Fortune’s January 14, 2013 edition is The Future Issue; with around one-quarter of the pages devoted to the topic. The magazine explores various dimensions of what tomorrow might be like rooted in work and effort taking place in the present. The centerpiece feature (eight pages long) is “Larry Page Looks Ahead,” about the Google CEO/co-founder’s vision for the company and its potential game-changer initiatives like self-driving cars. The article, by Miguel Helft, portrays a company in constant motion, reinventing itself 24/7; appropriate for a service that has to be always available, with no exceptions or downtime.
Other features include “Meet Your Next Surgeon,” on robotics in the operating room, such as the da Vinci, from the Silicon Valley company Intuitive Surgical. Also mentioned is the experimental research platform Raven, by Applied Dexterity, a recently formed company spun off from the University of Washington. “The $50 billion question,” Ryan Bradley writes, “for the future of surgery: Will there be (operating) room for more than one kind of robot?” If you want to know more about the future of the intersection of brands and pop culture, see Daniel Roberts’ “Will.i.am, Hit Machine.” It details the future-focused work the Black Eyed Peas rapper is providing for companies like Intel and Coca-Cola, whose CEO Muhtar Kent calls him a “visionary.” A shorter section, “The Future Dispatches,” briefly tackles a variety of issues with implication for the future. One, “Teaching Watson the Meaning of ‘OMG,’” concerns the work of Eric Brown of IBM to program computers to understand slang. There is also a short Q&A with technology pioneer/inventor/author/futurist Ray Kurzweil about his new book, How to Create a Mind. And to complete the circle of the future, it was announced in December Kurzweil is joining Google as a director of engineering.