Brenda Cooper

FiRE (Future in Review) Day 3: China, the flu, Elon Musk, and Calit2

Wow.  I heard there are 87 speakers.  With half a day left to go, I think we are through at least 60 of them.  I couldn’t give back what they gave to me without writing for hours. So once more, here are a few highlights:

Basically, on the topic of global economics, the most time went to China.  Every speaker who addressed China directly or indirectly seemed to believe China is healthy and capable.  They are not expected to take over our economy soon, or to pass us immediately, but there seemed to be a two-power sentiment with the powers as us and China.  I’m paraphrasing badly, but I think I heard it right.  A number of people in other venues have expressed fear that China would withdraw its investment from the United States, but the very logical comment here was that China is in fact our friend, partially because they wish to protect their investment in the United States.  One observation of interest that I wish I could pinpoint to the speakers who made the comment is”China is becoming more capitalist and the US is becoming more socialist. This will matter.”

Larry Brilliant spent some time with us talking about the flu. As of today, there have been ten deaths attributed to swine flu in the US.  Three points particularly interested me.

  1. The last swine flu scare had only one death, and a number of other deaths followed from complications of a massive vaccination program which has been widely panned as a mistake.  But there is a CDC theory that the reason this round of swine flu is not killing very many elderly is because they were vaccinated then.
  2. We should neither worry, nor stop worrying.  I had been quite ready to write this off as overblown, but I the message I heard was that we should continue to be wary.  There is a lot about this virus that is still not understood.
  3. We should thank Mexico for being so forthcoming and quick to release information.

mark-and-elonThe highlight of the day for me was sitting in the front row and watching Mark interview Elon Musk.  Elon Musk,of course, is the guy who founded PayPal, Tesla Motors, Space-X, and is the Chairman of Solar City.  He is a breath of freshness and pure competence across industries.

We watched a video of the successful Falcon 1 launch and Elon discussed the Falcon 9 which will be used to carry cargo to the Space Station as part of the strategy for shuttle function replacement (Soyuz will carry people for now).

The day ended with a delightful trip to the Calit2 lab at UCSD, where we saw a number of telecommunications and technology experiments and research results including phenomenal telepresence, excellent HD and sound, and other tools for visualization ranging from a way to watch a server room that lives in a box to a newtork of cameras recording nature.  Many of the staff were graciosuly willing to stay around after hours and answer our questions.

2 Responses so far

  1. 1. Tim Reha

    Hi Brenda,

    Great post covering Futurist Speakers at Future in Review. I will post the link to your article on Twitter.

    Cheers, Tim

  2. 2. brenda

    Thanks, Tim. Hope you are having fun.