from MIT’s Technology Review:
The ‘Living Earth Simulator’ will mine economic, environmental and health data to create a model of the entire planet in real time.
Helbing’s idea is to create a kind of Manahattan project to study, understand and tackle these techno-socio-economic-environmental issues. His plan is to gather data about the planet in unheard of detail, use it to simulate the behaviour of entire economies and then to predict and prevent crises from emerging.
This model will be capable not only modelling the planet in real time but of simulating the future, rather in the manner of weather forecasters.
by Chris Arkenberg, URBEINGRECORDED.com:
IFTF recently published the map for When Everything is Programmable. I did the research & forecast for Neuroprogramming and contributed to Combinatorial Manufacturing. For Neuroprogramming, I focused on brain-computer interface technology in medical, military, and futuretainment. I was, frankly, amazed at just how much rapid development is happening in the field (and how much money is moving through it, as well).
Perhaps surprisingly, Neuroprogramming looks much closer than the molecular construction I researched for Combinatorial Manufacturing. The promise of Drexler et al still seems to be a ways off but Claytronics offers a really compelling path towards programmable matter.
from Next Big Future:
CSIRO has a new report describing the outcomes from a global foresight project. It presents five megatrends and eight megashocks (global risks) that will redefine how the world’s people live.
The report identified eight megashocks relevant to Australian science:
1. asset price collapse
2. slowing Chinese economy
3. oil and gas price spikes
4. extreme climate change related weather
6. biodiversity loss
8. nanotechnology risks
“A human’s ability to think about the future is still in beta.” ~ Jason Tester, IFTF
by David Sherwin, Design Mind (via The Institute For the Future)
Imagining a sustainable future is like observing a series of waves crashing upon a shore, imperceptibly eroding the sand away.
It isn’t clear whether we’re at high or low tide, so we can’t be sure how far to stand from the water. We try to judge, in the far distance, if there are large waves that may get our feet wet, or even worse, pull us out in the undertow. There are a fearless few out surfing the breakers, but most people are content to rest on their towels, sun themselves, and read a book or two. There is no clear understanding of how our actions on the shore will change the quality of the water, or what lives beneath the surface. Our influence on the known world is intangible. [Read on]
by Chris Arkenberg, URBEINGRECORDED.com
A common habit in forecasting, particularly in energy futures & economic growth, is to take roughly linear trends and extend them over the next few decades. The notion is that there is inertia in what has already happened that will make the future look markedly similar, or at least there will likely be a more-or-less linear movement along an existing path.
[...] Linear projections help us continue to get things done based on fairly reliable expectations. But avoiding the next economic catastrophe requires a deep study of the many threads & amplifiers that drive black swan events.
Outliers occupy the thin edge of statistical possibility yet almost always have tremendous consequences. They are, by nature, entropic & disruptive, shifting the territory and demanding new adaptations.
If you believe Cisco Systems Inc. futurist Dave Evan, in five years we’ll be creating the equivalent of 92 million Libraries of Congress worth of data a year, in 20 years artificial brain implants will be available and in 25 years robots will replace all workers.
“Things are no longer growing at a linear rate,” he argues. “Because of the law of large numbers things are accelerating at an exponential rate.”
[...] To begin with, I’d like to just underline that forecasting and prediction are very different. As futurists, we’re not making predictions but, rather, making approximations based on existing trends. I like to think of it as collapsing probability space into the most likely futures.
We look forward to having Chris as a contributor to the upcoming ‘EOT Reports’.
According to the filmmaker Keiichi Matsuda, “Augmented reality may recontextualise the functions of consumerism and architecture, and change in the way in which we operate within it.”
And to display some less-than-optimistic viewpoints:
From Three Panel Soul:
THE FUTURIST – January 29th, 2010
“If written language is merely a technology for transferring information, then it can and should be replaced by a newer technology that performs the same function more fully and effectively. But it’s up to us, as the consumers and producers of technology, to insist that the would-be replacement demonstrate authentic superiority. It’s not enough for new devices, systems, and gizmos to simply be more expedient than what they are replacing—as the Gatling gun was over the rifle—or more marketable—as unfiltered cigarettes were over pipe tobacco. We owe it to posterity to demand proof that people’s communications will be more intelligent, persuasive, and constructive when they occur over digital media, and proof that digital media, and proof that illiteracy, even in an age of great technological capability, will improve people’s lives.”
I first see a form of visual language overtaking our present rudimentary mouth-sounds. But after that – who knows?
How 1940s whiskey ads predicted the cell phone, the 3D movie, videoconferencing, and sports bars…
from Power Line:
In the mid-1940s, Seagram’s advertised its VO whiskey with a series of magazine ads about “Men Who Plan Beyond Tomorrow!” The ads’ images were a delightful blend of macho and futuristic. And, in some cases, they were prophetic.
Interesting series from KedgeForward:
” The creation of emerging properties that are greater than the sum of the parts involved. Perception by the parts (people, nodes, actors, etc.) of the emerging whole as a “unique entity.”
An awareness by the parts within the system of their individual diversity and their role in creating the emerging whole/larger purpose. Intentional evolution practiced by the parts and the whole.”
from Good Morning Silicon Valley:
[...] But the point of such predictions is not so much in being right as it is to get an early start on the conversations we need to have to cope with social and technological developments that are approaching at an ever accelerating pace.
And if you want to get in on some of those conversations, one place to start is the game going on now at the Signtific Lab, a platform developed and directed by the Institute for the Future to draw on the expertise, imagination and wisdom in the crowd, if not of it.
In the exercise, the site posits that “in 2019, cubesats — space satellites smaller than a shoebox — have become very cheap and very popular. For $100, anyone can put a customized personal satellite into low-earth orbit. And space data transfer protocols developed by the Interstellar Internet Project provide a basic relay backbone linking low-powered cubesats with ground stations, and with each other. Space is open to anyone and everyone — for research, for business, for communications, for play,” and asks, “What will you do when space is as cheap and accessible as the Web is today?”
Posted in future
Tagged futurism, space
A flickr set from zealtime via intheyear2000:
The world is changing at an unprecedented rate and the value of forecasting is at a premium.
[...] Just as objects from the past spur a conversation about civilisations that have long gone, Marina Gorbis, the institute’s executive director, hopes that these artefacts from imagined tomorrows can “make the future tangible”. It may sound silly, but it all has a serious purpose.
For 40 years, the institute [IFTF] has been assessing trends for governments, businesses and the general public. But never, said Gorbis, has the future come at us so fast. The internet has changed global communication at a speed and scale unseen in history and old forms of business and government are under pressure.
Also see: Institute for the Future
Posted in future