The New Digital Age, co-written by the Executive Chairman of Google and the Director of Google Ideas, is food for the futurist because it contains several revealing predictions, some of which will be evaluated in this review.
An idea clicked into place, while reading Eric Schmidt’s recently released book The New Digital Age, that much of our behavior today is shaped by the convergence and interface between the digital and physical worlds.
Figure 1 Dual World Loop
Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut who stepped onto the moon with Neil Armstrong in the historic lunar landing of 1969, deserves to be hailed as an honorary global futurist for his visionary work in preparing and planning for the ultimate human settlement of Mars.
The monarchy is probably bad for Britain’s long-term social future. Human societies evolve towards increased degrees of freedom and equality before the law. Feudalism is gone. Legal slavery has gone. Women’s equal rights have arrived, along with the spread of education for all. Democracy is incubating throughout the world. Free access to information has accelerated under the impetus of internet.
As I futurist, I’m in love with the future but you don’t have to be qualified in the discipline of futures studies to be a citizen of the future.
I enjoy meeting people who dream of, and think a lot about, the future. Conversations about the future with them are one of the most rewarding and fascinating aspects of the life of a futurist.
“Thus the centre of the system of the world is immovable.”
Isaac Newton Principia Mathematica (Book 111) (1687)
By Michael Lee
“Observation informs us about the past and the present; reason foretells the future.”
Hans Reichenbach, The Rise of Scientific Philosophy (1951)
Nothing epistemologically exotic needs to be conjured up in order to develop a scientific method for studying the future. Futurology would simply hold itself accountable to customary disciplines of scientific thought.
How much of what happens in nature, so admired by scientists from Galileo to Poincaré, conforms to its known rules? And, for futurists, how much of the future is written into nature’s rulebook?
“If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing,
and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living.”
Henri Poincaré, The Foundations of Science (1913)
Surprising as this may sound, nature is full of automatic processes, as will shortly be shown. And computers and mechanical devices are automating social processes on an ever-increasing scale, from assembly lines and the new 3-D printers to self-service devices like ATMs, kiosks and vending machines, from robots to computerized flight programs. As you read this, you may receive a pop up meeting reminder on Outlook or a message texted on your mobile phone indicating it’s time to submit your tax returns. That’s the efficiency of automation.
A war on the Korean peninsula is probably a matter of when rather than if. Why do I say that? North Korea is both a fantasy state, misaligned with, and maladjusted to, the modern world, and a dysfunctional rogue state armed to the teeth and gripped by national paranoia.
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On March 4th 2014, an exciting new book on working with scenarios was launched by Amsterdam University Press: The essence of scenarios: learning from the shell experience by authors Angela Wilkinson and Roland Kupers. Both authors have an impressive history on working with scenarios inside and outside the Shell company and through their book provide us with an insiders view on the roll of scenarios and the famous scenario team in Shell from the early 1960’s up till now. The book gives us an insight in the development and fine-tuning of the ‘gentle art’ of scenario planning in Shell and is basically a unique case study with educational insights for both beginners and more experienced foresight experts.
Call it a legacy of the Baby Boomer generation, or a desperate attempt by states to generate new tax revenues. Either way, the decriminalization of marijuana is a trend that is simply too big to ignore.
March 10, 2014 - A 7.4 square meter (80 square foot) shelter named Exo is the creation of Mississippi born Michael McDaniel.
March 10, 2014 - It strikes me today that the cynicism that accompanies our political discourse is a symptom of a growing disconnect between those who govern and those who are governed. We are seeing evidence of this everywhere across the globe. And this is leading to the emergence of a sovereign citizen movement.
A new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows rising levels of income inequality in all fifty states. From 1979 to 2011, the top 1% saw their income rise 128.9%, while the bottom 99% saw their income increase by a mere 2.3%.
March 8, 2014 - This is a great time to be an astronomer. It appears we are discovering exoplanets by the boat load and we are finding out that solar systems, some like ours, and some bizarrely different, seem to be the rule and not the exception.
March 8, 2014 - For several years I worked with an Australian company developing a new skimmer technology for remediating oil spills. That got me very interested in this subject area. So I keep my eyes open for new technological innovations that can address what remains an industry-wide problem for fossil fuel and transportation providers.