How to save 400,000 lives per year (four million in the world)

When I wrote recently that my predictions for 2020 would include some things I hoped would happen, this was the column I had in mind. What follows is a prediction that will definitely not happen unless someone decides to make a change.

Everybody dies.

But not everybody has to die young or in middle age from many of the diseases that afflict our society. In the United States, our single leading cause of death is heart disease with 650,000 deaths per year. Heart attacks cause more than 400,000 deaths alone. With approximately 800,000 heart attacks per year in the U.S., 50 percent of heart attacks lead directly to death. […]

Prediction #6 — AI comes of age, this time asking the questions, too

Paul Saffo says that communication technologies historically take 30 years or more to find their true purpose. Just look at how the Internet today is different than it was back in 1988. I am beginning to think this idea applies also to new computing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI). We’re reading a lot lately about AI and I think 2018 is the year when AI becomes recognized for its much deeper purpose of asking questions, not just finding answers.

Some older readers may remember the AI bubble of the mid-1980s. Sand Hill Road venture capitalists invested (and lost) about $1 billion in AI startups that were generally touted as […]

After surgery, a visionary finally sneaks back to work

I’m sorry it has taken me so long to return to this page. My eye surgery is finally complete and I am more or less fully recovered. I can probably see better than at any other time in my life, though it is still far from perfect, but so what? I can see! I can drive! I can fly! Best of all, I am still alive.

During my first try at surgery in early November, they said my blood pressure was too high and sent me home with an extra pill (my fourth) to take for that condition. Two days later I was suffering horrible back pain and passed out. My kidneys had gone into overdrive and […]

Cringely, like Milton, is blind. But Milton was a better writer.

Maybe you’ve wondered, “What happened to Cringely?” Nothing serious: I just stepped being able to read or write. Cataracts in my family hit like a hurricane, coming on suddenly and wth great force. It happened to my handsomer older brother two years ago and now to me. My medical care is through Kaiser, which does great work on such conditions, but it’s a bit like being in the army. First I wasn’t blind enough and then I was suddenly too blind, kicking me up to a slower level of service. I know, it makes no sense at all. In another 10 days I’m told it will all be behind me and I’ll have perfect vision […]

Can Amazon’s Echo Dot Make a Good SIDS Alarm?

It was 15 years ago this week that my son Chase Cringely died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at age 74 days. I wrote about it at the time and there was a great outpouring of support from readers. Back then, before the advent of social media, parents didn’t get a chance to grieve in print the way Mary Alyce and I did. We shed a light on SIDS and, for a couple years, even led to some progress in combating the condition, which still kills about 4,000 American babies each year.

When you lose a child, especially one who dies in your lap, as Chase did with me, […]