Friday Futures: future history, moon bases and DNA playlists

moon future
Image credit: Pavel Chagochkin /

Welcome to Friday Futures, our weekly guide to the latest visions of The Future from around the web. This week: a history of the future; Moonbase 2040; quantum computers in five years; social credit scoring may be liberating; Ikea’s self-driving cars; Spotify’s DNA playlists; a new, improved robot dog; and 21st century headlines.

Wired’s history of the future is history … or something

Predicting the future is tricky business – Wired magazine has been proving that for 25 years now. Now, an academic has read every issue of Wired in chronological order in order to write the history of how our culture thinks about tomorrow – and why the future never turns out the way we thought. Read more …

Japanese company to build a city on the Moon by 2040

A Japanese company called ispace announced that it has two missions planned to the Moon within the next three years and that it has acquired ride-share launches on two Falcon 9 rockets to carry out those flights. The company’s founder, Takeshi Hakamada, also said he has a long-term vision to have a city on the Moon visited by 10,000 people a year by 2040. To the moon …

NSF vows to make quantum computers real in five years

It often feels like quantum computers are in their own quantum state — they’re revolutionizing the world, but are still a distant pipe dream. Now, though, the National Science Foundation’s Software-Tailored Architecture for Quantum co-design (STAQ) project aims to make them a reality within five years. Read more …

Ikea designs self-driving cars (some assembly required?)

Did you know Ikea has an R&D arm called Space10? Well it does, and it has just revealed seven virtual concepts for self-driving cars: Office, Cafe, Healthcare, Farm, Play, Hotel, and Shop. Read more …

Create a Spotify playlist using your DNA

For-profit genealogy company Ancestry has collaborated with Spotify to determine your musical DNA based on your AncestryDNA test results. “It’s so much more than the stats and the data and the records,”says Ancestry’s Vineet Mehra. “How do we help people experience their culture and not just read about it? Music seemed like an obvious way to do that.” Read more …

China’s social credit scoring: not as bad as it sounds, maybe

By 2020, China’s new system of social credit scoring is expected to give each citizen a trustworthiness rating. It may seem like an ideal tool for an authoritarian government that wants to control its citizens, but ironically, in China’s case big data may (inadvertently) make the country a little less repressive. Read more …

Video: ETH Zurich is developing a robot dog that can genuinely cooperate with humans to perform tasks such as moving heavy stuff, and it will even clean up after them. Watch this …

21st Century Headlines of the Day

Seal slaps kayaker in the face with an octopus – video

Robot lawnmowers are killing hedgehogs

Aggressive goats addicted to human urine airlifted out of Olympic National Park, WA

(Compiled and edited by John C. Tanner)

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