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Where is it all Going?

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  1. Where is it all Going? Dennis M. Bushnell Chief Scientist NASA Langley Research Center

  2. Overall: • An attempt to address “Where is it all Going?” • Fair Warning: • Broader and farther term than you may be accustomed to, Much is Not “Pretty” • Assertion: • Based upon what is in the Laboratory NOW, No “Pixie Dust” or Science Fiction

  3. Hunter-Gatherer - “Nature Provided” • Agriculture - Controlled Nature (Plants/Animals), enabled civilization • Industrial - Mechanized Agriculture • [1800-97% Farmers,Now-2%] • IT/BIO/Nano - Automating Industry/Agriculture [ 1950-60%,Now-11%, heading to 2%] • Virtual - Robotization of IT/Bio/Nano/Industry/Agriculture [TBD] • Technology MATTERS - For Both Good and ill………

  4. Humans Have “Taken Over” and Vastly Shortened “Evolution”[Human-Engendered some E7 Faster than “natural” Evolution”] • Of the Planet • Global Warming/Pollution/Deforestation/Species Extinction • Huge “Public Works” (e.g. 3 Gorges Dam) • Of the Human Species • Genomic Design and Repair • “Mind Children” (Moravec) • Products/Life Forms • Cross Species Molecular Breeding • “Directed Evolution” (Maxygen etc.)

  5. Current Competitive Landscape • U.S. produces only 18% of Worlds GDP [and dropping] • ~ 70% of Research conducted offshore, ~ 30% of U.S. Research conducted offshore • $500B/yr Trade Deficit & a deficit in high tech products • U.S. 29th in Life Expectancy, 72nd in overall health level • 5th in Number of R&D Personnel/Labor Unit • Negative-to-3% Savings Rate vs. 30% in Asia • 13th to 23rd out of 30 - Student Math/Science Scores • 80th in % of Univ. Degrees in S&T • 13th in College Participation [down from first a decade ago] • U.S Technical Universities must now “compete” for Foreign students with foreign Universities

  6. Current Competitive Landscape • U.S. 8th, Global Innovation Index [were number 1 in ‘95] • Only 6 of the worlds’ 25 most competitive High Tech companies are based in the U.S. [14 are in Asia] • U.S. 11th out of 25 in % of the labor Force in “Creative” [New ideas/technology/content] occupations • The ~ $500B/yr Trade Deficit is ~ 80% of the entire Worlds’ Net Savings… • “Half of IBM’s 190,000 S&T’s Reside Overseas…..”

  7. Current Competitive Landscape • U.S. 12th in Scientific Papers pub. Per Capita • For cost of 1 S&T in U.S., can hire 5 in China and 11 in India [Major % of U.S. Engineering now performed offshore- is a “commodity”] • Of 120 Major Chemical plants under construction, 1 in U.S., 50 in China • Only 3 American Companies ranked among the top 10 U.S. Patent recipients • U.S. Industry spends more on tort litigation than R&D • Walmart and McDonalds created 44% of all new jobs

  8. Synopsis – Current U.S. Sit-Rep • Education System not Competitive • Health System “not good” • Share of Global GDP declining • Massive Debt[s], SOL artificially high • Innovation Metrics Dropping • Engineering going offshore • 70% of global Research Offshore

  9. There are now seven major and simultaneous Societal Existential Issues, Any one of which will Change Society as we know it MUCH. The impacts of all seven, including potential synergisms, is approaching the unfathomable…….

  10. [Simultaneous] Existential Societal Issues • Climate Change/ Energy • Massive Debt [ AKA “The Great Correction”] • Water/ Food shortages/Environmental issues • 5 Simultaneous game-changing Tech Revolutions, Tele-Everything, the Death of Death • Luddites/ Individual Destructive Power • Robotics/ Machine Intelligence/ Employment • Humans merging with the Machines

  11. IPCC Estimates……. • Based upon “SOLID” Science • By 2100; • - 5-6 degrees C • - A meter to 2.6 meter Ocean Rise

  12. How Far Off are the Climate/Warming Estimates? - Projected arrival of ice-free Summers in the Arctic Ocean has shifted, in a few years [ based upon “ground truth”, what is actually happening] from 2100 to 2040 to 2014……… - Greater than projected worst case CO2 rise rate, Oceans warming faster,Ocean Acidification 10X faster

  13. Positive Feedbacks not included in Current Warming Estimates • Fossil Methane [22X CO2] Release[s] [Tundra/Ocean] • Tundra Soil and Ocean CO2 Releases • Reduced Ocean CO2 uptake [ Temp increase, Acidification, Algae Reductions] • Further Albedo changes • Further Water Evaporation • Ocean Circul./O2 changes,H2S Prod.

  14. With the Positive Feedbacks.. • By 2100, Possibly: • - 12-14 degrees C • - At those Temperatures, beyond 2100 [ ~ 2130ish?] all the Ice melts, some 75 Meter Ocean Rise, directly affect over 2 Billion people. • - Alteration of the Ocean Circulators, H2S production in Anoxic Oceans, Toxic atmosphere and Ozone layer Depletion [Losing area of Oceans equal to state of Texas each year now to anoxic conditions]

  15. The “Great Dying” [The Permian [90%] Extinction- 250 MY ago] triggered [as was Venusian Warming] by massive Volcanic CO2 & Particulate release. Anthropogenic CO2 release[ 100X largest volcanic rate] is substituting for the Volcanic input, triggering the positive feedback mechanisms

  16. Rational[s] for “Going Green” • Escalating Price of Petroleum • “Warming” [floods, storms, disease, ocean levels, droughts, species extinctions, tidal waves, Ocean Acidification, Ocean Circulation, H2S ] • National Security/Geo-Politics [ Middle East and all that] • Economics/ Balance of Payments [over half of ~ $600B PLUS trade deficit is Oil] • Personal Economics/ “Independence”

  17. [ Conventional] Energy Outlook • Peak cheap Oil was ‘08 at some 87 M BBl/Day, now pumping below 80 and Demand rising, esp. in Asia, Costs will greatly escalate • Peak cheap Uranium [ unless we go Breeder/ Thorium] is ~ 2025 • Peak cheap natural gas is 2030ish • Peak cheap Coal is 2050 ish…….Coal CO2 Sequestration will price coal above the major renewables

  18. Current Worldwide Energy Usage • Petroleum - 140 Exojoules • Natural Gas - 85 • Coal - 90 • Biomass - 55 [ Potential to 4,000+ ] • Nuclear Fission - 28 • Hydroelectric - 9 • Geothermal - 2 [ potential to 5,000 ] • Solar - .2 [ Potential to 4,000+] • Others [Wind, etc.] - ~7 [Potential to ~5,000]

  19. Suggested Green Energy Best Bets/“Ways Forward” • Seawater Ag, Aquaculture/Algae, Cellulosic Biofuels, genomic bio to replace Petroleum for transportation • Drilled Geothermal, Biomass, Solar Thermal and Nano Plastic PV [ with thermal storage/T-PV extraction, Hybrid vehicle Distributed Elec. storage or Sterling M-G for Solar night time] and Wind to replace coal • Also - Tidal Currents, 20%-30% Efficient Thermo-electrics [ “Harvesting”, cycle efficiency ], SMES w/CNT Magnets [ 10X Chem storage?], extract atmos. CO2/process using solar energy into CO/ Fuels , Horiz. OTEC/ Gulf Stream • And - Positron storage as Positronium, IECF P-B11 , LENRs, ZPE Expts., High Altitude Wind

  20. Aquaculture…….. • Algae and Bacteria, capable of up to 20,000+ Gals fuel/acre-year [ vice some 800 or less from Agriculture -], ~ 35%-60% Oil • Prospective “Algae Ponds” within the U.S. include the Great Salt Lake, the Salton Sea , the “Dry Lakes” and waste water treatment plants, Then there is the Eastern Equatorial Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico [ using the Miss. Nutrient Outflow]…..and “at home” growth/processing • Uses “Waste” resources - Saline/waste water/land, ~ 4% of U.S. land mass to replace Petroleum vice 40%………

  21. From Bioengineering….. • Engineered Microbes which utilize CO2, sunlight and waste water to produce [ projected] 20,000 gals of fuel/ acre-year, with Economics competitive with Petroleum at some $50/bbl. [ Petroleum now over $80/bbl] • “Joule Biotechnologies” , Nascent Technology, A potential MAJOR transportation fuels breakthrough.

  22. The “Final” [ Last Resort] Solution • Genomically modify the Biota [ incl. humans] to “Take the Heat” • - Ongoing studies of “Extremaphiles’, biologics in deep ocean vents, in deserts, in Yellowstone pools etc. plus the ongoing Bio Revolution [ Genomics, Synthetic Biology] proffers the possibility of Designer Life forms [ incl. Humanoids] capable of thriving in whatever evolves [ Venus-like conditions is a “worst case” - ~ 400 degrees C if all the Ocean Methane/CO2 “Escapes”]

  23. Econometrics, Debt • Massive U.S. [ Domestic/Foreign/Consumer] Debt, current “solution” is MORE DEBT, only REAL solution is reduced standard of living [ economics, climate] • Debt Situation will produce inflation, higher interest rates, higher taxes as well as lower standards of living • Industrial age wealth created via natural resources, IT age wealth created by Inventing things, EDUCATION is KEY • Molecular manufacturing and the machines will [eventually] create vast wealth

  24. World Economic Outlook • Much-to-Most of the World Economic runup in recent decades was due to massive U.S. Debt. [ ~ $800B/ year Trade Deficit, ~ $300B-to-$1.4 T/yr Domestic Debt, ~ $1T Consumer debt], Overall U.S. Debt is $15.6 T [ Interest-Bearing],$ 60T [ unsecured Obligations], $4.8T to ROW • Part of This debt was recently called, current “solution” involves yet MORE DEBT, this time on the backs of our Grand Children., NOT SUSTAINABLE. Interest rates and taxes heading MUCH HIGHER. • BOTH the Climate/Energy AND Financial Realities Debt service, [increasing interest rates and taxes] strongly indicate the world will have to revert to ‘Living within our means”, will have to back off from living on ever more debt, resulting in reduced standards of living here and everywhere • Several of the ongoing Technology Revolutions COULD [ eventually] significantly mitigate the requisite standard-of-living adjustments - TBD

  25. Major U.S. Debt Issues • Interest on the Debt, MAJOR ISSUE………… • Military Costs [ We are the Worlds largest Debtor Nation, if we give up the worlds largest military then they would probably Foreclose, will no longer be a “Safe Haven”…] • Medical Costs/ Aging Population • Social Security/ Aging Population • Employment changes due to Robotics • Changing to Renewable Energy, climate change

  26. Econometrics “Ways Forward” • Exploit Shift from Industrial Age wealth creation via Natural Resource Exploitation to IT Age wealth creation via “Inventing Things” • Fix STEM Ed via very inexpensive/superb, highly motivational virtual Ed • Fix Health Care via Prevention, Tele-Med • Using Advanced Techs create solution spaces for Frontier Issues [ Energy, materials, Bio] and PROTECT/Exploit the technology

  27. The Ecosystem appears to be “Crashing” • Fresh Water Shortages • Species Extinctions, Emergence of Fragile Mono-culture Biomes • CO2 etc. induced “Climate Change” • “Pollution” of all manner • Deforestation • Losses of Topsoil & Wildlife Habitat - Overall, Humans Practicing “Anti-Terraforming”

  28. “Prevention of collapse of the Ecosystem has now become the overwhelming issue” European Commission on Key Technologies for Europe,2005

  29. Water/Food • Current food production based on Fresh Water Plants • We are “running out” of Fresh Water • The Ecosystem is “Crashing”, the “code word” is “Sustainability” [Engendered by Population Growth,~ 30% too many of us for the Ecosystem to support NOW, if/as ROW attains U.S. Consumption rate will need 3 more planets…] • Resulting in “PEAK EVERYTHING”………… • A “Solution” is to switch to Halophytes [ “Salt Plants”], produce food on wastelands using saline/salt water, 22 nations working this, ‘Solves” Land, water, food, energy, minerals and climate change.

  30. Just a goodly portion of the Sahara capable of providing [ using halophytes, seawater Irrig.] sufficient Biomass to replace ALL of the Fossil Carbon, provide petrochemical feedstock and all the requisite food whilst returning some of the 68% of the fresh water now used for Conventional Agric. to direct human use.Overall – “Solves” land, water, food, energy & warming…

  31. “Entering The Age of the Small,The Fast,The Smart and the Many….” [And the Inexpensive and Ubiquitous]

  32. THE KEY TECHNOLOGIES(highly synergistic / at the frontiers of the small / in a “feeding frenzy” off each other) • IT (comms/computing/sensors/electronics/machine intelligence) • Bio (genomics/molecular biology/designer life forms) • Nano (coatings/barriers/computers/sensors/materials/“assemblers”) • Energetics (HEDM (various)/revol. solar/biomass/explosives/propellants/storage) • Quantum [crypto/computing/sensors/optics/Electronics] • Societal Technological Systems (motivational asynchronous “distance learning,” immersive/virtual presence, “tele-everything,” “robotic everything,”]

  33. Worldwide IT Revolution • Comms/Computing/Sensors/Electronics • Factor of E07 since ’59 [Moores’ Law] • Factor of E08 to E12 further improvement [Silicon,Molecular/CNT, Quantum, Bio, Optical] • Beyond Human Machine Intelligence? • Automatics/Robotics “in the large” • Immersive multi-sensory VR/”Holodecks” • Ubiquitous multi physics/hyperspectral sensors [land/sea/air/space]

  34. Electron Threats……… • EMP - Non-Nuc,most unprotected, increasingly ubiquitous, decreasing feature size enhances effectiveness, HEDM drivers, Gamma/Xrays right through “Cages” • IO/IW - some 75+% of IT now offshore COTS [ hardware, software], cannot “trust” [ back doors and all that] • IO/IW - Some 45 errors per 1000 lines of code, opportunities for “interference/takedown • IO/IW - “Trusted Insiders” • Jammers • Physical Damage, Esp. Space

  35. IMPACTS OF ONGOING ITREVOLUTION UPON SOCIETY • Work (at home telecommuting, reduced local/corporal travel) • Shopping (at home web based, (robotic?) delivery) • Entertainment/leisure (at home immersive 3-D interactive/multi-sensory via VR/holographic projection) • Travel (3-D/interactive/multi-sensory tele-travel) • Education (at home low cost asynchronous, web based on-demand, highly motivational, life-long distance learning, .edu) • Health (at home interactive tele-medicine) • Politics (increased real-time virtual involvement of the body politic) • Commerce (tele-commerce already ubiquitous) • Tele-Socialization, Tele -[onsite] Manufacturing

  36. “It will be routine to meet in full-immersion virtual reality for business meetings and casual conversations in 5 to 7 years” Ray Kurzweil,Author,”Age of Spiritual Machines” and “The Singularity is Near”

  37. Tele-Everything • Beyond the current IT age is the Virtual Age • Tele Everything – Work, shopping, travel, medicine, politics, socialization, education, commerce, manufacturing, ….. • Rise of the individual “Prosumer”, Electronic, off-all-the-grids [ energy, food, water, sewage] cottages • 5 senses virtual reality [ commercially demonstrated in the U.K.], holographic projection • “Virtual Worlds”, 2nd Life and all that, [Many] millions are spending more time in virtual worlds than in the “real” world, this before widespread superb 5 senses virtual reality, which will make such “better than real”, and not limited to reality

  38. “In 30 Years,The Universities of America,as we have Traditionally known them,will be Barren Wastelands” Peter Drucker

  39. (A) FUTURE “VISION”(the rudicio-ad-absurdium) • “Electronic cottages” widely dispersed, “30 acres on a mountaintop”) • Physical access via (robotic) STOL air delivery and transportation vehicles • ‘Off-the-[ Energy, waste, food,water] Grid” Homes [ available NOW] • (Primarily) virtual/electronic (3-D, immersive, multisensory) • Tele-commuting • Tele-shopping • Tele-commerce • Tele-entertainment • Tele-travel • Tele-medicine • Tele-education • Tele-socialization • Tele-politics • Tele - [onsite] Manufacturing

  40. Human- Related“Bio Revolution Products” • Human Adaptation • Direct Photosynthesis • Micro g/Radiation Hardening (for Space) • “Water-Breathing”, digestion of cellulose via symbiotic microorgsms. • Human Amplification/”Cosmetics” • Dogs’ Nose, Cats’ ear , Strength Enhancement • Brain Augmentation • Tailorable features/”colors”,”Tails”? • Human Maintenance/SERIOUS Life Extension • Disease Prevention • “Parts Replacement” • Currently,.1~.3 year/year heading to 1 year/year • “Designer Humans”………

  41. Summary - Bio ‘Futures” • [Serious] Human Life Extension and human “amplification” • ‘Pharm” animals • “Borged up” Humans • “Designer Life Forms” • Bio-Mimetics, Bio-Production and Bio-Functionalism • Bio energy sources

  42. Rapid Tech Changes Destabilizing the Population[s] • Rapid uptic in Psychosomatic illness rates • Some 20,000 people a year killed due to Road Rage • Some 15% of the population is Clinically Depressed, people “Dropping out” • People are becoming Technology Luddites, Grasping at “Teddy Bears” , Huge uptic in Religiosity world wide, Al Quieda is a Luddite Organization • Increasing numbers of Sociopaths and Psychopaths increasingly technically ‘Empowered” to create Destruction

  43. Sample– Individual Destructive Capabilities • Bio , including against Human regulatory/immune system, via Nano “vectors” • Information Operations/ IT • EMP • Fab Lab produced ‘Weapons” writ large • Robotic Delivery • Vulnerabilities determinations • PPB/PPT Chemical Endocrine Disruption

  44. “Rise of the Machines” • Machine Intelligence approaching Human via Biomimetics and perhaps emergence • Autonomous Robotics • Creating increasing unemployment [ manufacturing , now service, soon Intellectual] • Humans becoming Cyborgs [ Retinas, hearts, limbs, brain chips, …….] • Emergence of a Global Sensor Grid and a “Global Mind” [ Web 3.0++]

  45. Sample Data Sources - Emerging Global Sensor Grid[Everything becoming a [net-worked] sensor] • Safety/Security Sensor Nets • Smart buildings & roads,other smart Infrastructures • “Overheads”/Sats • Cell-phone sensors • Mini-Cams • Smart Appliances, clothes,other smart “Products” [e.g. Shoes • Military sensor nets • RFID/Nano Tags • Near Space [75K-350K ft sensors] • Sensors on transportation devices • Bio sensors including in situ/in vivo/”toilets” • Scientific sensor nets • Populace observations & contributions communicated via internet

  46. AI (AND BEYOND) COMPUTING Human Brain Characteristics/Capabilities • 100 billion neurons • 100 trillion connections • 200 calculations/second, (slow) speed of neural circuitry • 20 million billion calculations/second • Excellent at (parallel-computing) pattern recognition, “poor” at sequential thinking • Operates via “random tries” • Currently, 2+ million billion calculations/second • By 2012, 20 million billion is available (by 2025, on a PC) Machine Capabilities

  47. Machine Intelligence • Approaches: • Experiential - Behavior Based/’learning” (neural nets/other “Soft Computing” - genetic algorithms, fuzzy logic,etc..) • Nano-section/replicate brain in Silicon • “Emergence” • Should produce Artificial/Cyber “life” which will possibly-to-probably be sentient but will not be anthropomorphic

  48. IBM Blue Brain Project • 10 year project started 5 years ago to nano-section the neo-cortex and replicate it in Silicon. • Now , 5 years into it, director projects a human level machine intelligence in ~ 10 years, Many project such for 20 plus years out. • In the Runup, Machine Intelligence is becoming VERY GOOD, e.g. enables Avatars for on-line instruction in lieu of “Teachers”….

  49. Human Vs. “General” Intelligence • Human Intelligence - A result of evolution, each constitutive element capable of/adopted for”solution” of an Immediate Problem in the Hunter-Gatherer Context.No overall/High Level “Plan”, Constrained by available 200 Hz biological Neurons.Higher Level Intelligence wholly “Emergent”.”Humans are a non-central and non-optimal special case of Intelligence” [ Yudkowsky] • General [High Level] Intelligence - Not constrained by/restricted to bit-by-bit immediate / evolutionary problem solution accretion. Higher Level/General Intelligence “Designed in”, Ab-initio .Overall - an opportunity to “Do it right”.

  50. [Un]Employment……… • We are in a “Jobless” Economic recovery,Large numbers of jobs “missing” • Some 1/3rd of the “missing jobs” went out of the country [Globalization/outsourcing of WHITE COLLAR/”Service” jobs] • Rest of the jobs “Disappeared” due to ever-improving Automation/”Robotics/IT.Then year very few-to-no jobs the machines cannot do……. • The machines create “wealth”,cost of goods on a rapid downward spiral • The OUTLOOK -Continuing rapid erosion of high level employment,No “Human Unique” jobs in the offing,”What the people will do all day” a serious issue…….