Top 12 Areas for Technology Innovation

Is this the future of technology?: a response to a post on changewaves

Being in a grumpy state of mind, I decided to look at the unintended consequences of up and coming techno-wizardry. This all started when I tried to visualise a city street filled with Hydrogen based cars - would it be damp, humid, full of fog? Technology is imperfect. Change is inevitable.  So what are we letting out of the box this time?


Personalised Medicine:  What's to stop someone - my boss, a partner or just some profiteer - from profiling me without my knowledge. Am I a good prospect? Can I be subtly manipulated? Gattaca country.
 Distributed Energy:  Probably positive on balance - a distributed system is less prone to failure, but will it be truly egalitarian or will ordinary Joes be able to run any more than a simple 'energy allotment' as a hobby? Surely, though, progress here means more efficiency, using power harvested from the environment or the human body?

Pervasive Computing:  Much overrated IMHO. Judging by the flakiness of wireless networks, this is a long way off and anyway, this is more about pervasive sensing?

Nanomaterials: A pipe dream until reliably self-organising components are able to assemble themselves into useful structures.  Before that moment you have an aggregate at best and it's the difference between concrete and steel. The romans had both, but we didn't build steel buildings for another 1,500 years.

Biomarkers: Back to the first entry. I look forward to the company nurse turning up at my desk to chide me about the cholesterol levels that my biomouse has reported to the network.

Advanced Manufacturing:  Another pipe-dream. I was seeing demos of this kind of thing fifteen years ago. In my opinion we are at the point now that we were with plastics in the early 20th century. I don't see this changing the world by 2025, it will take 2 or 3 cycles of investment in new plant to get there and we all know how long factories use the same old stuff for. 'Expert systems and advanced pattern-recognition software for very tight quality control'? One of those 2bn Chinese school leavers using old-fangled Eyes 1.0 will be more cost effective

 Universal Water:  Oil pollution breaks down faster than the damage caused by oversalination - or so I believe. I once visited Halibut Cove in Alaska where the effects of salination from the herring industry are still evident.

 Carbon Management:  To my mind, this will be like regulating the drug trade:  consumer demand will overwhelm all efforts to regulate.  Education is the answer to this problem.

Engineered Agriculture:  I am filled with dread. Do we never learn.

Security and Tracking"Completely autonomous security-camera systems with algorithms able to correctly interpret and identify all manner of human behavior."  By 2025? Not a chance except of course that gullible politicians and others will want to believe that the systems interpretations are accurate so badly, they will convince themselves that it is true. Kill me now.

Advanced Transportation:  I already have a way of handing off the driving of my car to a safe and reliable alternative driving system, she's my wife and she's damned good at it. Having said that, I do believe that cars will be able to be controlled by computers more safely than people by 2025. What then though? Kids will take up the sport of fooling the driving AIs around them like there's no tomorrow.

 I could look on the bright side. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow :)





The pictures are of two abandoned whaling stations, one at Red Bay in Labrador, the one above is on Stewart Island a stomach churning trip south of South Island New Zealand. Once, we thought hunting and killing whales was cutting edge. Who will be the misguided whalers of the twenty-first century?


Rolling back the years

The humpback is being hunted again.  There is a post here at the Mundane-SF blog and various news items. I may be divorced for this statement, but the two most memorable days of my life have been spent  watching humpbacks. humpback-4.jpg

The first was in a small boat outside of Glacier Bay in Alaska where we tracked a pod of humpbacks bubblenet feeding for hours. The next day we woke with  a curious individual checking out the boat.  Later, one breached while we were kayaking. No word of a lie although  it was a goodly sea-mile away. 


The second was on the cliffs of Quirpon Island (pronunced Karpoon) off northern Newfoundland just down the coast from Anse Aux Meadows. A pair of humpbacks shepherded - we think - a sickly calf around the bay.  It was late in the year and the rest of the pod had clearly moved on.  Forget what I said about divorce, on reflection I'm certain she would agree with me. I'm not claiming any grandiose spiritual experiences in their presence, just a simple engagement with nature and something bigger than myself. These are intelligent, social humpbacks-newfoundland.JPGanimals. To reduce them to food is bad enough, to reduce them to pawns in geopolitical nursery games is sickening, frankly.



Remembrance Day

How strange that the poppy grows in relevance:  just as the poppies of Flanders threaten to fade from living memory, the poppy fields of Afghanistan come to the fore.

My respect for those who give their lives to protect their fellow men and women is matched only by my contempt for the powerful  who claim not to be able to find another way.  After thousands of years of civilised thought, we still can't escape from the most insane of all human addictions and the shame degrades us all.



Three Beautiful Things

Inspired by Clare Grant's idea.

 1. 6.00am, sky like lapis lazuli, empty streets, the first sip of coffee slipping down.

2.  Shy, pretty girl in the corner, utterly lost in a book.

3.  Getting home and finding new california poppies like pools of melting gold in the last of the sun.


Lag Phase



Lag Phase was my first published story and I've put it up in full on the site.

Any and all feedback is welcome. Enjoy.