New, in this new year ahead…

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"The future belongs to the brave and the bold. These are not the days for shallow thinking, for timid thinking."

Yippee! Made through another New Year's Eve without any next morning regrets! Never mind - I am much too old for that now anyhow. But that was then, and this is now. New year ahead. A blank slate. So far, we have not screwed it up. But as the expression goes, "just wait, the year is young". What do I mean? The NEW and not-so-improved United States Congress will be sworn in this coming Thursday. Hello, impeachment hearings. The Minnesota House will be sworn in a week from today. Hello, new taxes galore! But enough about politics (for now).
Some know that last year I penned some articles about the rapidly developing field of AI. I got more interested in AI when (last year), two new developments happened. First, some people of reputation (like Elon Musk) set the alarm bell ringing that unregulated and uncontrolled AI really could really take over the planet, just like in SciFy movies. The second was China. How China has a five year plan to be the world's leader in AI technology - starting last year.
Then I thought about us. How are we doing? I started to read up on different companies who range all the way from established subject matter experts on AI, to start ups. Regardless of size or experience, all had the same issue. Hint: It is not the technology. The technology is solid.
2019 is scheduled to be a HUGE growth year in AI technology, both here and abroad. The problem is the people. The wizards of AI. In fact, one tech blog I read stated the number one field this year in demand, as well as many to come, will be AI scientists. If you have an aptitude for this kind of coding, and love doing it, you have the golden ticket. Your chances of long term employment making very good money are excellent.
The next area of opportunity I have been looking into is related to space travel. Many do not know we have a real problem with our upcoming exploration of the cosmos. Yes, even getting back to the Moon. It is the Van Allen Radiation Belt. That nasty thing in space (thanks to our spinning core), stretches from 400 to 6,000 miles above the surface of the Earth. The ISS and space shuttles all fly under it, staying in low Earth orbit. But if we are going to get serious about sending numerous craft to the Moon and Mars and beyond in the next few years, we need to figure out how to get through the Van Allen Belt safely. In other words, getting through the belt without having our astronauts coming back to Earth either dead or with sky high cancer risks.
Which leads to another great field of opportunity for this new year. One of the best ways to defeat the Van Allen Belt is to spend very little time in it. In other words, we need space craft which can travel much faster than 24,000 mph like the Apollo missions did. It is time to think way, way outside the box, and stop using yesterday's propulsion. Especially when some of our NASA dreamers are thinking way past Mars. They are thinking about voyages in interstellar space to Alpha Centauri, Proxima Centauri, or even the slightly more distant, Vega.
Much, more on these topics as we forge ahead in this new year. The future belongs to the brave and the bold. These are not the days for shallow thinking, nor timid thinking. We can waste all of our time fighting like dogs and cats in Washington, or - we can (literally) reach for the stars. As for me, I chose the later.