Design a site like this with
Get started

Exponential computing

Hello Future Fans,

I’ve not posted for a while, since I’ve been travelling. Today I want to re-connect with one of my favourite topics, being the exponential nature of computing; in terms of power, size, and architectural advancements. I’m surely going to be a little guilty of confirmation bias (a tendency to find information that confirms one’s own world view), however the raw numbers can’t be denied!

Firstly, I wanted to touch on nvidia’s ‘DGX-2’ announcement. This is basically an AI-focused supercomputer-in-a-box. It can be yours for only $399,000.

The DX-2 is remarkable for a few reasons. Firstly, the claimed 2-petaflop (quadrillion calculations) per second puts it in the class of the world’s fastest supercomputers just about 9-10 years ago. IBM’s roadrunner supercomputer, based at Los Alamos National Laboratory, cost $120 million to build and broke the 1-petaflop barrier back in 2008. These things aren’t directly comparable for various reasons; however, the pace of change is both evident and exceptional. Continue reading “Exponential computing”


AI dominance & the master algorithm

Hi Future Fans,

I’ve been quiet for a couple of weeks due to work, so now is a good time to launch into some good old-fashioned AI commentary!

Clearly everyone will be aware of AI by now, and we’re seeing AI driving huge progress in language translation, voice recognition, autonomous navigation, image recognition, disease diagnosis (e.g. radiology) and endless other fields. Over the next couple of posts, I’ll look at some specific exciting applications of AI, and will balance this with some cautionary tales.

Today, however, is about the AI arms race! Continue reading “AI dominance & the master algorithm”

Brain-computer interfaces

Hello Future Fans,

Today I’ll continue briefly on the topic of brain-computer / brain-Internet / brain-to-brain interfaces.

I’ve linked a great robohub article below. It talks about a tech concept called neurograins. These are tiny, sophisticated, wireless devices that will be designed to sit around the cerebreral cortex. They will detect, and possibly directly influence, neural activity i.e. they could read and then influence thoughts. Sitting inside the skull will greatly improve the capability of these devices to detect the activity of neurons vs the usual external sensors.

This kind of technology is entirely new and, frankly, mostly speculative at this point. The embedded video, however, runs through many real life steps that have already been taken on this journey. It then ends by looking at some of the potential risks (having one’s mind controlled!) as per Bobby’s comment on my last post.

The Singularity will change everything

Hi Again, future-curious folks,

Today I’ll move away from imminent developments like 5G and will instead cast into the more distant future. It’s a bit dense; hope you like it!

I was talking with my father in law recently (hi Rob!) about the Singularity. There are a few definitions of this and, in summary, it’s an assumed period ~30 years away where technological change will be so substantial that the fundamental nature of humanity & life will have shifted so dramatically as to be unrecognizable from today. Continue reading “The Singularity will change everything”

Why low latency 5G matters

Hi Followers,

Two posts ago, I bought some attention back to the truly remarkable step-change promised by 5G mobile connectivity. I mentioned that this step change is related both to the outright speed and also (importantly!) the low latency across the network.

I spotted this venturebeat article drilling into the latency area a little more, and describing some of the real applications that this will unlock, like wireless high fidelity VR/AR and remote guidance capabilities for autonomous vehicles.

Automated language translation

Hi Future Fans,

This one is a relatively light post!

There continue to be announcements around language translation, and a lot of this is due to AI/Neural networks.

Microsoft announced a breakthrough in Chinese to English (text) translation, which has matched human translation for the first time.

Microsoft, of course, also offers real time language translation via Skype, which I still find amazing.

Secondly, Baidu has released a new pocket translator that will translate between English and Chinese at the push of a button.

Language, it seems, should not be a barrier for much longer.

5G is a serious game changer

Hi Everyone,

I’m sure that everyone knows that 5G mobile connectivity is coming. I’ve certainly posted a bit about it over the last couple of years!

As we’re getting closer to real world launch, some more tangible information is coming in, and it’s great.

The attached article talks about some ‘real world’ simulations done by Qualcomm, who build many of the connectivity & processing chips in our mobile devices.

The short story is that we’re looking at a ~10x+ jump in data speeds vs 4G. Perhaps even more importantly, the latency (time between data request vs response) is also dropping by between ~7x and ~20x, depending on the exact 5G technology used. The combination of order-of-magnitude changes on both of these dimensions is staggering.

Fast. Damned fast, and responsive. 5G continues to look like a real game changer!

Continue reading “5G is a serious game changer”

A life without the Internet? Surely that never happened …

Hello Followers! Just a story today, albeit one with a serious futurist bent.

My son asked me what it was like when I was growing up. I thought about this, and started talking about reading, bushwalking, playing with army figurines, making slingshots, etc. He looked quizzically at me, and it struck me like a sledgehammer – there was no Internet! I mean, this should not have been a surprise, however I can now barely imagine a world without this speed-of-light global communications network.

Having thought further about it, I realized that I was probably the last generation to grow up without the Internet. The early web became accessible to me via my University, which offered a gateway that I could dial into. My entire professional life has been Internet-driven, yet my childhood was lived entirely without it. How odd. Continue reading “A life without the Internet? Surely that never happened …”

Intel launches ‘Vaunt’ smart glasses

This is awesome – Intel has just released exclusive information on their upcoming ‘Vaunt’ smart glasses. These are almost a new class of device – they look like standard glasses and project images & information into the retina directly.

“At its core, Vaunt is simply a system for displaying a small heads-up style display in your peripheral vision. It can show you simple messages like directions or notifications.”

Fantastic. Can’t wait to try these!!