On March 25, 2018, Newt Gingrich, speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999, on Fox News reported on a visit to an American university. He was hosted by Dr. Kiron Skinner at Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh. Carnegie Mellon has a top level artificial intelligence (AI) program. Mr. Gingrich, a futurist of some note himself, wanted to learn more about technical developments that might evolve into something important in the future. Excerpts below:

…in 1965, as an undergraduate student at Emory University, I began working with Pete Jensen at what would later become the Rich Computer Center at Georgia Tech. Pete was one of the great pioneers of computing and in a few years introduced me to ideas…which evolved over the next half century into the Internet and modern computing. My own activities had been dramatically enriched by Pete’s ideas and teaching.

…(later) I had been privileged to work with Alvin and Heidi Toffler as their thinking evolved from their bestselling book, “Future Shock,” to their even more important book, “The Third Wave.” The observations and insights they developed for “The Third Wave” are still valid over three decades later. They gave me an entirely different perspective on the scale of change our civilization was going through. The Tofflers and their work were very influential in the thinking that led to the Contract with America in 1994.

Starting in 2001, I began looking at nanoscale science and technology, quantum computing and the revolution these two systems would bring about – a revolution that is still only in its infancy.

Around 2007, I began talking with oil and gas experts about the revolutionary breakthroughs in fracking, and their inevitable impact on our ability to produce oil and gas. In 2008 that led me, in collaboration with my former colleague Vince Haley and Sean Hannity, to launch “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less.”

My wife Callista and I also made a documentary, “We Have the Power.”

Influenced by the growth of fracking, in 2012 I wrote the book, “$2.50 a Gallon.”

…in Pittsburgh, I saw another powerful glimmering of technologies that will change our world. The ability to develop intelligent systems that can learn and adjust is rapidly evolving. These systems will give us new capabilities and new insights in ways we have never imagined.

In a few brief hours at Carnegie Mellon, I saw a voice analysis system that could be combined with cellphone technology to enable remote medical analysis of virtually everyone on the planet. It would create an extraordinary new approach to early diagnostics and constant monitoring at an astonishingly low cost.

I watched a robotic assistant reduce the invasiveness of heart surgery so that instead of patients taking 14 days to recover, they could leave the hospital after one day.

And the potential for 3-D printing and robotics, combined with reusable rockets, will totally change how we think about space. This is just astonishing.

Artificial intelligence will displace many traditional service jobs, while also creating new jobs. The challenge will be helping adults make the transition from outdated skills to the new, higher-paying and more interesting skills made possible by artificial intelligence.

Of course, during this development, we must constantly work to improve these systems to make sure they are safe.

We must learn from and continuously work to prevent tragic accidents…

It is also clear that we have to invest heavily in artificial intelligence if we are going to maintain our competitive and national security advantages in the face of massive Chinese investment in the artificial intelligence field. We already know Chinese companies are working to build a huge fleet of self-driving vehicles. You can bet they will use and apply everything they learn in this endeavor in their military programs.

As I learn more over the next few months I will report on additional exciting new developments.

The future is going to be amazing,..There is much more to come.

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