Our future will be wireless, paperless, and cashless.

Where are the flying cars? \n\nHaving been born in the 1960s and watched all the Apollo moon landings, the one prediction of the future I recall best is that we would all be commuting in cars that flew. No more traffic jams. No more toll roads. Perhaps they all had small nuclear reactors in them so there was no need for gas or any other fuel. The plan was for The Jetsons to look like a reality TV show.\n\nAlmost 40 years since man first landed on the moon, my car is still permanently land-based; I still pay tolls; and I’m still filling it with gas. What did the promised transportation revolution delivered instead? The Segway. The company first marketed itself as "the next generation in personal mobility," which apparently meant traveling at about 12.5 miles (20 km) per hour with a range of 24 miles (38 km) before you had to re-charge the lithium-ion battery packs. As revolutionary as The Jetsons? This can’t even compete with the Batmobile. \n\nThe inventor of the Segway, Dean Kamen, once predicted that, "the Segway will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy." I remember the buzz that the Segway would mean the end to walking. It is hard to support the idea that the next transportation revolution should be the end of walking. \n\nDean Kamen is a smart guy – certainly smarter than I am. But the Segway was obviously designed in vacuum; devoid of consumer input. The "if you build it, they will come" model of product development – focused on engineering rather than consumer research – is based on hope and, as the cliché goes, hope is not a strategy. So I hope to contrast my ideas – whether you think they are any good or not – with those of engineers, like Kamen. Since I’m certainly not an engineer, I consider myself instead a technologist, which I define like this: the optimist sees the glass half full; the pessimist sees the glass half empty; and the technologist wonders why the engineer didn’t talk to anyone before building a glass that was twice as large as anyone wanted or needed.\n

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

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  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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Image source: Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
  • A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
  • Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
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Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
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