from the near-future-due-today dept.
I have decided to submit a story from the hypothetical future, published by New York Magazine 9 months ago, one that I picked while browsing whatever I missed since my last visit on Schneier on security.
If you put your video-game aside, read this article, and pay attention to the left-side notes, you'll discover thingies in the near future history which you may missed when they actually happened — the election campaign was on at that time. Most of the "fictionals" depicted there actually happened; some that I was aware of, some others I wasn't (e.g. water utility hacked).
On December 4, 2017, at a little before nine in the morning, an executive at Goldman Sachs was swiping through the day's market report in the backseat of a hired SUV heading south on the West Side Highway when his car suddenly swerved to the left, throwing him against the window and pinning a sedan and its driver against the concrete median. [...] When the Goldman exec came to, his driver swore that the crash hadn't been his fault: The car had done it.
[...] A third-year resident in the emergency room at Columbia University Medical Center in Washington Heights walked through the hospital as a television was airing images from the accident on the George Washington Bridge; that meant several crash victims would soon be heading her way. When she got to her computer, she tried logging into the network to check on the patients who were already there, but she was greeted with an error message that read WE'RE NOT LOOKING FOR BITCOIN THIS TIME.
[...] One Police Plaza had just reported that it, too, was locked out of the programs it used to dispatch officers and emergency personnel, which made responding to the traffic accidents around the city that much harder.
[...] After a few phone calls to friends in the private sector, the cybersecurity chief got more nervous. At the beginning of 2017, one friend told him, she had been called to investigate a mysterious occurrence at a water-treatment plant: The valves that controlled the amount of chlorine released into the water had been opening and closing with unexplained irregularity.
[...] In the summer of 2016, the hackers received an anonymous offer of $100 million to perform a cyberattack that would debilitate a major American city. The group's members weren't much interested in death and destruction per se, so they declined their funder's request for a "Cyber 9/11." But to self-identified anarchists with a reflexively nihilistic will to power, the proposition had some appeal. Causing disruption was something that had been on their minds recently, as their conversations veered toward the problems with global capitalism, the rise of technocentrism, bitcoin, and the hubris required to nominate a man like Donald Trump.
[Ed. Note: Just as a clarification: this is not fact, but a projection of something that could easily come to pass. All the pieces of this hypothetical attack are possible. Scary stuff.]
First, designers debuted leather made from mushrooms. Now you can sit on furniture made from fungi, too. At first glance, the sturdy white stools and beautiful accent tables look like any other piece of furniture, perhaps crafted from wood or marble. But they are far from ordinary. They are made entirely from ingredients much simpler and squishier than you'd think: the mycelium "roots" of mushrooms, agriculture waste, and microorganisms.
The chic new furniture line – a collaboration between Ecovative and bioMASON, two companies that specialize in making sustainable alternatives for consumer goods using a process called biofabrication – was unveiled recently at Biofabricate 2016. "What we do that is unique is that we use biological organisms to literally grow our product," says Eben Bayer, CEO of Ecovative. "In most cases, like when you brew beer, the organism you use is thrown away at the end. But the organism is the most beautiful part. And it is part of our furniture."
The microscopic, thread-like tissue that makes up a mushroom—known as mycelium—is used to make the base of the stools and the table legs. Because mycelium naturally latches onto different substances to help mushrooms grow and form colonies, it can be coaxed into shape around a scaffolding of woodchips or hemp fibers, binding all of these components together as it grows.