Category Archive: Transformations

Mar
24

Weird Energy

Phil and Stephen discuss two promising, if somewhat offbeat, energy sources: Genetically modified plants Solar power collected in outer space 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 …

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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 …

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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: A tiny combustion engine A huge rocket A microscope for everyone So is big the new small or is small the new big? Or is something much more complicated …

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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 …

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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? Video Version: Audio Version: More Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on …

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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 …

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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 …

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Mar
03

The Final Frontiers

Compare these very different news stories Billionaire investors looking beyond earth vs. 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? Audio Version: More Technology …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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? Audio Version: Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio Video Version:

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: Digital …

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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? Audio Version New Technology Podcasts with The …

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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: Tracking the …

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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 network, a collection of energy technologies, and an ambitious engineering project which combine to provide a glimpse of how tomorrow might be built.   Audio Version: Online Technology Radio at Blog Talk Radio with The World Transformed on BlogTalkRadio Video Version:

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? Audio Version: Find Additional Technology Podcasts …

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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 …

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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: Asteroid mining: not worth the effort? Shutting off the aging gene NSA super-spy capability New Tech to replace the wheelchair …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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? Audio Version: Check …

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Jan
14

User’s Guide to the Future: Transformation Scenarios

Phil and Stephen continue to outline the kinds of radical change we can expect in coming years with a set of transformation scenarios, including: In the future, everything will be a coffeeshop. How dedicated infrastrucutre for business and education is disappearing, being replaced by multi-purpose infrastructure where needed. I just love my new toaster. The …

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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 …

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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.   Listen to internet radio with The World Transformed on Blog Talk Radio

Apr
03

Why Airplanes Don’t Exist

(Cross-posted from The Speculist.) There’s a great piece currently running on Pajamas Media from physicist Frank J. Tipler on the subject of whether our current society any longer has any interest in  pursuing big ideas. Not surprisingly, the author of The Anthropic Cosmological Principle opines that there are still some big ideas out there, and that …

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Jan
11

Preparing the World for Self-Driving Cars

The world of the self-driving automobile is fast approaching. This has tremendous implications for the elderly, for the disabled, and ultimately for all of us who are currently drivers of passengers. And please note: self-driving cars won’t always have passengers. After my car drops me off at the airport, it will drive itself home — …

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Jan
08

The Last Job You’ll Ever Do…

Wired published a recent story about the take-over of robots – our jobs will, it argues, be mostly taken by robots. Its hard arguing with the premise.  Robots are improving exponentially, humans… not so much. After robots finish replacing assembly line workers, they will replace the workers in warehouses. Speedy bots able to lift 150 …

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Dec
26

The World Transformed Premieres

The World Transformed premieres Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 7 PM PST / 10 PM EST. On The World Transformed we’ll continue our exploration of the greatest period of transformation in human history, the exploration we began on FastForward Radio. Our world is changing in ways that are difficult to predict, sometimes even difficult to imagine.  The …

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Sep
12

John Smart on Human Destiny

We asked each of the participants in the World Transformed 2 to give their views on one of the upcoming transformations. In keeping with World Tranformed tradition, our friend John Smart gets the last word on the subject…for now. 1. If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation (does not have to …

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Aug
31

Robin Hanson on Brain Emulation

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here Robin Hanson responds: If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation  that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be? The biggest coming transformation in the next …

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Aug
29

Kevin Kelly on the Impossible

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. At his site, Kevin Kelly has some thoughts on embracing the impossible: I’ve had to persuade myself to believe in the impossible more often. In the past several decades I’ve encountered a series of ideas …

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Aug
23

Alvis Brigis on Acclerating Social Change

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here  Alvis Brigis shares some ideas. If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation (does not have to be the one we discussed) that you would advise people to focus on, which …

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Aug
16

Brian Wang on Accelerating Technological Development

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here  Brian Wang considers how and why technological progress needs to accelerate: If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation (does not have to be the one we discussed) that you would advise people …

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Aug
10

Martin Ford on Accelerating Technology and the Job Market

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here are Martin Ford’s answers: If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be? The impact of accelerating technology on …

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Aug
09

Joseph Jackson on Wealth Transformed

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here are Joseph Jackson’s answers: If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be? The emergence of an infrastructure to …

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Aug
09

Paul Fernhout on Abundance

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here arwe Paul Fernhout’s thoughts on coming to grips with the technologies of abundance. If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one …

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Aug
05

James Hughes on Automation and Unemployment

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here are James Hughes’ thoughts on one of the dangerous downsides of widespread automation: If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one would …

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Aug
03

Natasha Vita-More on Personal Identity

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here are Natasha Vita-More’s answers If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be? A stronger engagement with one’s personal …

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Aug
03

Bruce Katz on Neural Enhancement

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here Bruce Katz’ thoughts on neural enhancement: If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation (does not have to be the one we’re talking about Wednesday) that you would advise people to …

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Aug
02

Jime Elvidge on Human Destiny

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here are Jim Elvidge’s thoughts on human destiny If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be? Despite my core …

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Jul
19

Sonia Arrison on Human Enhancement

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here are Sonia Arrison’s thoughts on human upgrading and enhancement Why should we be concerned about this transformation? The ability to enhance and augment humans will affect all of us, even those who choose not …

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Jul
18

J. Storrs Hall on our Nanofuture

Some ponderings from J. Storrs Hall in the form of excerpts from his book, Nanofuture. A well-used basketball is covered with a layer of sweat, oils, dead skin cells, and living bacteria. This layer is thicker on the scale of the basketball than the layer of life, the biosphere, is on the scale of the …

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Jul
13

Christine Peterson on Life Extension

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here are Christine Peterson’s answers: If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be? While all of the transformations covered …

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Jul
08

Aubrey de Grey on Defeating Aging

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here are Aubrey de Grey’s answers: If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be? The defeat of aging, obviously …

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Jul
05

Dr. Terry Grossman on Transforming Health

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here are Dr. Terry Grossman’s answers: If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be? As a practicing physician I …

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Jun
29

P. J. Manney on Neurotechnologies

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here are P. J. Manney’s answers If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be? Neurotechnologies: they touch on our …

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Jun
28

Thomas McCabe on Intelligence Transformed

We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here are Thomas McCabe’s answers 1. If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be? The transformation from intelligences built …

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