About the author
David Brin’s novels have been translated into more than twenty languages, including New York Times Best-sellers that have won Hugo and Nebula awards. His latest, Existence, looks at the threats facing us forty years in the future. His 1989 thriller, Earth, foreshadowed cyber-warfare, the Web, and global warming. A 1998 Kevin Costner film was loosely adapted from the post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman.
This essay was reposted with permission from his Web site Contrary Brin.
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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Canadian Provincial Premiers Decide on a National Energy Strategy that Includes Climate Change Action
August 30, 2014 - In a rare display of unanimity Canada's provincial leaders at their annual conference have outlined a national energy strategy.
Do you control your screens or do they control you? Advertisers dive into your brain for free (to you) from the minute you begin to gurgle. In tomorrow’s digital world you’ll decide and filter what’s on your screens. One control will be a personal paywall so you can be paid for your attention. When this makes your mind into your property, you will be able to sell it as often as you like.
August 29, 2014 - It is an inspiration to see the technological marvels that have gotten us to where we are today. And a great place to see this is Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.
While away on vacation, I read about LiftPort Group, a Kickstarter-funded space elevator project that received over $110,000 U.S. from more than 3,400 backers. The company, located in Tacoma, Washington, originally sought $8,000, so one would think this was largely fantasy, but with the amount of money that has come in it would seem it owes its investors something more than one it has delivered to-date.
Today, many voice long-familiar concerns about technological unemployment, where computers, robots, and machines are automating our jobs out of existence. In fact, some have gone so far as to call this the “robot jobs Armageddon.” So is this time truly different? Here are six overarching shifts in the world that are causing many to say, “Yes, this time may really be different!”
Self driving cars, 3D printing, robotics, these are just a few of the major technologies that are likely to bring massive disruptions in about every aspect of life. What do we eat? What would our work be like in the future? How do we travel? Where does our energy come from? The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure, the primary strategic advisory board for the Dutch government and parliament in matters relating to the physical environment and infrastructure, has initiated a foresight study to stimulate the public debate about the impact of disruptive technologies. It is not a traditional research project, but includes future imagery, crowd sourcing and technology assessment.
What is harder than finding the right answers? Asking the right questions.
In Zen Buddhism, a koan is a short story or question that is simply worth meditating on. There might not necessarily be a single good answer, but the process of contemplating the question itself is a worthwhile pursuit that may lead to sudden insights or enlightenment.
About a dozen years ago, we asked members of the World Future Society what they thought was the most valuable return for investing in the serious study of trends. We included a summary of their responses in our special report, The Future: An Owner's Manual (September-October 2002, adapted from March-April 2002 FUTURIST). The reasons are still apt today: