After reading the title of this blog, you may well be asking two questions: “Who is God?” and “What is a futurist?”
It’s September, 2099. Time Magazine is bringing out a 21st Century Retrospective issue which will hit the newsagents and book stores worldwide in December. The senior news editor has commissioned a leading historian, Dr Joe White, head of the Stanford department of history, to write a political overview for the news magazine’s special edition.
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)
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You’ll rule tomorrow’s digital world. if a company fails to please you, you can wipe it off all your screens. With your finger on the kill switch, businesses will dedicate themselves to you. Routine identification will transform customer relationships and commerce. You will be known and treated personally. The most successful businesses will please everyone all the time.
You’ll rule tomorrow’s digital world. if a company fails to please you, you can wipe it off all your screens. With your finger on the kill switch, businesses will dedicate themselves to you. Routine identification will transform customer relationships and commerce. You will be known and treated personally. The most successful businesses will please everyone all the time. New tech will usher in a world where everyone wins.
In Our Final Invention (St. Martin’s Press 2013), documentary filmmaker James Barrat presents three scenarios for the long-term future of Artificial Intelligence. Unfortunately, as a skeptic he provides no preferred scenarios.
One of the advantages of being around for a long time is perspective. In particular, perspective in the field in which I chose to work many years ago – organizational and social transformation. I’m not talking about transforming a company or a city; I’m talking about transforming the whole world.
The latest resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) by SpaceX, Elon Musk's private company, met several milestones last week. First it delivered almost 3,500 pounds of supplies, including a space garden for growing vegetables, and legs for the on-board robot, Robonaut-2. But even more interesting was what happened at the back end of the launch.
Last night I watched an HBO documentary called "Questioning Darwin." It took an in-depth look at those who reject Darwin's theory of natural selection on grounds of faith in the words of the Judeo-Christian Bible. At the same time it presented the personal journey of Darwin from his roots to his presentation of his theories in the book, "The Origin of the Species," in which he described the mechanism of natural selection, the theory upon which our scientific understanding of how life evolves on this planet.
Google’s Director of Engineering, Ray Kurzweil, has predicted that we will reach a technological singularity by 2045, and science fiction writer Vernor Vinge is betting on 2029.