2017′ s big ideas- part 1: from driverless vehicles to interstellar traveling

Published in Odd and Fun on 6th December 2017

James Dyson is provoked about the SafetyNet invention, Jim Al-Khalili cant wait to study Saturn up close and Amanda Levete appears to a resurgence of civic space


Mass production processes driverless autoes
By Jimmy Wales

The human intelligence is an amazing machine. It can make an unperceivable number of forecasts two seconds. This outstanding ability is widely implemented during one of the most neurologically challenging wars parties are participated with on a daily basis: driving.

Several areas of the brain act in collaboration in order to receive, process, prioritise and implement real-time data recognized during driving. These complex procedures may guide unnoticed by the motorist, but their uninterrupted functioning is crucial.

The discrepancies between life and death might be determined by a interruption of only 100 milliseconds in response time. At high speeds, this micro timeframe can translate into various hoofs, which may in turn be the difference between evading chance and a fatal disintegrate. Such a minor postpone may be caused by any minimal distraction: a abrupt noise, a quick glance at the phone or a random thought.

So what I am most excited about for 2017 is the groundbreaking invention that has the ability to minimise these dangers and potentially save millions of lives on the road: driverless gondolas.

We are getting closer than we considered, faster than we reckoned, to having mass production of safe and dependable driverless gondolas. Many people have heard about this innovation, but not many realise how fast it is coming and how dramatically it is going to change society.

In 2016, it is estimated that worldwide automobile collisions claimed the lives of more than 1.1 million people, while more than 31 million people were injured. Once this technology is banal and driverless vehicles are pervasive, those figures will flinch to a tiny fraction of what they are today.

The social impact will be even greater, to an extent that is very hard to fully imagine right now. Driverless autoes will stimulate car-sharing so much easier and more efficient that we are capable of make do with 80% fewer automobiles. That would translate into less environmental pollution by reduced ga consumption, less traffic congestion, fewer hours consumed on the roads and less need for car parks. Roads could be laid out quite differently, establishing transaction more efficient and safer for passengers and pedestrians.

Modern technology exceeds in saving us treasured day and representing our everyday lives easier. The next technological advances will too realise our streets much safer.

Jimmy Wales is an American internet entrepreneur and the co-founder of Wikipedia and Wikia .


Food goes back to essentials
By Thomasina Miers

The past few years has been all about fad diets, cutting out food radicals, and buying expensive ingredients to chase superfoods and super health. None of this is realistic. And after a year in which our foundations ought to have rocked, I feel that dieting contributes an undesirable indecision to “peoples lives” that we really dont need.

Food should not be about denial, shame or killing ourselves. It is about encouraging, consolation and spend time with people who are important to us. It is about camaraderie and parish and breaking down obstacles. We need that more than ever.

Next year will be about simplifying and going back to essentials in the kitchen. The healthiest mode to dine is to go as close to the source as possible. Piles of veggies, who the hell is inexpensive; lots of particles and beans. Meat only occasionally, and where reference is has been well examined after. My degree isnt that we invest hours or a fortune in the kitchen, just that we adopt an old-fashioned approaching where we avoid processed food. I have three children and zero spare time, but we eat well. Dinner is often exactly kale sauteed in garlic and olive oil on toast with a deep-fried egg on top.

I think well see this in eateries, more. When is the last time meter you heard anyone raving about a 20 -course savor menu? It feels as though that is from the last decade. Now its all short menus and home cooking and milk from cows who might actually have ingested some grass in their lives. There is a comfort in that, and I think it plays into deeper anxieties many of us are experiencing.

Thomasina Miers is a concoct, food novelist and broadcaster, and the founder of the Wahaca chain of Mexican restaurants .


The Cassini missons grand finale from Saturn
By Jim Al-Khalili

An image of Saturn from the Cassini mission. Image: Nasa/ AP

When it comes to physics and astronomy, there have been a number of important storeys in recent years that captured the publics imagery. Search no further than the uncovering of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider in 2012 or the first detecting of gravitational waves in 2016: ripplings in the fabric of seat itself due to the collision of two black holes more than a billion light years away. Cool stuff. And who knows what might be simply around the reces? While I cannot prophesy what discoveries will be made in 2017, I can say with some confidence that there is one science narration guaranteed to make waves around the world.

Of all the planets in the solar system, Saturn, with its beautiful rings, is without doubt “the worlds largest” mysterious and strange, and in recent years weve had the privilege of being able to study it up close and personal thanks to the pictures beamed back to us by the Cassini spacecraft.

The Cassini mission to the giant planet provides us with jaw-droppingly stupefying colour personas of Saturns surface, its rings and its numerous moons. And weve also made some astounding breakthroughs. For illustration, it has divulged aircrafts of irrigate smoke and organic material shooting out of the south pole of Enceladus, developing tremendous commotion that this minuscule moon might even be able to support microbial life beneath its icy surface.

But rest assured, the best is yet to come. In 2017, Cassini will come to the end of its mission, 20 times after it was launched in 1997. Nasa is announcing this the Grand Finale, and its going to get moderately breathtaking In tighter and tighter orbits, over several weeks, the spacecraft is going to squeeze inside the innermost hoop, skipping the surface of the planet ever more closely before eventually disappearing beneath the cloud and plummeting to its death.

For the Nasa scientists, it is going to be a huge challenge to accumulate as much data as possible during those final epoches, and there is no guarantee that Cassinis instruments will work in the increasingly hostile positions. They are hoping it will continue to beam back what it realizes for as long as it can before being ultimately mashed by the phenomenal concentration and pressing within the gas whale. Cue tingles down prickles, clumps in throats and rends in attentions all round.

Jim Al-Khalili is a broadcaster and a prof of physics and public engaged in discipline at the University of Surrey .


A answer for overfishing
By Sir James Dyson

2017 promises to be an exciting year for SafetyNet, a fishing net with a series of escape rings that help prevent young and endangered fish get caught. The invention, which is engineered by Dan Watson, won the James Dyson award in 2012 because it helps to address the very real difficulty of overfishing.

SafetyNet employs the escape the behavior of fish. Small and medium-sized fish swimming upwards when stressed, whereas big fish tend to swim downwards. SafetyNet has illuminated escape doughnuts on its top side, which act like an emergency exit sign for the smaller fish. Water flowing through the wide-open meshes navigates them to freedom, while the larger ones are retained in the net.

Since triumphing the awarding, SafetyNet has been get ever closer to making a world-wide impact. Contests show that the number of undesired fish caught is reduced by more than half when SafetyNet is employed. With trials set to continue around the world in 2017, I hope that the next round of testing will continue to build awareness of the terrifying difficulty of overfishing.

In 2017, SafetyNet technology will also go on sale to fishermen for the first time, with the first batches available in the middle of the year. But Watson also has his slews set on forcing the wider industry for the better. He will give a presentation on the topic of overfishing to the directorate-general for maritime occasions and fisheries in Brussels, to lure “members attention” of industry regulators and potentially shape future legislation.

Nearly half of fish grab are thrown back into the sea because they are not suitable to be sold, and numerous dont exist. If an important number of young fish are being killed unnecessarily, this has an impact on the overall fish person. The excellent fabrications use engineering and technological sciences to solve subsisting problems and draw the world a better place. SafetyNet shows how young grads such as Watson can attack world editions, all too often ignored by established industries, in brand-new and inventive ways.

James Dyson is a British discoverer and industrial decorator, and the founder of Dyson .


Neural networks and impacts on Alzheimers sicknes
By Prof May-Britt Moser

In this post-fact age, I believe that scientists engagement with civilization will be more important than ever before. We need to do our its participation in house public trust in discipline, by ensuring that our papers and talks are as solid and true-life to data as possible, but also by making sure the knowledge we create is made accessible for people.

I am evoked about the tale results from our lab that we will share with “the worlds” in 2017. In our everyday lives, we rely on our capacity to navigate and remember. Inside the brain, these cognitive performs have a physiological correlated as specific decorations of act among nerve cadres. Systems of communicating nerve cells organize activity maps that each give rise to a particular purpose. In 2017, we will share new revelations into the arrival and maturation of the cadres and neural networks that give rise to higher cognitive serves like self-location and retention. These cadres are also ground zero, and the very first afflicted by neurodegenerative illness such as Alzheimers. Knowing about how these cadres develop into functional networks, dedicating has given rise to cognition and behaviour, may help us understand what goes wrong when storage and sailing breaks down in people who are diagnosed with Alzheimers disease.

May-Britt Moser is a Nobel prize-winning psychologist and neuroscientist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim .

The artworks

The documenta exhibition resurrects the idea of having utopia for a dystopian world
By Stefan Kalmr

In 1955, skill prof and curator Arnold Bode founded the documenta artistry show in the West German metropoli of Kassel, once considered by Hitler for the German capital.

Documenta was originally initiated to introduce, or rather reintroduce, art formerly labelled by the Nazis as degenerate to the postwar German populace. This exhibit has, over the past 61 times, become the Olympus of all shows. It is no longer an biennial; it is a image, a overture and a utopia in a hopelessly dystopian world.

Adam Szymczyk, the curator of documenta 14, which guides from 10 April to 17 September 2017, are determined to stage, for the first time in the exhibitions history, one half in another European metropolitan: Athens. By doing so, he has delineated the field that best describes the dialectical strain in modern republic today.

On one line-up is Kassels documenta: a post-fascist vehicle that believed in the transformative dominance of contemporary prowes. On the other side is Athens, the birthplace of republic, which in recent years has become synonymous with the friction between democracy, sovereign rights and late capitalism.

In my lifetime, I have not knew a more complex and greater existential crisis than today but a complex duration is simply be responded to in evenly complex overtures. Documenta is a vehicle that yields the complex booking with art and culture as what it is: a manifestation that responds to the sociopolitical conditions of our time. It is this that prepares documenta, and especially this documenta, so important, as it attempts to mediate between western republic and capitalism in a state of crisis.

Stefan Kalmr is a veteran art industry and gallery insider and the new administrator of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London .


MAAT in Lisbon, designed by AL_A. Image: Paulo Coelho/ EDP Foundation

Centuries-old impressions show us how to define public space
By Amanda Levete

There has never been a more important time to find ways of drawing beings together. We necessitate public cavities in our cities and our houses to unite beings, cavities where everyone has the chance to gather and to celebrate what we have in common. Im hopeful that 2017 will see the twinkling resurgence of outdoor civic seats blossom into something more profound and lasting.

As citizens, we have perhaps been taking them for awarded, but now we are actively recognising the characters played by these vital parts of the metropolitan textile, and expecting that our towns and organizations keep and expand them.

In 2017 and beyond, we will be seeing cultural assignments as urban assignments ones that engage with metropolis and their uncontrolled, somewhat messy, vibrancy. Id like to think that MAAT, a brand-new museum we designed in Lisbon, where the ceiling is a new neighbourhood for parties to proper as they like, is just one example of many more to come. It is used by loitering duos enjoying the sundown over the Tagus, by children who precisely want to run up and down the steps, and by smugglers, cyclists and skateboarders.

There is something visceral about physical interaction that people are coming to value even more with the rise of the digital. There will be a return to looking at Italian urban development, such as the Nolli map of Rome that allowed us to find the open public spaces connecting a city, or the Piazza del Popolo of Todi, the citys spiritual, civic and cultural nature, where everyone contributes to the sense of parish and has done so for generations.

Of course, these are centuries-old new ideas and, in 2017, I hope there will be an increased meeknes in the architectural community in declaring our inspirations and endowments as well as a reclamation of that post-war idealism when designers considered architecture were gonna help make a better culture. Sometimes, looking back can be a more radical move than the advent of virtual or augmented world but it is an approaching that architects and municipalities will increasingly pursue.

Amanda Levete is a Stirling prize-winning British designer and the founder and principal of AL_A, whose new entry and courtyard at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, opens in 2017.


The Starshot project and solar sail technology
By Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Ive been celebrating 50 years of Star Trek this year. I used to watch it as “childrens and” conceive, Oh yes, this is for me. I missed warp drive, I wanted to travel to other planets and star systems. But as I proliferated older, I realised that our engineering is so far from becoming interstellar walk possible until now.

Last April, the Starshot project was announced. It will use very high-powered lasers to accelerate solar sails on minuscule spacecraft, transporting them at a fifth of the speed of light to Alpha Centauri, our closest star system, in only 20 years. After the announcement, we discovered Proxima Centauri b, an Earth-like exoplanet orbit Proxima Centauri itself. So it gets even more exciting. It pushes the technology we have at the moment to the limit, but the huge challenges are not insurmountable. I think we can do this, and design begin in 2017. We have a chance to take a closer look at an exoplanet, and perhaps even to find signs of life.

Solar sail technology will also allow us to consider our solar system in far greater day. We cast the New Horizons probe to Pluto and it took almost 10 times. With solar sails, we could zip in all the regions of the solar system in a matter of weeks and look whats out there.

As a child, I made all this was possible, and when I started analyzing it, I reined in my possibilities. But this year, for the first time, Im making the fantasy persist. It is unbelievably challenging, but when we look at what were achieving in miniaturisation and technology, I believe that in the next 15 to 20 years, we might have our first interstellar examination giving off for that 20 -year journey to another star system. That makes it within my lifetime.

Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a space scientist and honorary research identify at the UCL department of physics and astronomy .

Developmental biology

A leap send in fetu technology
By Dr Jim Smith

Science sometimes appears to advance in enormous changes, but each of those leapings is typically based on years of painstaking and often unheralded wield cultivate based on good-for-nothing more than curiosity about how the world toils. My area of research is developmental biology: the issue of how the fertilised egg becomes an adult animal with all the privilege cell natures in the right place. Of course, it had existed to me that developmental biology study might the working day have practical benefits, but this was not why I did it I did it because the problem is so intriguing.

But, as is often the example, this sort of discovery discipline is providing extraordinary assistances. For instance, the ability of developmental biologists to culture, control and fertilise fetu in a petri food, then to move the embryos to a father, have all contributed to test-tube babies. And this year, thanks to pioneering job by Doug Turnbull, it has inspired the decision to allow doctors to apply for a licence to generate three-person babes, thereby providing, for the first time, is expected to be mothers carrying mitochondrial disease.

Now we know so much better about what happens during normal embryonic evolution, we are in the extraordinary standing of being able to recapitulate it and even to alter it. Doug Melton has shown how stem cells from patients with type 1 diabetes can be turned into pancreatic beta-cells; many investigates are seeing organoids, three-dimensional branch cell cultures that will allow the specific characteristics of personal therapy regimen and make brand-new cells for gene editing and transplantation. Equally exciting is the recent detection by Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, inspired by his work on newt appendage regeneration, that it may even be possible to reverse ageing.

As we understand more about change , now expending proficiencies from chemistry, mathematics, engineering and physics, we can expect even more impressive findings and therapies. This year, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz managed to increase by 50% the duration of season we are in a position stop human embryos alive in a recipe I cant wait to see what well learn about ourselves.

Jim Smith is a developmental biologist and the brand-new chairman of discipline at Wellcome, the science and health foundation .

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