Posts Tagged ‘the future’

Speed-of-Light

Every now and then, a revolutionary technological advance comes along and changes how we live our daily lives.

Li-Fi might just be the next one.

This amazing idea is like Wi-Fi, but much, MUCH, faster.

LI FI

Having just been trialled for the first time in real life, Li-Fi was found to live up to scientists’ claims that it operates up to 100 times faster than Wi-Fi technologies.

And if you picture such genius inventions to have been born of a ‘light-bulb moment’, well this one most certainly was.

Li-Fi is a wireless technology that transmits high-speed data using visible light communication (VLC).

It means, within the next five years, you could be accessing the Internet using the light-bulbs in your home.

This would reportedly be safer from a data security perspective as well, protecting the data being sent, because light cannot pass through walls.

The technology was brought from research labs – where scientists achieved speeds of 224 gigabits per second – to real life by an Estonian start-up company, Velmenni.

Estonia? Yup.

“Currently we have designed a smart lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light,” Deepank Solanki, CEO of Velmenni, told IBTimes UK.

In another project, the company has set up a Li-Fi network in an office space to provide Internet access for a private client.

The man who invented Li-Fi, Professor Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh, said that current infrastructure is suitable for integration of Li-Fi.

In a Ted talk broadcast in 2011 he demonstrated how, by flickering the light from a single LED, he could transmit far more data than a cellular tower.

“All we need to do is fit a small microchip to every potential illumination device,” Haas said.

If it does all turn out to be that easy, you really could be downloading that favourite movie or TV series of yours in a flash – a flash of light.

Biden and Obama

When is someone going to lead America out of its near-terminal decline?

Quote of the day: “The United States is hard-wired for innovation. Openness, free exchange of ideas, free enterprise, and liberty are among the reasons why the United States, in my view, is at this moment the wealthiest nation in the history of the world.” – Vice President Biden in China, speaking about America’s ability to compete in international markets.

I agree with Biden entirely, and from this distance he seems like a thoroughly likeable and decent bloke, with considerable intelligence, but the key phrase must surely be “at this moment”.

Because as sure as night follows day, if the American decline is not arrested, and fast, then – and I refer here to the generalised loss of confidence, the loss of will power, the loss of genuine self belief, and the loss of communal will, not just its current economic difficulties – this great country, this great and wonderful experiment in democracy, if you will – is going to end up as an also ran behind Asia, with who-knows-what knock on effect for the world, and for its own people.

Let’s shine a flashlight on the situation. At the moment America’s economy is supported almost entirely by lending from an economy which is command based, using often brutal techniques (and also many subtle ones) to suppress dissent, which is riddled with corruption, and despite its spectacular growth is entirely based on Confucian ideals of obedience to authority and lack of personal empoerment and individuality. That’s right, China.

If it wasn’t for China gobbling up American bonds (to keep their biggest market for cheaply produced goods open) America would, quite simply, be stony broke. One assumes Biden’s hosts were chuckling somewhere deep inside their inscrutable exteriors.

Long story short: America needs to re-discover its entrepreneurism, passion, unity and commitment, or it will simply be left behind by its less principled and more aggressive competitors. And if that’s the case, then liberal democracy will have failed, and we can all look forward to centuries of forelock tugging, with bread and circuses to keep the drones quiet.

At the moment, only the educated elite in America realise this – the chattering chardonnay classes, the policy wonks on all sides – the mass of ordinary people are wandering the streets with patriotic jingoism ringing in their ears, wondering wide-eyed with shock and distress how the hell they suddenly have locked-in 9.2% unemployment and a political establishment that is seems to be irretrievably mired in petty sniping, partisanship, and self-service. Even the spasmodic jerking of the Tea Party and others reveals no general understanding of the depth of the problem, but rather just a blind, angry and bitter communal shaking of the head, because it has, as its target, the wrong problem.

The size of government is not the issue, it is the inability of the economy to support the size of Government. If America was still belting down the outer lane of the freeway at a hundred miles an hour no one would care less about the size of Government, as its expenditure would be self-supporting from increased corporate and personal tax revenues, and an inevitable reduction in welfare spending.

What no-one in authority dares to say is that the true problem in America is the failure of private capital – bluntly, the American Emperor (for which you can read “free market capitalism”, unfettered by any focused direction whatsoever) has no clothes, and really hasn’t had for a generation. Because no one dares to say this for fear of sounding unpatriotic or an unbeliever, the blame for the current mess is being sheeted home to an easier to spot target in the Government, and its even easier to do that when “Government” is represented by a cerebral and gentle coloured man who seems, on walking into the White House, to have lost his ability or will to reach over the heads of the disfunctional political class and reach ordinary people any more.

As I have said many times in recent years, having visited both America and the Far East for both business and leisure, the solution is clear.

America needs to use its knowledge-base to make things that other people cannot make: and not only that, but make them better, faster, and to higher quality than other people can copy, and then it needs to sell that stuff hard to a world which is no longer just a bunch of easily-influenced barely civilised semi-rural economies, medieval kleptocracies, or war-wearied, worn out old democracies.

The world is a much more competitive and capable place now, and America cannot rest on its laurels for a day longer.

America may still be the greatest country in the world in some respects, but mindlessly repeating that mantra is holding it back from resuming any meaningful world leadership. Sadly, I see no one in America, despite my respect for Obama, who seems up to the challenge of first of all “telling it like it is”, and then yoking the whole country to the effort needed to turn things around.

America needs an internal crusade akin to that evidenced during the Second World War, or perhaps the New Deal response to the Depression, to break the cycle and get back to where it was. From whom, or where, will such an effort be initiated?

Discuss.