Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

Computing Innovations Abundant in the CNN 10: Ideas List

December 19th, 2013 / in Uncategorized / by Shar Steed

“Bold ideas are the currency of our knowledge economy and the lifeblood of our advancement as a culture.”CNN 10: Ideas List

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 4.37.44 PMRecently CNN put together a list of 10 emerging ideas that have the potential to change our world. What do most of these possibly revolutionary ideas have in common? A computing research component. These concepts have the potential to make us healthier, to keep us safer on the highways, and to help our computers think for themselves.

Here is a quick look at a few ideas on the list that involve computer science:

Touchscreens that fold like maps: In 2013, we saw the emergence of flexible display screens as a viable option for personal electronics. And once the technology is perfected, the range of possibilities gets a whole lot broader.

Mind control over the Internet: Human brain-to-brain interfacing – via the Internet, no less – is becoming part real life. And it’s not the stuff of horror at all. In August, a team of researchers at the University of Washington managed to connect their brains using non-invasive technology. Rajesh Rao, a UW computer science and engineering professor, put on an electrode-studded cap and watched a video game, “playing” it with his mind. Across campus, UW psychology professor Andrea Stocco wore a swim-style cap that had a portion equipped with a magnetic stimulation coil. When Rao thought of hitting a button, a signal was sent online to Stocco’s lab, and his finger twitched on his keyboard. It was long-distance telepathy, of sorts.


Computer, take the wheel: Automakers are already equipping cars with sensors that know, for example, when you’re about to plow into the car in front of you and can brake accordingly. David Levinson, a civil engineering professor at the University of Minnesota who writes the Transportationist blog, believes partially automated cars could be hitting the market by the end of the decade.

The doctor inside you: Wearable sensors might have been considered strange a few years ago, but now we’re used to devices like FitBits and sensor-filled smartphones monitoring our movements, tallying calories, observing sleep patterns and even tracking heart rate, blood-sugar levels and other vitals. The next step will be tiny sensors under our skin, coursing through our bloodstreams and implanted in our brains to collect valuable information about our health. Doctors already implant devices such as pacemakers in our bodies, but sensors are a more advanced and delicate technology that requires additional research.

Teaching computers to think: There are things we humans just seem to know — the simple bits of knowledge we pick up through observation or judgment. To us, this common sense is second nature. But to a computer, the concept is incredibly tricky. Teaching common sense is one of the biggest challenges facing the development of artificial intelligence. Now a team at Carnegie Mellon University is training a computer program to think for itself, starting with pictures.


Check out the full list here.

Computing Innovations Abundant in the CNN 10: Ideas List