Episode 3.05 Brave New Wars with John Robb

Social media has been weaponised and is now used against nations as a tool of war – invisible, subtle, and dangerously destabilising. John Robb has spent over a decade studying how these new networks represent the new powers – and the new engines of war.

Some of John’s best writing goes to his Patreon supporters

John writes the amazing Global Guerrillas blog – you should check it out.

John’s book Brave New War is quite good, too.

Mark and John, December 2018. (photo credit: Dan Lynch)

THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 4: The Next Billion Kilometers

Transformations in autonomy & electrification give automobile designers a new palette of possibilities – does our experience of driving change?

Drew Smith talks to BMW design legend Chris Bangle about what it took to design the REDSPACE urban car for the Chinese market. And here’s a video where he’s talking at the Art Center College for Design in Pasadena (Chris’s alma mater, and the school that graduates most of the world’s top car designers):

Mark and Sally sat down at the North American International Auto Show for a long interview with recently-retired Ford design legend Elizabeth Baron, about what it took to combine the real and virtual design processes into a seamless whole.

Elizabeth Baron, in the podcast suite at the Detroit Foundation Hotel, January 2019

Finally, Sally learns about the design possibilities created by autonomous vehicles from Luciano Nakamura, one of the founders of Australian startup AEV Robotics.

AEV Robotics rethinks design around urban use cases…

Episode 3.01 GETTING SINGULAR with Vernor Vinge

Over a billion seconds ago, sci-fi legend Vernor Vinge conceived of a “Technological Singularity”, when our machines outthink us. Should we worry?

Be sure to read Vernor’s 1993 paper, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era” – it’s linked here.

Episode 2.09 Quantum Questions

In our world, you flip a coin and it comes up either heads or tails. But in the spooky quantum world – that’s everything from a single atom all the way up to a small virus – that coin can come up both heads _and_ tails, depending on how you read it. So which is it? Heads? Tails? Both? Neither?

Resonant Doubler
One of the experimental setups used to read qbits

Welcome to the strange world of quantum computing where this both-true-and-false ‘superposition’ allows quantum computers to vastly outperform their ‘classical’ peers (such as the one in your smartphone).

entangled qbits
A string of ‘entangled’ qbits

At least, that’s the theory.

Quantum computers are so unstable they tend to self-destruct before we can get them to run a program!

Claire Edmunds

Researchers Claire Edmunds and Virginia Frey from the University of Sydney’s Quantum Control Laboratory join us to explore this new quantum frontier: The deeper you go, the weirder it gets over the next billion seconds.

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If quantum computing fascinates you as much as it fascinates me, you may find these resources interesting:

IBM scientists explains quantum computing at 5 different levels (video good for beginners to experts)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWJCfOvochA

IBM Institute for Business Value Report on Quantum Cybersecurity – what happens after quantum computing breaks all the encryption we use on the Web to keep our information secure and private?

https://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/thoughtleadership/quantumsecurity/

Here’s a tutorial – in the very easy to learn Python programming language – that allows you to generate random numbers using a quantum computer.

http://dataespresso.com/en/2018/07/22/Tutorial-Generating-random-numbers-with-a-quantum-computer-Python/

And since you’re going to need a quantum computer to run this program, here’s the IBM Q Quantum Experience (5 qubit device available publicly on the cloud) – a REAL quantum computer you can run your own experiments on!

https://quantumexperience.ng.bluemix.net/qx/experience

Episode 2.03: The Future is Local with Jess Scully

For two and a half thousand years, cities and politicians have grown together. The city gives politicians a platform, a stage – and a demanding public. Always economic powerhouses, our cities also hold the key to an urban future where city-states like Singapore rise in prominence.

We talk to Sydney City Councillor Jess Scully about how best to grow a ‘world city’ like Sydney over the next billion seconds – and what it means to have a political career in a time when every citizen has social media to amplify their voice, their beliefs – and their anger.

The future is here – and it’s local. In this clip, Jess talks about the importance of Sydney to Australia’s economy:

In our interview, Jess mentions the DECODE Project – designed to give people rights over the data collected about them. Read about DECODE here.

The City of Sydney wants to increase the housing supply – and this article explains why that’s more difficult than it might appear. 

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Episode 2.02: Power Tools with Ramez Naam

Solar power cost $100 per kilowatt hour when energy futurist Ramez Naam entered the world. Last year, the UAE signed a 20-year contract for solar power at a four thousandth the cost. For Ramez Naam it’s no longer a question of if renewables, it’s a matter of when: the data proves it. Energy has been mixed with politics from the beginning – so over the next billion seconds, how do we talk ourselves out of our coal culture and into a sustainable future? Ramez Naam makes a convincing case for a future where we profit from the sun.

Here’s an excerpt:

 

There are some amazing things happening in the renewable energy space, as shown in this chart about a typical week of energy generation in South Australia:

Ramez gives a lot of talks about energy futures, here’s a recent one given in South Africa – a nation with some energy problems…

Ramez has also written a series of blog posts on the energy future – the first is linked here

Finally, here’s that infamous photo of Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison, on the day they passed a lump of coal around in Parliament:

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Episode 1.14: Future Stories & Series Finales with John Allsopp, Genevieve Bell and Andy Polaine

We invite three series 1 guests to join Mark in studio for a final featuring a freewheeling conversation about myths, artificial intelligence, slaughterbots (!), and what happens when four billion people suddenly show up online.

Here’s a taste:

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Episode 1.13: Rise of the Robots with Ken Goldberg

Are the robots going to rise up in a “Singularity” that will first threaten our jobs, then our very existence? Dr. Ken Goldberg, Chair of the Robotics program at the University of California, Berkeley, tells us that while things are moving quickly, we’re moving into a world of ‘multiplicity’ – where multiple intelligences grow together to create a uniquely diverse world of human and machine minds.

Here’s a sample:

Ken wrote about the irrational fear of robots for the Wall Street Journal – you can read his piece here: The Robot-Human Alliance – WSJ

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Episode 1.12: The Playful Century Ahead with Eric Zimmerman

While video games have only been around for about 40 years, games themselves are as old as humanity because we learn about the world by playing with it, finding the ‘wiggle room’ in every system – social or mechanical – that we encounter. Indy games pioneer and author Eric Zimmerman understands games and the culture of play so well he can tell us where it’s all going – and how we’ll get there.

Here’s a sample:

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Episode 1.11: Cryptocurrency with Mark Jeffrey

What is Bitcoin? How does it work? And why is the whole world going gaga for ‘magic internet money’? Mark Jeffrey – author of one of the first books on Bitcoin – explains how cryptocurrency happened, and why it’s about to change everything about money forever. Here’s a quick peek:

This one is – by far – our most downloaded episode to date.

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