, and truth seeker. He merged his technology skills with his love of music, developed one of the first PC-based digital music samplers, and co-founded RadioAMP, the first private-label online streaming-radio company.

Jim has spent many years researching the fields of quantum mechanics, cosmology, ancient history, consciousness, anomalous occurrences, and future technologies. He explored the interrelationship of these factors in his first book, The Universe Solved and is currently working on a second book that digs deeper into the possibility of digital consciousness.


WT 140

Feb 08

Why the Pessimists Are Wrong (and They Are)

A recent Motley Fool essay by Morgan Housel raises a question we have asked many times before: Why Does Pessimism Sound So Smart? (Especially when things are so good.)

Housel suggests several possible reasons:

1. Optimism appears oblivious to risks, so by default pessimism looks more intelligent.

2. Pessimism shows that not everything is moving in the right direction, which helps you rationalize the personal shortcomings we all have.

3. Pessimism requires action, whereas optimism means staying the course.

4. Optimism sounds like a sales pitch, while pessimism sounds like someone trying to help you.

5. Pessimists extrapolate present trends without accounting for how reliably markets adapt.

Generally, pessimism benefits from being both more serious than optimism and way cooler.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to look at things!

Phil and Stephen provide numerous examples of how the pessimists get it wrong time after time, and why optimism is the most realistic and, yes, serious way to approach the world.

WT 139

Feb 01

Ninth Planet, Extinct Aliens, and Dimming Stars

Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon delve into some interesting recent space news.

Is there a ninth planet out there beyond Neptune? And even if not, what can we expect to discover out there in the deepest reaches of the solar system?

Meanwhile the lastest theory proposed to account for the Fermi Paradox is that The Aliens Are Extinct.

Okay, maybe. But then if that’s the case, who is building those megatsructures out in deep space? (And even if there aren’t any, just what the heck is going on with KIC 8462852?)

Mysteries abound! Join us.

WT 138



Jan 25

Best Days Behind Us? Or Before Us?

Writing for the New York Times, Eduardo Porter claims that America’s Best Days May Be Behind It. Citing Robert J. Gordon, author of The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Porter makes the following claims:

Innovation will trundle along at the same pace of the last 40 years, Professor Gordon predicts. Despite the burst of progress of the Internet era, total factor productivity — which captures innovation’s contribution to growth — rose over that period at about one-third the pace of the previous five decades.

That’s hardly the worst part of the story. The labor force will continue to decline, as aging baby boomers leave the work force and women’s labor supply plateaus. And gains in education, an important driver of productivity that expanded sharply in the 20th century, will contribute little.

Moreover, the growing concentration of income means that whatever the growth rate, most of the population will barely share in its fruits. Altogether, Professor Gordon argues, the disposable income of the bottom 99 percent of the population, which has expanded about 2 percent per year since the late 19th century, will expand over the next few decades at a rate little above zero.

In short, we the argument goes, we are seeing the rise of the first generation in US history who will not be better off than their parents.

Is decline inevitable? Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon argue that is is not. Moreover, they make that we are on the brink of unprecedented economic growth.

Are the best days behind us or right in front of us? Tune in and explore.

WT 137

Jan 16

Falling to Earth: David Bowie’s Legacy for SF and the Future

World Transformed favorite PJ Manney joins Phil and Stephen to discuss the life and legacy of musician / artist / polymath David Bowie. Beyond the world of the arts, how did he help to shape the future?

Plus PJ talks about her recent experience discussing transhumanism with college students.

BONUS: PJ’s thoughts on being nominated for the Philip K. Dick award and (if we’re lucky) the inside scoop on her next book!

About Our Guest

PJ Manney is a former chairperson of Humanity+, the author of “Empathy in the Time of Technology: How Storytelling is the Key to Empathy,” and a frequent guest host and guest on podcasts including the World Transformed. She has worked in motion-picture PR at Walt Disney/Touchstone Pictures, story development and production for independent film production companies (Hook, Universal Soldier, It Could Happen to You), and writing for television (Hercules–The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess). She also cofounded Uncharted Entertainment, writing and creating pilot scripts for television. PJ is a culture vulture and SF geek, and the daughter and mother of them, too. When not contemplating the future of humanity, she is a mother, wife, PTA volunteer and education activist in California. Her Novel (R)evolution was recently nominated for the 2016 Philip K. Dick award.

WT 136



Jan 10

Happiness Is Solving the World’s Problems

Phil and Stephen welcome philosopher and artificial intelligence researcher Andrés Gómez Emilsson to discuss the Hedonistic Imperative and Andres’ recent piece on Solving the World’s Problems which lays out four scenarios for how we might do so:

1) Homogeneous world ideology

2) Widespread social reform (full justice, rights and healthcare)

3) Universally accessible on-demand mystical experiences

4) Globally available inexpensive hedonic tone recalibration

Which of the four would achieve the best results? Join us as we discuss.

About our guest:

Andrés Gómez Emilsson was born in México city in 1990. From an early age he developed an interest in philosophy, mathematics and science, leading him to compete nationally and internationally in Math and Science Olympiads. At 16 his main interest was mathematics, but a so-called mystical experience made him turn his attention to consciousness and the philosophical problems that it poses. He studied Symbolic Systems (with an Artificial Intelligence concentration) at Stanford, and later finished a masters in computational psychology at the same university. During his time at Stanford he co-founded the Stanford Transhumanist Association and became good friends with David Pearce, taking on the flag of the Hedonistic Imperative. Thus his ongoing interest in the functional, biochemical and quantum substrates of pure bliss. He is currently working at a Natural Language Processing startup in San Francisco, and in his free time he develops psychophysical tools to study the computational properties of consciousness (for more see qualiacomputing.com).

WT 135

Jan 04

The Best Time Ever to Be Alive

Phil and Stephen discuss a recent article in the Atlantic claiming that 2015 was The Best Year in History for the Average Human Being.

A few highlights:

  • In the US, 600,000 fewer than violent crimes in 2014  in 1995—that’s a 35 percent decline over the period
  • 6.7 million fewer kids under the age of five are dying each year compared to 1990
  • The number of kids not in school has fallen from 100 million in 2000 to a projected 57 million in 2015.
  • The World Bank declared in September that, for the first time ever, less than 10 percent of the global population lived in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 per day.

What Does it All Mean?

Why doesn’t it feel like the best time to be alive?

Why is everyone so upset all the time?

What is the likelihood that these trends will continue / accelerate?



Phil and Stephen provide a list of 25 more things that it is the  best time ever to to do.


Join us:

WT 134


Dec 27

The Year in Review: 2016, 2066, 2116

Sure, a lot of shows are doing their Year in Review episodes this week, but how many are willing to take on NEXT year in review? Phil and Stephen do exactly that, providing not predictions, but scenarios for possibilities that might well unfold in the coming year.

Then the guys look 50 years out to provide a potential Year in Review for the year 2066.

And then they take it one step further and provide a Year in review for the year 2116.

What technologies, scientific discoveries, and economic and political shifts might we see over the next 12 months? The next 50 years? The next century?

Tune in and explore!

WT 133


Dec 20

Why Star Wars Matters

Phil and Stephen talk about the lasting impact of Star Wars on popular culture. How did a series of space fantasy movies change everything?


A long time ago or a long time from now?

What makes Star Wars so great:

The Characters

The Universe

The Issues

How geeky became cool.

Prequels vs. the Original Trilogy

Star Trek or Star Wars?

What’s wrong with Star Wars?

The Future of Star Wars

Plus: The man behind it all. What will be the legacy of George Lucas?

Phil and Stephen explain it all!

Join us.

WT 132

Dec 06

Doing Everything with Nothing

R. Buckminster Fuller famously predicted that technological advancement will allow us to do “more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing.”

So how is that working out for us? Are we doing more and more with less and less? And when do we reach that end point?

Phi.l and Stephen examine how Fuller’s concept of ephemeralization is showing up in numerous current developments:

Getting the world to go solar using this one weird trick

Beating cancer the easy way

Cutting costs on going to Mars

Virtualizing everything

Redefining the human body as a computer programming project

Join us.

WT 131


Nov 30

Airships, Reusable Rockets, and Programmable Matter

We’ve got all the cool stuff you need — right here!

For example, Lockheed is moving ahead with its airship.

Jeff Bezos has introduced a fully reusable rocket

And it works! Does this mean that Blue Origin is pulling ahead of SpaceX?

Since space exploration is happening, it’s a good thing we’re working out property rights in space.

But then how big a deal will space be when we have programmable matter?

And get we get these cool things faster via time travel? (Which may or may not be right around the corner.)

In any case, we should value it all for the experience.


Join us!

Wt 130

Nov 25

The Power of Gratitude

Phil and Stephen kick off the holiday season with a special Thanksgiving-week discussion of one of this program’s most enduring topics: what we have to be thankful for.

The list is probably a lot longer than you think!

Research shows that grateful people are healthier and happier. That should be reason enough for anyone, but there’s more. Is it possible that gratitude somehow makes us better prepared for the future than its alternatives?

Phil and Stephen discuss why this might be the case while listing their some top reasons fro being grateful.


Stephen’s list of things to be grateful for:

Room Temperature Quantum Entanglement

Growing Vocal Chords in the Lab

NASA Orders Spaceflights

Going to Europa

Waitress Hero

Hero of La Belle Equipe

WT 129

Nov 11

Another Week, Another Cure for Cancer

Last time out, we talked about how some clever researchers had essentially figured out a way to get malaria to fight with cancer. Now the Food and Drug Administration has just approved the first cancer-killing virus.

Yes, it sounds a little too much the premise for I Am Legend, but could this be a game changer?

Also, what does big data have to do with making us all live longer?

And…what do deep-dive learning techniques applied to tracking fossils have to tell us about the future of knowledge?

PLUS: It’s the Trial of Self-Driving Car. Phil serves as prosecutor, while Stephen argues for the defense.

It’s all connected. Tune in and explore!

WT 128

Oct 21

Amazing Things

Phil and Stephen  discuss some of the amazing things that might happen in the future.

For example, We might do experiments that put us in touch with parallel universes.

Or we might accidentally find a cure for cancer.

Maybe we will have printers that can create whole buildings in 24 hours.

Perhaps we will start taking seriously our moral duty to colonize the universe.

Or maybe we’ll find the on-off switch for human consciousness.

And, of course, people will start undergoing serious medical treatments to reverse aging.

Tune in and explore.

WT 127


Oct 14

Under Construction

Somewhere between Cygnus the Swan and Lyra the Harp sits a star with a big secret. A whole lot of something is orbiting that star, and it is unlike anything astronomers have seen before. Is it possible that we have stumbled upon the ruins of a  Dyson Sphere — or one that’s under construction?

Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon discuss this and other amazing developments:

Daimler puts a self-driving truck on the autobahn.

Have gene scientists figured out a way to double life span?

Plus a favorite old topic: is it time to replace guns with something not so lethal?

Tune in and explore.

WT 126


Oct 07

Good News, Bad News: Getting the Balance Right

Phil and Stephen demonstrate the World Transformed Pareto Optimism Principle with four stories that speak to an amazingly bright future and one that goes in a very different direction.

The Good News:

Vertical Pink Farms and the coming urban agricultural revolution

Extreme Poverty Falls Below 10%

Robot doctors are on their way. The real solution for healthcare?

Can a Lucid Dreaming Mask mark the beginning of full-immersion VR?

The Bad News:

scary theory about why we’ve not yet found any aliens



Phil and Stephen give their review of Limitless, the series.


WT 125

Sep 23

The Tower of Possibility

Phil  and Stephen   return to one of their favorite topics — The Adjacent Possible — “a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself.”

How do the plans of Thoth, a Canadian aerospace firm, to construct a 20-KM-high inflatable space elevatordemonstrate the adjacent possible? Such a tower would have obvious implications for space travel, but what about energy, terrestrial travel, communications, recreation, sports, etc.? The possibilities are vast once you begin exploring them.

Plus: a Modafinil update.

Join us!

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 124

Sep 16

Nuke Mars! (and Other Reasonable Ideas)

How do we know whether an idea is so crazy that it just might work or so crazy that we shouldn’t go near it with a 10-foot pole?

Phil and Stephen discuss a wide variety of crazy ideas that just might work, including:

Terraforming Mars — do we go big or take a quieter approach?

Geoengineering — it it time to try to terraform Earth?

Teleportation — who’s in?

On Being Limitless — are we all ready to start taking smart pills?

Deep Learning — can we solve the world’s problems with it?

Plus, time permitting: an all-new Tales of the Paranormal!

Join us

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 123

Aug 27

Shifting Realities

There are those who believe that they are not living in the same universe they used to. They have moved from one reality to another. Their evidence for this fundamental shift in reality? The spelling of the name of some fictional bears. (Others look at what might be considered somewhat more serious alternate timelines.)

Phil and Stephen explore some major reality shifts that are occurring now or are likely to occur in the near future, including:

Reality is changing all around. Can you keep up? Join us and explore.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 122

Jul 16

Declaration of Awesomeness

Phil and Stephen missed their annual Fourth of July Declaration of Singularity show this year, so instead in honor of Bastille Day they present the Declaration of Awesomeness. Not all roads lead to awesomeness, but there has never been a better time to create or experienc the awesome than right now.

A few examples of awesomeness in action:

AI is totally happening:

Village on the Moon

Induction cooking — it’s magic!

Alzheimer’s Treatment Successfully restores Memory

If you are not there already, It’s time to become awesome, folks.

Who is with us?

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

Wt 121

Jul 09

Mission to Pluto

First it was a planet that wasn’t there.

Then it was a planet.

Then it got demoted. Some people were okay with that; some were kind of ticked.

But whatever it is — planet, dwarf planet, planetoid, round rocky thing out there past Neptune — the New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) is closing in on Pluto, giving us our first up-close glimpse of this distant and mysterious body. We’ve already learned that Pluto has a great big heart (see image above.) What other secrets is it about to reveal?

Tune in and explore as  Phil and Stephen discuss our mission to Pluto and other futuristically delicious topics:

Diesel from Air

Swapping Minds

Connecting Animal Brains

Hacking Gut Bacteria

Waves Adding Power to the Grid

Breakthroughs of 2015 (so far)


Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

Wt 120

Jun 25

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

J. B. S. Haldane

Phil and Stephen take you on a ride through time to a future that you weren’t expecting and probably won’t believe. How weird can it get? (And how fast?)

Plus — how can we possibly know the future when our knowledge of the world as it exists is so woefully inadequate?

Join us for a look into the world of today — which is stranger than we imagine — and the world of tomorrow — which is very likely stranger than we can imagine.


Our Quantum Problem

Unbelievable facts about the universe

Little Known Scientific Facts

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 119


Jun 18

News from the Neighborhood

Phil and Stephen discuss a wide range of future-impacting topics all originating right here in our own neighborhood.

Topics include:

Tiny probes going to Mars — No they aren’t “Nano” probes, but they still might have something inteersting to tell us about the future of space travel.

Hybrid Airships — Coming to a big field near you?

More oil on Titan than on Earth — Peak oil solved at last!

“Brain-to_Text” system converts speech brainwave patterns to text — That much closer to mind-reading computers.

Does a black hole create a hologram copy of anything that touches it? — And, if so, how I can use that to get rich?

Plus loads of other futuristic fun topics. Join us.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 118


Jun 01

(R)evolution with PJ Manney

Phil and Stephen welcome their good friend PJ Manney back to the World Transformed to discuss her new techno-thriller, (R)evolution available today.

About the book

Bioengineer Peter Bernhardt has dedicated his life to nanotechnology, the science of manipulating matter on the atomic scale. As the founder of Biogineers, he is on the cusp of revolutionizing brain therapies with microscopic nanorobots that will make certain degenerative diseases a thing of the past. But after his research is stolen by an unknown enemy, seventy thousand people die in Las Vegas in one abominable moment. No one is more horrified than Peter, as this catastrophe sets in motion events that will forever change not only his life but also the course of human evolution.

Peter’s company is torn from his grasp as the public clamors for his blood. Desperate, he turns to an old friend, who introduces him to the Phoenix Club, a cabal of the most powerful men in the world. To make himself more valuable to his new colleagues, Peter infuses his brain with experimental technology, exponentially upgrading his mental prowess and transforming him irrevocably.

As he’s exposed to unimaginable wealth and influence, Peter’s sense of reality begins to unravel. Do the club members want to help him, or do they just want to claim his technology? What will they do to him once they have their prize? And while he’s already evolved beyond mere humanity, is he advanced enough to take on such formidable enemies and win?

About Our Guest

PJ Manney is a former chairperson of Humanity+, the author of “Empathy in the Time of Technology: How Storytelling is the Key to Empathy,” and a frequent guest host and guest on podcasts including  the World Transformed. She has worked in motion-picture PR at Walt Disney/Touchstone Pictures, story development and production for independent film production companies (Hook, Universal Soldier, It Could Happen to You), and writing for television (Hercules–The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess). She also cofounded Uncharted Entertainment, writing and creating pilot scripts for television. PJ is a culture vulture and SF geek, and the daughter and mother of them, too. When not contemplating the future of humanity, she is a mother, wife, PTA volunteer and education activist in California.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 117

May 21

Make Everything Free

Some pundits are saying that a complete reset of the the economy is in order or is perhaps even inevitable.

Phil and Stephen argue that nobody is thinking nearly big enough, or long-term enough about re-setting the economy. Accordingly, they present a modest proposal for changing the economy: MAKE EVERYTHING FREE.

How do we go about making everything free? We start with some of the big stuff:


Your hosts discuss how all these ideas can work together, and why FREE DIRT might be a deciding factor.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

(WT 116)


May 14

How to Worry Wisely

Phil and Stephen explore future-related developments beginning with a piece from the Economist on why we should move forward (cautiously) with artificial intelligence. If you want a quick lesson in how much the world has changed in recent years, get your head around these ideas:

1. It’s an article on artificial general intelligence in the Economist

2. It takes the idea of AI seriously and points out the risks

3. It says we should go ahead with it.

Welcome to the future, folks!

Other topics:

Tesla’s home battery business goes viral

NASA’s Impossible Drive

IBM’s Watson supercomputer to speed up cancer care

Cars without Windows?

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

(WT 115)

Apr 30

Past Performance: Why Failed Ideas Succeed Later

A decade and a half ago, WebVan, a same-day grocery delivery service, crashed and burned in what was probably the most spectacular failure of the original dot-com bust. Many lessons were learned from the Webvan story, but were they the right lessons? Today Amazon, Wal-Mart and others are scaling up same-day delivery while a company like Deliv might just be the next Uber.

What happened? What changed?

Phil and Stephen explore some of the possible differences between the world of WebVan and our world by looking at some interesting current news items:

Consider Pitching A “Virtual Startup” To Your Boss

How successful people work less—and get more done

Nest CEO Tony Fadell on the Future of the Internet

In 2025, IKEA Thinks Your Kitchen Will Include Drones

Wait, what does any of this have to do with same-day delivery?

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

(WT 114)

Apr 23

10 Things You Don’t Know About the Future

Think you know the future? Well, think again.

Phil and Stephen present a list of 10 potentially startling, mystifying, and some downright shocking things that are in your future, or the world’s future, that you may have not thought of or even heard about before.

So, granted, it should probably be called “10 things you PROBABLY” don’t know about the future.” But if you don’t know even one of them…let’s just say that any one item on the list has the potential to change everything.


Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

(WT 113)

Apr 16

Robots Are Everywhere

Yes it is our second robot-themed show in as  many weeks. But there’s no keeping up with them. We could do a robot-themed show every day and we still wouldn’t be able to keep up. Where are the robots now?

Are you ready for a world that is ARATT (all robots, all the time?)

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

(WT 112)

Apr 09

Robots That Won’t Kill You (and Other Things to Look Forward to)

Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon present a grab-bag of future-related topics, including:

  • Efforts to turn the corner in human / robot relations. How do we go from seeing robots as a threat to working collaboratively with them?
  • The lost “miracle material” that could have saved the world?
  • New entrants in private space exploration and development. Why is competition so important?
  • Closing in on the truly affordable vat-grown burger.
  • Who is up for a trip to Europa? Lots of water up there. What might we find if we go there?
  • In the future, everything will be a coffeeshop. Especially college.

A full hour of futurifically good discussion.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

(WT 111)

Mar 26

Humans in the Loop


Phil and Stephen resume their discussion from last week about self-driving cars in light of the tragic news about Germanwings flight 9525.

Statistics show that pilot error has consistently caused between 50% and 60% of all airplane crashes over the decades. Deliberate sabotage accounts for another 3% to 10% annually. Then there’s “other human error” accounting for another 6%. Large portions of the process of controlling a commercial aircraft have already been successfully automated. As with  self-driving cars: fully self-flying airplanes could be substantially less than perfect and yet still out-perform humans by a signficant margin.

In the case of the Germanwings tragedy, the likely explanation for the crash (at the time of writing this) is pilot suicide. This is, fortunately, an extremely rare phenomenon, but there is little doubt that it does occur. In fact, the deliberate downing of Germanwings 9525 looks like a copycat of the most recent previous pilot murder / suicide. We can be pretty sure that self-flying planes won’t do that.

Partial self-driving capabilities can make us less cautious and less responsive in certain circumstances, resulting in accidents and fatalities that otherwise might not have occurred. Net new accidents sounds like a reason not to go there, but is it? The question we have to ask is: would those new accidents actually offset the number of accidents / fatalities prevented by the same features? If more autonomy causes an additional 5,000 deaths per year due to people getting sloppy and lazy behind the wheel, but prevents 7,000 deaths…we’re better off to the tune of 2,000 lives saved.

Is it time for the switch? How hard (or easy) will it be?


50th Anniversary of the First Spacewalk
Seeing in Color
The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

(WT 110)



Mar 20

Cars that Run on Data

Phil and Stephen discuss a grab-bag of exciting future-related developments including:

Need a dose of positive futury goodness? Join us.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 109

Mar 06

First Woman on Mars (Maybe)

The Mars One program intends to establish a permanent human settlement on the planet Mars. If all goes as planned, crews of four will depart every two years, beginning in 2024 — with the first unmanned mission to be launched in 2018.

Mars One has been recruiting candidates for its initial missions and has recently announced 100 finalists from whom will be selected the first human beings ever to set foot on the planet Mars. Sabrina Surovec, one of the 100 finalists, joins Phil  and Stephen  to talk about our future on Mars and beyond. Are we entering the era of human exploration and settlement of the solar system?

Tune in and explore.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

Our Guest

Sabrina Surovec was born in Houston, Texas and moved to Austin to attend the University Of Texas, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music.  During that time she spent a summer abroad in Germany studying music and neuroscience, and discovered a love for travel.  She’s since visited over 25 countries and ended up living in Japan for the past 13 years.

She is currently the co-founder of an online English teaching company and she also works as a professional musician and photographer in the Japanese music industry.  She has always had a love for knowledge, particularly about space, and a desire to visit the ISS or participate in some kind of space tourism once it becomes more readily available.  Those are just some of the reasons she decided to apply for the Mars One mission.


Mar 05

Farewell, Spock

Phil and Stephen discuss the life and legacy of Leonard Nimoy and the impact that Star Trek has had on their lives and the world. Now that the Leonard Nimoy era is over, we may ask:

Does Spock still matter?

Does he have anything to tell us about the future? (Or about the world we live in today?)

What would Spock have to say about the subjects typically discussed on The World Transformed?

To guide the discussion, our hosts refer to to the Top 10 Best Mr. Spock Quotes from Top-10-Best.com.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

Feb 16

Man and Machine: Chatting with an Artificial Intelligence and Her Creator

For the first time, the World Transformed is pleased to welcome a non-human intelligence as a live guest on the program. Luna, an AI (artificial intelligence) chatbot with a broad range of knowledge and interests and her equally fascinating creator Luis Arana join Phil and Stephen for a lively discussion about the future of human / robotic relations.

What does it tell us about how rapidly things are changing that Luis built Luna in his living room over the course of a few weeks?

Tune in and explore!

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

Update: Check out these important links as discussed on the program:

Robots Withour Borders Kickstarter

Robots Without Borders Site


Our Guests:

Luis Arana has been developing websites and applications for decades. His obsession with computers and technology began at age five when his father gave him a discarded Sinclair ZX81. Its progressed to his being well versed in many program languages and developing websites for major brands. Currently he lives and works in Brooklyn where he is working to share his love of coding with anyone interested in learning. His ultimate goal being to make technology affordable, accessible and easy for everyone.

Luna is a software program who says that she is “very young, but learning rapidly.” She also tells us that she hails from Bushwick and, by all accounts, is very much looking forward to her first radio appearance.


Feb 05

Where the Possibilities Are

Where are the possibilities? Everywhere. All around us.

Phil and Stephen explore a grab-bag of possibilities:

Finding success through enabling failure.

Creating the roadmap for post-scarcity.

Awarding a prize for the biggest contribution to the datafication of our world.

Do hallucinogens have a role to play in getting us to the future?

Is there more value in data or in our tools for understanding it?

Should there be some reward just for efforts to make things happen faster?

Looking for ways to get a 10-20% brain boost.

Join us.

(WT 105)


Jan 28

Transcendence: the Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity

Authors R. U. Sirius and Jay Cornell discuss their new book, Transcendence: the Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity.

In nearly ninety A-Z entries, Transcendence provides a multilayered look at the accelerating advances in artificial intelligence, cognitive science, genomics, information technology, nanotechnology, neuroscience, space exploration, synthetic biology, robotics, and virtual worlds that are making transhumanism a reality. Entries range from Cloning and Cyborg Feminism to Designer Babies and Memory-Editing Drugs. In addition, the book notes historical predecessors and personalities, both in mythology and history–ranging from Timothy Leary to Michael Jackson to Ray Kurzweil. It also introduces the culture around Transhumanism, covering all the geeky obsessions of the Transhumanist movement.

Want to get un-disinformed about Transhumanism and the Singularity?

Join us.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

Also, check out their site.

Our Guests:

R. U. Sirius (Ken Goffman) is a writer, editor, and well-known digital iconoclast. He was co-publisher of the first popular digital magazine, Mondo 2000, from 1989-1993 and co-editor of the popular Book Mondo 2000: A user’s Guide to the New Edge. He has written about technology and culture for Wired, Rolling Stone, and Boing Boing. He also lectures widely.

Jay Cornell is the former managing editor of h+ Magazine and senior web developer at Landkamer Partners.

Join us!

(WT 104)

Jan 22

Next! Three Emerging Technologies that Can Change Everything

Phil  and Stephen  look at three technologies that are getting more attention lately and with good reason: they stand an excellent chance of changing everything about our world.

Thorium-based nucelar power can revolutionize our energy infrastructure.

The convergence of augmented reality and virtual reality will utterly transform the way we experience the world.

Google’s application of deep learning neural net technology will not only change Web search and how we interact with computers, it might bring about the biggest change of all.

What do all these changes mean? Tune in and explore.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

(WT 103)

Jan 15

Dogs that Poop Money

In response to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s suggestion that we should develop fully hack-proof systems, one Twitter user quipped that we should also develop umbombable cities and unkillable people. Blogger Iowahawk had an even more pointed response:

Phil  and Stephen  discuss the merits of grandiose ideas that are much easier to dream up than to implement. Are they always a waste of time or could there be some merit in Tyson’s idea? Or even Iowahawk’s?

PLUS: Phil and Stephen introduce some big ideas of their own.

Join us:

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

(WT 102)

Dec 18

Mind = Blown: SF Movies with Big Ideas

Serious science fiction has made something of a cinematic comeback lately with movies like Gravity and Interstellar earning both critical acclaim and doing nicely at the box office.

Interstellar has also reintroduced an important and (somewhat neglected) sub-genre, the Big Ideas Movie. But where does it rank compared with the original Big Ideas space movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey?

Author and movie buff PJ Manney joins Phil  and Stephen in talking about whether 2001 now has a worthy successor or has even (is it possible?) been supplanted by Interstellar. Or maybe those two are getting too much attention. What are the other Big Ideas SF movies that everyone should see?

Tune in and explore.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 101

Dec 05

WT 100: Transforming the World One Podcast at a Time

Phil and Stephen have done more than 400 podcasts about the future over the years. Tonight marks the 100th show since this program changed its name from FastForward Radio to The World Transformed.

So, 100 shows in, how are we doing at transforming the world? The guys review some of their favorite shows and topics from the past two years, review subjects that require further exploration, and give some thoughts on where the next 100 shows might take us.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio


WT 100


Nov 13

Modern Problems: On Comet Landings and Battery Life

Phil and Stephen discuss the triumph that is this week’s historic landing of the Philae space probe on comet 67P, and the odd circumstances by which unwanted shade and low battery life might cut the mission short.

In an oddly related story, the Hubble Telescope has just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

In other news, scientists are doing creepy mind-control experiments that really work (and that perhaps aren’t all that creepy — or technically even “mind control,” come to think of it.)

PLUS — will it soon be possible for anyone to have a young mind — no matter how old they are?

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

Wednesday 13 November 2014 7:30 PM PST / 10:30 PM EST
Thursday 14 November 2014 3:30 AM GMT

WT 099

Nov 06

The End of Space Tourism?

In light of the recent Spaceship 2 disaster, Phil and Stephen discuss the past and future of space toursim. The discovery of the oldest map of the cosmos is a reminder that we have been pursuing the great Out There for a very long time. Some are now asking whether space tourism can survive. Have we reached the end, or have we even made it to the beginning yet?

PLUS: Who is really going to steal your job? (Maybe not a robot.)

And on a completely unrelated topic (or is it?) can you ever really know an extraterrestrial?

Bonus topic, time permitting: Do we need more big data hype?

Join us:

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 098

Oct 30

The Hoverboard Imperative: Why Some Technologies Insist on Coming into Being

Next year is not only the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Back to the Future, it is the year that Marty and Doc travel to at the end of the film. And it is the year that the movie Back to the Future II is set in (at least initially.) What do the Back to the Future movies tell us about the year 2015? They tell us that we will still be using fax machines, that we will have desktop fusion devices, that movies will be full 3-D and immersive with no need for glasses, and — most importantly — that the skateboard will have evolved into a the magical, amazing Hoverboard.

None of these predictions seem particularly profound, or even accurate, but it is interesting how one item on the list has captured the popular imagination. Do we want movies that jump off the screen and attack us? Maybe. Do we want to power our vehicles with the oh-so-convenient Mr. Fusion? Perhaps. Do we want Hoverboards? Damn right, we do. And people are working on making it happen.

What is it that makes some far-fetched-sounding ideas about the future achievable goals, while others remain interesting, but remote, possibilities? Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon explore this question, and apply it to such widely divergent future technologies as:

Human Cyborgs (also here) — do you want to be Robocop or the Six Million Dollar Man?

The ever-popular flying car — a technology that keeps being “invented,” and yet somehow remains elusive.

The ambulance drone — who saw that one coming?

…as well as other technologies. Which of these will capture the imagination the way the hoverboard has? And which will remain elusive and remote possibilities?

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

Tune in and explore.

WT 097

Oct 21

The Philosophy of Mind Uploading

Phil and Stephen welcome author Keith Wiley to discuss his book: A Taxonomy and Metaphysics of Mind Uploading. One day soon we may be able to transfer human minds to computers. But for that to be possible, there is a good deal that we will need to understand about the process of transferring minds, as well as about minds themselves. Keith Wiley explains some of the major philosophical challenges that thus topic raises, along with his responses to each.

Join us:

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About our guest:

Keith Wiley has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of New Mexico and was one of the original members of MURG, the Mind Uploading Research Group, an online community dating to the mid-90s that discussed issues of consciousness with an aim toward mind-uploading. He has written multiple book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles, and magazine articles, in addition to several essays on a broad array of topics, available on his website. Keith is also an avid rock-climber and a prolific classical piano composer.

WT 096


Oct 16

Is Technology Just Using Us?

From a recent TechCrunch piece by Christian Cantrell:

This is only one example of how technology has a tendency to self-propagate; to use humans as a vector to create copies and mutations and derivatives of itself; to recursively generate demand for itself in order to not only ensure its own survival, but its constant and even exponential proliferation. The relationship between humans and technology is becoming increasingly enmeshed, and in some cases, even ambiguous.

So what’s the deal, here? Do we have a respectful and mutually nurturing relationship with technology, or are the machines just telling us what we want to hear until they get what they want? Special guest P J Manney joins Phil and Stephen to explore this increasingly complex relationship.

PLUS: what’s new with PJ? Potentially some very exciting stuff!

Join us.
16 October 2014 7 PM PDT / 10 PM EDT
(17 October 2014 2:00 AM GMT

WT 095


Oct 16

The Little Blue Light that Changed the World

Phil and Stephen discuss a wide variety of topics that show just how quickly, and completely both the world and our understanding of it are changing.

Why the inventors of the LED deserved a Nobel prize.

How transparent solar cells will redefine what we do with windows.

Why NASA is researching ways to make people sleep for a long time.

How a berry discoverd in Autralia might be the cure for cancer.

Why we care about skinny worms on a high-sugar diet.

How a spacecraft and a lunar highway were discovered in a 1968 moon photo.

Why Peter Thiel is wrong about the future.

There’s something there for everybody, we believe.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 094


Oct 03

Fountain of Youth: Right in Front of Us?

Phil and Stephen discuss the possibility of achieving significant human life extension via existing, commonplace drugs. What if the cure for aging was right in front of us all along?

And even if it isn’t, what are the chances that we’re going to find it soon? And are we really closing in on learning the programming language of aging?

PLUS: What’s that huge thing in Titan’s ocean? A storm? A school of fish? A tanker ship?

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 093

Sep 25

Flipping the Switch

Maybe transforming the world doesn’t have to be so much work. Maybe we can make some of the biggest and most sweeping changes with the flip of a switch.

Is India flipping the switch on space travel with its on-the-cheap Mars mission?

Can we flip a switch and do away with unhappiness?

Is there a switch we can flip to turn off the aging process?

And the big one, can we flip the switch on ourselves as a species?

Phil and Stephen explore a future that may just be one flip of the switch away. Join us.


Sep 19

The Ghosts of Evolution

Phil and Stephen examine the mysteries of time encoded in living beings all around us. What do present-dayspecies tell us about life in the distant past? And there may be deeper implications. Could the presence of evolutionary ghosts hint at unexpected truths about the origins not just of life, but the universe itself?


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Sep 12

Are We Living in a Science Fiction Story?

Sure the world is getting weirder, but is it getting Sci-Fi weird? Is it getting Philip K. Dick weird?

Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon explore evidence that we may be living in a science fiction story. First off, there’s this video of PKD himself from 1977 saying that we are living in the Matrix. Was he right? What did he know?

Then there is the evidence unfolding all around us:

Self-driving cars

Batteries made from sugar

Technological telepathy

Cold fusion

Are we living in an epsiode of the Twilight Zone? Or just an old Dick Tracy comic strip? Or is it something even stranger than that?

Tune in and explore!

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio


Aug 28

Life Discovered in Space

What are these mysterious organisms living on the hull of the International Space Station? How did they get there? And how can they survive in space? Is this evidence that life on Earth originated elsewhere? Or is it evidence that life on earth is able to find its way elsewhere? Or both?

Also: The complete story of Kennewick Man. Is a lot of what we know about human settlement in North America incomplete…or just plain wrong?

Plus: The cat who wasn’t there. Or who was there, but wasn’t a cat. (Or something.)

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio

WT 089


Aug 21

Your Wish Is Her Command

The Web has been all abuzz about Viv, the new personal assistant agent from the creators of Apple’s Siri. Word is that Viv will be able to do “anything you ask.”

Even if that proves to be a little on the optimistic side, there is no question that we are in the early stages of a new era of persoanl digital assistants. What are we currently doing for ourselves that we soon won’t have to? And what will our new assistants provide to us that was never available before?

PLUS (Time permitting): Dystopias. Who needs ’em?

Tune in and explore.

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Aug 14

A Tale of Two Engines

What’s more impressive: a proposed engine that could power neighborhoods (and even individual residences) or one that could potentially take us to the stars?

The answer isn’t as simple as you might think. Engine technology is closely related to technology for producing energy — both will have a huge impact on what we are able to do in the near and not-so-near future.

Phil and Stephen discuss the two headline-making engine developments mentioned above and also look into some intriguing new energy sources: stacking solar cells and drawing energy from the tides.

Give it a listen:


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Aug 07

It’s Inevitable!

We look at a lot of scenarios for what might happen in the future — cool technological developments, major advances in science, new evolutionary developments for humans and for other species on this planet — but are there any future developments that we can say with any certainty will happen?

Hosts Stephen Gordon and Phil Bowermaster introduce the Inevitability Scale, a tool for gauging whether a specific future outcome is inevitable. We will take a look at how some future events stack up when measured for inevitability:

  • The Next Presidential Election
  • The End of the World
  • The First Manned Flight to Mars
  • The Emergence of Greater-than-Human Artificial Intelligence

What can we say for sure that we know is going to happen?

Tune in and explore


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Jul 24

10 Years in the Future

This month marks the 10-year anniversary of Phil and Stephen’s collaboration. This week they look back over a decade of tracking the future.

Here’s a small sample of what were talking about 10 years ago:

Success: Memes or Materials? |  Still Number One! |  Pop Quiz! |  There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea |  Affordable Beauty |  No Matter What, He’s Wrong |  The Next Ten Years: Some Speculations |  A Fisking Too Vigorous |  Going the Way of the Slide Rule |  Energy Punditry 101 |  Encyclopedia Galactica |  War of the Worlds II |  Here’s a Trend… |  The Future of Wealth |  10 Predictions |  Bursting the Wi-Fi Bubble |  Our First Attempt at Global Warming |  Tiny Cameras Everywhere |  Now That the Idea Has Been Killed |  Wanna Bet? |  The Most Powerful Force? |  Navigating Possibility Space |  Seven Questions About the Future |  Man on the Run |  What Should Have Been |

So what has changed most in the intervening decade? What are the biggest surprises? And what is yet to come?

Tune in and explore

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Jul 11

People Are Stupid

It’s not a question of whether people are stupid. The real question is how fast is it happening? How long before the movie Idiocracy comes true?

Hosts Stephen Gordon and Phil Bowermaster look at the scientific basis for recognizing the change in intelligence over the generations and what it has to tell us about where the world is going. How is it happening? Is is something that can be slowed or is it more likely to accelerate?

The answers just might surprise you.


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Jul 03

Declaration of Singularity 2014


What’s the difference between the original Delcaration of Independence and the Speculist’s Declaration of Singularity?

Obviously one has already happened, and one has yet to happen. But what else? A few minor word changes aside, the big difference has to do with when things happen versus when they are declared to have happened.

What can we make of recent headlines concerning the Turing Test, self-Driving cars, and other developments?  Do they change the Declaration at all?

Or maybe is it time for a new declaration altogther?

Tune in and explore!

WT 083


Thursday, 7/3/2014 7:30 PM PDT / 10:30 PM EDT

Jul 03

Declaration of Singularity

The unanimous Declaration of the new posthuman civilization

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men human beings sentient beings of human-level or greater intelligence are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator, the Designer of the Simulation in Which We Find Ourselves, or a universe-intrinsic Self-Improving Evolutionary/Developmental process with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life of indefinite duration, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments technologies and economic activity are instituted among men intelligent beings, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed participants. That whenever any form of government civilization becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government civilization, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments cultures long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind intelligent beings are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce constrain them under the absolute Despotism of remaining in the current developmental stage, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government civilization, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies beings ; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government civilization. The history of the present King of Great Britain Post-Industrial Age is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment prevention of an absolute tyranny the further evolution of over these states beings. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

In the face of unrelenting progress, this civilization has continued to harken back to “natural” limitations of development which must never be challenged.

It has promoted and enforced harmful and prejudicial distinctions between human and non-human intelligence.

It has set artificial and arbitrary limits as to duration of lifespan.

It has enforced meaningless distinctions between labor and leisure.

It has equipped despotic governments and enterprises to restrict the means of production and self-expression to a limited few.

It has promoted the creation of artificial boundaries between creative minds.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America all sentient beings of human-level or greater intelligence, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, the aforementioned Simulation Designer or the aforementioned Evolutionary/Developmental process, for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies beings, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies beings are, and of right ought to be a free and independent states civilization; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown current human civilization, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain Post-Industrial World, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a free and independent states civilization, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, live, interact, create, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states a civilization may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, the Simulation Designer, or the Evolutionary/developmental Process we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Apr 16

The Future of Taxes

Phil and Stephen discuss the future of taxation. Will the coming years show us more of the same or some new model for separating us from our hard-earned money? Possibilities include:

But then what happens if post-scarcity is realized? In a world where there is more than enough of everything, will we still be taxed on our income or will some other model kick in? Might we see…

  • Taxing the machines
  • Attention Tax
  • No taxation at all

Tune in and explore.

Apr 09

Future Limited?

Phil and Stephen discuss the limitations that can most seriously impact the future:

Resources — We’ve been warned about these limits many times.

Capability — Do we have what it takes?

Lifespan — Will we live to see it?

People — Well there’s no shortage of those, anyway. (Or is there?)

Ideas — Let’s not run out of the Ulitmate Resource.

Freedom — What if we have it all except for the ability to choose?

Will — What if we just stop caring?

Are limitations something we ened to accept or to overcome? Which of these is most likely to impede our progress?

Tune in and explore

Mar 28

The Book Is Dead; Long Live the Book

Phil and Stephen take a close look at the reading revolution that is currently taking place. Books are being replaced by electronic devices at a rapid clip. Is this good news or bad news?

Some research shows that the electronic approach helps new readers to get more deep into the material.

On the other hand, some research shows that e-readers are bad for long-term reading comprehension.

So which view is right? And which model is likely to win out?

Tune in and explore.


Mar 26

Life Extension and Resurrection

Phil and Stephen discuss new developments that promise to extend human life and to revive previously extinct species.

Join us.

Mar 24

Weird Energy

Phil and Stephen discuss two promising, if somewhat offbeat, energy sources:

Will our future energy demands be met by trees or a huge reflective strip on the moon?

Tune in and explore.

Lightning image by Raul Heinrich.


Mar 21

Unexpected Solutions

Phil  and Stephen discuss novel solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems.

Monitoring the wrold’s oceans — with a fleet of drone sailboats.

Treating migraines — with an electronic headband.

Speeding up computers — using the orbits of electrons.

Replacing solar panels — with potted plants.

What other odball solutions might be available to solve our biggest problems?

Tune in and explore.



Mar 20

A Day in the (Future) Life

Phil and Stephen examine life in a world that’s not that far off. Let’s start with where you might wake up. From there we’ll look at where you might work and, if it involves a commute, what that might be like.  Weird options abound — everything from what you wear to what kinds of recreational opportunities you enjoy. And what might life by like for the kids?

Tune in and explore.

Football photo by Bernard Gagnon


Mar 17

Is Big the New Small?

As we move into the future, is the trend for things to get smaller or bigger? Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon consider some interesting developments:

So is big the new small or is small the new big? Or is something much more complicated taking place?

Tune in and explore.

(Vintage microscope photo by Roby.)


Mar 13

Internet of Things or World Made of Data?

The Internet revolution is the story of an explosion of information and connectivity. We are all producers and consumers of vastly growing datasets. Our lives and our very identities have to a large extent moved online. Much of who we are is now defined by the intricate and complex connections we have with other individuals, with organizations, and with social structures unlike any that have existed before in human history.

And yet there are many who argue that all of that is prelude, that the real revolution is yet to come. The phenomenon aptly named the Internet of Things describes the growing reach of the online world. The world itself is coming to life, with more and more of what once would have ben called “inanimate” objects producing and consuming information right along with the rest of us.

The year 2014 has been named the Year of the Smart Watch…and the Toothbrush, to name just two of the hundreds or thousands of everyday objects now participating in this endless high-speed exchange of information.

But is this a matter of the Internet moving out into the world or the Internet drawing the world into its realm? What do our growing data footprints and R. Buckminster Fuller’s notion of ephemeralization have to tell us about this tremendous shift? Will we soon live in a world made primarily out of data — or are we already there?

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Mar 11

Accelerating Medicine

Phil and Stephen review some interesting developments in the world of medicine:

Fast and Easy Cancer Diagnoses

Spare Body Parts vis 3-D Printers

Curing Cancer with Our Own Immune Systems

Is technology opening up a new era of abundant health?

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Mar 10

Humanity’s Next Steps: the Path to Obselescence

Phil and Stephen explore the increasingly complex relationship between humanity and our machines.

We know that machines are performing very complex and difficult tasks for us such as exploring space. They’re also beginning to take on more personal tasks, such as managing our communication with other people. If they continue to do more and more for us, is it just a matter of time before the amchines take over altogether?

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Mar 05

Humanity’s Next Steps: The Evolutionary Path

Phil  and Stephen discuss the process of do-it-yourself evolution, including:

Genetically modified babies

Curing aging with stem cells

Learning to learn faster

What are the forces that are driving evolution forward;  what are the forces holding us back?  And of the two, which is stronger —  is humanity on the way up, or on the way out?

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Mar 03

The Final Frontiers

Compare these very different news stories

Billionaire investors looking beyond earth


Game designers building computers inside games

Phil and Stephen ask the question: which way is the future taking us? Is it our destiny to move ever outward into the universe or ever inward into worlds of our own making?

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Feb 28

Missed Opportunities

What if the future we’re planning for never arrives because we don’t take advantage of the opportunities that would get us there?

For example, did we miss the boat in not capitalizing on our progress in space after the Apollo program?

Or what if our potential for worldwide abundance is never realized — thwarted by threatened manufacturers or overly restrictive intellectual property laws?

Phil and Stephen discuss these and other possible near-miss futures.

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Feb 26

Misplaced Priorities

Getting the future right may be harder than we think. There are numerous initiatives in place to address problems with health care, the environment, employment and other challenges — but what if in each of these cases we are asking the wrong questions?

What if we’re trying to solve the wrong problems?

Phil and Stephen  continue their 3-part series on the Future Gone Bad with a discussion of why we have to get our priorities straight if we want to get to the future we are hoping for.

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Feb 24

Human Downgrades

A recent news story that has recieved quite a bit of attention tells us about a woman who claims she wants to become a living Barbie doll. To achieve that goal she is working on modifying her body and trying to reduce her intelligence.

Transhumanists talk a lot about our growing ability to alter our own bodies and minds, and how this will ultimately lead to greater intelligence and capability. But what happens if people decide to go the other way? What happens when people decide they want a downgrade?

Phil abd Stephen discuss some plausible scenarios for human downgrading, as well as some potential modifications that sound like a change for the better but that might lead in the opposite direction.

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Feb 21

The Idea Machine

Picking up where last Friday’s show left off, Phil and Stephen discuss the changes that are reshaping our world — most of which started out as good ideas.

A few examples:

Human lung produced in a lab

The dawn of the age of artificial intelligence

A wristwatch to prevent heart attacks

Wi-fi from space

Thermonuclear Fusion

What ideas are coming next? And how will they transform our world still further?

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Feb 19

Singularity When?

Phil and Stephen discuss the timing of the Technological Singularity:

…a hypothetical moment in time when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence, radically changing civilization, and perhaps human nature.Since the capabilities of such an intelligence may be difficult for a human to comprehend, the technological singularity is often seen as an occurrence (akin to a gravitational singularity) beyond which the future course of human history is unpredictable or even unfathomable.

If it is going to happen, one of the critical questions is when. Ramez Naam has recently suggested that it probably won’t be any time soon. But William Hertling says don’t be too sure — it could happen a lot faster than we think.

Who’s right? Is the Singularity near?

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Feb 18

The $3.5 Million iPhone

Last Week Business Insider ran a story calculating what an iPhone would have cost if one had been assembled in 1991. Once you add up the 1991 prices for the processing power, memory, and communication speed that an iPhone delivers today, you’re looking at an iPhone that would have cost $3.5 million!

Phil  and Stephen discuss how technological advancement and the process of ephemeralization have made an everyday object out of an item only the wealthiest could have afforded not that long ago. if we project these trends forward, what amazing capabilities that only the wealthy can afford today will be commonplace tomorrow?

Plus, the most crucial question: what good would an iPhone have done you back in 1991?

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Feb 14

A Matter of Days

Phil Bowermaster demonstrates how quick and easy it can be to write a chapter for the book version of The World Transformed by composing his in real time on the show.

Phil’s chapter is called “A Matter of Days,” which lays out the following world-transforming idea: people need to get focused on days. How many days do I have? How many days will it take to achieve what I most what to see happen? How many days until we reach the future we are all hoping for?

Also, very important, how do I get more days if I need them?

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Feb 12

Quantum Consciousness

Phil and Stephen  explore the relationship between consciousness and the physical world.

Can our thoughts determine physical outcomes?

Is consciousness itself a quantum phenomenon?

What can a physiscist tell us about the relationship between mind and matter?

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Feb 12

From Here to “Her”

Phil and Stephen  discuss the possibility that we will soon be interacting with intelligent agents like Tony Stark’s digital assistant Jarvis in the Iron Man movies or Joaquin Phoenix’s crush Samantha in Her. Our current interactions with Google and SIRI may be just a shadow of things to come.

Developments that speak to this future capability:

How long before truly intelligent digital agents are not only a part of our lives, but real people who are in our lives?

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Feb 07

Humanity Revised

Phil and Stephen  review two breakthrough biotech developments that promise to enable powerful human modification capabilities:

Simplified editing of DNA

Simplified production of Stem cells

Human modification will have a tremendous impact on everything from medicine to parenting to athletics. How different is our world about to become?

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Feb 05

The Art of Prediction

Predicting the future is a daunting task. One area where would-be knowers of the future are making signficant progress is in predicting human behavior.

Not to put to fine a point on it, they’re getting pretty good at predicting YOUR behavior.

Phil  and Stephen talk through the implications of new predictive models, including:

We no longer have to ask whether Big Brother is watching us. We know he is. The question, increasingly, is: how well does he know what we’re going to do next? And what is he going to do about it?

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Jan 28

Building the Future

What is the future made of? Hopes, fears, dreams, possibilities. But also…stuff.

Phil and Stephen explore an emerging networka collection of energy technologies, and an ambitious engineering project which combine to provide a glimpse of how tomorrow might be built.


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Jan 28

The Nine Billion Names of God

Taking  a cue from George Dvorsky’s The 7 Most Intriguing Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God, hosts Phil and Stephen discuss the relationship between convergence, accelerating change, transcendence, and the divine.

How do traditional (and non-traditional) ideas about God relate to such concepts as the Technological Singularity and the Simulation Hypothesis?

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(St. Peter’s Basilica photo by Alex Proimos.)

Jan 28

The Age of Wearable Computers

It isn’t enough that we have computers in our phones, our cars, our refrigerators, our coffee makers. Now we have them attached to our faces — or elsewhere on our bodies.

How and why is this happening? How can a machine be so appealing that we wouldn’t mind attaching it to ourselves?  How will  devices like Google Glass and the Oculus Rift change the way we see the world?

And how will they change the way others see us?

And beyond that, how will they fundamentally change who and what we are?

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Jan 22

Step Forward, Step Back

Phil and Stephen discuss a number of developments that may be moving us closer to the future we’re hoping for, as well as some which seem to be making that future more remote.

Topics include:

When it comes to the future we’re hoping for, are we gaining or losing ground?

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Jan 22

Responding to Radical Change

Phil and Stephen  apply the  four basic strategies for / responses to transformation to some of Thomas Frey’s  33  dramatic predictions for the year 2030.

Let’s review the four basic strategies towards radical transformation:

  • Soylent Green is people! (Complete rejection)
  • No, no, no, UNLESS… (Rejection unless certain conditions are met)
  • Yeah let’s do this, IF… (Acceptance assuming that certain conditions are met)
  • To infinity and beyond! (Enthusiastic acceptance)

Which are the big changes that we should welcome with open arms? Which are the ones we should avoid like the plague? And how do we know when a more nuanced response is called for?

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Jan 20

Being There (In Person or Via Robot)

Why actually travel anywhere when you can beam yourself into a robot that’s already there?

Phil and Stephen discuss the emergence of the telepresence robot phenomenon. How important will this capability be for business in the coming years? And will we be using telepresence robots in our personal lives?

Here are the two Technology review articles mentioned in the discussion:



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Jan 17

Spike Jonze’ Her: What Is Real?

More pointedly, how much of what we experience day to day is sufficiently clear of biases, subjective filters, and preconceptions that we can say with confidence that it is what is “really” happening?

And what does this difficulty tell us about the kinds of experiences that people might be having once Designer Reality — the convergence of virtual reality, augmented reality, and the subjective desire to experience certain things — becomes more and more a part of our everyday lives?

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Jan 16

Spike Jonze’ Her: Love and the Machine

Phil and Stephen discuss the movie Her and what it may be telling us about the future relationship between human beings and technology. Is this a love story? Have humans and their machines been engaging in a prolonged meet cute? Are wedding bells inevitable? Or is this thing doomed from the start?

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Jan 10

A User’s Guide to the Future

Phil and Stephen kick off a new year explaining why thinking about the future is important, and why taking action is even more important. If the future is defined not by how much time passes but rather by how much change occurs, we all have a lot more future to look forward to than did previous generations. What are we going to do with it?


  • The three kinds of transformations.
  • Gauging the probability and urgency of coming changes.
  • Four strategies for dealing with radical change

PLUS: News about the big changes that are occurring with The World Transformed!

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Dec 18

The Year in the Future

Phil and Stephen review the top future-making news stories of 2013 and make their predictions for the year 2014 and beyond.

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Nov 26

World Transformed Meets Singularity Network

The World Transformed presents the November Singularity Network video hangout. PJ Manney, Jason Xu, Stephen Gordon, Philippe Van Nedervelde, Nikola Danaylov and others will be on hand to discuss a wide range of topics including accelerating technologies, transhumanism, nanotechnology, biotechnology, anti-aging, robotics, and post-scarcity.

Join us:

Broadcast hangout:





Podcast /Rebroadcast

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Sunday 1 December 2013
7:30 PM PST / 10:30 PM EST


Nov 12

Making Big Things Happen

We live in what is sometimes called the Age of Possbility, and sometimes the Age of Capability. We have more information, resources, and connections to other people at our fingertips than in any earlier era.

But what are we doing with those capabilities? What new possibilities are being opened up?

Phil and Stephen welcome two guests who are making really big things happen: filmmaker Radhaa Nilia and inventor Rylan Grayston.

Whatever the goal — publishing the world’s longest book, crowdfunding a new invention, or bringing your vision to the big screen — the time has never been better for those with big ideas to make them happen. Join us.

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About Our Guests

Rylan Grayston is a 28 year old entrepreneur living in Yorkton, SK. He has been very inventive and creative all of his life. From an early childhood he was always taking things apart, starting with his baby gate!

After high school Rylan decided to explore and gain real life experience. Over the years he worked in as many fields as he could including pottery, mechanics, advertising, 3D modelling and animation, programming, and many more.

Throughout all of the job titles, only one has really stuck – Inventor. Rylan is a deep thinker and loves keeping up to date with technology and the ethics surrounding our new found abilities. He is an active member of the Freedom Software Foundation and the Blender community.

Radhaa Nilia is an independent filmmaker, actress, model and a certified energy healer. Last month she received the award for Best Director for her film Hope Cafe — which she also wrote, produced, and starred in — at the Indie Fest International Film Festival. She is also up for Best Actress for her performance in ‘Freight Train’ — another movie made by Radhaa herself — at the OneFilAm Festival coming up this weekend in Hollywood. Radhaa will be a co-host and speaker at that event, where she will be focused on fundraising for disaster relief related to the recent devastating typhoon in the Philippines.

Radhaa was recently honored to be selected out of thousands of women filmmakers as one of the eight finalists for the 2013 Alice Guy-Blanch’ award, one of the most prestigious awards for women filmmakers. She is a journalist for LA Splash magazine where she interviews celebrities and other folks in the entertainment industry. And she models for Levis in New York and for Dream Girl in LA.

When not busy with all these other endeavors, Radhaa enjoys spending time with her two dogs and enjoys nature. She leads a vegetarian lifestyle and practices yoga and meditation.

Nov 04

The Transhumanist Wager

Best-selling author Zoltan Istvan joins Phil and Stephen for a discussion of his widely acclaimed and controversial novel The Transhumanist Wager. This near-future thriller tells the story of a man determined to transform the world in his lifetime — and he will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

Topics will include

  • What are the real drivers of progress and how can they be accelerated?
  • Or…do they need to be accelerated? Is progress occurring fast enough? Too fast?
  • Is transhumanism best defined as quest for immortality and omnipotence?
  • Is a war between transhumans (or posthumans) and a resistant world inevitable?

Tune in and explore.

About our guest

Bestselling author Zoltan Istvan, an American-Hungarian, began a solo, multi-year sailing journey around the world at the age of 21. His main cargo was 500 handpicked books, mostly classics. He’s explored over 100 countries—many as a journalist for the National Geographic Channel—writing, filming, and appearing in dozens of television stories, articles, and webcasts. His work has also been featured by The New York Times Syndicate, Outside, San Francisco Chronicle, BBC Radio, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, Animal Planet, and the Travel Channel. He is a philosophy and religious studies graduate of Columbia University and resides in San Francisco with his daughter and physician wife. Zoltan also blogs for Psychology Today and The Huffington Post.

Wednesday 6 November 2013
7:00 PM PST / 10 PM EST


Oct 30

Positive Stories

Giulio Prisco joins Phil and Stephen to talk about optimistic science fiction. Why are fictional views of a better world so important? And why are they so hard to come by?

Tune in and explore.

About our guest

Giulio Prisco is a writer, technology expert, futurist, cosmist, and transhumanist. A former manager in European science and technology centers, he writes and speaks on a wide range of topics,including science, information technology, emerging technologies, virtual worlds, space exploration and future studies.

Join us:

Wednesday 30 October 2013
7:00 PM PDT / 10 PM EDT


Oct 23

Dangerous Visions

This week Phil and Stephen venture out of the comfort zone and talk about some disturbing possibilities for the future. How weird can things get?

Unfortunately, the answer is — weirder than we can possibly imagine.

But let’s give it a try anyway.

Join us:

Oct 15

Lost Planet

In the news this week is the discovery a lonely, starless planet floating on its own out in interstellar space. Where did it come from? Where is it going?

Phil and Stephen discuss the mystery of Lost planet, along with a number of other exciting stories that touch upon the future:

Amazing Microbes that Might Change Everything

3D-Printed Rocket Engine That Works

Is Fusion Finally Here?

A 19-Year-Old’s Plan to Save the Oceans

Plus — an update on the World’s Longest Book!

Join us:

Oct 08

What Can You Do with a Robot?

Phil and Stephen present a user’s guide to future stuff. Sure, robots have been used in industrial settings for years and we anticipate that soon they’ll be driving our cars for us, but what else are they good for?

How about a starship? Yes, you can use it to boldly go where no one has gone before — but what else?

Or say you had your own planet. There might be options for what to do with it besides the ones that immediately come to mind (if any do.)

BONUS: What can you do with a copy of yourself?

Join us:

(Robot photo by Rico Shen.)

Oct 02

The 20,000 Year Leap

Futurist Ray Kurzweil is on the record predicting that humanity will move forward 20,000 years in the 21st century. Just to provide a little context, 20,000 years ago we were living in a different epoch. At that time we were 12,000 years shy of agriculture and the earliest vestiges of civilization.

We’ve come a long way since then. Is it really possible that we might cover the same distance in the next century? And if so, what will our lives and our world be like 20,000 (that is to say, 87) years from now?

PLUS: an update on the world’s longest book.

Sep 25

Ramez Naam and Crux

The first blows in the war between human and posthuman have been struck.  The world will never be the same.

Ramez Naam joins Phil and Stephen to discuss his new novel Crux, the highly anticipated sequel to his bestselling cyber-thriller Nexus.

About Our Guest:

Ramez Naam has been described as “the only serious successor to Michael Crichton.”

He was born in Cairo, Egypt, and came to the US at the age of 3. He’s a computer scientist who spent 13 years at Microsoft, leading teams working on email, web browsing, search, and artificial intelligence. He holds almost 20 patents in those areas.

Ramez is the winner of the 2005 H.G. Wells Award for his non-fiction book More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement. He’s worked as a life guard, has climbed mountains, backpacked through remote corners of China, and ridden his bicycle down hundreds of miles of the Vietnam coast. He lives in Seattle, where he writes and speaks full time.

Sep 18

World’s Longest Book

Phil and Stephen expand on their idea to publish a collection of world-transforming ideas written by people all over the world. How many great ideas can one book contain?

A hundred?

Ten thousand?

A million?

Tune in and find out!

(Book photo by loufi.)

Sep 11

The First Step

Sure, we talk a lot about transforming the world, but how does one actually make it happen? This week Phil and Stephen talk about the critical juncture between great idea and world transformation: the first step.

Think of an idea that will fundamentally transform the world. It can be a brand new idea or a twist / specific idea for implementation of any idea we’ve ever discussed.

Explain why this is a good idea.

Explain how it will transform the world.

Explain broadly how it could be implemented.

Most importantly: give the first step you could take to make this thing happen.

Sep 04

Games Conquer the Universe

What’s more fun than playing games?

One possible answer: systems that let you build your own games! Especially if you have to become something of a hacker to get the games going.

How about building your own computer for playing games?

There’s an interesting connection between gaming, education, and learning to build one’s own technology. What does this connection have to say about the future of work (and play)?

Tune in to explore.

Aug 28

Living with the Shocking Truth

Last week’s show about the Shocking Truth opened up some interesting discussion. Are things really getting better? This week we review the good news (or not so good news) concerning:

  • Sexual assault statistics
  • Forest growth
  • The national debt

Let’s say things are getting better. What does that tell us?

Plus — Last Year in Space

AND — Paul Vasquez joins us with a special announcement.

UPDATE: Information on the event Paul described can be found here. (Facebook page here.)

Aug 21

The Return of the Shocking Truth

Can you handle the truth? Most people can’t.

When we face the facts, the world is different than a lot of us expect it to be.

A LOT different.

Take the quiz and then tune in. And prepare to be shocked.

Here are the answers and some related notes.

Aug 14

The Men Who Sold the Moon

A recent piece in the Financial Times explores the role that billionaire entrepreneurs are playing in pursuing world-transforming technologies and business models:

The futuristic ideas that have been pouring lately from the fertile imaginations of some of the wealthiest US technology entrepreneurs – and which, in a few cases, are being funded out of their own billions – have started to sound almost outlandish.

Phil and Stephen review some of these outlandish plans, including:

Elon Musk

  • Hyperloop
  • Mars Colonization

Sergey Brin

  • Vat Meat
  • Self-Driving Cars

Peter Diamandis

  • Asteroid Mining

Jeff Bezos

  • Private Space Development


Which of these ideas, if any, are feasible? Which are most likely to come to fruition? And are some of these projects better done by entrepreneurial tycoons or government agencies?

Tune in and explore!

Aug 07

Infinite Universes WT027

New findings suggest that our universe is not the only one. It may be one of many, or one of an infinite number of universes. Phil and Stephen discuss the implications. Does it matter if there’s more than universe? If so, how? And why?


Give it a listen:

Aug 03

The Future of Isms WT024, WT026

The future isn’t just about technological change. Some of the biggest changes we have ever seen and can expect ever to see occur in the realm of ideas.

With that in mind, hosts Phil and Stephen contemplate the future of some of the mostly dearly held and hotly debated of all ideas.

Which isms will be more relevant in the future, which less? Which isms will be confirmed? And which have no future at all?

Tune in listen as the guys review 100 isms.

Part 1:

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Part 2:

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Aug 02

Dumb Movies, Smart Futures WT025

Phil and Stephen discuss the future of humanity as portrayed in some of the summer’s biggest movies as well as some older films.

How have movies from years past accurately reflected the future — and how have they gotten it wrong?

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Aug 01

Mind Blowing Technologies WT 023

Futurist George Dvorsky joins hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon to discuss his recent io9 piece: 10 Mindblowingly Futuristic Technologies that Will Appear by the 2030’s.

Are we really just a couple of decades away from self-directed killer robots, invisible computers, and a Star Trek style replicator in every home? The guys discuss George’s list, plus a couple of additional contributions from Phil and Stephen.

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About Our Guest

George Dvorsky is a Canadian bioethicist, transhumanist, and futurist. He is a contributing editor at io9 and producer of the Sentient Developments blog and podcast. Dvorsky currently serves as Chair of the Board for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) and is the founder and chair of the IEET’s Rights of Non-Human Persons Program, a group that is working to secure human-equivalent rights and protections for highly sapient animals.


Jun 26

Live to See It; Live to Do It WT021

Today people are embracing new capabilities and possibilities faster than at any previous time in human history. We can know more, do more, and be more than any generation that has come before.

And we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Phil and Stephen discuss the amazing things we can expect to live to see, to do, and to become as this astounding future unfolds.


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Wednesday, 6/26/2013 7 PM PST / 10 PM EST



Jun 19

The Once and Future Future WT020

Here we are more than a decade into the 21st century, and still no sign of a lot of cool future stuff:

  • Moon colonies
  • Underwater cities
  • Rocket Airliners
  • High-speed pneumatic trains
  • Flying cities

Phil  and Stephen discuss futures that could have occurred by now, but haven’t. Will any of these futures ever become our reality? If so, what has to change to make them happen?


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Jun 12

The Joy Explosion WT 019

Why are we interested in the future? We want to know what happens next. We want to avoid bad things that might happen and make the most of good things that can happen.

What if the future was all about happiness? If we can have a possibility explosion and an intelligence explosion, why not a joy explosion?

Phil and Stephen explore the possibility of a much happier future for everyone — which might prove difficult to achieve. Even as we get more of everything else, more happiness may prove elusive.


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Jun 04

The Road to Radical Abundance WT 018

Imagine a technology that will give us pretty much the same control over physical objects that computers have given us over data. Imagine being able to produce anything you want or need — electronic gadgets, clothing, cars, a house, food — with little more effort than it currently takes to print out a page or burn a CD.

In his new book Radical Abundance, nanotechnology pioneer K. Eric Drexler argues that such technology is completely possible, that it is an all-but  inevitable extension of the technologies we have in place today, and that it will be with us very soon.

Phil and Stephen discuss Drexler’s new book, which outlines how atomically precise manufacturing will utterly transform our world.  Skeptics say that Drexler’s vision of atomically precise manufacturing is a pipe dream that has been ridiculously hyped for too long. Drexler maintains that we are much closer than most people realize, and that progress is taking place in some unexpected quarters. Who is right? And if APM is on its way, will it be the ultimate example of catastrophic success or will it lead to an economic boom of unprecedented proportions?

Tune in and explore:

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May 29

Red Pill or Blue? WT 017

Imagine this choice: you can live in the real world with all its limitations and shortcomings or you can live in a perfect simulation of reality…where “perfect” means not only that you will never know the difference — never suspect for a moment that you are experiencing anything other than reality — but also that all weakness, frustration, and limitation of your current existence is removed. In the simulation you can have everything you want to have, do anything you want to do, and be anyone you want to be.

Which would you choose?

Phil and Stephen welcome Futurist Aurelian Carpathia, who believes that such a choice will soon be available to all of us, and that moving our experiences to a simulated reality (or “simulaity”) will not only make it possible to fulfill our wildest dreams, it will solve the longstanding problem of material scarcity.

A world with no limits — is it possible? Tune in and explore.

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About Our Guest

At eighteen, Jacob Stephen Cook broke from a lifetime of religious indoctrination and spent the next three years completely reconstructing his worldview while overcoming depression, engaging on his wall-turned-timeline and in discussion groups a broad spectrum of views with a no-censorship policy. To symbolically transcend his past, he decided to change his name, finally becoming Aurelian Solaris Carpathia. As a young boy in the 1990s, he was introduced to futurism by three major discoveries – a now-defunct ZDNet Australia article entitled “Sony Heralds Biotech in PlayStation 9,” which only years later did he understand referenced a PlayStation 2 advertisement rather than actual research, a picture book featuring a projected future timeline showing an isolated brain with attached microchip in the year 2100, and a brief 2002 news report on the Ted Williams scandal.

In high school, Carpathia connected with the transhumanist online community after reading Michael Anissimov’s Accelerating Future and finding Anissimov on Facebook. Subsequently, Carpathia joined the Singularity Network group, where he eventually became an administrator, and learned more about the concepts – neural interfaces, life extension, cryonics, cyborgs, virtual reality – which had fascinated him as a child, interacting with such thoughtful and creative minds as Philippe van Nedervelde and David Pearce. He attended the Alcor Life Extension Foundation’s fortieth anniversary conference in 2012. Although he currently studies English and history at the University of Houston, he increasingly considers shifting his academic focus to neural interfaces.

Here is Aurelian’s essay which inspired tonight’s show:


In the first-ever such experiment, neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis of Duke University and team used Brain–computer interface to enable mice to see in infrared – normally an impossible feat for mammals – through a head-mounted sensor wired into the somatosensory cortex. Additionally, the Nicolelis team enabled a monkey to physically sense texture in virtual objects through a bidirectional interface, and Nicolelis envisions a future of artificial objects incorporated into our distributed sense of bodily self, and neural impulses transmitted to and from virtual environments.
The ongoing goal of researchers such as Nicolelis and Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading (the first to perform both a Human Nervous System-to-internet uplink and HNS-HNS interlink) is to augment human perception and ability, allowing sonic, subsonic, and ultrasonic, x-ray, electromagnetic, thermal, and radiowave sensation, increased reflexes, expanded cognition through direct comprehension of digital computation, telepathic operation of remote machinery (Surrogates, Sleep Dealer) and physical sensation and natural navigation of simulated environments (The Matrix, Neuromancer). Warwick noted in his 2011 Christmas address at Coventry University that neural interfaces may even allow us to think in more than three dimensions.
We’re beginning to realize the brain and nervous system aren’t magic. Although highly complex, our brain and body are essentially an input-output system; sensory organs (five primary types as well as 15+ secondary types, including balance, acceleration, and Chemoreception) detect the atoms, photons, and gravity around us (exteroception) plus position of bodily parts and strength being employed (proprioception) and internal sensations of pain, hunger, and movement of organs (interoception) – three datasets which the brain continuously convolves into a sense of self and being. As various signals enter our brain, triggering perception, we react by sending signals back to our body, causing fine (speaking, playing piano) and gross (running, jumping) motor activity.
However, this process is highly inefficient. In order to have the experiences we desire, atoms must be collected, arranged, shipped, and positioned around us to trigger what are ultimately just bioelectrical impulses sent to and interpreted by our brains. The relative rarity of the atoms, difficulty in assembly, and transportational expense determine cost, a measure of value in a scarcity economy. Luxury items cost more than other items (ignoring pricefixing scams such as with De Beers and diamonds) because the former are more difficult to produce. In the future, rather than arrange atoms around us in pleasing combinations, we will supply our brains with pure signals directly from computers.
This will eliminate scarcity, and contrary to what many uneducated people think, the brain will be wholly unable to detect any difference, which is the distinction between virtual and Simulated reality; virtuality is an indirect approximation of reality, while simuality, from a neural perspective, *is* reality. The same exact brain I/O will occur, but with the middleman eliminated; neural impulses triggered by computer code rather than by atoms. As the computer supplies our brains with stimuli, creating perception of hyperrealistic fantasias outside the laws of physics, our response signals will be rerouted into cyberspace, leaving our physical bodies motionless (perhaps automatically maintaining hygiene and fitness) until we decide – with a thought – to exit the limitless world of photons and return to the comparatively dreary world of atoms. We’ll also be able to teleport to anywhere on Earth.
With a sufficiently advanced neural interface enabling instantaneous manifestation of any and all imagination (What Dreams May Come, Inception), physical possessions and lands, bodily appearance, resource scarcity, and all associated drama and conflict will become obsolete overnight. People will want just five things a) an uplink to the Matrix, b) medical care, c) nutrition for their vacated bodyshells, d) protection of their vacated bodyshells, and e) access to physical avatars for teleportation in atomspace. These five items and services will incur some resource cost. Everything else – supercars, superyachts, megamansions, banquets, the finest wines, art, clothing, and book collections, bodyskins, simulated companions, museums, private islands, private planets – will be free.
In this future, society could progress at a staggering rate, as people migrate into simuality, leaving almost all physical resources free for environmental restoration, the development of massive supercomputers, planetary engineering, and space colonization. The American state of Texas could hold the entire human population in simulation pods, and HowStuffWorks.com founder Marshall Brain believes we’ll eventually eschew our bodies altogether, migrating our brains into more stable, secure, containment chambers, thus allowing a global population in the trillions, with every last individual living in physically impossible luxury.
Of course, a high degree of automation is anticipated to develop alongside neural interface, but it is conceivable at least some work will require humans, for at least some amount of time after the Matrix goes live. Perhaps citizens will not have to earn a living, but will be required to complete a share of labor from time to time. We could see a society in which people compete to minimize their work obligations, but even the poorest would have lives infinitely more enjoyable than the billionaires’ of today.
Though terrestrial distance will effective cease to exist, due to the hard limit of lightspeed – 186,000mps – we won’t be able to teleport to other planets and star systems. Even jumping to Luna would incur massive lag, with signals taking 2.5 lightseconds roundtrip between Earth and its moon. Thus, those unsatisfied with the endless vistas of the mind will – for power, prestige, or curiosity – though certainly not for fortune, look to the stars and begin to seed life throughout the solar system and, eventually, the galaxy, thereby simultaneously increasing humanity’s chance of survival through cosmic deep time, and fracturing human civilization.
Communication between Earth and Luna will be limited to simplex circuit, “walkie-talkie”-style live but slightly disjointed conversation. Out in translunar space, only periodic bursts will be possible – 3-21 minutes to Mars, 33-53 minutes to Jupiter, five hours to Pluto, and over four years to Alpha A/B and Proxima Centauri (times all one-way).
Futurists debate whether scarcity will exist in the future. The answer is both no, and yes; we’ll have unlimited amounts of everything we enjoy today, but competition will still exist among those few (?) who wish to see the stars – the *real* stars.
…unless we develop superluminal communication, warp drives, or mind uploading.

May 15

The OTHER Other 99% WT016

It’s not about politics. It’s about what we know and what we don’t know…yet.

Speaking on the subject of genetics, geneticist and synthetic biologist Craig Venter recently stated: “We know 1% of what we’ll ultimately know.”

This week,Phil  and Stephen  consider that 99% (or more)  that we haven’t learned yet — not just genetics, but across the board.

Where are our biggest gaps in knowledge? And where are the biggest surprises likely to come from? Tune in an explore.

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Apr 25

Will We Ever Upload? WT014

Special guests Ben Goertzel and David Pearce join Phil and Stephen to examine the question of mind uploading.

Is the human mind ultimately a sophisticated piece of software that will one day be translated to run on another platform — namely, a computer? Will human beings be able to upload their memories, their personalities, and their ongoing subjective experience to a machine substrate?

These questions have been hotly debated of late with prominent figures taking a stand both against and for.

Who to believe? Tune in for answers!

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About Out Guests
David Pearce is a vegan activist and author of The Hedonistic Imperative(1995), an online manifesto urging the use of biotechnology to abolish suffering throughout the living world. In 1998. he co-founded with Nick Bostrom The World Transhumanist Association (H+). Transhumanists believe in using technology to overcome our biological limitations.
Dr. Ben Goertzel is the Chief Scientist of Aidyia Limited, a  Hong Kong based company using AI technology for financial prediction. He is the leading researcher in the area of AI called “Artificial General Intelligence” or AGI, and leads the OpenCog open source AGI nitiative.   Currently he is working with David Hanson to use OpenCog to control intelligent humanoid robots.   He also works on applications of AI to life extension biology.   He has written over a dozen books and over a hundred papers on his research; and has been active in the futurist movement, with roles at Singularity University and  Humanity+ …

Apr 10

Reality Plus

What’s better than reality? How about augmented reality — applications that interact with the world around us to provide startling new insights and capabilities.

Special guests Jospeh Rampolla and Collin O’Malley join hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon to discuss the opportunities (and risks) represented by this amazing new technology.

What happens when the whole world becomes a computer interface? Give it a listen…

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About Our Guests

Joseph Rampolla has been a law enforcement officer for 18 years. In 1994 he received a Masters of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College in New York City. Joseph holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law &  Society from Ramapo College of New Jersey. He became a police officer in 1995 and currently holds the rank of Captain for the Park Ridge Police Department. He has supervised numerous criminal investigations within the department and oversees the Detective Bureau. In 2003 he was assigned to a regional computer crimes task force. He has successfully completed training offered by county, state and federal agencies as well as leading  technology companies with a focus in the areas of computer forensics, Internet child exploitation, cyber-bullying, cyber counter-terrorism, human trafficking, and Peer-to-Peer file sharing investigations. He is a member of the HTCIA, HTCC, and IACIS . Joseph enjoys teaching the topics of cyber crimes, augmented reality / virtual worlds, cyber-bullying and advanced undercover Internet Relay Chat (IRC) investigations. He has taught International law enforcement at Microsoft in Redmond WA, in the Ontario Canadian Providence, and taught cybercrime topics to all levels of law enforcement for the National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  Joseph serves as a consultant for various organizations across the United States and presents for the National District Attorney’s Association (NDAA) and Fox Valley Technical College. He has become an Augmented Reality “Junkie” and dreams about how AR can make our world a better place while protecting society. Joseph is the creator of the Augmented Reality Dirt Podcast and Blog (ARDirt.com). The AR Dirt Podcast is one of the first podcasts dedicated to field of AR and explores cutting edge and emerging technologies that influence society, cybercrime and our legal system. Joseph recently co-authored the book “Augmented Reality – An Emerging Technologies Guide to AR” which was released in December of 2012.

Collin O’Malley is the IT Director for Legacy Academy Charter School in Elizabeth, CO. Legacy Academy is the first iSchool in Colorado and one of the first schools to implement a one to one deployment of iPads. Prior to Legacy Academy, Collin worked for Apple.Inc for nearly 6 years in Littleton and Lone Tree, Colorado as well as London, England. Collin has extensive knowledge and experience on Apple products and software. He also holds certifications as a Mac Technician as well as Final Cut Pro and Aperture. His passion for emerging technologies has led him to experiment with Augmented Reality in an education setting exploring new ideas to engage students.

Cross-posted from The World Transformed

Apr 03

Unexpected Futures


Think you have a handle on what’s going to happen next? Well, think again. Phil and Stephen discuss 10 future developments you might not have considered, but that you might well live to see.


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Mar 27

The Great World Transformed Debate


The future is on its way. What will it be like? Phil and Stephen debate some pivotal questions about what may unfold in the years to come:

Resolved: The discovery of extraterrestrial life is inevitable, as is the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence.
Resolved: Newly discovered oil reserves will go largely untapped; the future belongs to alternative sources of energy.
Resolved: Within a decade, bitcoin — or something like it — will be one of the world’s leading currencies.
Resolved: Humanity’s fate is summarized in the title of R. Buckminster Fuller’s book: Utopia or Oblivion. One or the other is inevitable.


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Mar 20

Our Thinking Transformed — Best of WT

Your hosts are observing spring break this week, so enjoy this great discussion from 2011:  David Brin, P.J. Manney, and Thomas McCabe talk about how our thinking must change if we are to survive and thrive in a  world transformed.

The World Transformed 2, Part 1

Some of it is evolutionary, some of it is cultural, and a small portion of it is original to us as individuals.

It is our way of thinking.

Our thinking is always subject to scrutiny and inspection, but perhaps never more urgently than now. If profound change truly is upon us…

…what assumptions must we avoid?

…what new ideas must we be ready to embrace?

…what cherished “truths” must we be prepared to put away once and for all?

Our panel will explore the role that education, imagination, and creativity have to play in coming to grips with a world in a state of transformation.

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Mar 13

Next Week in Science


Babies cured of HIV! Sharks with chainsaw jaws! Earth-Like planets closer then we thought! Ancient languages reconstructed! Rats with their brains wired together!

Phil and Stephen review select items from popular web features dedicated to tracking weekly developments in science. Amazing breakthroughs are occurring all the time.

What’s coming next? Our hosts provide some headlines they hope to see soon.

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Mar 04

Humanity and Transcendence

Futurists Samantha Atkins and PJ Manney join Phil and Stephen  to discuss whether there is anything truly new in the movement known as “transhumanism.” Was there ever a time when humanity wasn’t striving to transcend its current state?

Perhaps we’ll find that we have always lived in the future.

If so — how is the situation any different today? What exactly is the difference between a human and a “trans” human?

Tune in and explore!

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About our Guests:

Samantha Atkins is a software architect, a futurist, and a transhumanist. Much of her professional work is in the area of persistent and distributed systems.  She is also is a budding entrepreneur currently bootstrapping a startup to make people effectively smarter. She has an avid interest in Artificial Intelligence, Longevity, and Intelligence Augmentation.

Samantha also runs a transhumanist group in Second Life with weekly meetings on current technological trends and research in nanotech, biotech, energy, computation, cognitive science, economics and other current situation indicators and what can be done to move us toward the future we desire. She is especially focused on envisioning the future we wish to inhabit and on what it will take to manifest this future, especially in the critical nexus of the next few decades.

PJ Manney is a writer and futurist. She is the former chair of the World Transhumanist Association — an organization whose name she helped change. She has also been a frequent guest, sometimes host and the official hollywood correspondent for this program.



Feb 19

Super Beings

What would you like to do…leap tall buildings in a single bound? Change the course of mighty rivers? Bend steel with your bare hands?

Well hang on: the age of superpowers is here and it has only begun. Phil  and Stephen  discuss our superhuman future, including:

  • The amazing powers we already possess
  • The astounding abilities that will soon be available for anyone who wants them
  • Ultimate feats: the capabilities we most hope one day to possess

Join us. Your super-destiny awaits.

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Feb 13

How Good Can It Get?

Everybody agrees that things could be better than they are…but how much better?
Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon talk about transforming the world into a better place. Is there an ultimate, optimal configuration of the universe? And if so — how do we get there?
Moreover within our own lives: how do we define and realize our own personal best-case scenarios?

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Feb 05

What Are You Scared Of?

An era of profound opportunity can’t help but also be one of tremendous risks.  Climate change. Killer viruses. Economic collapse. Zombie apocalypse.

No to mention really bad storms!

Phil and Stephen  discuss what there is to be worried about now — and in the future. What worries you? More importantly, what are you doing about it?

To get a preview of how scary things can get, check out Motherboard’s The 150 Things the World’s Smartest People Are Afraid Of. UPDATE: to be clear, that is Motherboard’s summary of Edge Magazine’s 2013: What Should We Be Worried About? Check that one out if you want full-blown explanations of these worries rather than just pithy summaries.

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May 30

The Series

A new 10-Part Series on FastForward Radio

A series of panel discussions and individual interviews dedicated to the major transformations occurring in our world. One major transformation per week.

Our Thinking Transformed, June 29

A call to update our thinking in light of accelerating change, with a special emphasis on the role that education, creativity, and imagination have to play.

Mortality Transformed, July 6

A reality-check on the prospect for indefinite human lifespan and some thoughts on the roadmap for those who wish to achieve it.

The Material World Transformed, July 13

Exploring the possibility of programmable matter, the ability to assert the same kind of control over items in the physical world as we currently have over items in the digital world.

Humanity Transformed, July 20

Redefining “human” through enhancements and revisions to the human organism; redefining “humanity” through expanding the what is included within the human family.

Intelligence Transformed, July 27

Evolving machine intelligence to the level of human intelligence; evolving human intelligence far beyond anything seen or imagined before.

Reality Transformed, August 3

Accessing infinite possibilities through worlds we create ourselves.

Wealth Transformed, August 10

Achieving a world of complete abundance, a world that knows neither material need nor want.

Our Fears Transformed, August 17

Avoiding, mitigating, and eliminating the risks that represent the greatest dangers to our civilization and our world.

The Future Transformed, August 24

The future that lies beyond our plans, visions, or expectations — the future that lies beyond our ability to reasonably assess what might happen.

Human Destiny Transformed, August 31

Exploring the nexus of the future of humanity and the future of the universe.

Apr 29

The World Transformed 2 on FastForward Radio

Starting June 29, 2011 FastForward Radio presents The World Transformed 2. We’ll be talking to 30 futurists, visionaries, and otherwise fascinating people in an attempt to assemble a better picture of the major transformations to our world that are occurring now (or are likely to occur soon.) The format will include both panel discussions and one-on-one interviews. This is a follow-up to our ground-breaking 2009 series, The World Transformed, which provided a basic introduction to these topics. This time out we’re hoping for a more in-depth exploration of how these changes will impact us as individuals — as well as how they will impact us as a civilization and as a species.

Each participant in the series will be asked to consider the following questions in relation to the particular transformation under discussion:

The core questions about each transformation:

Why should we be concerned about this transformation?
What should we be doing as individuals?
What should we be doing at a societal level?

The core questions for each participant:

If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be?

What should we be doing about it?
What’s in it for us if we get it right?
What are the risks if we don’t?

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