According to a new Pew Research survey, Americans are cautiously optimistic about what the future of technology holds. The survey found that 59 percent of Americans think future technologies will make the world a better place, while just 30 percent think new developments will leave the world worse off.
Most people living today are acutely aware of the breakneck speed at which technology is evolving, and this awareness was reflected in the survey's results. Here's how people answered when asked what new developments they think will take place in the next 50 years.
81 percent of surveyed participants think replacement organs will be custom grown in laboratories by the year 2064. 51 percent of people think computers will be able to create paintings, novels, and music that is indecipherable from creative works made by humans. 39 percent think scientists will have solved teleportation, and 33 percent believe humans will have established long-term space colonies. 20 percent of people think humans will control the weather by 2064.
In addition to questions about future technologies, participants were asked for their opinions on whether certain tech developments would make the world a better or worse place. This is where the majority of people displayed a healthy skepticism about the future.
65 percent of people think robot caretakers for the elderly and disabled would make the world a worse place (side note: Japan already uses robots for this exact purpose). 66 percent of respondents think the world would be worse off if parents could alter the DNA of their prospective children. 63 percent think the world would suffer if airspace was opened up to personal drones. Finally, 53 percent of people think the use of digital devices to constantly display information to people in real time would make the world a worse place.
Some more interesting finds from the survey: 48 percent of people said they would be open to traveling in a driverless car. 72 percent of people would oppose using brain implants to improve mental capacity and performance. 78 percent of people say they would not eat genetically engineered meat grown in a laboratory.
As you’d expect, young people (ages 18-29) were the most excited about the future of technology. Meanwhile, 41 percent of people ages 65+ could not even think of one possible future technology they would enjoy using.
Source: Pew Research Internet Project
An Ohio-based surveillance technology company is pioneering a “live Google Earth” that would allow cops to monitor crimes in real time.
The wide-area surveillance system was first used in Compton, C.A. last year when a spate of necklace-snatchings led sheriff’s deputies to Persistent Surveillance Systems, a company owned by retired Air Force veteran Ross McNutt.
The Center For Investigative Reporting describes it as Google Earth with rewind—a city captured down to its last detail, and available for zooming and tracking.
“We literally watched all of Compton during the time that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people,” McNutt said. “Our goal was to basically jump to where reported crimes occurred and see what information we could generate that would help investigators solve the crimes.”
McNutt first developed the surveillance technology to search out bombing suspects in Iraq and Afghanistan. The wide-area surveillance relies on high-powered surveillance cameras attached in clusters to small civilian aircrafts.
“Our whole system costs less than the price of a single police helicopter and costs less for an hour to operate than a police helicopter,” McNutt said. “But at the same time, it watches 10,000 times the area that a police helicopter could watch.”
The CIR reports that McNutt’s technology is one of many digital innovations that give law enforcement Hollywood-like capabilities, like mobile facial-recognition technology.
With that comes a host of ethical and constitutional dilemmas. For example, the FBI has been compiling a data complex of over 147 million mug shots and fingerprints—many of which belong to people who have never committed crimes. Soon that database will become searchable.
In the case of the necklace-snatchers, Los Angeles law enforcement realized that its monitoring might not go over well on the public.
“The system was kind of kept confidential from everybody in the public,” said L.A. County sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Iketani. “A lot of people do have a problem with the eye in the sky, the Big Brother, so in order to mitigate any of those kinds of complaints, we basically kept it pretty hush-hush.”
And in fact, the suspects ended up fleeing from the camera’s view before they were identified. Iketani said the technology led to useful leads, but that the pictures weren’t detailed enough to land a suspect.
Chicago is the American city with the most active online users in a committed relationship who are looking to cheat, according to Victoria Milan, a site dedicated to helping facilitate the practice.
According to the website, Chicagoans spend 25 percent more time on the website than the national average. They spend more hours online, chat more, and send more pictures, messages and virtual gifts than residents from any other city.
“I can’t help but notice that Chicago is the coldest large city here,” Victoria Milan CEO Sigurd Vedal said. “And when things get cold, cheating gets hot.”
According to Facebook data accumulated between 2010 and 2011, Vedal’s estimate is not completely off-base. During the winter, people are more likely to begin new relationships.
Following just behind Chicago in most active Victoria Milan users is Los Angeles (21 percent more time spent online than the national average), New York City (18 percent), Houston (11 percent) and Dallas (9 percent).
The Meeks family claims their cable box has been taken over by a hacker who is sending harassing messages to their televisions in Indianapolis.
According to WTVR, when a member of the family walks into a room with a television, the hacker takes control of the cable box and starts to type messages.
“This stuff is uncanny,” Alana Meeks told Fox 59 (video below). “ lI haven’t heard anything like this in my life. He says he’s a stalker.”
Alana showed one message to Fox 59 that read, "ISEEYOUHAHA." She also claims the hacker threatened her young granddaughter.
“He wants to do more than hurt her,” said Alana. “He wants to have sex with her. Pervert.”
“If you want me, come get me,” added Alana. “You know where I’m at, but you can’t have my grandbaby.”
Fred Cate, research director for the Indiana University Center for Applied Cybersecurity, explained how this type of hacking happens: “The most common ways would be using a remote control, an infrared device, but that’s line of sight. You usually have to be in the room or within a close distance and clear vision to the box you’re changing the channel on or doing the typing on.”
“Whoever did this has had to have had physical access to the apartment [or the area outside the apartment window] at some time or another,” added Cate.
AT&T, which provided the cable box, released a statement: “We take security seriously and we are working with the customer to determine the cause and remedy of the situation.”
"Popcorn Time" sounds like a trip to the concession stand, but it's actually a website that makes the illegal downloading of films almost too easy.
BitTorrent has been around for years but is mainly used by tech-savvy types to download films and TV shows.
Popcorn Time is also a torrent but makes downloading movies super easy, without needing much tech knowledge.
By activating the free, downloadable Popcorn Time software, users can download movies and "seed" those same films to other Popcorn Time users.
According to DigitalTrends.com, Popcorn Time's library includes older films, such as Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train" from 1951, as well as movies that are still in theaters.
Popcorn Time's website library looks very much like Netflix, but unlike that pay service, Popcorn Time is technically illegal because it doesn't have licensing rights to the films.
“We don’t expect legal issues," the website's designer, called "Sebastian," told TorrentFreak.com. "We don’t host anything, and none of the developers makes any money. There are no ads, no premium accounts, and no subscription fees or anything like that. It’s an experiment to learn and share."
However, similar free experiments have been shut down for copyright violations, such as Limewire and Kazaa.
On its website, Popcorn Time seems to be trying to offer protection to its users: "Your movies will stay buried in a secret folder somewhere in your drive until you restart your computer. Then it will be gone for good."
Prosecutors filed felony aggravated robbery charges against a 32-year-old Minneapolis man after he was caught on video punching a child in the face and stealing the boy's iPad.
Police in Hennepin County were dispatched Thursday to the intersection of 28th Street and Nicollet Avenue South after a report that a man was being chased by a group of men.
Upon arrival, the police met 32-year-old Aaron Wayne Stillday, who said that men had chased him for no reason. However, police learned that the pursuit began when Stillday punched an 8-year-old boy walking out of daycare and stole his iPad.
Stillday allegedly approached the boy, saying: “Give me that, n****.”
In the video, the boy can be seen lying motionless on the ground as his nose bleeds.
The boy was taken to the hospital and Stillday was taken into custody.
On Monday, Stillday was charged with felony first-degree aggravated robbery.
A tech-savvy two-year-old boy recently helped his injured mother to safety after she was attacked by a dog. How did he do it? FaceTime.
Laura Toone was shocked when a foster dog in her care unexpectedly bit her finger off as she tried to keep it from fighting with her other dogs.
Toone attempted to complete a 911 call to Tuscon police but failed because of her injury. Her four-year-old daughters, who were in the room at the time, were too scared to touch the blood-covered phone.
Toone continued to lose blood and felt as though she would pass out when her son came to her rescue.
“Here comes my son from the kitchen bringing me our dish towel,” Toone said. “He wiped off the blood himself and proceeded to call my friend on FaceTime.”
When Connie Guerrero, Toone's friend, received the FaceTime chat request, she knew she had to answer it.
"Something inside of me just told me that I needed to answer this FaceTime," Guerrero said. "All I could see was his little forehead and I said, 'Hi, Bentley,' and it was quiet for a little bit and then I hear Laura screaming."
When help arrived, two-year-old Bentley even unlocked the door for firefighters.
A researcher has built a huge 3D printer capable of building a house in 24 hours and, possibly, of revolutionizing the construction industry.
Business Insider reports that Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis at the University of Southern California has already built the technology, complete with a nozzle that dispenses concrete. The robot builds a house based on a set computer pattern.
Khoshnevis told MSN that the technology is “basically scaling up 3D printing to the scale of building.” Dubbed Contour Crafting, the robot replaces construction workers with its super-efficient capacities, which can churn out a 2,500-square-foot home in just a day.
The printer will not eliminate jobs, Khoshnevis said, but ultimately create them. And it could provide people around the world with affordable housing.
“At the dawn of the 21st century [slums] are the condition of shelter for nearly one billion people in our world,” said Khoshnevis. “These buildings are breeding grounds for disease a problem of conventional construction which is slow, labor intensive and inefficient.”
As Khoshenevis pointed out, buildings are about the only things these days that have to be constructed by hand. Construction is a slow, laborious, expensive, and dangerous process. The Iranian-born professor foresees workers laying down rails for the robot to operate — and letting the computer take over. The nozzle would spray concrete to create hollow walls, then fill the walls with additional concrete. Manpower would be required “to hang doors and insert windows.”
Khoshenevis even shipped off a prototype to NASA back in 2005, according to an article in Discover magazine. The agency wants to explore the possibilities of constructing buildings on the moon from lunar dust.
Mozilla announced Sunday that it will begin making $25 phones in a chip deal with Spreadtrum.
The company made the announcement in a press release before the kick-off of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Mozilla, a non-profit, will be turning to mobile OS with smartphone capabilities with a focus on developing markets and global carriers looking for a third option, Forbes reported.
Mozilla launched its Mobile OS in 2012. Then Chinese manufacturer ZTE announced it would collaborate with the company on an open software-based device.
“It’s all part of our wider plans to create a better balance of products using various operating systems. We won’t just rely on Android or Windows,” said ZTE Director of Corporate Branding & Communications David Dai Shu.
Firefox OS is slated to move into Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama this year as Telefonica expands to those countries. Deutsche Telekom will contribute markets in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Macedonia and Montenegro.
While Windows has targeted the lower-end of the mobile market, Mozilla may be emerge the victorious underdog, according to Forbes.
Google is aiming to run completely on alternative energy sources, its Energy and Sustainability head said Sunday. Already a third of the search engine giant’s operations rely on wind and solar energy.
Rick Needham, the director of Google’s Energy and Sustainability office, told CNBC that the company is investing in raising its 34 percent reusable energy use to a full 100. In the last quarter it spent $2.25 billion on data centers and general infrastructure—giving it an incentive to use clean energy to cut day-to-day operational costs.
"We've invested over a billion dollars in 15 projects that have the capacity to produce two gigawatts of power around the world, mostly in the US, but that's the equivalent of Hoover's Dam worth of power generation," Needham said.
Google just opened the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station, a gigantic field of mirrors on the California-Nevada border southwest of Las Vegas that harnesses solar energy and reduces energy costs.
"The fact is that all of these things, procuring power for ourselves, investing in power plants, renewable power plants, they all make business sense, they make sense for us as a company to do. We rely on power for our business," Needham told CNBC.
Other Silicon Valley companies are investing in renewable energy sources, if not with as much enthusiasm as Google.
"Silicon Valley is leading the charge to be more efficient, to work on solutions to some of these problems. Google is ahead of the pack and we'll have to wait and see how it works out. They are certainly trying many different initiatives to figure out how best to manage their footprint in the environment, as well as how to manage the cost of all their energy," said Ben Schachter, senior Internet analyst at Macquarie Securities.
That means that your next Google search could be powered by the sun.