2016 Technology Advances – Doing Well Sir

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In just the last few days and weeks, I have been astonished at the progress already being made towards the important technology advancements mentioned in Technology Forecast 2016

On the front for medical technology to fight cancer, just today it was announced that the foundation from Sean Parker (of Napster and Facebook) is providing a $250 million grant for a new cancer institute to advance the field of immunotherapy to boost the body’s natural defenses (i.e. immune system) to fight the cancer.

In terms of space technology, famed astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking and venture capitalist, Yuri Milner are teaming up with a $100 million for research to develop “Starchips” (a nanocraft robot on a chip) for a voyage to another solar system 25 trillion miles away. 

Finally, there are advances for counter-terrorism technology on display with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announcing in February a pilot of new biometric technology kiosks to capture and compare facial and iris biometrics for travelers exiting the U.S. to compare with their entry data and ensure an end-to-end visitor entry/exit solution.  

I am pleased at the commitment and progress we are making in these critical technology areas, and sincerely hope that these efforts will flourish for us all in the not too distant future. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

 

We Just Keep Giving It All Away

Missiles

How do these things keep happening to us?


We lost a high-tech Hellfire air-to- ground missile, accidentally sending it to Cuba, likely compromising critical sensor and GPS targeting technology to China, Russia, and/or North Korea. 


But it’s not all that different from how many other examples, such as: 


– Chinese cyber espionage snared critical design secrets to the 5th generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.


– Iran captured and purportedly decoded an RQ-170 Sentinel high-altitude reconnaissance drone.


– Russian spies stole U.S. nuclear secrets helping them to build their first atomic bomb.


We are the innovator for high-tech bar none, which is beautiful and a huge competitive advantage. 


But what good is it when we can’t protect our intellectual property and national security secrets. 


The U.S. feeds the world not only with our agricultural, but with our knowledge.


Knowledge Management should be a mindful exercise that rewards our allies and friends and protects us from our enemies–and not a free-for-all where we we can’t responsibly control our information. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to James Emery)

King Kong Puzzle

King Kong

I took this photo in the local hobby store. 


It’s a 3-D puzzle of the Empire State Building and at the top, King Kong holding onto the antenna!


Looks like a few pieces fell out of the building about 3/4 of the way up.


Or is that where ISIS terrorists blow their next hole in our skyscrapers again (G-d Forbid). 


With our retrenchment from the front lines all over the world–with the exception of some targeted drone strikes (actually very well done)–we are again at risk of letting the terrorists get the upper hand. 


We need strength and resolve–not lifting of sanctions, closing of Guantanamo, and withdrawal from the fight. 


Take them down, before they come to our shores–this is a fight that is multigenerational and there is no retreat from the top of the world when fighting for freedom and human rights. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Your Pants Are Down

Balancing Act

Yesterday in the news was how a drone was used to fly over and take pictures at a nude beach


So at a nude beach, even those that advertise privacy protections, let’s face it your walking around in the buff. But still, the use of the drone with a camera was a violation of people’s expectations not to be photographed and by those outside the facility.


And about a week earlier, a five year old finds a camera phone in the lady’s bathroom in a Starbucks


Yesteday, I had a similar lesson about people’s warped sensibilities or perversions (but without the drone or smartphone–this was the low tech version). 


I’m at the pool for a swim after work. 


There are 2 locker rooms for men and women, of course.


But at one point, I see this LADY get out of the pool and head straight for the MEN’S locker room–she actually proceeds to go in one side–through and past the bathrooms, showers, sauna, and lockers–and out the other side to exit the facility. 


So trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, when I get out of the pool, thinking maybe the locker room wasn’t clearly marked, I check it–and there is a big sign with a picture (the symbol for men) and you couldn’t miss it!


Also, this lady was clearly not new as she gestured a friendly hello to the lifeguard, and she wasn’t the slightest bit confused (she had actually made some small talk with me in the pool)   


When she left, as she headed into the men’s room, she didn’t hesitate, knock on the door or anything, and obviously didn’t care whether anyone was in there–dressed or naked.


Perhaps, because the men’s locker room is closer to the exit, she was just taking a shortcut–for her, how convenient!


Then again maybe she was a true perv and this was her way of getting some cheap thrills regardless of other people’s right to privacy and safety, including those of children. 


In a sense, this is more than just about generalized privacy (such as with information), but even extends to your very privates!


We live in an age when it is a balancing act between sharing and privacy, between openness and modesty, and between doing what’s right and pure self-gratification. 


Unfortunately, to put in bluntly, some people just don’t seem to give a sh*t about respect for other people’s decency or rights, and they will do what they want regardless of the social balancing act or the necessity to use common sense good judgement in public and private.  


The lesson is that when your pants are down, as creepy as it sounds, it’s best to assume that someone is always looking or at least may be on the prowl, so be careful out there. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Drones Made Easy

OMG, this is awesome.


This Lily Camera Drone is “throw and go” and simply lands in your hand. 


You can set it to follow you–almost like a guardian angel– or to lead you where you need to go. 


Records video, sound, can do slow motion, and takes photos.


It has a tracking device.


It’s waterproof.


Awesome for extreme sports or personal surveillance.


Would like to be able to communicate with it by voice command, and also see what it sees and hear what it hears with augmented reality glasses or on a smartphone or wearable.


Finally, if only it would come with a laser to zap anybody or anything bad that may come at us–that could be reassuring. 


Costs = $619 and ships in May 2016.


That was easy.  😉

The Robotization Of Society

Robotization

First, it’s people–just us, living and loving. 
 
Then, we welcome robots into our society for automation, industrialization, and services–they are here to help us.
 
Finally, it’s just the robots–we, the people, are obsolete, replaced, maybe even completely gone!

Think about it. 😉
 
(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

From Vintage to Modern Threats

Just wanted to share this short video captured of vintage fighter planes flying over the Washington Monument in D.C. on Friday, May 8.



This was in commemoration of 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. 



My father (A’H) used to tell me about when he was in England during the war and the Nazi bombers would fly over and carpet bomb them in a blitzkrieg.



This happened night after night, and so adaptive as people are, they sort of got used to the bombardment, if that is possible to say. 



After a while, instead of taking safety behind closed doors at home, people returned to go to the movies and dancing at night, even while the buildings next door were still being blown up–to the right and the left of them. 



In the morning, those who survived would get up, and see what was knocked down and what still standing. 



Hard to imagine living that way!



Now with new more destructive weapons (WMD, ICBMs, EMPs, etc.), we can only imagine that the destructive aftermath of WW II would be nothing in comparison to what a round III would be like.



It is crucial that we maintain our innovativeness and military superiority and not only offensively to defeat the enemy, but defensively so that we can stop whatever is coming at us whether a dirty bomb in suitcase, an ebola-type virus in an infected person or food, a drone carrying anthrax, or malware over the network.



We have come a long way in the last 70 years technologically, but the risk and stakes have also never been higher. 😉



(Source Video: Minna Blumenthal)

Trouble In Protection Land

Insect
The Secret Service is one of the finest agencies in the Federal government, but unfortunately, the “recreational” drone crash landing at the White House was a protection disaster this week.



(And it comes on the heels of knife-wielding assailants running wild through the front doors of the White House, people taking pot shots at the White House, and even planes crash landing there). 



This time it was perhaps, a small drone innocently passing low without a significant radar signature unto the White House grounds, but next time it may be a miniaturized drone the size of an insect that attacks the President or his senior staff in the White House itself. 



This could happen with a pin prick of poison or a small drone carrying explosives, biological, or chemical weapons. 



We are entering a new dimension of threats that are not easily addressed with existing technology. 



It is said the the President is proverbially protected by a bubble of defenses around him, but where we are going is that this bubble may need to become an actual physical bubble that nothing, not even an insect drone can get through. 



It may sound ridiculous, but it may be the only way (for now) to really protect against these threats that literally fly beneath our radar!



Perhaps at some future time, we will have our swarms of defensive drones that go after any attack drone, no matter how small or how many, but in the meantime, we must protect our critical leadership and assets. 



Almost two years ago, I blogged about robots, drones, and commandos in exoskeletons attacking the White House and our not being prepared with adequate defenses and counter-measures.



This week’s drone crash should be making the alarm bells go off on this issue big time now!



We must move past reactive steps and a failure to anticipate and become true forward-thinkers, strategists, planners, enterprise architects, and futurists. 



The protection of our leaders, institutions, critical infrastructure, and people depend upon true out of the box thinking, not doing the same thing but on a different day. 



The time is now to think about protections from much more than traditional attack patterns to the wildest and craziest we can imagine–because our enemies are not hampered by the past and won’t rest until they see what we won’t. 😉



(Source Photo: here with attribution to David Illig)

Drones Neighbor Against Neighbor

Drones
Fascinating perspective in the New York Times today on the future diabolical use of drones.



Yes, drones can be used for defense, law enforcement, search and rescue, neighborhood watch, agriculture, and even Amazon or Pizza Hut deliveries. 



But what about the darker side of drones–used neighbor against neighbor, where anyone can buy a fairly sophisticated drone for merely hundreds of dollars and use it against others in the community.



– Want to use the (surveillance) camera to spy on your neighbor?



– Want to use its claws to pick up and steal something?



– Want to airlift and plant evidence or contraband and frame someone unjustly?



– Want to distract someone or cause an accident or fatality?



Ok, I am going a lot further than the NYT article…but really what prevents people from doing these things and more?



The article does mention new FAA policies “prohibiting drones from flying [over stadiums] near major sporting events.”



But think about a drone in the hands of a terrorist with a dirty bomb or G-d forbid, even a WMD, and the drone swooping into a densely populated area like a stadium or even Times Square…what would prevent this–perhaps, nothing?



Think about it…this is about to become a lot more dangerous world because drones are not just for the good guys anymore, and the bad guys may not care about FAA regulations and penalties. 



(Source Photo: here with attribution to outacontext)

Dexterous Drones


Ok, after the da Vinci System that uses robotics to conduct surgeries this many not seem like such a feat, but think again.



While da Vinci is fully controlled by the surgeon, this Drone from Drexel University that can turn valves, or door knobs and other controls, is on the road to doing this autonomously. 



Think of robots that can manipulate the environment around them not on a stationary assembly line or doing repetitive tasks, but actually interacting real-time to open/close, turn things on/off, adjust control settings, pick things up/move them, eventually even sit at a computer or with other people–like you or I–and interface with them. 



Drones and robots will be doing a lot more than surveillance and assembly line work–with artifical intelligence and machine learning, they will be doing what we do–or close enough. 😉