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Jack Uldrich’s “Friday Future 5:” August 25, 2023

Posted in Future, Future 15, Futurist, Think

Think: Well, here we go. Researchers at CalTech have recently developed a robot that can crawl, walk, climb and fly. This article has a brief description of the technology along with an impressive video of the robot in action. My best guess is that among the first markets for the technology will be the police, the military and first responders.

Think Harder: Meta (Facebook) has recently released an AI model which it claims can transcribe and translate over 1,000 different languages. The model isn’t perfect and it makes some mistakes but it would also be a mistake to think that these shortcomings will keep it from finding many useful applications. The time is now for you to begin to seriously think through the ramifications of being able to communicate with every person on the planet in their native language.

Think Bigger: Sticking with robots for a moment, some of you may have seen that a robot performed a liver transplant for the first time in July. Like the robot in the above post, this is a trend that can be expected to grow rapidly. According to the article, 30 surgeons are already being trained on how to use the robot to perform the complicated procedure faster and with fewer complications. As an added bonus, the recipients are recovering almost 50 percent faster.

Think Deeper: Almost 15 years ago, shale oil and fracking revolutionized the energy sector by unlocking energy which had previously been too expensive to reach. In this same way, Fervo, a new geothermal energy start-up, hopes to do much the same thing. If the company is successful, look for geothermal to become a larger and more reliable component of America’s “clean energy” strategy. This article offers a short primer on the company and its technology.

Think in Questions: If I was a farmer, I would ask myself this question–and read this article–What is the Real Cost of That Cheese? The reason is because a grocery chain in the UK is testing out a radical idea–pricing items according to their true environmental cost. To understand why cheese may be more expensive in the future than it is today consider the following quote: “Maasdamer cheese, which has risen by 94% to €4.84 consists of hidden costs of 85 cents for climate-harming emissions such as methane and CO2, as well as 76 cents for damage to the soil from intensive farming and animal feed production, 63 cents for the effect of pesticides used, including their impact on the health of farmers, as well as 10 cents for pollution of groundwater through the use of fertilizer.

Afterthought: “I used to think, ‘I’m concerned for my children and grandchildren.’ Now it’s to the point where I’m concerned about myself.“–Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, Canada.


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