2020 was crazy.
Now standing in the doorway of 2021, we now have this tiny window of respite. But looking past the usual suspects — false narratives, deep fakes, Artificial Intelligence, COVID-19 and it’s variants — what does the future hold for 2021?
- Fast food dancing robots.
- Quantum internet for the teleportation of people.
- Radioactive eating mushrooms for long-distance space travel.
Crazy? Not really.
Fast food dancing robots.
The first viral craze at the tail end of 2020 was dancing robots from Boston Dynamics shaking their USB dongles to the 1962 hit and re-released in 1988 for the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ “Do You Love Me?” by The Contours. Trolls on social media have labeled the performance: the theme of the robot uprising. Others have called it a passive-aggressive act by our mechanical overloads beseeching us to love them.
Because of the combination of social spacing, pandemic shutdowns, but the growing need for fast food, robots and automation will begin to show up at your local drive-thrus. In 2019, McDonald’s was already toying with voice-activated drive-thru menu service and robot fryers. 2021 will push fast-food restaurants over the edge as the fine line between keeping customers and employees safe, employee attrition due to low wages but high productivity will lead to robots taking over the making of hamburgers, fries, and taking your credit card for payment.
Based on this timeline, by 2073, when robots have been sentient for a decade or two, maybe robots will be wiggling inside the drive-thru box to the 2015 hit “Hotline Bling” like Drake teasing humans about being a ‘booty call’.
Quantum internet for the teleportation of people.
Trump’s Presidency wasn’t big on the belief of science unless it was Quantum and Artificial Intelligence. The White House invested $1 Billion in Advanced Topics research with the bulk of the money going into Department of Energy (DOE) studies in Quantum physics.
Scientists are edging closer to making a super-secure, super-fast quantum internet possible. On New Year’s Eve, Quantum teleportation was achieved with 90% accuracy over a 44KM or 27 miles distance.
Quantum internet technology uses qubits; unmeasured particles that remain suspended in a mix of possible states like spinning dice yet to settle. Qubits that are introduced to one another have their identities ‘entangled’ in ways that become obvious once they’re finally measured. Imagine these entangled qubits as a pair of dice — while each can land on any number, they are both guaranteed to add to seven no matter how far apart they are. Data in one location instantly reflects data in another.
By entangling three qubits, it’s possible to force the state of one particle to adopt the ‘dice roll’ of another via their mutually entangled partner. For quantum, this is as good as turning one particle into another, teleporting its identity across a distance in a blink.
This quantum internet as it grows will allow for unhackable networks and information that travels faster than the speed of light. And more importantly, the quantum internet over the next five years could allow for the transfer of more than information. It could transfer physical things — possibly humans. And maybe later, teleporting humans over vast distances such as space.
Radioactive eating mushrooms for long-term space travel.
A new study analyzed information from 418 space travelers, including 301 NASA astronauts who had traveled to space at least once since 1959, and 117 Russian or Soviet cosmonauts who had traveled to space at least once since 1961. These participants were followed for about 25 years, on average.
During this time, 89 of the participants died. Among the 53 NASA astronauts who died, 30% died from cancer and 15% from heart disease; while among the 36 Russian or Soviet cosmonauts who died, 50% died from heart disease and 28% from cancer.
The researchers used a special statistical technique to determine whether deaths from cancer and heart disease likely had a common cause — in this case, the common cause would be space radiation.
Future missions of deep space exploration will likely offer much greater doses of space radiation, which will lead to a different risk profile for future astronauts and cosmonauts.
Space station mold and radiotrophic fungi could be the answer to protecting astronauts and cosmonauts on long haul space missions. Radiotrophic fungi were discovered in 1991 growing inside and around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Most radiotrophic fungi use melanin to survive when there is no oxygen.
An experiment took place on the International Space Station from December 2018 through January 2019 as part of research efforts proceeding a possible trip to Mars. The amount of radiation deflected was found to have a direct correlation to the amount of fungus. There was no difference in the reduction of ionizing radiation between the experimental and control group within the first 24 hour period. Yet once the radiotrophic fungi had reached an adequate maturation, it was found that amounts of ionizing radiation were significantly reduced. At the end of the experimental trial were found to be 2.42% lower, reflecting radiation deflecting capabilities five times that of the control group.
If mold and fungi become the foundation to protect deep space trips, and the threat of Cancer can be greatly reduced or even prevented, then there are no bounds to where we as a human species can go.
So is all this crazy? I don’t think so.
No one would have imagined in December 2019 that we would be locked in our homes a year later because of a pandemic and getting in fistfights over those who wear masks versus those who don’t. Or having a growing number of the population not believing the world is round. Or the President of the United States would tell people to drink bleach to get rid of an incurable virus.
So imaging a dancing fast food robot, teleporting people using a Quantum internet, or mushrooms being our friends in space — is it really that far fetched?
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo.” — Steve Jobs
Happy New Year.
Now, to quote the late Prince, let’s go crazy.