Kevin Lepton

I am the writer, editor and publisher behind this future technology blog and I predict you will keep reading to see what is coming right around that metaphorical corner.

Jul 052016

Mental states that only used to be altered for the better by drugs and surgery can now be enhanced with the use of technology. With an alternative method to change brain activity with the application of non-invasive brain stimulation, technology might become a significant factor in balancing activity in the brain of a depressed patient.

This technique works by using electrical or magnetic energy to stimulate the left and right hemispheres of the brain in patients diagnosed with depression. Moreover, this method is believed to be both effective and safe without the manifestation of side effects that can be experienced in treatments associated with drugs. Apart from these appealing qualities, this technology is also relatively cheaper than other existing treatments.

The technology known as transcranial direct current stimulation has been used on sixty-six early adult women who were not diagnosed with clinical depression. Results showed that this technique showed improvements in the moods or at least 64.7% of the total scores in the experiment manifested a reduction of negative mood states.

Today, questions have been raised if these types of techniques be applicable in what is known as “cosmetic mood enhancement. Since it can be readily accessible to a great number of people and is low in cost, there are several products available in the market that boast of the use of this technology. Also, there are already private clinics that offer a course in neurofeedback training.

Meanwhile, there is also some evidence that the effects of these alternative techniques are not far behind the effect of placebo and that efficacy is slim. But despite these issues, there are still people who are willing to try treatments like these even if they have not been proven to be effective.

Questions about Mood Modulation Technology

There have also been skepticisms about these cosmetic mood enhancements. Questions have been raised on how much the people are informed of the possible adverse effects of mood modulation technology and if the benefits really outweigh the drawbacks. Concerns over the possible dependence of an individual on the technique of brain stimulation just as a person becomes addicted to drugs and alcohol have been presented. Some also ask about the accountability of private clinics and manufacturers of mood enhancement products as well as their commitment to monitor potential harm and informing the public. The controversy on only the people with money can take advantage of this technology has also been mentioned.

Available Clinical Depression Treatments

A person suffering from depression can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy which is part of a pathway of care. In some instances, these therapies will also be combined with drug treatments. Patients will be given serotonin re-uptake inhibitors to balance chemicals in the brain. If these methods prove to be ineffective, patients will be given other drugs with side effects. These side effects are what lead experts to consider alternative treatments such as the use of technology.

Conversely, deep brain stimulation is also done to help patients suffering from mood disorders. This involves drilling a hole into a patient’s skull to give way to fine electrodes that will work on the targeted area of the patient’s brain. Although this has been used in some patients with Parkinson’s disease, there are also risks involved.

Having said that, making use of technology as a better option to enhance the mood of patients and non-clinically depressed people is likely to happen in the near future. If this happens, more people will benefit from technological advancements.




Jun 092016

For the past decades, we can see technology following a predictable path, where integrated circuits chips are becoming advanced to create smaller, but more power, devices and manual processes have been automated, allowing for increased efficiency and productivity. But today, this trend is anticipated to most likely change in the near future, where there is expected an extreme disruption in technology. As information technology would decrease in phase, second-order technologies—robotics, nanotechnology, genomics, etc—will become the center of attention, automating routine cognitive work. During this time, there will occur four major paradigm shifts that all of us should prepare for.

First, there will be a shift from chips to the system. While the Moore’s Law has helped power up the Digital Revolution to a level where computers have become more powerful and functional, while becoming cheaper, it is said to be nearing its end. There would be too many transistors to squeeze into a chip, causing them to malfunction or take too long for them to communicate with each other, also known as the von Neumann bottleneck. Well, this can be solved by shifting from the chip to the system, which is particularly called “3D stacking” that combines chips into a single three-dimensional chip. Though this can be difficult, as we have to devise new chip designs entirely, it would increase speeds at significant levels to sustain progress.

The second one is a shift from applications to architectures. Innovations, such as office document processors and graphics creation apps, have engendered the widespread use of computers, with the internet allowing for emails, e-commerce and, then, mobile computing. Basically, applications are running today’s world. So far, these programs that are taking place on devices using central processing units are working well enough, but for more advanced functionalities that we want computers to do, like those of self-driving vehicles, the von Neumann bottleneck also causes some limitation for progress. So, the solution would be to move from developing new apps to developing new architectures that have the capacity to handle these apps better. Well, there are already some technologies that can help us reach this level, such as neuromorphic chips, quantum computers and the new field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chips.

As for the third major paradigm shift, it is from products to platforms. While great businesses in the past have made their way to prominence by creating a single specific product, companies today achieve success by making money out of platforms. Great examples are the iPhones using the Apple App Store, Android devices using the Google Playstore and Amazon earning most of its profit from using third-party sellers. As you can see, platforms are very important as they allow people to access technological and business ecosystems, which we will see more in the future.

Lastly, there will be a shift from sustained periods of growth to shorter ones. According to economist Robert Gordon, while earlier innovations like the internal combustion engine and electricity have had broad implications, those of digital technology have been narrow. There are certain indications that future growth will be very different than the past.

In the coming age of disruption, it is very important to know more about these major paradigm shifts and to adapt to them to keep your ventures afloat and stay competitive.




May 192016

In the recent past, a lot of techies have been on the lookout for new and better technologies. A few, in turn, have given them the skill to foresee upcoming technological advancements. In fact, one technology expert named Eric Schmidt believes that there are inevitable trends that will be happening in the near future. Are you dying to know what these new technological innovations are? Then here is a list made by Schmidt himself that depicts the future of technology.

Less Consumption of Meat

Schmidt believes that people in the future will be less dependent on meat to supply them the needed nutrition. Instead, he supports the belief that citizens will be inclined to consume more plant-based nutrition. Thus, it will also lessen the impact of greenhouse gases.

Undoubtedly, this will also be a healthier option for people considering the substitution of meat with plant-based diet.

Technological Advancements in Education

According to educational advocates, technology can be more beneficial to learning. In fact, Microsoft Corp began the layering of educational process when they introduced Minecraft to the classrooms. Accordingly, teachers will be able to use this game as an educational medium to teach mathematics and geography, among others. Additionally, students will have the option to work inside or outside of the class as this trend serves as a teacher-student collaboration to find ways to effective learning.

3D Printer to Reduce Cost and Saves Time

The proliferation of 3D printers will be able to create a structure with the help of recyclable materials. Consequently, large sizes of 3D prints will be printed for commercial and residential buildings. The good thing is that it can save considerable amounts of energy and time.

Evidently, this can also reduce waste production as it can be recycled for better use.

Self-Driving Cars

The availability of self-driving vehicles are beginning to become a reality as manufacturers look forward to create an affordable prototype. This is intended to provide a safer driving experience with its self-driving mode.

Perhaps Schmidt has been keen on the tie up between Google and carmaker Fiat Chrysler, which enabled his forecast of the development of self-driving vehicles in the future.

Apple’s Health Kits for Mobile Devices

In a report by Tech Crunch, the launching of Carekit and ResearchKit from Apple Inc will enable users to monitor certain symptoms and to keep tabs under the medication process. For this reason, it will provide a big impact for the empowerment of the medical sector.

Obviously, this will provide the elderly and people with disabilities to monitor their intake of medication properly.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

The revolution of virtual reality has taken a notch higher. At the same time, augmented reality may have a big role in the vehicle industries and education. Schmidt asserts that the future for virtual reality is already certain, but for augmented reality, it will still be determined.

The current trends can be clearly associated with these forecasts since the advancement of technology is undeniably fast. In fact, inventions that people considered impossible to build decades ago have now been proven possible.