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04/19/2007


SXSW 2014: The Robot Revolution is Coming and 3D Printing Is Leading the Way - VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.50.06 PM

Sxsw_2014_bugSXSW - Austin's annual tech, film, and music festival - is currently underway and has brought in thousands of film buffs, tech geeks, actors, and musicians from across the globe to meet, mingle, and enjoy the coolest city in Texas. And with the Interactive portion of the festival drawing to a close, what better time to look back on the things we've learned at SXSW 2014 so far.

The Robot Revolution is Coming and 3D Printing is Leading the Way!

The machines took over SXSW in a big way this year, with numerous panels throughout the week dedicated to emerging technologies and the impact they will undoubtedly have on our culture, economy, and well-being.

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 1.35.12 AMMultiple panelists stressed that as technology becomes exponentially more sophisticated and incorporated into our everyday lives (a la Google Glass, self-driving cars, and 3D printers), the question we ask will switch from “What will tech of the future be able to do?” to “What won’t tech be able to do (and do better than humans) in the future?”

The answer, most panelists agreed, will likely be “not much.”

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SXSW 2014: What Info Can (And Should) the Government Protect and Collect? - No Easy Answers

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Sxsw_2014_bugSXSW - Austin's annual tech, film, and music festival - is currently underway and has brought in thousands of film buffs, tech geeks, actors, and musicians from across the globe to meet, mingle, and enjoy the coolest city in Texas. And with the Interactive portion of the festival drawing to a close, what better time to look back on the things we've learned at SXSW 2014 so far.

What Info Can (And Should) the Government Protect & Collect? - No Easy Answers

Issues surrounding citizens' right to privacy and right to access information have been front and center for much of the week here in Austin, with a host of big names offering their thoughts and opinions on the matter.

GoogleGoogle chairman Eric Schmidt and Director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen kicked off SXSW with a discussion that ranged from robotics to privacy to the role of whistleblowers in the digital age. Both also shared their concerns over government overreach and the “balkanization of the internet” by countries around the globe.

In 2012, for example, Iran became the first country to push for a “national internet,” which would allow the country’s government to wall off a part of cyberspace, control it, and potentially even rewrite history. “Imagine if the Arab world decides to delete all references to Israel,” Schmidt hypothesized.

Interestingly, many of the panelists who spoke on issues related to privacy and security in the digital age were unable to be at SXSW in person due to their complicated relationships with the U.S. government.

IMG_1475-1In a video conversation through Skype, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange blasted the NSA as a “rogue agency” and urged citizens to stand up and speak out about their right to privacy. Gay journalist Glenn Greenwald and whistleblower Edward Snowden also appeared via video, with Snowden accusing the NSA and U.S. government of “setting fire to the future of the internet” and telling attendees that they were the “firefighters” against mass surveillance and data collection.

"In an NSA building somewhere probably in Maryland there is a record of everyone who has ever called an abortion clinic, everyone who has called an Alcoholics Anonymous hotline, anyone who has ever called a gay bookstore," Snowden said. "And they tell us don’t worry we aren’t looking at it or we aren’t looking at it in that way...that is none of the government's business."

CloudOther panelists pushed back a bit against the enthusiastic embrace of Assange, Snowden and unfettered access to government information. BBC’s Sharon Weinberger asked audiences to imagine a hypothetical 1940s where both the internet and Edward Snowden were present. How would we feel if he had leaked classified government blueprints for nuclear warheads? Would we support open access to information if it enabled our wartime enemies to potentially build a weapon of mass destruction?

Google’s Schmidt also found the internet’s ability to allow leakers to release extremely large quantities of documents troubling:

“I don’t think we want random people leaking large amounts of random data,” Schmidt said. “People can be hurt. There’s no way to tell if there’s something in a leak of a million documents that it could get someone killed.”

For now, it seems the debate about who exactly gets to decide what “appropriate use” of government power is and what types of information should be public will continue into the foreseable future.  

[Google photo via PC Pro]


SXSW 2014: Neil deGrasse Tyson Proves Science is 'Cool' Again - VIDEO

Neil degrasse tyson

Sxsw_2014_bugSXSW - Austin's annual tech, film, and music festival - is currently underway and has brought in thousands of film buffs, tech geeks, actors, and musicians from across the globe to meet, mingle, and enjoy the coolest city in Texas. And with the Interactive portion of the festival drawing to a close, what better time to look back on the things we've learned at SXSW 2014 so far.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Proves Science is "Cool" Again

If SXSW is any indicator of the current times, then we are at the dawn of a new renaissance in scientific interest and inquiry.

Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was at SXSW as a keynote speaker and also to premiere his new show COSMOS (which aired globally Sunday night) has been championing all week the idea that science is slowly but surely becoming “mainstream.”

Said Tyson:

“I see the pendulum swinging back. We’ve spent a couple decades where it was fashionable to deny science in a big way, in an audacious way …The tone has shifted. I think the geek culture is rising up within the broader culture…It is a culture that will one day run the country and perhaps the world. And they do not fear science, they embrace science.”

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Tomorrowland's Forecast: Could You Date Your Computer? - VIDEO

Her

TOMORROWLAND'S FORECAST is a recurring column related to all things tomorrow - from emerging tech and culture trends to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence to new entertainment and inventions that are helping change the way we experience and understand the world around us. In short, it's a glimpse into what the future might hold for humanity as we try and answer the ever-present question: What happens next?

Last week, a failed attempt at multitasking while in the bathroom embarrassingly resulted in me having to fish my pristine iPhone 5 out from the toilet bowl. My subsequent attempt to salvage the water-logged phone by placing it uncooked rice overnight unfortunately failed, forcing me “off the grid” for 3 days until a replacement was shipped to my house.

As this was the first time I’d ever broken one of my phones, it ended up being the longest separation I’d ever had from a mobile phone since I was a kid.  And while I’d heard other people who had gone through similar situations say the temporary lack of a cell phone was “freeing” in a sense, for me it was just a frustrating and sobering reminder of how increasingly dependent many of us are on technology. 

AppleNo longer could I quickly check the weather app and see if I needed to bring a coat for potential cold fronts in the evening. I couldn’t check my email on the go, couldn’t read the daily headlines and, worst of all, couldn’t enjoy the sublime perfection of Flappy Bird while on the bus home from school (kidding….mostly).

And don’t even get me started on how difficult it was navigating around town without Google Maps. Honestly, I don’t have the slightest clue how people in the 80's managed to get to their destinations on time…

Being “off the grid” was such an alien experience to me that once I finally got my replacement phone, I immediately felt an overwhelming sense of relief, like a vital part of who I was had returned to me. 

This renewed feeling of “normalcy” with phone in hand made me think about all the things I (and millions of others)  depend on technology to either accomplish or help with. Our phones and computers already aid us with so much in our daily lives: banking, gaming, reading, writing, monitoring work-outs, entertainment, work, sex, scheduling, socializing, etc, etc the list goes on. With this list constantly expanding, is it that much of a stretch then to think one day down the road we will also come to rely on our technology for companionship, intimacy, potentially even love

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Tomorrowland's Forecast: Technology Threats and the Next-Gen Battlefield — VIDEO

Raoul Silva

TOMORROWLAND'S FORECAST is a recurring column related to all things tomorrow - from emerging tech and culture trends to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence to new entertainment and inventions that are helping change the way we experience and understand the world around us. In short, it's a glimpse into what the future might hold for humanity as we try and answer the ever-present question: What happens next?

The most famous fictional spy, James Bond, has a recurring habit of confronting adversaries that purposely mirror real-world concerns of the time period at hand. Examples of this pop up in the Cold War era Dr. No capitalizing on tensions between East and West and fears of nuclear proliferation and in 2008’s Quantum of Solace dealing with the world’s growing dependence on oil. It comes as no surprise then that Bond’s most recent on-screen appearance, 2012’s Skyfall, saw the British secret agent confronting a villain whose menace came not from armies or weapons of mass destruction, but from his skill with a computer.

ODNIJavier Bardem‘s standout performance as cyberterrorist Raoul Silva (pictured above) was one of the film’s highlights and illustrates the catastrophic potential of next generation security threats. In a report presented last week to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and top U.S. spies provided a breakdown of many of these emerging threats, including cyber attacks, counterintelligence, and counterspace capabilities: 

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Tomorrowland's Forecast: The 10 Hottest Tech Announcements at CES 2014 - VIDEO

Icar

This is a recurring column related to all things tomorrow - from emerging tech and culture trends to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence to new entertainment and inventions that are helping change the way we experience and understand the world around us. In short, it's a glimpse into what the future might hold for humanity as we try and answer the ever-present question: What happens next?

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 4.30.59 PMIt’s the start of a new year, which means tech companies and industry professionals embarked on their annual mecca to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s biggest electronics and technology trade show.  The event, which is sadly closed to the public, offers companies and tech enthusiasts a glimpse into what the future holds for the entertainment, computer, and automotive industries

This week, over 3000 exhibitors have been vying for the media’s spotlight on the more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space provided for CES this year – the largest show floor in its history.

To help highlight the cream of the crop, here are the 10 hottest CES tech announcements (in no particular order)

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