As part of the New York Times Innovation Issue, we asked some of the biggest brains we know to tell us what the future holds.
Tim Wu, Author of “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires”
What are your two best million-dollar ideas?
The first is permanent sunblock. No one likes putting the stuff on, so there should be a one-time treatment that embeds the skin with a permanent level of S.P.F. 30, akin to having Lasik eye surgery once and then forgetting about it. Sunburn vanquished like smallpox. The other is the “brain map” — a technology that maps out every neural connection in your mind and then, effectively, stores your brain on your hard drive. That information — more than your DNA even — is you.
Peter Schwartz, Futurist and film consultant
What technology that you wanted to put into a film were you not able to because it seemed too far-fetched?
In “Minority Report,” Tom Cruise gets into a car that drives itself. We considered giving him neural control of that car, but we deliberately held back on how far biology could go. It would have overwhelmed the story. And here we are today with real neurological control of machines. It’s transformative technology. In 50 years, you’ll be able to drive cars with your mind.
Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard professor of law and computer science
What innovation scares you the most these days?
The Internet is not merely connecting computers together for the benefit of humans; it’s connecting humans together to reinvent labor. This opens terrific opportunities along with real worries. Soon we’ll have to question whether an earnest-looking group of protesters with hand-lettered signs is genuine or simply rapidly convened as a paid flash mob: a crowdsourced crowd. We’ll be able to one-click shop for cheering throngs or protests at a particular location on a moment’s notice, indistinguishable from genuine collective sentiment. A house can be surveilled and a spouse tailed because an online bounty has been put out for anyone nearby to take a photo of the building at a particular address, or to “follow that car.”
via New York Times – BEN COHEN and YURI CHONG
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