Looming disasters, and other tech predictions, for 2014

ITNews | Posted: 26 Dec 2013, 10:32

Looming disasters, and other tech predictions, for 2014

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.

Telecom

U.S. FCC chair: 'Hard to believe' AT&T would skip spectrum auction

U.S. FCC chair: 'Hard to believe' AT&T would skip spectrum auction

The top U.S. telecommunications regulator on Wednesday said he was unconvinced by AT&T Inc's threat to sit out next year's major auction of wireless spectrum over proposed restrictions on its participation.

Bluetooth Low Energy promises fewer cables, less weight in cars

Bluetooth Low Energy promises fewer cables, less weight in cars

Like it or not, smartphones and cars are becoming inseparable -- with Bluetooth Low Energy as the communication technology that ties them together.

Apple v. Samsung: Google agreed to indemnify Samsung

Apple v. Samsung: Google agreed to indemnify Samsung

No one in Judge Lucy Koh's courtroom seemed particularly surprised yesterday when it was revealed that Google had agreed to indemnify Samsung against some of Apple's claims in the patent infringement lawsuit being tried in federal court here.

ZTE achieves world first with real-time coherent optical detection of ultra-100G OFDM signal

ZTE achieves world first with real-time coherent optical detection of ultra-100G OFDM signal

ZTE Corporation, a global provider of telecommunications equipment, network solutions and mobile devices has demonstrated the first ever real-time transport and coherent detection of an ultra-100G orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) signal.

Huawei enabling digital logistics systems to build a better connected world

Huawei enabling digital logistics systems to build a better connected world

Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, yesterday held its 11th Annual Global Analyst Summit, attracting nearly 400 analysts and business leaders from world-class companies such as BT, Intel and Volvo.

Air China will always provide WiFi service for free?

Air China will always provide WiFi service for free?

Recently, National carrier Air China has initiated a free WiFi service on the flight from Beijing to Chengdu, which becomes the first airline in China providing WiFi service.

Huawei assists China Mobile verification of key TD-LTE-Advanced technologies in field tests

Huawei assists China Mobile verification of key TD-LTE-Advanced technologies in field tests

Huawei, a leading global ICT solutions provider, together with China Mobile, verified multiple core TD-LTE-Advanced technologies including FDD/TDD Carrier Aggregation, MSA, 256QAM, inter-site CoMP, and MU-MIMO in a field test conducted at Chengdu Electronic Technology University.

China Mobile net profit was RMB 25.2 billion in 1Q14, declined 9.4% YoY

China Mobile net profit was RMB 25.2 billion in 1Q14, declined 9.4% YoY

China Mobile released its first quarter sales report yesterday. According to the report, China Mobile earned RMB 154.8 billion in the first quarter of 2014, rose by 7.8% year-over-year.

China Mobile books lowest quarterly profit in five years as apps sap revenue

China Mobile books lowest quarterly profit in five years as apps sap revenue

China Mobile Ltd booked its lowest quarterly profit in five years as the world's biggest mobile carrier by subscribers struggled to compete with mobile Internet applications offering services such as messaging.

AT&T partners with Chernin Group in online video venture

AT&T partners with Chernin Group in online video venture

AT&T Inc said Tuesday it would partner with The Chernin Group media holding company to invest $500 million in a joint venture for web-based video services, making it the latest company aiming to tap the growing consumer demand for online video.

Xiaomi's website rebranded to Mi in light of global expansion

Xiaomi's website rebranded to Mi in light of global expansion

Chinese phone maker Xiaomi has since relaunched its website and instead of Xiaomi.com, it has been renamed to Mi.com.

Samsung: US$2 billion for Apple patents is 57 times too much

Samsung: US$2 billion for Apple patents is 57 times too much

Samsung Electronics Co says Apple Inc’s patent-infringement claims of US$2.19 billion (RM7.13 billion) are 57 times higher than what the Galaxy maker should pay if a jury finds it infringed smartphone technology.

Netflix blasts AT&T fiber network; opposes Comcast, TWC merger

Netflix blasts AT&T fiber network; opposes Comcast, TWC merger

Netflix Inc, the video streaming service, on Monday criticized AT&T's high-speed fiber network as inadequate and slow, while renewing its call for AT&T to interconnect directly with Netflix.

AT&T to take gigabit broadband to 21 new metro areas

AT&T to take gigabit broadband to 21 new metro areas

AT&T plans to extend its U-Verse with GigaPower fiber network to more cities as it prepares to face off with Google in deploying ultra high-speed broadband.

Why the case against Comcast-Time Warner Cable is evaporating?

Why the case against Comcast-Time Warner Cable is evaporating?

Recent developments in Comcast's efforts to merger with Time Warner Cable suggest the deal with go through...eventually.

Samsung kicks off infringement case against Apple with FaceTime claim

Samsung kicks off infringement case against Apple with FaceTime claim

After defending itself against claims that it violated Apple's patents for the iPhone, the Korean electronics maker accused its smartphone rival of violating two Samsung patents.

FiberHome: Optical transmission grows fast, optical access faces pressure

FiberHome: Optical transmission grows fast, optical access faces pressure

In 2014, Fiberhome's optical transmission will maintain a fast growth and development, while optical access will face a greater chanllenge.

ZTE wins orders from China Mobile for optical network equipment

ZTE wins orders from China Mobile for optical network equipment

ZTE Corporation, a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment, network solutions and mobile devices, won orders from China Mobile for GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) equipment in the operator’s annual tender.

Mobile readies big push to 64-bit after Apple

Mobile readies big push to 64-bit after Apple

TSMC signaled recently that the mobile industry is getting ready to move to 64-bit computing.

Samsung mobile and Smart TV services temporarily extinguished by building fire

Samsung mobile and Smart TV services temporarily extinguished by building fire

A fire at a Samsung IT building in Korea caused several Samsung mobile and Smart TV services to misfire at weekend.

Patent lessons from Apple v. Samsung

Patent lessons from Apple v. Samsung

This is one version of a couple of efforts on the Web to lampoon one patent in the Apple v. Samsung case.

Rumor: Project Loon tests LTE in Nevada

Rumor: Project Loon tests LTE in Nevada

It seems that these high-flying Wi-Fi balloons could also be testing out 4G LTE connectivity as they make their way on top of the Nevada desert.

Huawei and LG Uplus to deploy the world's first OTN for LTE-A CPRI backhaul

Huawei and LG Uplus to deploy the world's first OTN for LTE-A CPRI backhaul

LG Uplus, a leading mobile service provider in South Korea, and Huawei, a leading global ICT solutions provider, recently announced that they will take the lead in using WDM/OTN technology for common public radio interface backhaul on LG UpLus's LTE-A network.

Wal-Mart to unveil new service with electronic payments provider

Wal-Mart to unveil new service with electronic payments provider

Wal-Mart Stores Inc said recently that it will announce a new service with electronic payments provider Euronet Worldwide Inc on Thursday, but gave no other details.

10-Gigabit Wi-Fi is promised by 2015

10-Gigabit Wi-Fi is promised by 2015

Quantenna Communications has announced that it’s working on a chipset due 2015 that will supports speeds of up to a staggering 10Gbps.

China Telecom & Huawei unveil world's first commercial deployment of SDN in carrier networks

China Telecom & Huawei unveil world's first commercial deployment of SDN in carrier networks

The Beijing branch of China Telecom, and Huawei, a leading global ICT solutions provider, today announced that they have jointly deployed the world's first commercial software-defined network in which SDN technology was successfully applied to its Internet Data Center networks.

ZTE first-quarter profit triples; meets estimate

ZTE first-quarter profit triples; meets estimate

ZTE Corp, China's second-biggest telecommunications equipment maker, said first-quarter profit matched its estimate after benefiting from the country's introduction of fourth-generation mobile networks.

China Telecom expected to fully construct domestic 100G networks by 2015

China Telecom expected to fully construct domestic 100G networks by 2015

China Telecom is expected to fully construct 100G networks all over China by 2015 and the overall construction path is from east to west, south to north, according to sources.

Accelink showcased its 100G & FTTH solutions at FOE 2014

Accelink showcased its 100G & FTTH solutions at FOE 2014

Chinese optical component company Accelink has participated in the FOE 2014 and showcased its ROADM, 100G, Datacom and FTTH solutions at this Japanese exhibition.

In Twitter-like leap, Weibo pops 19% in IPO debut

In Twitter-like leap, Weibo pops 19% in IPO debut

Chinese social network Weibo has made a nice pop, reaching as high as 40% above its debut price as of 1:58pm EDT, nearly two hours after it began trading on the NASDAQ. By the end of the trading day, Weibo shares settled up 19%, at $20.24.

Rumor: iPhone 6 could sport more

Rumor: iPhone 6 could sport more rounded edge design

According to the report, it seems that there is a possibility that the next-gen iPhone could sport curved edges, as opposed...

16x16x6.45mm GPS module integrates

16x16x6.45mm GPS module integrates patch antenna

MSC Technologies is now stocking the L80 module from Quectel, an ultra-compact POT GPS module measuring just 16x16x6.45mm...

Review: Amazon Fire TV -- the one box

Review: Amazon Fire TV -- the one box to rule your entertainment center?

The set-top box market recently grew a bit more crowded, as Amazon unveiled its offering, taking on stiff competition from...

Rumor: Free cloud-based Windows coming

Rumor: Free cloud-based Windows coming this fall

Microsoft will reportedly debut its revamped Start menu -- along with a free, cloud-based version of Windows -- this fall.