Monday, December 26, 2016

The annual prognostication post

Ok, first things first... how did I do last year?

1. The presidential race in the US.  This is the oddest election I have ever seen.  My prediction is that a Republican is almost a certainty - after two terms of Democratic leadership, the choice of the people will be a republican candidate for a lot of reasons... but whom you may ask?  After much deep pondering on this, a figure emerged from the haze and I saw the outline of an HP calculator with a giant B on the screen.  Either some kind of stack overflow or -  a Bush / Fiorina win.  Although a Trump / Clinton presidency would be far more interesting / entertaining - and probably what people would vote for if given the chance because it would turn the evening news into the highest rated sitcom TV has ever seen... alas, an impossibility. But I do think - marketing gold for a new show based around that theme.

OK, so I got the Republican part right! Even commentated on the Trump presidency being FAR more interesting – so I’m claiming a DING on this one.

2. The coordinates of Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra may remain a mystery but I think search teams will finally locate MH370. Hopefully the new aircraft satellite tracking system will prevent this sort of tragedy in the future. Why didn't we have that already?

BIG BONK. I think this one goes into the quagmire bin...

3. Time for a seismic breakthrough in social media inter-connectivity.  Something like, but bigger than a Fitbit, that allows you to find people to jog with by tapping on a map and spinning a virtual date and time wheel, or virtual reality headsets that plug into a virtual world communities so throngs of people could debate or make speeches - huge numbers could attend and then vote on something...  So... new concepts of significant social import will emerge as a result of clever app writers connecting dots in new ways.  Yup, that's what I predict.

YUP, this IS happening – The Samsung S3 is the tip of the iceberg… who needs a GPS display in your car if your watch can give you verbal directions, tell time, make a call, beep a warning for your next meeting and tell you how many steps you’ve climbed today? Inter-connectivity will continue to meld in good and probably bad ways too, we will soon see more social connections… DING.

4. Sea trains.  Yup, this is one that's been rolling around the old bean for a decade now... If we can send an unmanned re-supply rocket ship to the International Space Station... Convoys of container ships afloat as a sort of "sea train" delivering cargo to ports with only a single pilot ship being manned and 5 or 6 unmanned motorized hulls in a convoy. The cargo ships would have an engine room a small crews quarters for emergency manual operation, but no pilot house and an entire hull designed around ISO containers. Move over Hugo Gernsback (my inspiration for this one)

I have to say, this surprised me. DING.

5. El Niño is bringing wacky weather to North America again. As a consequence, me thinks we will see a hurricane of Katrina proportions in 2016 make landfall in the South East US.

Thankfully a great big BONK. By the way - who can predict the weather a year in advance anyway - hmmmm?  I did see that the North Pole warm temps are correlated with last years
El Niño.  Which makes me wonder about predictor corrector algorithms and non-linear equations which are the basis of the whole weather simulation model effort...

6.  The FCC will move to drastically limit the allowable transmitter power for drones.  Making powerful long distance or high altitude operation legal for only those trained and approved by a licensing scheme similar FAA pilot requirements. A test flight with a drone driver's ed inspector and of course.... a large fee and a neat plastic card to put in your wallet, possibly with a drone hologram on it. A clamp down on drones in 2016.

This was easy to foresee, but it was the FAA not the FCC who did the clamping. DING - close enough!

7. The Akatsuki probe team will announce a cool discovery about Venus.  Maybe we'll finally get an answer to: Why does Venus spin backwards? Don't we all want to know that?! What a feat this team has already pulled off in getting this probe into orbit!  The dawn of a new science day for Venus.


8. I'm going to carry over the electric car range prediction again... I'm thinking we'll see a 350 mile range on an affordable plug-in electric.  I call this the "EV tipping point..." and I think we'll see it in 2016.  It will be the start of a huge electric hybrid proliferation in many automobile models that will push fuel economy numbers through the roof.  AND - it's about time, if I do say so.

Bonk Bonk Bonk. Hybrids are doing great on range, PHEV’s are all following Tesla which is at 294 mi with the range extender battery's! It is only a matter of time… not if - but when! I don't know why some inventor type hasn't come up with a tow behind bike-rack-cargo extender-trailer called the "power wagon," that extends PHEV range to 500 miles - just like that!  Seems like it would be do-able TODAY!  Hmmmm maybe THAT will happen in 2017!

9. Pet glasses.  Want to see what your dog, cat or horse sees?  Just buy a pair of these spectral filtered glasses at your nearest pet store and you can view the world as your favorite pet sees it. I think this would be big on the Home Shopping Network...There must be an app for this already...

BONK Close - but no cigar... I thought this was a sure thing! Who wouldn’t want to don a pair of glasses and see the world like your horse, dog or cat does? The hound thought it was a good idea too! Well at least there's an app for that...  Well I do expect eyeglasses to be disrupted by cheap camera-display screen technology. So much more info to be visualized, like IR, and software manipulated corrections for difficult vision impairment. It's gonna happen, just not next year...

10. Dieselgate will expand to other manufacturers as the emissions regulators start to look for defeat algorithms in engine controls behavior.  I think we'll see that the diesel debacle and the as yet undiscovered software tricks out there for spark ignited and diesels will end up having a net positive influence on the advance of e-vehicles and the pull ahead launch of transformative technology. Glass is always half full!

DING! Too easy

An amazing 60% last year!  


Get ready for some serious prognosticat’n…

I have consulted with the hound of mysterious knowledge… err behavior, and noted many ‘signs.’ 

The Hound of Mysterious Knowledge sitting upon her settee.

So here are the prognostications for 2017:

1. A disruption in the 135 year old electrical power generation model – look out Wall Street and all the Beaver Cleaver investors – the times, they are a changing! The economic viability of independent off grid electrical power has been missing only one thing to become a very disruptive reality. Affordable storage. Breakthroughs in several cheap energy storage systems will emerge which will drive a renaissance in the economics or energy. Utility requirements of large consumers like factories will still need high power density generation sources of the traditional smokestack type, but residential needs will start to move towards energy independent combinations of wind, solar and geothermal models all tied to the key piece – an efficient and affordable storage system. And it comes with a low carbon footprint – if that really matters...

2. Breakthrough with LHCb at CERN.

3. Containment at Fukushima It's hard to figure out what the clean up costs will be when you don't know what you're cleaning up! Or if the clean up will include the remediation of the Pacific Ocean...  oopsie

4. Wild discovery about weather found on Saturn – open system thermodynamics and the giant hexagon cloud system yields stunning realization on how to model open non-linear systems! 

5. An even  wilder discovery is made about the earth’s molten iron flow. It has tripled it's velocity in the last 15 years.  I'm predicting centrifugal forces, are causing the river of molten iron to reach higher into the mantle and induce changes in magnetic fields that influence gamma ray deflection and create new subsurface hot spots... This is science fiction gold for a B movie!  Gold I'm tell'in ya...

6. Gene therapy replaces pharma – in a landmark critical care application.  - Huge shift in medicine... why dose when you can re-program and fix the issue on a cellular level?! 

7. High speed rail system will be unveiled for the entire US with sea terminal and airport links.  The new rail corridor amenities will bring travelers back to the future with a modern version of Route 66 only this time with wifi and a comfy seat.  A few decades behind, but - yup, 2017 is the year!

8. Discoveries in Cutaneous Perception will shed light on the human condition and could be the breakthrough AI computer scientists are looking for to leap frog rule based logic by analyzing analog signals radiated from a living human being...  Another great B movie topic if I do say so.

9. Solar flare to rival the storm of '59... Now what would we all do without our phones, GPS or even power for a few months? 

10. Near real-time language translators in an earbud – AI applied + speech + language processor on a fast voice chip that fits behind an ear.  You can select the language by voice command and then hear the translation of your conversation in your ear bud, and transmit your verbal response in the correct language via a listeners blue tooth earbud or through a speaker. It will run on Linux of course... and give linguists a lot of research funding! Of course a slower cloud version will exist so that big data can parse through ever utterance and gaffe and sell it to the marketing folks.  By 2018 the earbuds will be playing ads in your ear between spoken words unless you buy the pro version of the xlater....

Well these are my prognostications for 2017.  Stay well my friends!


No comments: