Hello! Welcome to the new World Future Society Web site, the work of our art director Lisa Mathias and director of membership Jennifer Boykin. We're also unveiling a new logo reflecting the tremendous renewal we're experiencing at WFS. In the past few months, we've been sharing ideas with our members from around the world on how WFS can be of more value to them and to the general public.
Writing from Kyoto--I’ve delayed updating as I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to say something that might contribute to--rather than simply repeat--what’s been said in the international media. For four days, we in Japan have been bombarded with headlines indicating a slowly unfolding apocalypse.
Update: 6:57 AM, Tuesday, March 27th
Annoying concerns about water quality have taken the place of the initial (mostly media) panic about the reactor situation. Indications are the radioactivity level in the water is elevated but far from dangerous for adults but parents are urged not give their children tap water or baby formula made from tap water. The situation with the reactor remains very dire, but the government and others are providing constant radiation information showing that levels remain at healthy around Tokyo and elsewhere. The death toll in the north continues to climb with the mayor of Miyagi anticipating 15,000 deaths there alone.
Interested in helping or volunteering? Peace Boat Japan is, as far as I can tell, the best charitable organization with boots on the ground now in the affected area, distributing necessities. Here's a great blog.
Update: 11:44 AM Monday, Japan Time
From NHK: "Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says a hydrogen and oxygen explosion occurred Monday morning at the No.3 reactor at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture." Residents within a 20 KM radius are being urged to stay indoors.
Edano--"Low possibility of radiation leakage, container is still safe."
Update: 9:00 AM Monday, Japan Time
The death toll has climbed to 1500. It is assumed that many of the residents of Sendai, a town that apparently no-longer exists, are also gone. At this hour, there is growing concern about supplying those in remote areas in the north with food and water. Shelters are full.
Every year, some 800 companies and inventors from around the world gather for "nano tech," billed as the world's largest nanotechnology product expo. I caught the action this year at the Big Site center in Tokyo. Here are my standout pics.
In a recent interview with USA TODAY, inventor and World Future Society member Ray Kurzweil discussed IBM's Watson computer, which is set to play former Jeopardy champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on the popular game show. The match-up is being called the most significant public test of AI since world chess champion Garry Kasparov lost to IBM's Deep Blue in 1997. It will take place February 14, 15, and 16th.
Nick Bilton of the New York Times recently did an experiment; he purchased a digital copy of WIRED on his iPad. While the magazine was downloading, he drove twelve blocks to his neighborhood magazine shop (Brooklyn), bought a paper copy of the same magazine, and drove home. The iPad version was still downloading.
I know, I know, you're shocked.
Every day in Kyoto carries with it the promise of a rare visual sighting; a geisha moving in graceful but hurried steps between the tea houses in Gion; maple leaves crisping red at their tips beneath the awnings of Shinto shrines.
I just returned from the annual American Magazine Conference, or AMC, this year in Chicago, where I got a front row view of the future of my industry. In one presentation after the next, the heads of such giants as Hearst, Condé Nast, and Time (along with Oprah Winfrey) reassured one another that the future was increasingly bright.
Google has just launched its much-anticipated Google Voice service and the song of cellphones floats upon the air. Suckers that we are, my wife and I are already signed up. The nifty features are these: You get one number that attaches to all of your other numbers. When someone calls that number, it rings on your home phone, your cell, and any other device you choose to connect.
Essays and comments posted in World Future Society and THE FUTURIST magazine blog portion of this site are the intellectual property of the authors, who retain full responsibility for and rights to their content. For permission to publish, distribute copies, use excerpts, etc., please contact the author. The opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Future Society takes no stand on what the future will or should be like.
Free Email Newsletter
Sign up for Futurist Update, our free monthly email newsletter. Just type your email into the box below and click subscribe.
Over many centuries, attempts have been made to get food production out of the cities. Produce comes from the land and is transported into the cities. In most western cities, abattoirs have disappeared. Markets are still there, but no longer have a central role in our shopping.
Star Trek Into Darkness: Eye candy for the amygdala. Yes, this is another Hollywood blockbuster depicting a dystopian future with big explosions and small innovations. However, the first ten minutes are worth the price of the ticket. I was pleasantly surprised to see J.J. Abrams using the Ancient Aliens theory and a huge wink to author Zecharia Sitchin's work in the opening scene located on the fictional (depending on who you ask) world of Nibiru.
Spray-on skin. Lab-grown ears. Human tissue grown in a petri dish. We're going deep into sci-fi territory (and it is already happening).
“Extropy” is celebrating its first quarter of a century. The idea was formally introduced as a philosophy of the future in 1988, and many things have happened from the end of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century. A new millennium has been born and the philosophy of extropy is well-suited for these new times of accelerating change, full of challenges and opportunities.
One definition of resilience is “the ability to cope with shocks and keep functioning in a satisfying way”. Resilience is about the self organizing capacity of systems. This means the ability to bounce back after disaster, or the ability to transform if a bad stage has happened.
This is my last posting for the next few days. I will be taking my office apart so that we can move to our new apartment downtown next Tuesday. I will be unplugged and disconnected except by tablet. Expect me to be back in the saddle before the end of next week probably in time to provide you with some more headlines. In the interim these are the stories I share with you this week: