Editor's Query: Disappearing Futures. What is likely to be here today and gone tomorrow? Many things we once thought we couldn't live without are now hard to find even in antique shops. And not just "things," but institutions, values, resources, diseases, languages, and people have all come and gone from our lives.
As much as some people may not like it, we’re going to need robots to perform a lot of the tasks for which humans are not available. Populations are aging, and human labor is getting more expensive for manufacturing the things that economies want consumers to keep buying, so a fleet of smaller, smarter, more agile robots could be a boon.
We're now just a couple of years away from the 2015 imagined in Back to the Future Part II (BTTF-II), and I'm ashamed to admit that I hadn't seen the movie (directed by Robert Zemeckis, co-written with Bob Gale) since it first hit theaters in 1989.
From the editor's desk: About the May-June 2013 issue of THE FUTURIST
As artificial intelligence technology advances, the event horizon known as the Technological Singularity draws near. Does that mean we must begin preparing for the inevitable domination of our robotic overlords?
After shaking my head over spending nine hours of a perfectly good Saturday watching TV, I have a few thoughts about the Planet of the Apes marathon that just ran on AMC. Most interesting to me was that the legendary sci-fi film franchise was born at about the same time as the World Future Society. In fact, the Franklin J. Schaffner-directed original (1968) was probably being filmed when THE FUTURIST magazine was putting out its first few mimeographed pages.
Many years ago when I took a stone sculpture class, I learned that, to see something clearly and accurately, you need to turn it around and view it from another angle.
I've been brooding on something for a while, hesitant to write about it. But it's a quiet Sunday afternoon, so here goes.
Recently our magazine (more specifically, one of its most popular bloggers) was criticized for an anti-female bias. What sparked the criticism was the blogger's post listing the year's most "shocking" quotations about the future. What shocked some readers was the fact that all the individuals quoted were male. The inference from this omission was that the blogger--and hence the World Future Society--was telling women to shut up.
We would be in a Golden Age for innovation, were it not for beggar-thy-neighbor national policies in the global innovation race. Encouraging the theft of intellectual property, discriminating against foreign tech firms, and manipulating currency are among the practices referred to as innovation mercantilism.
We at World Future Society were saddened to see the news early this morning that legendary science-fiction author Ray Bradbury died yesterday at the age of 91. According to our founder, Edward Cornish, Bradbury was one of the first members of the World Future Society. ("The Search For Foresight: The Society's First Members")
Celebrity Apprentice has crowned a new Trump champion, a faux partner in the business of celebritizing business. So it's time to see if there are in fact any teachable moments. I count six lessons to learn (or unlearn).
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.
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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:
Today, literally thousands of alternative transportation vehicles are coming out of the woodwork and they nearly all have the same problem – no place to drive them. Most are banned from biking and hiking trails, and they are neither licensed, nor licensable, for use on the streets. I’d like to discuss some new possible solutions and why Colorado is poised to take the lead in the alternative transportation marketplace.
In a recent conference promoting not only their latest gizmos but their company's animating vision as well, Google executives declared they were working toward a future in which technology "disappears," "fades into the background," becomes more "intuitive and anticipatory." Commenting on this apparently "bizarre mission for a tech company," Bianca Bosker warns that their genial and enthusiastic promotional language masks Google's aspiration to omnipresence via invisibility, an effort to render us dependent and uncritical of their prevalence through its marketing as easy, intuitive, companionable.
Occasionally during meetings one of my staff – an avid birder – will elbow me and I’ll look up and glimpse a bald eagle. Each time, I am in awe. I live in Washington State, which is home to a plethora of eagles, where pods of Orca ply the waters near the San Juan Islands, and where roads are sometimes blocked by herds of elk.
In this month's Report on Business Magazine, a supplement that comes with The Globe and Mail, one of Canada's national newspapers, Stanford University's Mark Jacobson provides a best case scenario
According to The Hollywood Reporter, celebrity tech CEO Peter Thiel is upset that movies like The Matrix and Avatar make technological innovation seem "destructive and dysfunctional."
A team of researchers are asking the public to help them locate and count all the sources of CO2 coming from power plants on the planet.
Initial results from a selective breeding program at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany based in Cambridge in the UK, indicate the successful creation of a new super wheat.