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Newt Gingrich says he saw glimpse of future during Carnegie Mellon visit

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich holds a lightbulb as a prop while talking about innovation and Thomas Edison during the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Saturday, March 16, 2013. It may seem early, but the diehard activists who attended the three-day conference are already picking favorites in what could be a crowded Republican presidential primary in 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said he saw a glimpse of the future when he recently visited Carnegie Mellon University.

Gingrich said he saw voice analysis technology to help with medical diagnoses, a robot to help in surgery and revolutionary advancements in 3D printing, robotics and artificial intelligence.

“The future is going to be amazing, and we should be optimistic that as a free people we can lead the world into that future,” the former Republican congressman wrote in an opinion piece for Fox News . “There is much more to come.”

Kiron Skinner, the director of CMU’s Institute for Politics and Strategy and a distinguished fellow at Cylab, the university’s cybersecurity research center, showed Gingrich around the school’s laboratories last week.

Gingrich wrote that he had seen previous glimpses of the future, from the dawn of the internet and modern computing to nanotechnology, quantum computing and hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas.

“On Wednesday, 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,” Gingrich wrote.

Gingrich said the voice analysis technology he saw could enable remote medical analysis of “virtually everyone on the planet,” earlier diagnoses and easier monitoring. A robotic assistant designed to help with heart surgery reduced the time it takes patients to recover from 14 days to one.

Gingrich wrote that 3D printing, robotics and reusable rockets will change how we think about space. Artificial intelligence will force the government to replace procurement processes.

“We will also have to rethink adult education,” Gingrich wrote.

Gingrich wrote that safety needs to be a top priority and that we must “learn from and continuously work to prevent” crashes like the one in Tempe, Ariz., where a self-driving Uber vehicle hit and killed a woman walking her bike across a street.

“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,” Gingrich wrote. “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.”

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected], 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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