A Reimagining The Future Presentation

I have the pleasure of speaking in various forums about the future. It is a fascinating time to be focused on illuminating the path forward, as the pace, uncertainty, and complexity of our times makes it very challenging. This short three-minute video describes my reimaging the future presentation.

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Challenging The Structures Of The Current Era

With technological change comes social change and a shift in the organizing systems that oversee how our communities are governed

LYDIA KOSTOPOULOS – Emerging Domains of Conflict in the 21st Century

It has long been my belief that the structures supporting this current era have experienced diminished effectiveness and are reaching end of life. When I would share these thoughts back in 2012, I remember getting strange looks – but fast forward ten years and it’s not so strange anymore. That quote above comes from a recent article that identifies five emerging domains of conflict. Taken together with an exploding number of additional factors, it is easy to see why our organizing system is on the verge of dramatic change.

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The Future Of Homes With Alexandra Whittington

Futurist Alexandra Whittington recently joined our efforts to reimagine the future. One of her areas of passion and research is the future of homes. She joined fellow Futurist Kevin Benedict in this episode on the topic. Kevin and Alex addressed the following questions:

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Resisting Change

Historical signals are very instructive, a premise that makes me a big believer in learning from the lessons of history. There are several historical signals that help us understand the drivers of prior transformative periods. The first is a period of great invention. The cumulative effect of invention and knowledge gain has led us to our current modern society. However, it was the early days of the industrial revolution that represent the greatest period of invention. The second signal is convergence. When human action converges with invention, societies transform. A third and critical signal is related to the second, where catalysts throughout history have driven convergence.

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A Focus On “What If?” Versus “What Now?”

A quote from a recent book The Genesis Machine captures the importance of focusing on the future. “If we encourage ‘what if?’ questions today, we can avoid ‘what now?’ questions in the future.” As far as I am concerned, that quote says it all. Rehearsing the future is complex, given the uncertainty and volatility of the environment. Signals emerge from multiple domains, and they converge in ways that shape futures. As we identify signals, ‘what if?’ questions help us explore the possibilities.

Multiple sources exist that help with rehearsing. One such source is a what if YouTube channel. This channel has a large subscriber base and covers a broad range of topics like, space, humanity, environment, health, and others. Exploring these what if scenarios helps us expand our thinking, open our minds, and challenge our cherished beliefs – as highlighted in the quote above.

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An Impactful Era Is Emerging – And It Becomes More Evident Every Day

Energy transitions throughout history have ushered in times of dramatic change. Every day another series of breakthroughs can be found in the media. This astounding level of innovation speaks to the reality of an energy transition that is at the leading edge of a shift from our current era to the next. It also highlights the role that catalysts play in creating the future. In the energy context, the situation in Ukraine is a catalyst that likely accelerates the transition. For example, Denmark wants to build what it calls ‘Energy Islands’ to free Europe from using Russian fuel. This article describes how these islands were part of Denmark’s transition towards renewable energy, but tensions with Russia (catalyst) both expanded and accelerated their vision.

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Healthspan Is As Important As Lifespan

I like the way Daniel Davis described the prospects of humans living both longer and healthier lives. In his article on the topic of ageing, he points to scientific advancements that are leading to life extension. At the same time, he underscores a key tenet of the journey: healthspan is just as important as lifespan. This lies at the heart of a key future scenario identified as healthy life extension. That one scenario has many thinking about a world where people live much longer, healthier lives. Imagine a key institution like retirement. As much as we believe that our lives have always been segmented into three dominant phases (education, work, retirement), those phases represent a small portion of human history. This is an example of the institutional change that lies ahead. Now imagine a scenario referred to as radical life extension.

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Is The Age Of Fire Over?

In January, I launched a poll that represented a form of rehearsing the future. Rehearsing versus predicting allows us to envision possible futures. Complex adaptive systems contain multiple intersecting building blocks behaving and interacting in ways that make prediction impossible. Although we can’t predict, we can inform our rehearsing with an ever-expanding amount of insight and foresight. In addition, technology now enables us to continuously probe and learn. Learning our way forward through continuous learning loops enables rehearsing. To that end, the poll looked ahead and asked if people believed that artificial intelligence would ultimately be more impactful than fire, electricity, or the Internet. The results were fascinating.

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The History Of Energy Transitions

Energy transitions throughout history have ushered in times of dramatic change. While energy may be the biggest piece of this emerging story, it is part of a bigger narrative in what increasingly looks like a phase transition. That notion of dramatic change is echoed by several prominent sources. For example, Alec Ross in his recent book The Raging 2020s speaks of a world that resembles the 1930s, a growing sentiment that maps to my research on the period beginning in 1920.

As the visual below illustrates, that 1930 date aligns with the energy transition. That period began the long transition towards our current fossil fuel era – representing a major transitory period for the world. This recent article reflects on the history of energy transitions and the drastic change in our sources of energy over the last 200 years.

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Disrupting The Way We Travel

Put bluntly: The infrastructure we have in one era isn’t the infrastructure we’ll need in the next.

Devin Liddell – A futurist predicts the 3 biggest disruptions to how we’ll travel

That quote from a recent article can be applied to anything. For example, the institutions created in one era are not suited for the next. In the article, Futurist Devin Liddell looks at what he believes are the three biggest disruptions coming to travel. He begins by looking at the transformative changes existing infrastructure will struggle to support. First, as mentioned in an earlier post on urbanization, seventy percent of the human population is projected to live in cities by 2050. Second, climate change is poised to wreak havoc on cities, ninety percent of which are coastal. Lastly, the phenomenon of blurring boundaries takes the world of physical infrastructure and merges it with the digital domain.

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Urbanization And The Rise Of Megacities

By 2050 it’s predicted that 68% of the world’s population will live in a major city — that’s 2 in 3 people. According to this recent article, less than 10% of people lived in urban areas in 1800. Today, more than 4.3 billion people or 55% of the world’s population live in urban settings.

This macro-level societal force will converge with forces from other domains to shape an uncertain future. One such domain is technology, where the rise of smart cities will coincide with the rise of megacities. What is a megacity?

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Science Fiction and The Future

Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science. He is a professor of theoretical physics in the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center. In a recent article, he makes three predictions about the future. His first is his belief that humanity will become an interplanetary species.

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The Future Of Mobility

In one of my posts from a recent series titled A Journey through the Looking Glass, I focused on the complexity, uncertainty, and volatility of our current environment. Although this dynamic makes it difficult to envision possible futures, the “Future of” question is a growing focus among leaders around the world. While many themes have emerged, mobility is a common topic of discussion. Current conversations are dominated by electric vehicles, batteries, and charging infrastructure. However, the future of mobility is much bigger than our current focus.

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Climate Investing 2.0

According to this recent article, there is a surge in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investing, which is attracting record amounts of capital and bringing shareholder activism to the forefront. In contrast to the first wave of climate investing, this second wave will benefit from a more established ecosystem. In 2021, global venture capital funding for clean technology hit $43 billion, which was more than double the $20 billion invested in 2020. Experts believe that the trend is just getting started.

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Ford To Use Robots To Operate 3D Printers

A recent article describes how Ford intends to use robots to operate 3D Printers. According to the article, Ford’s Advanced Manufacturing Center has developed an interface that allows machines from different suppliers to speak to each other in the same language and operate parts of the production line autonomously. The article explains how Ford’s patent-pending system solves a crucial bottleneck in the production line by using robots to operate the 3D printers through the night without human interaction. The video below provides a glimpse into the process.

Video Reflecting Artificial Intelligence Poll Results

In 2015, best-selling author Martin Ford gave us Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future. In the fall of 2021, he followed that up with Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Transform Everything. In his recent book, he explores various aspects of artificial intelligence – both positive and negative. When I finished that book I launched a poll that attracted a significant response. After analyzing the results, Adam Boostrom and April Harris produced this brief video. What did the respondents believe? After viewing the video, give us your thoughts via the same poll.

Artificial Intelligence May Predict Breast Cancer Risk

The best way to reduce cancer mortality is to prevent cancer from developing in the first place and accurate assessments of risk are essential

lambert leong – Artificial Intelligence Can See Breast Cancer Before It Happens

When looking at possible futures for health and wellness, healthy life extension and reducing the risk and impact of chronic diseases are at the top of the list. Amazing scientific and technological progress are leading the way. Artificial intelligence is poised to play a major role in the health and wellness future, and this recent article provides one example. The success of a deep learning study of breast cancer risk gives those involved confidence that predicting risk of late stage cancer is possible.

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An Automated Society

In a post from 2018, I explored the automation of everything. The open question I posed was: how far will automation go? In the four years since that post, signals have emerged that illuminate the possibilities.

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Inventing The World We Can Proudly Leave To Our Kids

I first met Chunka Mui in 2017 after reading his book titled The New Killer Apps. I then had the pleasure of working with him on a thought leadership course, where he contributed to a panel discussion on driverless cars. Post course, he participated in a related Driverless Car Interview which you can view below.

In the fall of last year, Chunka contributed to another book titled A Brief History of a Perfect Future with co-authors Paul Carroll and Tim Andrews. The book is fascinating on several levels. It’s effective use of storytelling helps us envision the world of 2050. Its broad view will resonate with a broad segment of leaders, as it covers a future view of computing, communication, information, genomics, energy, water, transportation, healthcare, climate change, and trust.

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De-extinction: Resurrecting Species That Have Died

De-extinction is the process of generating an organism that either resembles or is an extinct species. There are several ways to carry out the process of de-extinction. Cloning is the most widely proposed method, although genome editing and selective breeding have also been considered.

Wikipedia
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