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Upstream is for future thinkers

It provides news of emerging technologies, scientific discoveries and predictions of our future

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Biomedical

Biomedical

Transhumanism is a biomedical goal to fundamentally transform the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

This is achieved though Cybernetics, Genetic Engineering, Life Extension, Medicine and Stem Cell Treatments.

Computing

Computing

The effect computers have had on the world is unquestionably great, however with their capabilities increasing exponentially we are living in a time where, with the development of quantum computing, their effects on us has barely scratched the surface of what is to come.

Artificial intelligence, Augmented Reality, Holography, Quantum Computing and Virtual Reality are all around the corner.

Energy

Energy

As the planet’s resources are rapidly depleting, perhaps the area of most intense global interest at the moment is finding alternate methods of producing energy and efficiently feeding our populations.

Some of these methods include Artificial Photosynthesis, Biofuels, Fusion Power, Genetically Modified Food, Solar Power, Vertical Farming and Wireless Energy Transfer.

Leisure

Leisure

Consumer goods, with the help of emerging technologies, are changing our day to day lives at an increasingly rapid pace. From the internet to mobile phones and 3D printing, the past 30 years has changed the way we live.

The next 30 years includes Holographic Displays, Immersive Gaming, Smart Clothing, Virtual Reality and Wearable Computing.

Military

Military

Although military may not seem the most constructive of tech focuses, it often has the budget to pioneer new technologies which are refined and used commercially later; for example electronic computers, satellite technology or the internet.

Current military interest includes Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Hypersonic Aircraft, Particle Beam Weapons & Stealth Technology.

Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology

One of the most exciting progressions of the 21st century so far is our ability to create on a nano scale – allowing us to produce new materials that have never been seen before, and build machines so small that they can even carry out tasks within our blood stream.

Nanotechnology has created new fields of interest within Biotechnology, Computing, Energy and Medicine.

Physics

Physics

Although some people may find physics to be the dull cousin of technology, it is only through the understanding of physics that many of our technologies and understandings of the universe are possible – it is the language to describe and therefore can create our reality, and is incredibly exciting for people who take the time to understand it, as it is the key which can open new doors for our future.

Robotics

Robotics

A very tangible physical embodiment of technology for humans is robotics; we can relate and interact physically with robots and in the future develop relationships with them.

Also as artificial intelligence evolves alongside human intelligence, there will be a time where this technology will increasingly find the need to embody itself in the physical world through robotics.

Space

Space

The final frontier.

The exploration of space holds endless possible discoveries – however one which we may be on the brink of observing which will change the world and the way we think about ourselves as human beings, is the discovery of life on other planets (or moons, such as Jupiter’s Europa or Saturn’s Enceladus, as it may turn out.)

Transport

Transport

Driverless Cars, Jetpacks, Magnetic Levitation, Space Elevators, Fusion Rockets and Teleportation – all areas of intense interest and each offering huge potential for the development of civilisation.

Transport is a practical constraint which touches people daily, which is why future developments could change our lives and the world’s economies on the whole.

Predictions

Predictions

Technology futurists make extrapolations on scientific progress – for example it is predicted that quantum computing will become commercially viable around 2020, based on current advances in technology and projected milestones. This is turn will facilitate breakthroughs in medicine by enabling an accurate virtual model of chemical reactions – thus building an ever-growing web of forecasts.

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About Upstream

Profile

Upstream is an aggregation of news websites curated by Oliver Rozynski, a Sydney based freelance digital designer by trade, technologist by hobby and entrepreneur by aspiration.

It includes the absolute latest on emerging technologies, projections on future trends and scientific breakthroughs as they happen from over 60 universities worldwide.

The aim of Upstream is to create awareness of the explosion of scientific and technological developments which is currently unfolding behind the curtain of mainstream media. With a better understanding of the possibilities for our future, we can open our imaginations to create a new outlook.

We have a lot to look forward to!

See my personal website.

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183-genetically-modified-baby-future-timeline

Could Genetically Modified babies be “morally acceptable” in the future?

A group of scientists, ethicists and policy experts have released a report in which they state that research into GM human embryos is “essential” and should be permitted. While the birth of complete GM babies should not be allowed at present, they believe it may become morally acceptable in the future.

Research that involves editing of the human genome – including research with human embryos – is essential to gain basic understanding of biology and germ cells and should be permitted, according to one of the first global meetings to debate the controversial new techniques. This bold statement is published by the Hinxton Group, a global network of stem cell researchers, bioethicists, and experts on policy and scientific publishing, who met in Manchester, UK.

Earlier this year, scientists in China edited the genome of live human embryos using a revolutionary new technique known as CRISPR/Cas9, to prevent a fatal blood disorder. This type of research is currently banned in Europe and the United States. While firmly backing the need for gene editing research, the Hinxton Group makes a clear distinction between laboratory research and clinical applications: “We believe that while this technology has tremendous value to basic research and enormous potential for somatic clinical uses, it is not sufficiently developed to consider human genome editing for clinical reproductive purposes at this time,” the report states.

Nevertheless, the consensus statement adds, “when all safety, efficacy and governance needs are met, there may be morally acceptable uses of this technology in human reproduction, though further substantial discussion and debate will be required.”

According to Debra Mathews, a member of the Hinxton Group steering committee, discussions at the meeting focused on the use of gene editing in research and the most contentious aspects of these new technologies – primarily the implications for any children born with engineered genetic modifications, and also successive generations who would inherit those genetic changes; that is, the inheritable, or germline, nature of modifications.

“While there is controversy and deep moral disagreement about human germline genetic modification,” says Mathews, “what is needed is not to stop all discussion, debate and research – but rather to engage with the public, policymakers and the broader scientific community, and to weigh together the potential benefits and harms of human genome editing for research and human health.”

In the future, parents could have the option of genetic treatments to prevent their children being born with cystic fibrosis, for example, or genes that increase the risk of cancer. Eventually, it might even be possible to create “designer babies” with height, skin, hair, eye colour and other characteristics programmed into the embryo prior to birth. However, in addition to concerns about the technical and safety aspects of these procedures, ethical issues would arise over people with built-in genetic advantages and the two-tier society this could lead to, reminiscent of the sci-fi movie Gattaca.

Such technology is likely decades away, but in the meantime, knowledge gained through basic science research is essential to human understanding of both ourselves and other life, the group concludes. While genetic modification has been used successfully for over 30 years to alter genes in animals, these methods have been inefficient, often lacking specificity or otherwise relying on a series of steps that made them both inappropriate and unsafe to use in humans. More recent advances in genome editing technology, however, make it possible to insert, delete, or modify DNA with greatly increased precision and efficiency.

“Much of our knowledge of early development comes from studies of mouse embryos, yet it is becoming clear that gene activity and even some cell types are very different in human embryos. Genome editing techniques could be used to ask how cell types are specified in the early embryo and the nature and importance of the genes involved,” says Robin Lovell-Badge, another member of the Hinxton Group steering committee and head of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at the Francis Crick Institute.

The group statement emphasises the importance of “meaningful and substantial public engagement” to decision-making about genome editing. Policymakers are specifically addressed, stating that policy restraints on science should have justification “that reaches beyond disagreements based solely on divergent moral convictions.”

“The relevant regulatory distinction should be not between using genome editing in somatic cells and using it in embryos, but between research and reproduction: whether those embryos are ever destined to be implanted,” says Sarah Chan, another steering committee member. “Restricting research because of concerns that reproductive application is premature and dangerous will ensure that it remains forever premature and dangerous, for want of better knowledge.”

Thanks Future Timeline

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