Looming disasters, and other tech predictions, for 2014
ITNews | Posted: 26 Dec 2013, 10:32
More than most years, 2013 might be remembered for some ominous predictions of doom for the earth and its inhabitants.
The threat of solar storms received much attention from prognosticators, as did abrupt climate change -- the earth's atmosphere passed the 400 parts per million in carbon dioxide mark in 2013.
Also, life extension became part of the tech discussion in 2013 and promises to become more of one in the years ahead.
High-speed machine-to-machine trading, long a topic, is gaining ever more attention as transactions near the speed of light.
Some of the biggest (and smallest) predictions for next year and beyond follow.
The end of the power grid
The National Intelligence Council, in its Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report, released this year, said geomagnetic storms "pose substantial threat" to electronics and the power grid.
This was a big year for warnings about solar storms. The last "solar super-storm," occurred in 1859, and the next one has a good chance of arriving within your lifetime.
In 1989, a solar storm knocked out the Quebec power grid, impacting 6 million customers.
Historical records suggest a return period of 50 years for Quebec-level storms and 150 years for very extreme storms, such as the 1859 so-called Carrington Event, according to a report by insurer Lloyd's earlier this year.
Scientists at the Idaho National Laboratory recently demonstrated in tests that "geomagnetic disturbances have the power to disrupt and possibly destroy electrical transformers, the backbone of our nation's utility grid."
Extreme solar events are memorable, even without electronics. In 1859 Mother Nature "lit up its own chandelier in order, as it might be, to reveal the wickedness going on at the dead hour of night," The Memphis Daily wrote after brilliant lights in the nighttime sky, flashes, and red glows startled the city.
It prompted the fire department to muster on the mistaken belief that there was a large fire.
Things that may go boom next year
"Bitcoin will explode. KABOOM!" predicts Rob Banagale, CEO and co-founder, Gilph, Inc., a messaging security provider, via the National Venture Capital Association.
"OpenStack will implode," said Jason Bloomberg, author Agile Architecture Revolution, in his 2014 predictions at ZapThink. "It will succumb to a kind of innovation paralysis," he said.
In 2013, scientists confirmed the existence of the largest volcano on the planet, and among the largest in the solar system. Tamu Massif is in Northwest Pacific Ocean and is as large as the state of New Mexico. It is, fortunately, inactive.
Google thinks about life extension, as did Edison
In 2013, Google created a new company, Calico, to focus on health and well-being. "OK ... so you're probably thinking wow," wrote Google, co-founder Larry Page, one of Google's co-founders, about the company. Time's cover story looked at the effort this way: Can Google Solve Death?
Thomas Edison figured out how to live a long life well before Google. In a 1914 interview with The Day Book, Edison outlined a disciplined lifestyle.
Edison, then 67, said he slept about five and half hours a night, though for years he had only slept four. Mrs. Edison, he explained, wouldn't permit him to work all night any more. His daily diet didn't exceed a pound and a half of food. He smoked cigars and chewed tobacco, but avoided cigarettes. He read 118 scientific and trade periodicals and five daily newspapers.
"I read four lines at once," said Edison. "They should teach that kind of reading in the public schools."
Edison lived until the age of 84. The life expectancy for a man in 1914 was 52.
Too fast and too big for humans?
There have been ongoing warnings that machine-to-machine trading could one day disrupt financial markets.
A recent paper published in Nature, "Abrupt rise of new machine ecology beyond human response time," argued that humans are losing the ability to intervene in machine actions in real time. New systems, it said, are reducing "communication and computational operating times down to several orders of magnitude below human response times - toward the physical limits of the speed of light."
The paper also pointed out that a new dedicated transatlantic cable is being built "just to shave 5 milliseconds off transatlantic communications times between U.S. and U.K traders."
"Speed may exacerbate problems, but there is no definitive evidence that it is the problem," said Michael Piwowar, a U.S. Securities and Exchange commissioner this month in a speech in London. "Moreover, we should not reject the possibility that speed may actually help mitigate problems once they begin."
Abrupt climate change warnings
In May of 2013 "the average daily level of carbon dioxide in the air had reached a concentration above 400 parts per million--a level that hasn't been seen since around 3 to 5 million years ago, well before humans roamed the Earth," reported NASA.
Scientist say that the climate record shows evidence of abrupt climate change, measured in a period of years to decades. In a National Academies report this year, "Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises," scientists recommend creation of a global early warning system to alert mankind to changes.
From October 10, 2008 to March 5, 2014, the accumulative total that HUST High-Tech Group has reduced the circulation stocks without restricted conditions is 10.5 million, accounting for 1.46% of Huagong Tech's total equity.
Zhongtian Technologies announced its Annual Report 2013 yesterday that the operating revenue of the company was around RMB 6.8 billion, which increased by 16.5% over the previous year. The net profit was RMB 554 million, with a year-on-year increase of 24%.
AT&T, NTT, others share implementation experiences, strategies at Open Networking Summit 2014.
China Mobile Ltd is actively seeking opportunities to take its fourth-generation telecommunication technology abroad, a powerful entrance for the world's biggest carrier onto the global stage, a company executive said.
Huawei’s next generation enterprise technology is now available in New Zealand as the world-leading ICT company today launched a new partnership with technology distributor Atlas Gentech.
Not so fast, Facebook. Citing privacy concerns, two US-based watchdog groups file an FTC complaint hoping to block its planned $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp.
It seems that in 2014, we can expect tablet sales to stall. This is according to a recent report from the IDC which suggests that tablet sales this year will begin to slow down.
The Internet of Things presents a new set of data storage and protection challenges. Here's how to tackle those issues.
According to China Mobile website, China Mobile has released the bidding result of Wireless Network Tower Procurement and Construction Tender Project (2014-2015), and SUNSEA Telecom was one of the winning candidates in the Tender One, which was worth around 100 million RMB.
Huawei CEO Eric Xu indicated at the Huawei Cloud Open Forum in Barcelona that the concept and technology of cloud computing will be the trend of next development cycle in the telecom industry, which will also be the key point for competition.
EBay Inc CEO John Donahoe said on Wednesday that several of the online retailer's most active shareholders have assured him they support his efforts to resist demands by activist investor Carl Icahn for a spin-off of the PayPal unit.
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets will vastly expand the number of companies who advertise online and will allow Internet companies to reap more revenue than they have from customers on PCs, Google Inc Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora said on Wednesday.
Marissa Mayer's been in full-on spending mode since taking over the reins at Yahoo. As such, we're not surprised to find out that the company has made yet another acquisition: Vizify.
Saudi Arabian telecoms operator Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) has signed an agreement with UAE-based Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) to provide 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) roaming to subscribers in the two countries.
Vodafone Group has reportedly said that it could consider international arbitration should the Egyptian government approve legislation under which fixed line incumbent Telecom Egypt (TE) will gain access to the country’s mobile networks.
The communications industry is in the early days of a transition to software-defined networking, said proponents at the annual Open Networking Summit. The same day an analyst reported a decline in router and switch sales, due in part to large buyers retooling for the technology.
Here's the performance analysis of China's optical component suppliers: Accelink, HG Genuine and SUNSEA. Most of these suppliers are developing, but all of them fell behind schedule.
Yesterday (March 4, 2014), Guangdong Province Government officially printed the "Advices on the comprehensive promotion of the province's broadband network infrastructure".
Comcast Corp on Tuesday said its discounted Internet service for low-income families will be available indefinitely, a move that should please U.S. regulators as the company seeks approval for its $45.2 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable.
Steve Mollenkopf, the new chief executive of Qualcomm, said on Tuesday that the mobile chipmaker is developing technologies that will drive continued demand for smartphones even as others worry that the smartphone market's best days are behind it.
Martin Bouygues, CEO of Bouygues Telecom, has reportedly met with French president Francois Hollande in a bid to reassure the government over the impact of a potential merger with Vivendi's telecoms unit SFR.
AT&T is set to use a pair of towns in rural Alabama and suburban Florida as testing grounds as it seeks to explore the issues surrounding its desired transition to an all-IP network by 2020.
British fixed line incumbent BT has called on the local telecoms regulator Ofcom to level the playing field in the country's wholesale broadband market, arguing that the watchdog has 'achieved its policy goal of driving competition deeper into the network'.
Alcatel-Lucent has announced an agreement to extend the LTE network coverage of Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates incumbent telecoms operator, to meet increasing demand for high speed mobile broadband services.
Hong Kong's five mobile network operators had 2.21 million 4G LTE customers between them at the end of December 2013, regulator OFCA has reported in its first statistical bulletin to separate
Orange Poland has purchased a 2.4MHz block of 1800MHz spectrum from rival wireless provider Polkometel, which operates under the 'Plus' brand.
Alcatel-Lucent has announced that it is collaborating with CWC's Caribbean unit LIME on the deployment of a Microwave Packet Radio (MPR) solution that will also complete the conversion of the network to an all-IP architecture during the first quarter of 2014.
Dish has a seemingly insatiable appetite for wireless spectrum, and it's willing to spend a lot of cash to get its fill.
It's never a good idea to make an enemy of the federal government, and it appears that Aereo now finds itself in just that predicament.
Despite Qualcomm's odd stance on octa-core and 64-bit in the past, the company has clearly changed its mind since last week's launch of its Snapdragon 615, which includes both features.
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