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Mar 15, 2016
The 8th Annual Global 'Zeitgeist Day' Symposium Promotes Sustainability, Global Unity, and a Post-Scarcity Society Read More >
Jan 31, 2015
Promotes Global Unity, Social Betterment and a More Humane Society Read More >
Sep 12, 2014
Features Live Music, Short Films, Comedy and Art, Promotes Social Consciousness Through the Power of Art Read More >
Mar 01, 2014
Toronto Main Event and Beyond Read More >
Feb 03, 2014
A New Book by The Zeitgeist Movement Read More >
More Press Releases >
Apr 01, 2016 Host: Casey Davidson
In this episode Casey Davidson (Australian national coordinator for TZM) discusses whether the Zeitgeist Movement should interact with political parties, how to find a balance between making ethical choices and connecting with larger audiences as well as introducing the Brisbane chapter's amusing 'Tinfoil hat scale'.
Mar 20, 2016 Host: Jasiek Luszczki
This episode of TZM global is hosted by Jasiek Luszczki from the Polish chapter of TZM. Today's show features an interview with two activists of the Rotterdam TZM Chapter (Holland) - Anthony Jacobi and Robert Schram.
They talk about their way of utilising the NLRBE-like philosophy and code of conduct within the confines of today's monetary system. They present some ideas on how to move away from "business as usual" (working for profit) to "awareness as usual" (generating social capital) mindset.
Feb 10, 2016 Host: James Phillips
This episode of TZM global is hosted by UK chapter member and TZM education coordinator James Phillips and involves an interview with fellow TZM members Jasiek Thejester and Stefan Kengen from the Polish and Danish chapters of TZM respectively about the recent European meeting held in Rotterdam.
Dec 10, 2015 Host: James Phillips
This episode of TZM global is hosted by UK chapter member and co-coordinator of the movements global educational activism project; TZM education, James Phillips.
Along with other movement related news this episode includes a conversation with fellow TZM education member and Hungarian chapter coordinator, Sztella Kantor regarding her experience of taking the materials of TZM education into schools in Hungary.
If you are interested in taking part in this global initiative then please visit: www.tzmeducation.org
*At the time of publication there was an issue with our podcast provider, blogtalk radio. Therefore the show could only be uploaded in it's edited format to you tube at this time. The full version will be released as soon as this issue is resolved.
Nov 25, 2015 Host: James Phillips
Ep 178 European TZM meeting show - Rotterdam. This episode of TZM Global is hosted by UK chapter team member and co-coordinator of TZM Education (www.tzmeducation.org) James Phillips.
This episode includes an interview with the Global Chapters Administration Coordinator Gilbert Ismail regarding the upcoming European TZM Meetup in Rotterdam next month. For more information, please visit the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/91743...
Also included in this show is a request for more content for TZM Global Radio. Please send pre-recorded submissions to: email@example.com.
Conventional wisdom would have you believe that most people enter adolescence with a head full of high-minded ideals and a willingness to shake up the system. As they get older, however, they gradually begin to accept the status quo. For me, that process is reversed.
The older I get, the more skeptical I become of our current social model. Why?
Let’s start with this:
It should be of increasing concern to all Americans that there is an extreme disconnect between what Americans believe about man-made climate change, and what science tells us about it. That is to say, despite there being a clear scientific consensus, man-made climate change is more often than not framed as an ambiguous concept in the U.S. mainstream media. Consequently, climate change is generally thought to be far more esoteric than it actually is.
INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER 
The purpose of this project is to enable supporters of a natural law resource based economic model (NLRBE) to understand and appreciate the need to approach the education system in an effort to initiate the value shift required for a more peaceful and sustainable future to emerge.
Today I was reading The Zeitgeist Movement Defined: Realizing a New Train of Thought, again. I did so because I feel the need to express certain frustration on this/my social movement but haven’t found the right words. Also I didn’t want to make any false assumptions on its architecture, so I went straight to the source with a pen in my hand.
I went through the 9 pages that constitute the overview and extracted some notes I would like to post in here:
We need more films about the social, ecological and economic change!
We want to make one and you could help us.
In our Documentary "The Taste of Life" we want to show, that there are people in the whole world, already practicing this change in a great way.
From social symptom to root causes came about as a bi-product of ZDAY 2013 in London, in which all but the introductory talk featured exterior organisations and speakers. Each of whom seek to address a particular social or environmental issue closely aligned with the movement’s materials.
From social symptom to root causes came about as a bi-product of ZDAY 2013 in London, in which all but the introductory talk featured exterior organisations and speakers. Each of whom seek to address a particular social or environmental issue closely aligned with the movement’s materials.
Transcript below. Can also be viewed via PDF HERE.
Welcome to: “3 Questions - What do you propose?” This thought exercise is intended for both the average person, concerned about global problems – along with those who are still confused about - or perhaps even in opposition to The Zeitgeist Movement.
Peter Joseph, ZDay 2016 "Where we go from here" March 26th, Athens Greece [ The Zeitgeist Movement ]
Fear of job loss to automation is growing, with each announcement of exciting technological progress generating a backlash from those who could end up unemployed because of it. Amazon Go is eliminating the need for cashiers. https://singularityhub.com/2016/10/30/an-uber-self-driving-truck-just-took-off-with-50000-beers/ ">Self-driving vehicles won’t need truckers and cabbies at their wheels. Artificial intelligence is beginning to https://singularityhub.com/2016/10/13/well-soon-trust-ai-more-than-doctors-to-diagnose-disease/ ">diagnose disease, https://singularityhub.com/2016/10/11/the-future-of-surgery-is-robotic-data-driven-and-artificially-intelligent/ ">perform surgery, and even https://singularityhub.com/2016/06/10/an-ai-wrote-this-short-film-and-its-surprisingly-entertaining-2/ ">write films and articles.
No job is safe forever, and we’re constantly being reminded of it, with little to no reassurance about what we’ll all do when computers and robots are running the world.
A http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/digital-disruption/harnessing-automation-for-a-future-that-works ">report released last week by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) offers some reprieve, bringing three pieces of welcome news:
- Widespread automation is inevitable, but it won’t happen as quickly as has been predicted.
- Automation won’t eliminate the need for human workers, rather it will transform our day-to-day tasks, likely for the better.
- Aging populations in many developed countries will lead to a decline in the total work force, leaving a gap that automation can fill, thereby contributing to overall economic growth.
Measured by tasks, not jobs
The report is the result of two years of research on automation technologies and their possible effects on the economy. Instead of focusing on sectors of the economy or whole jobs, researchers broke down 800 different occupations into the tasks and activities they’re made up of, then analyzed the automation potential of each activity.
A teacher’s job, for example, requires creating lesson plans, conveying information to students, answering questions, and grading assignments. It may be easy for a computer to take over conveying information, but harder to automate the subjective and interactive aspects of learning.
Under currently-available technology, MGI estimates 49 percent of activities can be automated, but less than five percent of jobs can be fully automated.
The activities most susceptible to automation are collection and processing of data and operating machinery in a predictable environment. These activities are most common in manufacturing, accommodation and food service, and retail trade.
Least susceptible are activities like expertise-based decision making, creative tasks, and managing people.
Globally, the report calculated automation potential equates to 1.1 billion workers, with employees in China, India, Japan, and the US making up more than half that total, and China and India together accounting for more than 700 million automatable full-time employee equivalents.
The pace of automation, MGI predicts, will be affected by five factors.
1) Technical feasibility: For jobs to become automated on a large scale, technology needs to be further developed and perfected to match the more complex human capabilities, like natural language understanding and emotional and social reasoning.
2) Cost: It’s only rational to automate a task if automation is cheaper than paying a human. Hardware is expensive to deploy, so automation that requires hardware has high up-front costs compared to wages. Software tends to be lower-cost, making it easier to adopt. Falling hardware and software costs will mean greater competition with human labor.
3) Labor market dynamics: Supply and demand of human labor across industries, as well as the quality of that labor, will affect how fast automation happens in different jobs. For example, countries with high manufacturing wages will automate manufacturing jobs faster than developing countries with lower wages.
4) Economic benefits: On top of savings in wages, benefits like improved safety of workers or better quality of products will affect automation. For example, the mining company Rio Tinto deployed automated haul trucks and drilling machines and saw more than a 10 percent utilization gain as a result.
5) Regulatory and social acceptance: Even if the technology to replace jobs is available, it’s much more complex to change organizational processes, reconfigure supply chains, and adjust policies and regulations. Ethical doubts and public perception around machines replacing humans in intimate settings like hospitals, or making life and death decisions in scenarios like driving, also impact automation rate.
No one wants to lose his job to a computer, but MGI’s report makes the important point that as populations age, we will actually need automation-powered growth. Today, 15 percent of the US population is over 65, but by 2060 over-65s are predicted to grow to 24 percent of the population. That means fewer workers in an economy that will need to keep growing, and automation could be part of the solution.
This isn’t the first time in history that technology has replaced jobs, or the first time people are resistant to it. This time may feel more significant because artificial intelligence and machine learning are making it possible for computers to do tasks we never thought they’d be able to do.
But before the Industrial Revolution, it also seemed unthinkable for steam to power factories or for machines to cut and shape metal tools. And guess what? The Industrial Revolution led to the standard of living steadily improving for the entire populations of affected countries.
As the report’s executive summary points out, when farm employment started to drop in the early 1900s and manufacturing employment fell after 1950,
“...new activities and jobs were created that offset those that disappeared, although it was not possible to predict what those new activities and jobs would be while these shifts were occurring.”
40 years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to predict that in 2017 we’d have millions of people employed as programmers, web designers, and software engineers—yet here we are.
Technological advancement isn't likely to slow down, leaving us no choice but to adapt. But if McKinsey's predictions are accurate, we'll have more time to make that transition than we thought.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock
Moral panic around “designer babies” is nothing new, but rapid advances in technology that allows adult cells to be reprogrammed into sperm and egg cells could bring the issue into sharp focus.
Since the 90s it has been common practice to genetically profile embryos used in in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. This is done largely to screen for genetic diseases, but many genes that contribute to traits like eye color, height or athleticism are well-known.
At present their impact can’t be predicted with much certainty, but it’s not inconceivable that the same process http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/pregnancy/pregnancy-trends/unnatural-selection-is-evolving-reproductive-technology-ushering-in-a-new-age-of-eugenics/article2294636/singlepage/ ">could be used to select for these characteristics. That’s why most countries restrict embryo screening to medical uses or outright ban it, though the US is notable for having no federal regulation governing the process.
Despite this, the expense and complexity of producing embryos for IVF make designing the perfect baby largely impractical. The main limitation is the fact that eggs need to be drug-induced and surgically harvested in very small numbers, seriously limiting the number of embryos a couple has to choose from.
However, an emerging technology called in vitro gametogenesis (IVG) could provide a way to create large numbers of both eggs and sperm in the lab, which the authors of an editorial in the http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/372/eaag2959 ">journal Science Translational Medicine last week say could have serious scientific, ethical and legal ramifications.
"IVG may raise the specter of 'embryo farming' on a scale currently unimagined, which might exacerbate concerns about the devaluation of human life," wrote Harvard Law School Professor I. Glenn Cohen, Dean of Harvard Medical School George Daley and professor of medical science at Brown University Eli Adashi.
"IVG could, depending on its ultimate financial cost, greatly increase the number of embryos from which to select, thus exacerbating concerns about parents selecting for their 'ideal' future child."
The method allows scientists to create gametes—sperm and eggs—from stem cells. These stem cells can come from embryos, but it is also possible to reprogram adult cells into so-called induced pluripotent stem cells.
Last October, Japanese researchers used IVG to https://singularityhub.com/2016/10/25/mice-born-from-artificial-eggs-a-stunning-achievement/ ">develop viable egg cells in mice, but the approach is still experimental, and it will take considerable research to translate the technology into humans. The authors say clinical applications are unlikely in the near term and the main contribution will be a better understanding of reproductive science.
But at the same time, the authors note that the breakneck speed of scientific progress means these developments may happen sooner rather than later, and the dramatic implications of the technology mean it would be wise for scientists and legislators to get out ahead of the issues.
“IVG has the potential to upend one of the most traditional elements of human culture—our understanding of what parenthood is and how it occurs,” said Cohen, in https://hms.harvard.edu/news/promise-and-peril ">a Harvard press release. “It is critical for law and medical ethics to grapple with the far-ranging implications of this new technology.”
The implications aren’t all negative—the technology has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of infertility by offering a safer, less invasive alternative to traditional IVF that could potentially have far higher success rates. It could also help reduce the risks of devastating mitochondrial disease and provide an inexhaustible supply of lab-made embryonic stem cells, which could dramatically accelerate medical research.
But at the same time, the technology is likely to amplify ethical concerns about the use of human embryos in research due to the scale of production it would enable. The ability to derive gametes from adult cells even raises the prospect of people's genetic code being stolen and them being made unwitting parents without their consent.
The headline concern, though, is making it much easier for people to create scores of embryos and then select the "best" for IVF. Combined with technologies like CRISPR/Cas9, which allows high-precision editing of the genome, it could even be https://singularityhub.com/2016/10/03/designer-babies-and-the-new-technology-of-having-children/ ">possible to edit traits as well as just select for them.
The fear is that this could effectively usher in the kind of eugenics critiqued in the movie Gattaca, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jan/08/designer-babies-ethical-horror-waiting-to-happen ">where economic inequalities begin to translate into genetic inequalities as those who can afford it pay to give their children the best start in life.
At the same time, others have warned against regulatory overreaction that could throw the genetically modified baby out with the bathwater. “A fear of designer babies should not distract us from the goal of healthy babies,” University of Oxford bioethicist Christopher Gyngell https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/may/01/fear-of-designer-babies-shouldnt-distract-us-from-the-goal-of-healthy-babies ">writes in The Guardianhttps://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/may/01/fear-of-designer-babies-shouldnt-distract-us-from-the-goal-of-healthy-babies ">.
While these issues may not become a reality for decades, it would be wise to start thinking now about how to tread the fine line between creating a genetic underclass and stifling medical innovation. As the authors write in conclusion, “Before the inevitable, society will be well advised to strike and maintain a vigorous public conversation on the ethical challenges of IVG.”
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock
“Our universe isn’t just described by math, but it is math in the sense that we’re all parts of a giant mathematical object.” – https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-the-universe-made-of-math-excerpt/ ">Max Tegmark
I knew virtual reality was going to make mathematical education more effective. I just didn’t realize it was going to be so beautiful.
With the recent surge of progress and interest in virtual reality, there has been a lot of buzz about https://singularityhub.com/2015/11/05/the-virtual-reality-renaissance-how-learning-in-vr-will-inspire-action-like-never-before/ ">virtual reality and education. The idea that we can have virtual classrooms that allow us to take virtual field trips and demonstrate ideas in 3D space has captivated the minds of technologists and educators alike.
Despite that, VR learning applications that have truly captured the potential of this medium have been slow to emerge. Yes, exploring the solar system or the bottom of the ocean in VR is very cool. But until recently, nothing I had experienced truly felt like a gamechanger. Like something that might, someday, fundamentally change the nature of education.
Until, that is, I found my first gamechanging VR application in a strange place:
A graphing calculator. Meet https://www.oculus.com/experiences/rift/1143046855744783/ ">Calcflow.
Calcflow: Your TI-84 Meets Burning Man
Calcflow is a virtual reality application that lets you explore mathematical theorems and scenarios in an interactive virtual reality environment. You can trace the outline of a mobius strip, examine a fluid vector chart or create a three-dimensional graph of a parametric equation.
But Calcflow is really more than that.
It’s a tool that allows you to use your brain’s incredible capacity for interpreting 3D spatial objects to help you learn mathematical concepts. It takes an idea or a formula and makes it into an object, rich with depth and complexity. And then it allows you to see how different variations in mathematical concepts affect this wonderful bizzaro world.
It allows you to get into a feedback loop.
I was able to create interesting new patterns and interactions then explore them. I got lost in the numbers, seeing which different combinations of inputs could create different outcomes.
It didn’t feel like boring old math class at my high school. It felt more like getting a new toy. I was able to play, to learn intuitively, to get into https://singularityhub.com/2015/08/06/how-virtual-reality-can-unleash-the-greatest-wave-of-creativity-in-human-history/ ">flow.
This is going to have huge implications.
The Hidden Language
Mathematics and numbers influence most everything we do.
With the rise of exponential technology and the shift towards knowledge work, basic quantitative literacy is a must have for any student wanting to enter the workforce or executive who wants to get ahead.
But our deep connection to numbers isn’t just a marriage of convenience. The world around us is made of math. Almost everything we find beautiful or fun can be enriched by understanding the secret language of numbers. From the dance of a flowing waterfall (fluid dynamics), to the depth of a Bach concerto (music/set theory) and even the ethereal beauty of a fractal (geometry).
Respecting the importance of numbers allows us to connect more truthfully to the world around us, to be more effective in our work and appreciative of the wonders of our universe. Virtual reality simulations will allow us to dynamically learn these concepts through real (virtual) interactions.
The next generation of learning software is going to turn math into a hands-on activity.
Right now, most kids will tell you that they find math boring. I certainly would have if you had asked me during my high school years, which makes sense since much of the beauty of math is abstract, requiring years of study before it can truly be experienced.
But it doesn’t have to be abstract. We can create mathematical simulations that allow students to enter into creative feedback loops to help them explore and learn new concepts. We can connect these concepts together in interesting and fun challenges that will feel like a combination between schoolyard games and minecraft. The educational techniques of tomorrow are going to turn learning math into a playground.
That means whole generations will grow up with an intuitive sense of quantitative literacy that is entirely lacking today.
By building this deep understanding and respect for numbers into our education system, we may see significant cultural shifts. Today we can all watch and appreciate the extreme mastery of an athlete at the top of their game, even if we are nowhere near their level. It’s hard to do that with math and sciences purely because most high-level feats in those disciplines are so far above any of our heads.
With virtual reality, that may change. Pretty soon, we might all be watching the math olympiads with just as much intensity and excitement as the regular Olympics.
VR math simulations are going to change the way we think about numbers and their connection to our lives. They’re going to create incredibly engaging experiences. And they will forever reshape how we teach and learn mathematics.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock
We are at the cusp of a stem cell revolution.
Understanding and harnessing these unique cells may unlock breakthroughs in longevity and therapeutic solutions to all kinds of chronic diseases and regenerative opportunities.
Last month, I took a trip down to the Stem Cell Institute in Panama City with Dr. Bob Hariri (co-Founder of Human Longevity Inc.) to get stem cell injections in my knee and shoulder as an alternative to reconstructive surgery.
Aside from the injections, I had a chance to interview the directors of the institute, Dr. Jorge Paz Rodriguez and Dr. Neil Riordan, as well as Dr. Bob Hariri, to discuss the future of stem cell therapy.
In this post we will discuss:
- What are stem cells?
- Future of stem cell therapeutics
- Recent success stories with stem cells
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can transform into specialized cells such as heart, neurons, liver, lung, skin and so on and can also divide to produce more stem cells.
In a child or young adult, these stem cells are in large supply, acting as a built-in repair system.
They are often summoned to the site of damage or inflammation to repair and restore normal function.
But as we age, our supply of stem cells begins to diminish as much as 100- to 10,000-fold in different tissues and organs.
In addition, stem cells undergo genetic mutations, which reduce their quality and effectiveness at renovating and repairing your body.
A useful analogy is to imagine your stem cells as a team of repairmen in your newly constructed mansion.
When the mansion is new and the repairmen are young, they can fix everything perfectly. But as the repairman age and reduce in number, your mansion eventually goes into disrepair and eventually crumbles.
But what if you could restore and rejuvenate your stem cell population?
One option is to extract and concentrate your own autologous adult stem cells from places like your adipose (or fat) tissue. But these stem cells are fewer in number and have undergone mutations from their original ‘software code.’
Many scientists and physicians now prefer an alternative source, obtaining stem cells from the placenta or umbilical cord, the leftovers of birth.
These stem cells, available in large supply and expressing the undamaged software of a newborn, can be injected into joints or administered intravenously to rejuvenate and revitalize.
One can think of these stem cells as chemical factories generating vital growth factors that can help to reduce inflammation, fight autoimmune disease, increase muscle mass, repair joints, and even revitalize skin and grow hair.
Future of Stem Cell Therapeutics
Over the last decade, the number of publications per year on stem cell-related research has increased 40x. The stem cell market is expected to reach $170 billion by 2020.
Rising R&D initiatives to develop therapeutic options for chronic diseases and growing demand for a regenerative treatment option are the most significant drivers of this budding industry.
Here are the top four areas in the space to watch:
1. Tissue engineering: Tissue engineering using the body’s own stem cells to repair, replace or augment diseased tissue is a rapidly evolving field. Patients with a variety of diseases may be treated with transplanted tissues and organs. However, we face a shortage of donor tissues and organs, which is worsening yearly because of the aging population. Scientists in the field of tissue engineering are applying the principles of cell transplantation, material science, and bioengineering to construct biological substitutes that will restore and maintain normal function in diseased and injured tissues. The stem cell field is also advancing rapidly, opening new options for cellular therapy and tissue engineering. Use of postnatal stem cells has the potential to significantly alter the perspective of tissue engineering.
2. Stem cell banking: "At your moment of birth, you are probably at the point of biological perfection,” says Dr. Bob Hariri. “Your system hasn't been exposed to all of those injurious stimuli, like electromagnetic radiation, chemicals, etc., and your biological software is uncorrupted.” Stem cell banking allows us to capture stem cells with your original, uncorrupted DNA at birth, replicate them into a large number of future dosages and then freeze those doses. Hariri discovered that in addition to cord blood (the blood found in the umbilical cord of a newborn), the placenta of a newborn is an organ very rich in stem cells. Rather than discard the leftovers of birth, placentas, if saved, may hold the key to a longer and healthier life. Hariri created a business called LifebankUSA, which provides private cell banking (FYI, this is where we banked our children's stem cells). Lifebank isolates, processes and cryopreserves cells (putting them into a deep freeze, about minus 180 degrees Celsius), keeping them in suspended animation at the most pristine state of their existence.
3. Clinical applications of MSCs: Mesenchymal stem cells, the major stem cells for cell therapy, have been used in the clinic for approximately 10 years. Currently, 344 registered clinical trials in different clinical trial phases are aimed at evaluating the potential of MSC-based cell therapy worldwide. From animal models to clinical trials, MSCs have afforded promise in the treatment of numerous diseases. The ability of MSCs to differentiate into osteoblasts, tenocytes and chondrocytes has attracted interest for their use in orthopedic settings. First, MSCs have been shown to be beneficial in treating bone disorders, such as osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) and hypophosphatasia. Other promising therapeutic avenues for MSCs include the treatment of autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and cancer.
4. Parabiosis: A San Francisco-based startup called Ambrosia recently commenced one of the trials on parabiosis. Their protocol is simple: Healthy participants aged 35 and older get a transfusion of blood plasma from donors under 25, and researchers monitor their blood over the next two years for molecular indicators of health and aging. The study is patient-funded; participants, who range in age from late 30s through 80s, must pay $8,000 to take part, and live in or travel to Monterey for treatments and follow-up assessments. Ambrosia’s founder Jesse Karmazin became interested in launching a company around parabiosis after seeing impressive data from animals and studies conducted abroad in humans: In one trial after another, subjects experience a reversal of aging symptoms across every major organ system. "The effects seem to be almost permanent," he says. "It's almost like there's a resetting of gene expression." This company has recently received funding from Peter Thiel. Infusing your own cord blood stem cells as you age may have tremendous longevity benefits.
Recent Stem Cell Success Stories
Below are my top three stories demonstrating the incredible research and implications for stem cells over the past 12 months:
a) Stem Cells Able to Grow New Human Eyes: Biologists led by Kohji Nishida at Osaka University in Japan have discovered a new way to nurture and grow the tissues that make up the human eyeball. The scientists are able to grow retinas, corneas, the eye’s lens, and more using only a small sample of adult skin.
b) Stem Cell Injections Help Stroke Victims Walk Again: In a study out of Stanford, of 18 stroke victims who agreed to stem cells treatments, seven of them showed remarkable motor function improvements. This treatment could work for other neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
c) Stem Cells Help Paralyzed Victim Gain Use of Arms: Doctors from the USC Neurorestoration Center and Keck Medicine of USC injected stem cells into the damaged cervical spine of a recently paralyzed 21-year-old man. Three months later, he showed dramatic improvement in sensation and movement of both arms.
As humans, we've just come to accept the notion that we are going to die.
However, the keys to our longevity and health may lie in our source code.
In the next two decades, stem cells are going to change medicine forever, extend life, and potentially save your life.
We truly live during the most exciting time ever in human history.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock
The attacks of September 11, 2001, will go down in American history for many reasons—the deaths of nearly 3,000 people chief among them.
A footnote in that particular history book is of interest to us here: 9/11 was the first time robots were used in a real search and rescue effort in the United States. That bit of unofficial history comes from Robin Murphy, director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) at Texas A&M University, and a leading expert in the field.
In the 15 years since then, roboticists have designed all manner of machines to help mobilize rescue efforts or map disaster areas. There are small robots that can jump high and biobots—bug cyborgs—that can scurry through rubble. Some are humanoid-shaped, while others resemble small Mars rovers. A handful have been deployed into real-life scenarios, while many are still under development.
In the book http://robotics.forfuturepresidents.com/ ">Robotics for Future Presidents, Murphy emphasizes the role that robotics researchers play in disaster response: “Me and my colleagues are researchers in robotics, not disaster responders. Our job is to empower the responders with rescue robots that are easy to use and effective. Rescue robots don’t replace people or dogs. They go to places where people or dogs can’t go and assist responders in innovative ways.”
Debugging a disaster
One of the more recent innovations involves not strictly robots but cyborgs—and not of the two-legged variety.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have created insect cyborgs they can control remotely. Now they are betting the bugs will prove to be valuable cartographers with the assistance of an unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV.
“The idea would be to release a swarm of sensor-equipped biobots—such as remotely controlled cockroaches—into a collapsed building or other dangerous, unmapped area,” says Edgar Lobaton, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State, in a https://news.ncsu.edu/2016/11/biobot-mapping-tech-2016/ ">press release about two papers describing the work.
The technology developed by Lobaton and colleagues would allow the biobots to move freely within range of a beacon carried aboard a UAV. Radio signals from the biobots are fed into a program that translates the sensor data from their movements into a map of the environment in which the bugs were released.
Lobaton’s work focused on the development of algorithms for mapping using multiple biobots. He says by email that one of the biggest challenges is that typical strategies for determining position, such as GPS or visual sensors, are not well-suited for the biobot swarm.
“This is why we had to develop a new methodology that only depends on weak localization information between the agents,” he says, referring to the insect cyborgs. “In particular, we only use encounter information between them whenever they get within a specific range of each other. This led to the development of a new framework to manage this type of scenario.”
The http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092188901530289X ">article on the framework for developing local maps and stitching them together was published in Robotics and Autonomous Systems. A https://arxiv.org/abs/1607.00051 ">second article on the theory of mapping based on mobile sensors’ proximity to each other was published in IEEE Transactions on Signal and Information Processing over Networks.
Jumping over disaster
Duncan Haldane at the University California, Berkeley, developed the world’s highest-jumping untethered robot, modeled on the galago, a nocturnal primate in Africa known for its amazing vertical leap. A visit to a FEMA search and rescue training site inspired the robot, nicknamed SALTO (saltatorial locomotion on terrain obstacles), which is capable of a standing jump up to one meter.
“After seeing how challenging it would be to move rapidly across an urban disaster site, I wanted to figure out some new strategies for robots of any scale that would enable that motion,” says Haldane, whose http://robotics.sciencemag.org/content/1/1/eaag2048 ">work recently appeared in the inaugural issue of Science Robotics.
Biology was his guide: specialized jumpers have a “super-crouch posture, a leg configuration that allows them to stay down for longer, letting their muscles store energy in their stretchy tendons, which is later released to produce high-power jumps,” he says.
“We built a single degree for freedom leg mechanism that uses this idea—new to robotics—and showed that we can produce 2.94 times more jumping power than would have been possible without the leg mechanism,” he explains by email. “Building the leg was hard, and we actually developed new methods for designing linkages to do it.”
Walking toward disaster
Researchers from other parts of the world are developing other types of robots with search and rescue in mind.
For example, a team of Italian researchers is developing Walk-Man. It’s not a retro version of the now-obsolete portable music player, but a nearly two-meter-tall robot meant to be a full-fledged member of a SAR team.
http://www.euronews.com/2016/10/24/humanoid-robots-to-replace-search-and-rescue-workers ">Euronews reported that Walk-Man has joints and motions similar to a human body, with hands capable of powerful manipulations. It is reportedly fitted with a stereo vision system and a rotating 3D-laser scanner. Like Haldane, Italian scientists took some clues from nature.
“Many principles that exist in biology have given us inspiration on how [we could design] a robot,” research engineer Ioannis Sarakoglou tells Euronews, explaining that Walk-Man relies largely on gravity rather than energy to move.
Coming to the rescue
Walk-Man, biobots and Salto may represent the future of rescue robots, but the typical machines used in disaster response today are unmanned aerial, land and marine vehicles—modestly sized robots that provide vital information about places emergency responders can’t immediately reach or assess easily.
In a TEDWomen talk, Murphy says if you can reduce the response to a disaster by one day, you can reduce the overall recovery time by 1,000 days.
“Ground, aerial and marine systems are becoming commonplace for different types of disasters,” Murphy says.
Murphy’s teams and their robots have responded to nearly 50 disasters in a dozen countries since 9/11, including Hurricane Katrina and the Crandall Canyon Utah mine collapse. Hurricane Katrina was the first time an unmanned aerial vehicle was used in disaster response. Now UAVs are a key tool for responders needing to get a bird’s eye view of a disaster scene.
Through CRASAR at Texas A&M, Murphy also leads the volunteer search-and-rescue group Roboticists Without Borders. The organization, in part, matches professionals in the use of ground, aerial or marine robots with agencies around the world that are responding to disasters. Roboticists Without Borders covers expenses for up to 10 days for each incident.
The hope, Murphy says, is to accelerate the adoption and improve the use of robots in disasters through RWB. The goal would be to put Roboticists Without Borders out of business by 2025, she adds.
“Robots can make a disaster go away faster,” Murphy says. “Look for the robots, because robots are coming to the rescue.”
Banner Image Credit: Stephen McNally
Life’s ever-repeating cycles of birth and death are among the most fundamental principles of nature. An organism starts out as a single cell that grows and divides, develops into an embryo, matures and reaches adulthood, but then ages, deteriorates, and eventually succumbs to death.
But why does life have to be cyclic, and why does it have to end in senescence and death?
After all, animals like corals and marine sponges live for thousands of years and are capable of virtually infinite regeneration and cell repair. Even in more complex animals, offspring do not inherit their parents’ age: every new generation starts with cells in a pristine state, with no trace of aging. If senescence is somehow suppressed in reproductive cells, why do the rest of the organism’s tissues end up deteriorating and dying?
Immortal germline—disposable body
At the end of the 19th century, the German biologist http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v41/n1058/abs/041317g0.html ">August Weismann realized that complex organisms consist of two cell types: the “immortal” germline—eternally young cells that give rise to sperm and eggs—and the “disposable” somatic cells that form the rest of the body.
Germline cells form lineages starting with a fertilized egg all the way to the production of new reproductive cells, preserving genetic information and transferring it to the succeeding generations. Soma, on the other hand, contribute no hereditary material and merely form a protective shell that is discarded after reproduction.
Weismann envisioned a simple organism model with a strict separation between germline and soma—the so-called Weismann barrier—in which no age-related deterioration acquired by somatic cells could ever be transmitted via germline to the next generation, which is always born young.
More recently, Weismann’s ideas were given an overhaul by Thomas Kirkwood in his “disposable soma” http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v408/n6809/full/408233a0.html ">theory of aging. Inspired by the ideas of Medawar and Williams, Kirkwood argued that the force of natural selection declines with age, as most organisms in their natural environments die due to external hazards such as predators, parasites and starvation.
At the same time, organisms must invest resources into both the reproductive effort and the maintenance and repair of their somatic cells. But because the probability of surviving external threats declines with time, the optimal strategy is to allocate less and less resources into somatic maintenance as time goes by. Lack of cell repair in the later stages of the life cycle results in the progressive loss of function and gradual decay—aging.
Crucially, Kirkwood realized that his “disposable soma” theory works only if there is a strict distinction between germline and soma. Organisms in which the Weismann barrier is violated—if somatic cells are also used for reproduction, for instance—should not age.
And indeed, the real-world picture turned out to be more complex than Weismann’s model could have predicted.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/death-and-aging-are-the-evolutionary-price-for-complexity-2.jpg " alt="" width="300" height="300" srcset="http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/death-and-aging-are-the-evolutionary-price-for-complexity-2.jpg 300w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/death-and-aging-are-the-evolutionary-price-for-complexity-2-150x150.jpg 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />In complex animals like mammals, birds and insects, Weismann’s assumption of the rigid germline-soma distinction holds true: only a relatively small group of cells in an adult retain reproductive potential, while the rest become irreversibly differentiated into somatic tissue cells—liver, skin, muscle—that cannot give rise to a new organism.
But this is https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12955842 ">not the case in the most ancient members of the kingdom, such as hydrae, corals and sponges. Even in their adult forms, these organisms maintain large populations of universal stem cells that can generate both somatic and reproductive cells, that is, germline and soma never really segregate. It is the lack of germline sequestration that gives corals and their relatives the power of regeneration and vegetative plant-like reproduction.
Equally impressive is the http://nautil.us/issue/36/aging/why-aging-isnt-inevitable ">variation of animal life spans and the rates of aging.
A typical human life expectancy of some 70-odd years is much longer than the 2-year lifespan characteristic of house mice, but humans are no match for coral colonies that live for millennia with no signs of senescence. Organisms that do not age exist in a state in which chronologically old and young individuals are essentially identical, with universal stem cell populations constantly renewing their somatic and reproductive tissues.
Rather than being universal to all animals, the Weismann barrier appears to be a relatively recent innovation of complex organisms, evolving together with somatic aging and death. What drove the evolution of the separation between germline and soma is not clear, but the answer will also shed light on the origin of mortality in complex animals.
Cellular energetics behind the evolution of aging
There are signs that the evolution of both the germline and the mortal soma is related to cellular energetics.
Animal cells produce energy through respiration in their mitochondria—the organelles of bacterial origin that retain their own tiny genomes, distinct from the chromosomes housed within the nucleus. Each cell contains tens and hundreds of mitochondria, and each mitochondrion has several DNA molecules. This tiny genome regulates mitochondrial function; its integrity is crucial to cellular respiration, as defective mitochondrial genes often lead to debilitating diseases, neuromuscular degeneration and early death.
A large part of mitochondrial gene defects arise from random copying errors in imprecise DNA replication. As cells in a developing organism divide, their mitochondria replicate too, each time introducing new DNA mutations.
In our recent PLOS Biology http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2000410 ">article, we show that in organisms with fast mitochondrial defect accumulation, natural selection favors segregation of an isolated germline with a lower number of cell replication cycles, as it minimizes the damage to the energy-producing organelles that could potentially be transmitted to the next generation. If the pace of error accumulation is slow, however, the strict germline-soma barrier should not evolve.
Our model therefore suggests that “disposable” soma that gave rise to aging and mortality, has evolved as a strategy to maintain mitochondrial quality in complex organisms with multiple tissues and high energy requirements, in which mitochondrial defects accumulate relatively fast.
The frequency at which DNA copying errors arise (mutation rate) varies among animal groups, but this variation is strikingly consistent with the predictions of the new hypothesis.
Mutation rates in higher animals such as mammals, reptiles and birds are remarkably high, 10-50 times the error accumulation rates typical for genes in the nucleus. On the other hand, extremely slow mitochondrial mutation rates are characteristic of the most ancient animal groups and plants that are capable of clonal reproduction, regeneration and seemingly unlimited longevity, and, critically, do not have a strict distinction between the germline and soma.
We believe that the earliest-evolving animals developed and reproduced much like modern-day corals and sponges do: they were sessile filter feeders, had large populations of undifferentiated stem cells continuously producing both somatic and germ cells, and they could regenerate their body parts and reproduce clonally, for example, by separating groups of cells from their somatic tissues, like plants and hydrae do.
Thanks to their low mitochondrial mutation rates, they did not have a true soma and were virtually immortal.
But rising atmospheric http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8142 ">oxygen levels at the boundary between the Ediacaran and Cambrian periods around 550 million years ago increased metabolic and physical activity in some primordial animal lineages and induced the shift from sessile filter-feeding to higher motility and predation. This must have increased the risk of defect accumulation in their mitochondrial genomes and drove the evolution of secluded and protected germline cells.
The separation of germline and soma enabled the evolution of the staggering complexity in higher animals, but also marked the origin of aging and death.
No longer restrained by the need to maintain immortality, somatic cells gained the power of virtually unrestricted differentiation into highly specialized tissues such as intestine, brain or skin.
Incidentally, the increase in atmospheric oxygen levels at the end of the Ediacaran coincides with the sudden appearance of diverse and complex animal body plans in the fossil record—the so called Cambrian Explosion, that is believed to have given rise to most modern complex animal classes.
A consequence of increasing mitochondrial mutation rates, the strict Weismannian separation of germline and soma enabled the evolution of the staggering complexity in higher animals, but also marked the origin of aging and death.
Only in complex animals do we see disposable tissues with high energy requirements that accumulate high levels of mitochondrial defects but are no longer renewed or regenerated. Neural cells within the human brain, for instance, are often the first ones to be affected by mitochondrial diseases, but are generally not replaced, as this would alter the network of synaptic connections that is ultimately responsible for our memories, personality and intelligence.
Animal complexity, strong somatic differentiation into many types of specialized tissues and organs, and even consciousness were all made possible by the strict germline-soma dichotomy, and so are intrinsically linked to mortality.
Longevity has long been the pursuit of humankind, and even though our life expectancy is currently on the rise, there is a limit to what is possible—immortality could be fundamentally incompatible with the biological complexity of animals with high-energy lifestyles.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock
https://www.wired.com/2017/01/d-wave-turns-open-source-democratize-quantum-computing/ " target="_blank">Quantum Computing Is Real, and D-Wave Just Open-Sourced It
Klint Finley | WIRED
"https://github.com/dwavesystems/qbsolv ">Qbsolv is designed to help developers program D-Wave machines without needing a background in quantum physics... today the company released Qbsolv as open source, meaning anyone will be able to freely share and modify the software... The goal, Ewald says, is to kickstart a quantum computing software tools ecosystem and foster a community of developers working on quantum computing problems."
https://www.wired.com/2017/01/computers-can-tell-glance-youve-got-genetic-disorders/ " target="_blank">Thanks to AI, Computers Can Now See Your Health Problems
Megan Molteni | WIRED
"Face2Gene takes advantage of the fact that so many genetic conditions have a tell-tale 'face'—a unique constellation of features that can provide clues to a potential diagnosis. It is just one of several new technologies taking advantage of how quickly modern computers can analyze, sort, and find patterns across huge reams of data."
FUTURE OF WORK
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/technology/robots-will-take-jobs-but-not-as-fast-as-some-fear-new-report-says.html " target="_blank">Robots Will Take Jobs, but Not as Fast as Some Fear, New Report Says
Steve Lohr | The New York Times
"Globally, the McKinsey researchers calculated that 49 percent of time spent on work activities could be automated with 'currently demonstrated technology' either already in the marketplace or being developed in labs. That, the report says, translates into $15.8 trillion in wages and the equivalent of 1.1 billion workers worldwide. But only 5 percent of jobs can be entirely automated." (Access the full McKinsey Global Institute report http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/digital-disruption/harnessing-automation-for-a-future-that-works " target="_blank">here.)
https://www.fastcompany.com/3066706/robot-revolution/will-bots-finally-start-to-grow-up-in-2017 " target="_blank">Will Bots Finally Start to Grow up in 2017?
Mark Sullivan | Fast Company
"The big platform companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft have lots of people working on artificial intelligence, and many of them are applying AI in a bot setting. It’s pretty likely that we’ll see Act 2 of the bot story in 2017, and the user experience will improve somewhat."
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/darpa-rsquo-s-biotech-chief-says-2017-will-ldquo-blow-our-minds-rdquo/ ">DARPA's Biotech Chief Says 2017 Will "Blow Our Minds" (Interview)
Dina Fine Maron | Scientific American
"The director of its BTO, neuroprosthetic researcher Justin Sanchez, recently spoke with Scientific American about what to expect from his office in 2017, including work on neural implants to aid healthy people in their everyday lives and other advances that he says will 'change the game' in medicine."
http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/watching-david-bowie-argue-with-an-interviewer-about-th-1791017656 " target="_blank">Watching David Bowie Argue With an Interviewer About the Future of the Internet Is Beautiful
Matt Novak | GIZMODO
"Bowie had a back and forth with the interviewer, who at one point says that claims being made for the future of the internet are 'hugely exaggerated.' Bowie shoots back with a wallop of sarcasm about people who doubted that things like the telephone would change the world. 'I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg,' Bowie explained to the BBC. 'I think we’re actually on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying.'"
http://motherboard.vice.com/en_ca/read/an-earth-sized-telescope-is-about-to-see-a-black-hole-for-the-first-time?trk_source=homepage-lede " target="_blank">An Earth-Sized Telescope Is About to 'See' a Black Hole for the First Time
William Rauscher | Motherboard
"Black holes challenge our most fundamental beliefs about reality. Visionary scientific minds, including the theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne, have devoted entire books to unpacking the hallucinatory scenarios thought to be induced by black holes’ gravitational forces."
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-Wave_Systems#/media/File:DWave_128chip.jpg " target="_blank">Wikipedia Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
The quest for the fountain of youth is as ancient as humanity itself. Now, it appears scientists may have found the source.
Using a process designed to “reprogram” normal adult cells into pluripotent stem cells—cells that can transform into many different kinds of cells—researchers have managed to boost the life spans of mice by up to 30% and rejuvenate some of their tissues.
The treatment did not change the cell’s genetic code, but rather chemical attachments on their DNA called epigenetic marks, responsible for regulating the genome and determining how active certain genes are.
The findings suggest that epigenetic changes are at the heart of the aging process, and offer the tantalizing possibility that those changes may be malleable and possibly even reversible.
“Our study shows that aging may not have to proceed in one single direction,” Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego who led the research, https://www.salk.edu/news-release/turning-back-time-salk-scientists-reverse-signs-aging/ ">said in a press release. “It has plasticity and, with careful modulation, aging might be reversed.”
In 2006, Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka showed that it was possible to convert adult cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells by exposing them to four specific transcription factors (proteins that regulate gene expression). He won a Nobel prize for the discovery in 2012 and the factors are now named after him.
Other researchers have since shown that reprogramming adult cells into stem cells http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/25/21/2248.long ">appears to rejuvenate them. But most studies have only achieved this in the petri dish, and attempts to induce pluripotency in animals have resulted in them http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v502/n7471/full/nature12586.html ">developing tumors.
Normally the reprogramming process requires the cells to be exposed to the Yamanaka factors for weeks at a time. But in http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(16)31664-6 ">a paper published in the journal Cell last week, the Salk researchers describe how they discovered that reducing the exposure time resulted in the reversal of many of the hallmarks of aging without fully reprogramming the cells.
They started by testing the approach on cells from mice with progeria, a disease that causes accelerated aging in both mice and humans. The results were promising, so they decided to see if they could induce the same process in live animals.
They genetically modified mice to respond to the antibiotic doxycycline by switching on four genes that produce the Yamanaka factors before cycling the mice on and off the drug, administering it for two days and then withholding it for five.
This partial reprogramming extended the mice’ lifespan from 18 weeks to 24 on average. The mice looked visibly younger, their organ function improved, and importantly, they did not develop tumors.
To see if the approach was isolated to mice with progeria, the researchers then tested it on normal middle-aged mice. They found that partial reprogramming enhanced the regeneration of muscle tissue and beta cells in the pancreas after injury.
Applying partial reprogramming to human skin cells in a dish also made them look and behave young again, but the researchers concede there is a long way to go before they can determine if the approach could lead to potential treatments for people.
“Obviously, mice are not humans and we know it will be much more complex to rejuvenate a person,” said Belmonte. “But this study shows that aging is a very dynamic and plastic process, and therefore will be more amenable to therapeutic interventions than what we previously thought.”
The Salk researchers hope that using easier-to-handle chemicals instead of the Yamanaka factors to reverse the epigenetic changes may prove more practical, but they say it could easily take a decade to get clearance for clinical trials.
Nevertheless, the study provides support for the idea that aging is driven by these epigenetic changes. In humans these changes can often be caused by environmental factors like pollution, stress or smoking and gradually accumulate throughout our lives, making us more vulnerable to disease.
“I do think that epigenetic reprogramming is the ultimate way to reverse aging,” David Sinclair, a Harvard University geneticist and anti-aging researcher, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/aging-is-reversible-at-least-in-human-cells-and-live-mice/ ">told Scientific American. “This work is the first glimmer that we could live for centuries,” he added.
Compounds like rapamycin and resveratrol, and practices like calorie restriction and transplanting blood from young mice into new mice, have been demonstrated to have anti-aging effects too. Matt Kaeberlein, a molecular biologist at the University of Washington, told Scientific American this suggests there may be more than one aging process at play and therefore extending longevity may require a combination of therapies.
Belmonte told the magazine that it’s possible aging is actually regulated by a single tissue. His lab’s working hypothesis is that this may be the hypothalamus region of the brain, which controls things like hormones, body temperature and circadian rhythms.
It is not yet clear whether the partial reprogramming process affects all tissues in the same way. Regeneration biologist Clive Svendsen of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/12/researchers-rejuvenate-aging-mice-stem-cell-genes ">told Science Magazine the study certainly proves that it can rejuvenate some tissues.
But he would like to see studies demonstrating an increase in longevity in healthy animals and also proof that the approach can reduce the effects of aging in the nervous system before he gets too excited.
“Who wants to have a young heart and an old brain?” he said.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock
We live in challenging times. Geopolitical turmoil, local and national social unrest, cycles of deadly natural disasters, cyber hacks, rising distrust of media and tech companies—many recent disruptive events have taken us by surprise.
Nearly two decades ago, military planners coined an acronym to capture the nature of an increasingly unpredictable and dynamic world. They called it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volatility,_uncertainty,_complexity_and_ambiguity " target="_blank">VUCA—an environment of nonstop volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
The world today embodies VUCA more so than any era we’ve recently experienced.
Why do so many of us—individually and collectively—fail to imagine, let alone anticipate, the massive and disruptive changes that are unfolding? Driven by https://singularityhub.com/2016/03/22/technology-feels-like-its-accelerating-because-it-actually-is/ " target="_blank">fast moving technologies and globalization, the pace of change is accelerating, our brains are struggling to keep up, and surprise, discomfort, and unrest are the result.
This is no anomaly. VUCA isn’t going away. Change promises to speed up, not slow down. To thrive in a world where “change is the only constant,” leaders need to replace old thinking with a new framework.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/shutterstock_338398544-300x300.jpg " width="300" height="300" srcset="http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/shutterstock_338398544-300x300.jpg 300w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/shutterstock_338398544-150x150.jpg 150w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/shutterstock_338398544-768x768.jpg 768w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/shutterstock_338398544-900x900.jpg 900w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/shutterstock_338398544-696x696.jpg 696w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/shutterstock_338398544-420x420.jpg 420w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/shutterstock_338398544.jpg 1000w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />
https://singularityhub.com/2016/04/05/how-to-think-exponentially-and-better-predict-the-future/ " target="_blank">Exponential change calls for exponential leaders. But what exactly does that mean?
In this article, we’ll explore the four pillars of exponential leadership. These are the critical skills leaders must learn to successfully navigate a rapidly changing world—not just to create strategic advantage for their organizations, but also to help build the kind of inclusive, equitable, positive and https://singularityhub.com/2016/11/01/why-the-world-is-better-than-ever-and-will-get-better-still/ " target="_blank">abundant future we all want to live in.
Some leaders already excel at some of these skills. An exponential leader strives to master them all, clearly understands how they influence each other, and in practice, models them as an integrated whole much more powerful than its parts.
The first skill of exponential leadership is learning to transform surprise into mindful anticipation. To do this, leaders have to become skilled futurists.
This does not mean simply extrapolating today’s pace of change into the future. It means imagining new possibilities boldly and optimistically—and understanding they are quite likely to arise sooner than expected. Leaders will have to get equally comfortable with what can be known and with exploring what is unknown.
This is not how many leaders currently operate.
Today, leaders typically manage risk with a variety of analytic processes and frameworks that identify and quantify known variables. In most organizations, the future is primarily projected through numerical forecasts and spreadsheets, reinforcing a perspective that the world is an extension of what we know today, and that we can plug in some numeric formula to calculate quantifiable predictions.
The problem, however, is these forecasts rely on understanding current variables and existing trends. We see future events as a new version of past events, presuming the pace of change will move in a straight line. In reality, the line curves upward, and new variables—unforeseen technologies, for example—always enter the equation.
The result? Forecasts fall short. At best, we’re shocked, at worst disrupted.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-2-900x220.jpg " alt="" width="640" height="156" srcset="http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-2-900x220.jpg 900w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-2-300x73.jpg 300w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-2-768x187.jpg 768w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-2-696x170.jpg 696w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-2-1068x260.jpg 1068w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" />
It’s not that we aren’t capable of imagining new narratives for the future or widening the set of probable futures we consider. It’s mostly that we’ve never been taught how or given permission to do this as part of our “day job.”
As futurists, leaders need to get comfortable asking open-ended questions about unspoken assumptions to see new possibilities. They need to be curious about the future and blend imaginative practices of strategic foresight, futures backcasting, science fiction design and scenario planning into traditional business planning.
In addition to imagining a range of new futures, leaders must also act as innovators, discovering new ideas through creative ideation and rigorous experimentation. These days, great product ideas can come from a single tweet or a surprising customer interaction and be tested with a working prototype in less than 24 hours.
Yet, many businesses still focus primarily on getting existing products to market faster while reducing costs and increasing margins.
The underlying strategic bet is placed on certainty by minimizing variability. And if they are experiencing success, the focus is on defending and expanding what exists rather than exploring new opportunities through ongoing discovery.
What’s often missing is a deep understanding of the customer on the other side of the transaction, much less any ongoing investment in designing and developing new products and services to satisfy emerging customer needs and requirements.
When leaders embrace their role as innovators, they realize they must always be thinking about the customer. They use human-centered processes, such as observation and questioning, to collect insights; they use visual thinking and storytelling skills to share hypotheses and ideas quickly and effectively; and they embrace a growth mindset to test and gather evidence on what they’ve learned.
Rigorous innovators do this continually, iterating over and over to uncover opportunities obscured by the fog of uncertainty.
As technology innovation accelerates, leaders have to understand which technologies will directly impact their industry and which will affect adjacent industries. Increasingly, technology can digitize, manipulate and replace physical products and services, challenging the status quo of many existing companies.
The best way to understand technological change is not to read about it, but to experience it first-hand by learning to code, building or manipulating a simple robot, trying new products and services that go beyond what’s familiar or comfortable, and seeking the resources of innovation and experimentation.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-1-900x220.jpg " alt="" width="640" height="156" srcset="http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-1-900x220.jpg 900w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-1-300x73.jpg 300w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-1-768x187.jpg 768w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-1-696x170.jpg 696w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Artboard-1-copy-15-1-1068x260.jpg 1068w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" />
However, understanding technology solely from an engineering or R&D perspective is not enough. Exponential leaders will also have to grapple with the ethical, moral and social implications of the technologies they build their organizations around.
Technology disruption is quickly outpacing existing regulations, laws, and societal norms. There are already on-going tax and labor feuds between industry disruptors such as Airbnb and Uber and the communities they serve.
But those legal battles pale in comparison to the ethical battles we may soon face when workers in large industries such as food or transportation are replaced by autonomous systems. And we’ve hardly begun to explore the implications of a future in which genetic modifications have become significantly more accessible and widespread.
Policy and ethics are not independent of technology, and technology does not operate in a protected silo apart from either. If leaders bet on the massive new revenue potential or cost saving opportunities that technology offers, they must also embrace the societal and moral implications that will inevitably follow.
This will require a whole new set of discussions and decisions in the boardrooms of every corporation, new behaviors and norms in every product development lab, and new ways of educating, rewarding (and even penalizing) tomorrow’s leaders.
Exponential leaders use the skills and behaviors of futurist, innovator and technologist to improve the lives of the people they touch, and society as a whole. They aim to do well by doing good—not as a separate set of “corporate social responsibility” activities, but as part of the integrated company mission.
Leading as a humanitarian can mean explicitly building a business using technology to create positive impact. B corporations, for example, are for-profit companies certified to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. It can also mean investing in humane policies and practices that create a positive culture and a meaningful work environment. A workplace that inspires employees and partners to strive toward their full potential.
Increasingly technology can also generate fundamentally new business models and growth opportunities enabling and empowering more new parts of the world to become sustainable and autonomous economic centers of growth.
When Google’s hot air balloons connect the most rural and underdeveloped areas to universal high-speed internet, or micro-drones deliver medical supplies after natural disasters, we can start to imagine a world where the ultimate resource technology amplifies is our imagination to believe anything is possible.
Our Future Needs Exponential Leaders
These roles—futurist, innovator, technologist and humanitarian—are interconnected and enhanced when knowledge and insights flow between them. The four pillars are a holistic system of learning to imagine, create, capture and scale hidden value in an increasingly complex and dynamic world.
This is the essence of exponential leadership.
By practicing these new skills, all leaders can improve their capacity to not only anticipate change, but also make proactive choices leading to more positive, productive futures for their organizations, communities and the world.
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Few of us are graced with a perfect mouthful of teeth. If it’s not braces or cavities, it’s wisdom teeth or root canals. Adding injury to insult, while medicine has made a lot of progress in multiple fields over the years, dentistry has remained stubbornly stuck to the same painful, outdated techniques.
I was lucky enough not to need braces as a kid, but a persistent sugar addiction meant every time I visited the dentist I had at least one cavity. To this day, I can’t hear the sound of a drill—or even think about going to the dentist—without cringing.
A study published in http://www.nature.com/articles/srep39654 ">Scientific Reports last week may be good news for fellow dentist-fearers. The study details the success of trials in which a stem cell treatment was used to repair tooth decay in mice.
Normally, when our teeth get cavities the dentist clears out the decayed material then fills in the empty space with one of various materials, including porcelain, silver amalgam, or composite resin. These fillings work well enough, but after a few years they typically need to be replaced, and can end up weakening teeth to the point that they need to be extracted.
What if teeth could instead repair themselves, independently regenerating decayed material?
To some extent, teeth already do this. When the inner pulp of a tooth is exposed, http://www.eurostemcell.org/mesenchymal-stem-cells-other-bone-marrow-stem-cells ">mesenchymal stem cells—which can differentiate to become cartilage, bone or fat cells—mobilize to form tooth-specific cells called https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15147714 ">odontoblasts. These secrete dentine, a reparative substance that seals off the tooth pulp from the external environment.
This natural process is enough to repair minor fissures below the tooth’s surface enamel, but doesn’t cut it when it comes to cavities. The new treatment involves accelerating the tooth’s natural dentine production to repair larger defects.
Scientists found that tideglusib, a drug typically used to treat neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and autism, can be used to stimulate stem cell differentiation in the tooth’s pulp. These create more odontoblasts, which create more dentine.
In the study, scientists inserted a biodegradable collagen sponge soaked in tideglusib into mice’s teeth, then sealed the teeth with a dental adhesive. Over the course of a few weeks, the sponges degraded and were replaced by newly-produced dentine.
So the good news is, signs point to teeth being able to repair themselves, no need for artificial fillings.
The bad news is, a dentist would still need to use a drill to get rid of the decayed part of a tooth. Dentist-fearers could take some comfort, though, in knowing the process would be a one-time thing, with no need for filling replacement or tooth extraction down the road.
Scientists are currently moving to testing the procedure in rats, whose teeth are bigger than those of mice. If successful, human trials could start later this year.
It’s possible our teeth are too big for the treatment to work. Mouse teeth are much smaller than ours, so the spaces filled by the stem cell treatment were significantly smaller too.
If the treatment does work in humans, I’ll be one of many people grateful to know that my visits to the dentist’s chair could soon be fewer and farther between.
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