New Frontiers in Tech by Katie Gorton

“Above all, we must embrace that quintes­sentially American compulsion to race for new frontiers and push the bound­aries of what’s possible. If we do, I’m hopeful that tomorrow’s Americans will be able to look back at what we did—the diseases we conquered, the social problems we solved, the planet we protected for them—and when they see all that, they’ll plainly see that theirs is the best time to be alive. And then they’ll take a page from our book and write the next great chapter in our American story, emboldened to keep going where no one has gone before.”

President Obama

Recently, President Barack Obama took the time to be the guest editor of the November “Frontier” issue of Wired magazine. President Obama is the first sitting president to ever guest edit a magazine. The main focus of the November issue is to discuss the future. Mr. Obama covers issues ranging from the landing of men and women on Mars to precision medicine and figuring out how the human genome can unlock some of the world’s deadliest diseases.

In the magazine, he discusses his optimism for the future due to the constant churning of scientific progress. He shares stories and ideas about what lies beyond the barriers we haven’t broken yet. All of these innovations, he claims, will make the world better for the planet by discovering solutions to climate change, individuals with new tech involved in medicine, and communities.

In a new video series on Wired’s Youtube channel, President Obama discusses the exciting future of Artificial Intelligence. To explain, artificial intelligence is intelligence exhibited by machines. AI would allow cognitive functions humans associate with other human minds such as reasoning, problem-solving, etc. to be evident in computers. This process is not going to happen overnight, but it is predicted to occur in twenty or thirty years to come.

He states that AI will make the world safer by eliminating human error (i.e., self-driving cars) and stimulating the economy, but recognizes that AI also could have downsides that lead to eliminating jobs, increasing inequality, and suppressing wages. There are even concerns that AI could surpass our ability to understand it and machines will end up doing everything without humans, therefore decreasing jobs, but it is important to remember that these scenarios are all hypothetical. Many are becoming confused with the science fiction that surrounds this idea. It seems, however, that there is more good than bad to come from it. Mr. Obama relates the purpose of AI to the way we view using calculators as an extension of our intelligence and as a way to create good rather than causing harm.

AI is currently being developed to diagnose diseases along with developing treatments for these diseases as well as self-driving cars that will be much safer than those with human drivers. There is myriad of other areas of tech the President touches on in the November issue. The new “Frontiers” Edition of Wired magazine was released on Oct. 25th, and I hope all of you will enjoy it!