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The fun side of future tech

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With worrying news about rogue AI and Skynet, bioengineering and bio-superweapons, possible cancer-causing 5G, and more, the future can look pretty scary. But it’s not all gloom and doom. On the plus side, quantum computing, asteroid mining, CRISPR stem cell modification, and AI-driven pharmacogenomics are just a few of the potentially beneficial break-throughs that await us. But everything about the future doesn’t have to be so frightening or serious. Instead, let’s take a break from all of that and look at the fun side of what lies ahead.

It’ s always good to learn about technologies that provide new ways to observe rarely seen wonders of our planet upfront and close. Based in the Netherlands, U-Boat Worx produces the Nemo 2 personal submarine (https://nemo-submarine.com), which allows two people (a pilot and a passenger) to explore coral reefs, shipwrecks, schools of fish, and colorful clusters of anemones at depths of up to 330 feet for up to 8 hours. It’ll set you back around $550,000, but if the traditional manufacturing learning curve holds, it won’t be long before this new type of recreational vehicle approaches the price of a typical deep-sea fishing boat or less.

Along those lines, the Jason project, founded by Robert Ballard, who was the first to locate the Titanic on the ocean floor, helps grade-school kids learn about oceanography hands-on while having fun at the same time. We’re talking about kids in the lower grades operating a real, deep underwater submersible, not a video game simulation. The program became so popular that it was acquired by the National Geographic Society, which expanded it into a full-blown immersive learning program called Jason’s Argonauts (https://jason.org/argonauts). Students can choose from an assortment of experiences ranging from addressing climate change and microplastics contamination to exploring the rich biodiversity and unique ecosystems of Costa Rica. Oh yes, and a major requirement for participating in the program is knowledge sharing, where students report out on what they’ve learned and experienced to the rest of the Jason community.

‘Ground Control to Major Tom’

Only in this case the Major Tom “floating in a most peculiar way” (to quote David Bowie) could be almost anyone, including you! We’ve all seen billionaires and celebs floating weightless in orbit in the first wave of commercial space travel. But why be confined to a tight space peering at Earth through a small portal when you can pop outside and wander freely? This sleek, new designer extravehicular mobility suit made by Axiom Space, Inc. has the potential for making that experience a reality (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/spacesuit-for-nasa-s-artemis-iii-moon-surface-mission-debuts). Enhancements over traditional spacesuits include greater comfort, range of motion, and flexibility. And they’re made to accommodate long stretches of extravehicular activity for both men and women.

Designed in partnership with NASA in preparation for the upcoming Artemis III moon mission, future uses include space-walking outside the International Space Station and eventually on Mars. At some point down the road, the suit will likely be repurposed to accommodate commercial space travelers in Earth orbit (deep pockets not withstanding).

Smart money

You’ve probably had your fill of reading about the cryptocurrency trading craze, including using AI to gain an “edge” by recognizing and responding to changes in prices and trading patterns in the market. But what happens when AI actually becomes embedded within the cryptocurrency itself? Sometimes referred to as “crypto-sapiens,” this new form of autonomous, intelligent currency seeks to learn from its environment and make its own decisions regarding how best to deploy itself in order to acquire value and grow it. No more studying charts and graphs or strategizing how to determine the best entry and exit points. The money will do that all by itself!

Of course there is risk. With high-frequency trading, the markets already move at blinding speed. Embedding trading algorithms within the money itself will likely only amplify price volatility. Letting your money multiply itself while you sleep may be fun, but don’t bet the farm, unless you’re willing to risk waking up to the nightmare of discovering that your newfound wealth has vanished into the ether literally overnight.

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