Friday Futures: an alien light sail visit and robots with soul

Image credit: Natural Earth Imagery /

Welcome to Friday Futures, our weekly guide to the latest visions of The Future from around the web. This week: an alien light sail visit; ‘human’ AI; robots with soul; kids should design cities; mining bitcoin is an environmental threat and a bowling ball vs trampoline.

Was that asteroid actually an alien light sail?

It sounds like a tabloid headline, but in this case it could be real. Mainstream researchers from the Harvard Center for Astrophysics have made the case that interstellar asteroid ‘Oumuamua could in fact be an alien light sail. Their original research was posted Oct. 31st on the moderated preprint server Read more…

Influencers’ thoughts on human level AI

Working on artificial intelligence can be a vicious cycle. It’s easy to lose track of the bigger picture when you spend an entire career developing a niche, hyper-specific AI application. Read more…

There are robots out there with soul


There is a black hole that is swallowing our Galaxy – apparently

Researchers have long suspected that a supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A* — that asterisk is part of its name, not a footnote — lurks at the center of our galaxy. Read more…

VR helps you spot surveillance technology

With surveillance technology becoming ever more ubiquitous, it would be useful to know where to look for it. At least that’s the thinking behind the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Spot the Surveillance VR experience. Read more…

Why kids should design cities


Mining bitcoin is worse for the environment than mining copper

Max Krause was thinking of buying some bitcoin, as one does. But Krause is an engineer—mostly he works on modeling greenhouse gas emissions from landfills—so his first step was to run the numbers. Read more…

And of course – here is what happens when you drop a bowling ball off a dam

(Compiled by Alex Leslie; Edited by John C. Tanner)

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