New Next Now (October 2016)

20 Octo­ber 2016 | Keep­ing Up with the Trends

Down the hatch. A new break­through in micro­ro­bot­ics might just change the way we take our med­i­cine, reports Lyn­da Delacey (@LJDelacy) for @nwtls. Sci­en­tists at the Daegu Gyeong­buk Insti­tute of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy (DGIST) in South Korea have devel­oped micro­scop­ic robots that can enter the blood­stream and admin­is­ter med­i­cines to pre­cise areas of the body with lit­tle or no side effects. These remote-oper­at­ed bots are designed to move like real bac­te­ria, using tiny hair-like cil­ia to zip through veins and arter­ies, then dis­solve after deliv­er­ing treat­ment. Project leader Hong­soo Choi also believes these micro­bots “can be utilised… in non-inva­sive surgery.” [Read More Now]

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Smart har­vest. The world of agri­cul­ture is evolv­ing, and John Deere intends to lead the charge. @Bloomberg reports that the US-based farm­ing equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­er is tak­ing a nov­el approach to cus­tomer ser­vice: sell­ing farm­ers add-on com­po­nents like auto-steer­ing and nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems to make exist­ing trac­tors “smarter” and more effec­tive. Stock ana­lyst Lar­ry De Maria says, “Big­ger and faster is no longer the mantra. It’s about pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and effi­cien­cy.” John Deere hopes the move will boost sag­ging sales, but the tech­nol­o­gy could also have a far­ther-reach­ing effect: increas­ing food pro­duc­tion for an ever-grow­ing world pop­u­la­tion. [Read More Now]

Soul search­ing. Do ani­mals have souls? Writer/researcher Michael Jaw­er explores that very ques­tion in a recent @aeonmag arti­cle, cit­ing clear, observ­able evi­dence that ani­mals expe­ri­ence a wide range of emo­tions, per­haps even more than humans do. “[W]hat we feel deeply is what dri­ves us,” Jaw­er explains, and those emo­tions are felt deep with­in our bod­ies, con­nect­ing us to “one anoth­er and the nat­ur­al world.” If that’s the def­i­n­i­tion of a “soul,” then one need only look to the ani­mal world for myr­i­ad exam­ples of con­nect­ed­ness — love, play, grat­i­tude, con­tem­pla­tion, grief — which Jaw­er calls “the root of spir­i­tu­al­i­ty.” [Read More Now]

Knock, knock, Neo. Ever wish you could learn French, or build a com­put­er, just by down­load­ing the nec­es­sary data to your brain? That may soon become a real­i­ty, says Juri­ca Duj­movic (@JDBrandManager) for @MarketWatch. Tak­ing cues from the 1999 sci-fi film The Matrix, Los Ange­les-based com­pa­ny Ker­nel is work­ing hard to devel­op a “mem­o­ry pros­the­sis” chip implant for the brain, which could more reli­ably man­age a person’s mem­o­ries. This is a poten­tial break­through in fight­ing Alzheimer’s Dis­ease. But Ker­nel founder Bryan John­son believes the device can also expand knowl­edge by help­ing the brain absorb new infor­ma­tion instant­ly. “The advanced intel­li­gence of tomor­row is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between the nat­ur­al and the arti­fi­cial.” [Read More Now]

Take me to the future. The Innosight con­sul­tan­cy (@InnosightTeam) has a video of five busi­ness lead­ers talk­ing about how they are lead­ing their firms into the future. In the nextsens­ing world, we talk about “oppor­tu­ni­ty fore­sense”. This short video will take you in that direc­tion. Well done! [View More Now]

Dig­i­tal love? Japan is lit­er­al­ly in love with vir­tu­al “rela­tion­ship” sim­u­la­tors, and Tokyo Game Show 2016 proves the trend isn’t slow­ing down. Sony gave atten­dees a sneak peek at sev­er­al new VR games for its forth­com­ing Playsta­tion VR head­set, includ­ing “Sum­mer Les­son”, which allows play­ers to con­verse with a dig­i­tal woman. Devel­op­er Jun Tamao­ki said his team’s goal was to cre­ate a real­is­tic char­ac­ter that could help shy play­ers “improve [their] com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills”. Nin­ten­do was a no-show at the event; the game giant remains scep­ti­cal of the future of vir­tu­al real­i­ty, cit­ing health haz­ards from pro­longed VR gam­ing. Thanks to Hiroshi Hiya­ma at @AFP for the report. [Read More Now] 

Best and bright­est. Thou­sands of the most promi­nent entre­pre­neurs, busi­ness lead­ers, politi­cians, aca­d­e­mics, and artists in the US all have one thing in com­mon: they were sub­jects in a decades-long study to dis­cov­er indi­vid­u­als with prodi­gious tal­ent and aid them in reach­ing their full poten­tial. As Tom Clynes (@tomclynes) for @nature writes, the Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty study focussed on kids “who scored in the top 1 per cent on uni­ver­si­ty entrance exams.” Past sub­jects include math­e­mati­cian Ter­ence Tao, Face­book founder Mark Zucker­berg, and Lady Gaga. Despite the programme’s suc­cess, psy­chol­o­gist David Lubin­s­ki believes bril­liant minds are still slip­ping through. “When you look at the issues fac­ing soci­ety now.… These are the kids we’d do well to bet on.” [Read More Now]

Work-life nir­vana. Heather Yama­da-Hosley (@Curious_Heather) at @lifehacker shares this month’s life tip from @TFDiet founder Chelsea Fagan (@Chelsea_Fagan), who explains her “Rule of Four” approach to main­tain­ing work-life bal­ance: “I must always have four con­crete, tan­gi­ble things in my life that make me feel hap­py, that make me feel like myself, that I devote time and ener­gy to, and that I am active­ly con­struct­ing.” By focussing our time and ener­gy on four dis­tinct things — such as work, fam­i­ly, exer­cise, or a hob­by — we are able to lead health­i­er and more ful­filled lives. [Read More Now]

Tim­ber­rrr. How will sky­scrap­ers of the future be con­struct­ed? Steel and con­crete may be fad­ing out in favour of an age-old resource, wood. A new mate­r­i­al called cross-lam­i­nat­ed tim­ber, or CLT, is inex­pen­sive, strong as steel, and total­ly renew­able, able to be utilised in ways pre­vi­ous­ly not pos­si­ble with ordi­nary wood. Michelle Z. Don­ahue (@MZDonahue) for @smithsonian reports that CLT is already gain­ing trac­tion in Europe, with a whop­ping 80-sto­ry behe­moth planned for Lon­don. Says US For­est Ser­vice research engi­neer David Kretschmann: “…any­thing that allows for more util­i­sa­tion of a renew­able resource… is a good thing.” [Read More Now]

Care less, work… bet­ter? The old adage “per­fect is the ene­my of good” might just be the key to becom­ing a more ded­i­cat­ed and effi­cient work­er, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you’re an intro­vert. That’s how author Kel­ly O’Laughlin (@hisensitivelife) sees it. Writ­ing for @livequiet, she rec­om­mends tak­ing care of one­self first because an over­worked employ­ee too often burns out. “When you reduce the pres­sure on your­self to attain per­fec­tion, you can flow more quick­ly and eas­i­ly through your tasks,” O’Laughlin writes. “Trust that your intu­ition and expe­ri­ence will guide you.” [Read More Now]

The best or the worst thing to hap­pen to human­i­ty? Per ITV News [link], “A £10 mil­lion cen­tre ded­i­cat­ed to research­ing Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence will be launched by Stephen Hawk­ing at Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty today [19 Octo­ber]. The offi­cial open­ing of the Lev­er­hulme Cen­tre for the Future of Intel­li­gence… [is] a col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Uni­ver­si­ties of Cam­bridge, Oxford, Impe­r­i­al Col­lege Lon­don and Berke­ley. Togeth­er they will inves­ti­gate the impact of the devel­op­ment of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, to ensure that ‘AI’ ben­e­fits all mankind.” Said Pro­fes­sor Hawk­ing: “The rise of pow­er­ful AI will be either the best or the worst thing ever to hap­pen to human­i­ty. We do not yet know which. The research done by this cen­tre will be cru­cial to the future of civil­i­sa­tion and of our species.” You can find a full report at the Cam­bridge web­site. [Read More Now]

AI goes Hol­ly­wood. Kate Mara’s lat­est thriller, Mor­gan, cen­tres on the hunt for an arti­fi­cial­ly intel­li­gent “woman” who has run amok. To help pro­mote the movie, 20th Cen­tu­ry Fox turned to IBM’s own “Wat­son” to cre­ate the world’s first AI-pro­duced movie trail­er. Because Mor­gan is, essen­tial­ly, a hor­ror movie, IBM researchers fed Wat­son 100 clas­sic hor­ror films to help the AI iden­ti­fy pop­u­lar con­ven­tions with­in the genre. Julia Alexan­der (@juliareporting) for @Polygon writes that because Watson’s trail­er dif­fered great­ly from the efforts of its human coun­ter­parts, the team planned to “fur­ther inves­ti­gate how arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence defines fear.” [Read More Now]

Dig­i­tal hori­zon. It’s no secret the world of busi­ness moves ever clos­er to a dig­i­tal future in which growth and suc­cess go hand-in-hand with dig­i­tal pres­ence and capa­bil­i­ty. The ques­tion is: are we ready for it? Accord­ing to a recent MIT Sloan Man­age­ment Review sur­vey, glob­al busi­ness exec­u­tives agree that adapt­ing to this new future will be chal­leng­ing; yet only 44 per cent believe their organ­i­sa­tions are pre­pared for it. There is some cause for opti­mism, how­ev­er: over 70 per cent have been able to retain and attract tal­ent by invest­ing in new dig­i­tal resources for their employ­ees. It must start some­where. Many thanks to @DU_Press for this insight­ful arti­cle. [Read More Now]

Up your net­work­ing game. Net­work­ing can be stress­ful for some; a down­right puz­zle for oth­ers. So @Entrepreneur recent­ly tapped net­work­ing expert Patrick Bet-David (@patrickbetdavid) to out­line some key tips and strate­gies for build­ing a bet­ter and effec­tive net­work­ing approach. I love his “detec­tive” style: iden­ti­fy your cus­tomer, then con­nect with any­one who reg­u­lar­ly engages and does busi­ness with that type of cus­tomer. Anoth­er great tip from Bet-David: “Have a rep­u­ta­tion of being an expert.” [Read More Now]

Kyle ElzyKyle Thomas Elzy research­es and writes our month­ly fea­ture of what’s hot in the nextsens­ing world. He is a sto­ry­teller by trade. His pro­fes­sion­al back­ground lies in copy­writ­ing, edit­ing, scriptwrit­ing, graphic/web design, and audio/video edit­ing. He has col­lab­o­rat­ed close­ly with numer­ous muse­um, aca­d­e­m­ic, cor­po­rate, and non­prof­it organ­i­sa­tions.

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