3 things direct from the future

Edition 97

Once every 2 weeks I will deliver “3 things direct from the future”. A 2 minute read that will always give you:

  • one thing that can help,
  • one thing to be wary of, and
  • one thing to amaze.

If this sounds interesting to you then please subscribe.


1. One thing that helps

Photo Proof

Fake or real? The question about the validity of photos and videos is one of the biggest challenges in tech. Fake photos can affect people’s lives and influence world events. Now, camera makers are finding a way to help. New camera technology embeds digital signatures into images at the point they are created.

An alliance of news organisations and tech companies have launched a web-based verification tool called Verify that detects whether a submitted photo is real by looking for the digital signature. If found, the tool will display valid credentials. If the photo has no digital signature or has been tampered with by AI, it is flagged as “No Content Credentials.” Camera makers are also developing tools to show how an image has been manipulated over time.

Collaboration between organisations is rare and it is good to see different groups coming together to solve a big problem. Especially this year with an important U.S. election happening.


2. One to be wary of

Soldier Headsets

Soldiers are now wearing mixed-reality headsets to enhance performance in battle situations. But what happens if their headsets get turned against them?

As per the Defence Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), hacks could result in motion sickness, disabling the device, or displaying virtual objects to distract personnel. The goal of such malicious attacks is to hinder the soldiers in battle. DARPA is working on preventing these “cognitive attacks” before mixed reality sees widespread adoption in the military.

As always, these issues will flow through to consumer products. A malicious hacker could send virtual information to confuse a user’s senses and cause physical or psychological harm. Manufacturers of these products need to get ahead of this issue. As Uncle Ben says, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

3. One to amaze

Octo Arms

Talking of Spiderman… What would you do with eight arms? (what a segue!)

Jizai Arms wants to grant us six additional controllable limbs by strapping a harness to your torso. Control is provided through a miniature controller held by the wearer or possibly a trusted friend? Maybe not – I know the first thing my friends would do is make me slap myself.

Is eight too many? Just detach a few and keep going.

The company website says:

“Jizai arms is a supernumerary robotic limb system consisting of a wearable base unit with six terminals and detachable robot arms controllable by the wearer. The system was designed to enable social interaction between multiple wearers, such as an exchange of arm(s), and explore possible interactions between digital cyborgs in a cyborg society.”

We talk often in this newsletter about helping people who have lost limbs regain their abilities, but the next step is to give us abilities above and beyond those that mother nature gave us. I think this is super exciting. We just need the controller ditched and thought-control introduced!

Have a great week.

Daniel J McKinnon

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