Saturday, November 25, 2017

Outer Space: Overview of Current Activities and Future Plans

Once the domain of superpowers only, outer space activities now include an expanding set of nations whose numbers continue to grow. Although only 13 of approximately 70 governmental space agencies across the world have actual launch capabilities, many of the other nations are already participating in a wide array of space-related activities, For example:

  • Many nations are now operating satellites in outer space performing a wide range of tasks.
  • Over the years, an increasing number of nations have been sending astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
  • With its Mars Orbiter Mission in 2014, India’s Space Research Organization (ISRO) enabled India to be the first nation to put a space probe in a Martian orbit on its first attempt.
  • In 2014, the European Space Agency (ESA) probe Rosetta reached the Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko and landed on its surface - the first such achievement in human history
  • In 2015, the US sponsored Dawn, the first NASA spacecraft to explore the dwarf planets Vesta and Ceres, and provided the world with its first ever fly-by of Pluto and its moons.
  • Japan is planning a mission to land-and-return to the asteroid Ryugu.
  • The China National Space Administration is undertaking plans for a permanent manned presence in space similar to the International Space Station, and entrepreneurs plan for manned flights to Mars.

The European Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is expected to reach full operational capability by 2020, significantly advancing global positioning capabilities - operating with greater precision, more global coverage, and at higher latitudes. Galileo will join the US GPS, Russia’s GLONASS, China’s BeiDou, and several other regional satellite systems being put in place by countries like India and Japan.

Private Sector Activities

As many governments struggle to fund their national Space Agencies programs, the private sector is now stepping up to fill the void and starting to pursue serious programs such as space tourism, asteroid mining, building next generation space craft, and developing space habitats for planned colonies on the moon and the planet Mars. Some of the major players include SpaceX, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, China Aerospace, Bigelow Aerospace, Planetary Resource, and other major spaceflight companies. However, full realization of return-on-investment by these companies are still decades away.

Think of numerous orbiting space stations, private sector manufacturing facilities in space, Interplanetary travel and supply networks, massive space-based solar energy arrays, and the initial colonization of Mars – that’s all becoming a reality.

Major Challenges

As the race for space accelerates, a number of major issues and challenges are emerging. For example:

  • Space-faring nations—in particular the European Union (EU), China, Russia, India, Japan, and the US—need to further refine the existing Outer Space Treaty and agree on a code of conduct and a more detailed set of rules governing outer space activities.
  • Space debris has become an immediate issue that must be addressed. More than 500,000 pieces of space debris are currently tracked as they orbit the Earth, some traveling as fast as 17,500 mph. Many millions of other pieces of space debris are too small to be tracked but could be hazardous to critical satellites or other spacecraft. International action is necessary to identify and fund the removal of debris most threatening to an expanding global space presence.

With more states and commercial firms stepping up their activities in outer space, existing international agreements and approaches need to be continuously revised and updated to avoid major challenges and potential conflicts down the road.

Militarizing Outer Space

Future conflicts and wars will be fought in multiple domains beyond traditional air, land, sea, and undersea domains. New battlefields will include computer networks, the electromagnetic spectrum, social media, the environment— and Outer Space.

In particular, the immense strategic and commercial value offered by outer space ensures that it will increasingly be an arena in which nations vie for access, use, and control of extraterrestrial assets and resources. At this stage, the militarization of outer space by aggressive nations and other entities may be inevitable.

The Outer Space Treaty and the SALT II treaty prohibit weapons of mass destruction from being placed in space. However, a variety of other weapons exist that would not violate these treaties. A Space Preservation Treaty has been proposed which would ban the placement of any weaponry in outer space.

Consider the following examples of planned activities and technologies by various nations related to the potential militarization of outer space. They include:

  • Anti-satellite weapons have already been developed and tested by the US, Russia, and China.
  • These nations are continuing to work on a variety of new space-based military weapons systems, e.g. advanced laser weapons, kinetic bombardment system, X-37B military spacecraft...
  • The US Space Corps has been proposed as a new branch of the US Armed Forces, but has not approved of as yet.

Space-based Technologies

Heightened commercial interest in outer space and development of space-enabled technologies and services will improve efficiency and create new industrial applications with both civil and military purposes. For example:

  • Low-altitude satellites will bring internet access to the two-thirds of the world’s population that do not currently have online connectivity to information, knowledge, and services many of us are now starting to take for granted.
  • Satellite systems—smaller, smarter, and cheaper than in the past, e.g. CubeSat—will be bringing new capabilities in remote sensing, communications, environmental monitoring, and global positioning services that will benefit everyone on Earth.
  • Space-based cloud services with much higher bandwidth will facilitate the development and deployment of global Health 4.0 systems, Education 4.0 solutions, Manufacturing 4.0, the Internet of Everything and...

Health 4.0 by 2050: By 2040, a space-based global artificial intelligence (AI) system and network of satellites will be put in place that will monitor and help provide healthcare to people on Earth and in colonies across our solar system on the Moon, Mars, and other locations. The system will be linked to massive global health data warehouses storing data from a wide range of health IT systems, e.g. Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, Personal Health Records (PHR), Health Information Exchange (HIE) networks, wearable fitness trackers, implantable medical devices, clinical imaging systems, genomic databases and biorepositories, surgical robots, health research knowledge-bases and much more.

Also, think about the Earth’s planetary defense systems and technologies that are planned and already starting to be put into place, not to mention space-based solar energy power plants.

Transition to Type 1 Civilization

The bottom line is that the Earth is in the process of completing the transition from a Type 0 to a Type 1 Civilization. Billions of people caught up in the massive changes taking place around the world, have never heard about this and don’t yet comprehend what is happening. Outer Space and Space-based Technologies play a key role in this transition.


A Type 0 Civilization extracts its energy, information, raw-materials from crude organic-based sources (e.g. wood/fossil fuel); information is communicated by books, newspapers, oral tradition; natural and man-made disasters coupled with societal conflicts create extreme risk of extinction; it's capable of orbital spaceflight; limited medical and technological advancement; failure to improve social and environmental conditions often lead to their own extinction.

A Type I Civilization extracts its energy and raw-materials from fusion power, hydrogen, solar, and other renewable resources; able to utilize and store energy available from its neighboring star, i.e. the sun; capable of inter-planetary spaceflight, colonization, and communication within its solar system; mega-scale global engineering and trade; regional and world governments; digital access to all known information and knowledge; achieves medical and technological singularity; still vulnerable to possible extinction.


Finally, as spaceflight technologies take a major leap forward allowing for Inter-Planetary travel, millions of humans will make up the first wave of immigrants populating permanent colonies on other planets and moons in our Solar System. Large scale geoengineering construction in support of these steadily growing colonies will begin. Public and private sector organizations will aggressively moving forward to further explore and exploit resources on nearby planets, moons, and asteroids in outer-space well into the 22nd century when we will start the transition to a barely imaginable Type 2 Civilization, when plans for the first unmanned journeys to potentially habitable planets in the nearest solar systems of our Galaxy will be executed.

What an amazing journey lies ahead for future generations!





Selected Links


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

High Level Predictions about Life in the Year 2100

I have previously written a series of articles about Technology Advancements and Life in 2050. In this article a first attempt is made to project even further into time and make predictions about life by the end of the century – Year 2100. By then we will have completed the transition from a Type 0 to a Type 1 Civilization.

  • A Type 0 civilization extracts its energy, information, raw-materials from crude organic-based sources, e.g. food/wood/fossil fuel/books/oral traditions; pressures via natural disaster, natural selection, and societal collapse creates extreme risk of extinction; it's capable of orbital spaceflight; societies that fail to improve social, environmental and medical understanding concurrently with other advancements, frequently accelerated their own extinction.
  • A Type I civilization extracts its energy, information, and raw-materials from fusion power, hydrogen, and other "high-density" renewable-resources; is capable of interplanetary spaceflight, interplanetary communication, megascale engineering, and interplanetary colonization, medical and technological singularity, planetary engineering, world government and trade, and stellar system-scale influence; but are still vulnerable to possible extinction.
  • A Type II civilization extracts fusion energy, information, and raw-materials from multiple solar systems; it is capable of evolutionary intervention, interstellar travel, interstellar communication, stellar engineering, and star cluster-scale influence; the resulting proliferation and diversification would theoretically negate the probability of extinction.
  • A Type III civilization extracts fusion energy, information, and raw-materials from all possible star-clusters; it's capable of intergalactic travel via wormholes and intergalactic communication, galactic engineering and galaxy-scale influence.
  • A Type IV civilization extracts energy, information, and raw-materials from all possible galaxies; it's effectively immortal and omnipotent with universal-scale influence, possessing the ability of theoretical time travel and instantaneous matter-energy transformation and teleportation, moving entire asteroid belts and stars, creating alternate timelines and more.




Predictions for the Year 2100

The following are a preliminary set of high level predictions of life in the Year 2100:


Global Population

It is predicted that the global population will be close to 12 billion by 2100, barring any unforseen major pandemic or major extinction event. Over 80% of the world’s population will live in urbanized areas where ‘Smart Cities’ will house the bulk of the world's population. Networks of metropolitan regions linked by new forms of government, transportation, communication, and economic systems. By 2100, governments around the world will be using various forms of population control, e.g. preventive medical solutions, legally approved coercion, re-engineering social norms. Technology will allow us to overcome language barriers allowing people to communicate anyone in the world – and to communicate telepathically.


Agriculture

Demand for Food and Water resources will grow substantially as the global population increases substantially by the end of this century. High-tech solutions, precision farming systems, use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), expansion of urban farming techniques… will all be needed to boost yields several times over to meet the growing global demand. Expect to see widespread use of drones, robots, artificial intelligance (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous self-driving farming vehicles, global weather control, and many other new technologies designed to meet the needs of the large scale corporate farms of the future. Today’s scarce fresh water resources will be vastly expanded by low-cost desalinization technologies that will convert sea water into potable water.


Business & Manufacturing

Global standards will be in place for all sectors of the economy, e.g. technology, medicine, manufacturing, transportation, telecommunications. Use of Smart 3D Printers, Robots, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Advanced Manufacturing Techniques... will dramatically transform manufacturing by the end of the century. Many new and almost unimaginable ‘smart’ materials and technologies for building housing, making clothing, manufacturing cars... will be developed and put into use. Much of the workforce will use augmented and virtual reality technologies to perform their work remotely in most industries, e.g. education, healthcare, research, manufacturing, retail, transportation... both on Earth and off-planet.


Finance

A new global ‘digital’ currency and a more secure monetary system will have emerged and taken hold by the end of the century. Use of coins and paper money will be a distant memory. New and continuously evolving global financial systems will draw heavily upon the use of new technologies, e.g. Blockchain, ‘Bitcoins’, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Crowdfunding, Implantables, Sensors, Smart ‘Wallets’... Tens of thousands of bank branches will close and most accounting jobs will disappear. Collaboration, 'Open' Solutions, and Continuous Innovation will remain key management strategies for success throughout the 21st century.


Education

Education will be free for everyone and human illiteracy will have been eliminated around the world. Access to free, continuous life-long learning opportunities will be available for all as the rate of change continues to accelerate. humans to adapt to the global economy. Many new technologies like implantable computer-brain interface technology, artificial intelligence (AI), 5G Internet, virtual and augmented reality systems, free and ‘open access’ to research and educational materials… will all play a role in revolutionizing the education system, and eliminating the cost of acquiring knowledge and becoming more productive in the future.


Energy

The official end of the 'Oil Age' and use of fossil fuels on Earth will have occurred back in 2050. A range of renewable energy sources will provide 100% of the world’s energy, e.g. wind, solar, hydro, fuel cell, nuclear fusion – and maybe still a little oil and natural gas. Continent-wide ‘smart supergrids' will be used to help manage the world's energy needs. Both the high cost and scarcity of energy on Earth will be a thing of the past. Roofs, windows, painted surfaces, clothes… will all be used to collect energy for home and office devices, with excess unused energy being fed into the country’s smart supergrid. Wireless energy transmission systems will be in common use.



Environment

Average global temperatures will have risen by more than 5°F by 2100. Ongoing climate change will make storms far more intense around the world, e.g. hurricanes, tornados, cyclones, monsoons. Sea levels across the globe will rise by a little over 3 feet, flooding many coastal areas around the world. Major extinctions of many animals and plant life will have occurred. For example, deep ocean mining operations around the world will become widespread further disrupting sea life. Nearly half of the rain forests and jungles in the world today will have vanished, but global efforts to halt de-forestation, clean up the seas, restore coral reefs… will have finally taken hold. Many displaced people will have migrated to Antartica as the snow cap melted and it became habitable.



Health

The rise of 'Regenerative Medicine', Genetic Engineering, Stem Cell Research, and the development of 'Human Augmentation' technologies will dramatically alter people's health for the better over this next century. New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), and the Invisible User Interface (IUI) will all be incorporated into Health 4.0 systems of the future. Use of DNA biorepositories and genomic information systems will further transform healthcare, help lower costs, combat diseases, reduce child mortality, and extend human lifespans to well over 100 years. Look to see the emergence of a new health industry focused on BioEngineering human organs and new lifeforms.


Technology

There will be more than a 1,000-fold increase in computer processing power, data collection and storage, information analysis and dissemination... By the year 2100, there will be widespread use of robots, drones, virtual reality, smart appliances, 5G Internet, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), nano-bots, brain-computer interfaces (BCI), unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAV), 3-D printers, Invisible User Interface (IUI), teleportation, and many other technologies in every industries, e.g. agriculture, manufacturing, military, government, transportation… Wearable and implantable technologies, not to mention teleportation and telepathy systems, will also be widely used in all facets of daily life,, e.g. healthcare, education, security, ... All will be needed to solve many of the challenges brought about by a growing world population, rapid urbanization, climate change, pandemics...


Transportation

Electric and Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered vehicles will have long since replaced fossil fuel powered vehicles. Hi-tech unmanned autonompus vehicles (UAV) will be the dominant form of transportation with very few people owning their own cars. High speed Maglev trains and Hyperloop systems will be completed between major cities across the U.S. and around the world. These will all have a dramatic impact on the trucking and airplane industries as we currently know them. Finally, the commercial space transportation industry will continue to grow and evolve as mankind begins to colonize outer space.


Government & Society

The vast majority of countries will have adopted some form of democratic government. New alliances and partnerships between countries will lead to reinventing regional and global governance systems. Many non-state actors will take the lead from governments in confronting major global challenges, e.g. climate, pollution, healthcare… Building leadership in government and business that can be 'trusted', that is not corrupt, is citizen-centered, and not built on greed and the quest for money and power... will continue to be a major challenge for society to achieve.

By the end of the 21st century, real time language translation technology will greatly improve global communications between individuals and organizations around the world. There will be continued progress towards the eradication illiteracy and global poverty levels. Women will have assumed a significantly growing role in public and private sector organizations across the world. Racial, religious, and gender discrimination and intolerance will have also been largely eradicated in the US and many other parts of the world. Finally, each individual will receive some guaranteed form of Universal Basic Income (UBI) from government which will meet the minimum requirements to sustain their lives, especially when changing jobs or looking for new work.


Military &Warfare

It will be highly unlikely that war will go extinct, though its frequency, nature, and scope will continue to change and adapt to the future we will inhabit. Many wars will be fought in the ‘virtual world’. It is expected that rapid changes and shifts in ‘power’ may ultimately lead to more smaller intra-state and inter-state conflicts around the globe.

There will be widespread use of new technologies in weapon systems, e.g. Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles (UAV), artificial intelligence (AI), laser weapons, drones, robots, human augmentation technology, teleportation, telepathy... Also, expect to see the use of military weapons and warfare spreading to outer space as the quest to colonize the moon and other planets across our solar system becomes a reality.


Space Travel & Colonization

Spaceflight technology will have taken a major leap forward allowing for Inter-Planetary travel. Millions of humans will make up the first wave of immigrants populating permanent colonies on other planets and moons in our Solar System. Large scale geoengineering construction in support of these steadily growing colonies will have begun. Public and private sector organizations will be aggressively moving forward to further explore and exploit resources on nearby planets, moons, and asteroids in outer-space well into the 22nd century. Plans for the first unmanned journeys to potentially habitable planets in the nearest solar systems of our Galaxy will be initiated.


Conclusion

We are in the midst of the transition from the ‘Industrial Age’ of the 20th century into the ‘Information Age’ of the 21st century. We are also in the midst of the transition from a Type 0 Civilization into a Type 1 Civilization. It’s an amazing time to be living and the world is in some turmoil as it struggles to deal with these momentous transitions. To help people deal with the rapid pace of change all around the, this article attempts to paint a preliminary picture of the future to help make some sense of the seeming chaotic times we are living through. I hope you find this article informative and brings some clarity about the rapidly changing world you, your children, and your grandchildren are living in.






Links to Selected Resources & Reports







Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Global Health 4.0 for 2040 and Beyond

Health 4.0 focuses on collaboration, coherence, and convergence – or connecting all available health information, services, devices and people together in a more meaningful way. See Global Artificial Intelligence Network for 2040.

Future Scenario: By 2040, a space-based global artificial intelligence (AI) network of satellites will be put in place that will monitor and help provide healthcare to people on Earth and in colonies across our solar system on the Moon, Mars, and other locations. The system will be linked to massive global health data warehouses storing data from a wide range of health IT systems, e.g. Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, Personal Health Records (PHR), Health Information Exchange (HIE) networks, wearable fitness trackers, implantable medical devices, clinical imaging systems, genomic databases and biorepositories, surgical robots, health research knowledgebases and more.

The space-based global AI system will monitor and analyze the health data gathered on all humans in real-time, detecting potential individual and public health issues. The global AI system will detect problems, diagnose them, send alerts to patients and their healthcare providers, and generate treatment plans to resolve the healthcare issue. The system will also be interfaced to pharmacies, laboratories, health insurers, public health agencies, and other institutions as needed. The system will also be able to monitor a patient's progress, as well as adherence to recommended treatment plans. It will also seek to anticipate potential healthcare issues and provide preventive health and predictive health information tailored to each human.

Evolution of Health IT Systems


The following is a brief overview of the evolution and use of health information technology in the US since the late 1960's:
  • Health 1.0 (1970's – 1990) = Modular Health IT Systems, e.g. Patient Registration, Billing, Pharmacy, Lab…
  • Health 2.0 (1990's – 2010) = Integrated Electronic Health Record (EHR) Systems + Personal Health Records (PHR) + Clinical Imaging
  • Health 3.0 (2010 – 2020's) = Networked EHR Systems + Genomic Information + Wearable & Implantable Sensor Data
  • Health 4.0 (2030's – 2040's) = Global Networked EHR Systems + Artificial Intelligence + Convergence of all Technologies Above + Real-Time Data Collection & Analysis+Invisible User Interface

As we approach 2020, we are currently in the process of developing, and implementing Health 3.0 technologies and solutions in the US and other advanced nations across the globe. Preliminary design and pilot testing of some Health 4.0 solutions is just beginning.

Looking at 2040 and Beyond

Looking ahead to when Health 4.0 systems will finally start rolling into place, keep in mind some of the following predictions for Healthcare and Health IT systems by 2050. See Health 2020-2050.

  • By 2050 we will see more instances of global pandemics and the spread of deadly diseases as a by-product of the skyrocketing growth and migration of the global population.
  • Rise of 'Regenerative Medicine', Genetic Engineering, Stem Cell Research, and the development of 'Human Augmentation' technologies will dramatically alter people's life spans and capabilities.
  • Use of biorepositories and genomic information systems will further transform healthcare and help lower costs.
  • Emergence of future knowledge driven global health platform and solutions will be based on 'open' standards and technologies.
* Read Health & Health IT: 2030 and Beyond


Selected Links