The Metaverse Handbook

The Metaverse is now one of those buzzwords we can expect to hear about for some time to come. With that in mind, I just finished reading my latest book titled The Metaverse Handbook. The book covers the following:

  • What the metaverse is, why you should care about it, and how to build your metaverse strategy
  • The history of the metaverse and primers on critical technologies driving the metaverse, including non-fungible tokens, XR, the blockchain, and web3
  • How to unearth unique metaverse opportunities in digital communities, commerce, and immersive experiences

Given the experiences of the last 2.5 years, an ability to feel like we are together when we are not takes on more importance. Renji Bijoy, Immersed VR’s founder and CEO went as far as to say that VR is less of a novelty and more of a quality-of-life tool. But as with everything else, there are paths that enhance humanity and those that diminish it. The book explores both the possibilities and the challenges. I have added to my book library.

Video: The Future Of Energy

Via Tech Bang.

Energy Generation in the future world. These are the SEVEN most exciting Energy Sources of the Future. The newest developments in Renewable Cleaner Energy to Get Us Off Fossil Fuels. These energy sources are promising a greener and more sustainable approach to the way we generate energy. We consume a HUGE amount of energy resources every day and we are at a point of transformation from a world powered by FOSSIL fuels to one powered by cleaner and RENEWABLE energy sources. The future looks promising.

Continue reading

Robot Shows A Wide Range Of Facial Expressions

When I first posted a video of Ameca defending her personal space, the reaction ranged from fascinating to creepy. I would expect a similar reaction to this new video released by Engineered Arts. They have been working on teaching Ameca a wider range of facial expressions, with twelve new actuators added. See for yourself.

The Final Stages Of The Fourth Turning

It was 2019 when I finished a book titled The Fourth Turning. I found myself referring to it a couple of weeks ago during a conversation about the cycles of history. I went back to the book after our discussion given the many changes the world experienced since I added it to my library. The repeated cycles of history described by the book remain both fascinating and ominous.

First comes a High, a period of confident expansion as a new order takes root after the old has been swept away. Next comes an Awakening, a time of spiritual exploration and rebellion against the now-established order. Then comes an Unraveling, an increasingly troubled era in which individualism triumphs over crumbling institutions. Last comes a Crisis—the Fourth Turning—when society passes through a great and perilous gate in history. Together, the four turnings comprise history’s seasonal rhythm of growth, maturation, entropy, and rebirth.

Frank Diana – adapted from the book “The Fourth Turning”

Read that description of the historical cycles carefully. Turnings come in cycles of four. Each cycle spans the length of a long human life, roughly eighty to one hundred years. Now, let’s trace the current cycle back in time – quoted right from the book – keeping in mind that the book was written in 1997.

Continue reading

Digital Twins Have Evolved

I had the pleasure recently of talking to Fernando Guarneros Olmos about the evolving world of digital twins. Fernando is a journalist with a special interest in business related to technology and video games. Our discussion was captured in an article titled Digital twins also help prevent famine.

The publication is Expansion magazine, the leading Mexican business magazine focused on economics, finance, and business issues. It is biweekly and it´s characterized as a planning guide for business decision-makers, also provides coverage of renowned personalities and ideas that drive the private sector in Mexico. Grupo Expansion is currently the most relevant publishing aimed at business audiences in Mexico and is owned by media giant Time Warner (editorial third largest magazine in Mexico).

I have added the article to my Media Library

Solving Humanities Greatest Challenges

Every so often, the knowledge base of society expands in a way that can be felt across multiple domains. When science pushed technology to new heights starting in the 1870s, it put society on a path towards transformative change. With science continuing to produce amazing breakthroughs in a synergistic relationship with technology, it feels much like that period so long ago. Take a look at the headlines from the past week:

Continue reading

Why Ecosystems? Why Now?

For at least seven years, the concept of ecosystems has been discussed and defined in various ways, while sometimes applied in a context that dilutes its eventual impact. At the highest level, an ecosystem is a network of connected stakeholders interacting in ways that create and capture value for all participants. Why has this ecosystem phenomenon emerged now and why do people expect it to drive structural change? Once again, history may provide an answer.

Continue reading

The New Fire

I just finished reading the latest addition to my book library. The New Fire was written by Ben Buchanan and Andrew Imbrie. The book explores artificial intelligence (AI) through the lens of geopolitics, specifically, the prospects for democracy versus autocracy. A worrying possibility is highlighted in the book; that AI will do more for autocracy than democracy. In comparing artificial intelligence to fire, the authors make a comparison that I explored in a recent poll. Fire is very destructive, but as the authors state, it is also the basis for civilization. Humans learned to tame the destructive nature of fire, while harnessing its power. That is the precise analogy to AI that the book studies.

Continue reading

Relocalization

Are there other forces lurking that could indeed lead to relocalization? Might a world where our food, energy, and products are created locally drive deglobalization? An open question with massive implications. Relocalization is a geopolitical building block – one of many that contribute to future thinking exercises.

Frank Diana – Deglobalization

That quote from my post on deglobalization highlights a possible future. That future is not the same as a possible post deglobalization future. The context surrounding deglobalization is centered on resilience and risk. To drive resilience and reduce risk, nations will diversify their supply chains and pursue reshoring strategies where appropriate. Relocalization on the other hand has massive implications to the nation-state structure and long-standing institutions. Imagine a world where our energy, food, and goods are sourced locally. What happens when a state is self-sufficient? What need does the state have of nations? What happens to logistics and transport if our needs are satisfied locally?

Continue reading

The Changing Human Life Cycle

Given the recent focus on demographics, I went back to review a book in my library titled “The Great Demographic Reversal.” In a post that reviewed the book, I mentioned that the authors state several times that their findings are controversial and counter to the views of mainstream economists. By way of review, the authors concluded that the future is one of:

  • Inflation
  • A fall in working age population
  • An aging society that struggles with the ravages of dementia
  • Declining growth of real output
  • An increase in labor’s bargaining power
  • Possible interest rate increases
  • Increased health expenses
  • A reduction in inequality

Several of those projected characteristics of a possible future are currently in play. Whether these are transitory or the new normal suggested by the authors remains to be seen. We have the benefit of history in looking at the various forces that shaped the current global economy.

Continue reading

Deglobalization

Deglobalization is a geopolitical building block with massive implications as it converges with its societal counterparts. In my August 2020 poll on the catalysts that drive change, deglobalization entered the list. It was not surprising, given the supply chain concerns that emerged in the early days of the pandemic. But is deglobalization likely? This recent article explores that question.

The risks of sourcing overseas are a less immediate concern than higher shipping costs, which might tip the balance in favor of sourcing from nearby – and shipping costs are not the only trade costs which are rising. Increasingly, policy is adding to trade costs. The EU’s new Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism will add the equivalent of a trade tariff to reflect the emissions embodied in imports from outside the EU.

Inga Fechner, Joanna Konings, Rico Luman – Deglobalization Ahead? The Pros And Cons Of Reshoring

The article states that despite headlines about an increase in reshoring, evidence does not support the headline of companies bringing production back home. Instead, there is evidence of more diversification. Construction activity for manufacturing facilities is on the rise in the U.S., but mainly in critical areas such as microchips. Trade in intermediate goods continues its upward trend, but the war in Ukraine has introduced uncertainty regarding future direction. The recent announced G7 $600 billion infrastructure investment in response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative will increase trade, and friendshoring seems to have entered our vocabulary.

Continue reading

Possible Futures Over One Hundred Years

I just finished another book titled Future Stories authored by David Christian and have added it to my book library. The book focuses on future thinking, exploring the various ways that experts, plants, animals, and even cells manage the future. This visual from the book provides a glimpse of the possible futures explored.

I am a big believer in storytelling as an effective means of understanding complex scenarios. The book does just that. An abstract of the book follows. I highly recommend it.

Continue reading

The Two Sides Of Population Growth

My last two posts focused on labor shortages and population growth; two critical societal building blocks that converge in ways that shape our future. Continuing with that theme, this recent article looks at these building blocks through the lens of China.

China has edged over a demographic precipice: Its population has begun to shrink. United Nations data published on Monday showed that the long-anticipated tipping point came in the first half of the year; it’s a significant moment for a country whose large population helped transform it into a manufacturing powerhouse

Lili Pike – The end of China’s population boom has arrived. How will the country’s changing demographics shape its future?

According to the referenced United Nations Data, the world’s population is projected to reach 8 billion on 15 November 2022. The report titled World Population Prospects 2022 provides the latest United Nations projections that suggest the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100. Another data point from the U.N. report highlights that population growth is driven in part by declining levels of mortality, as reflected in increased levels of life expectancy at birth. Life expectancy reached 72.8 years globally in 2019, increasing 9 years since 1990. Mortality reductions are projected to result in an average longevity of around 77.2 years globally in 2050

Continue reading

The Looming Labor Shortage

In a post yesterday on population growth, I shared a fascinating visual that looked at the age structure of our population in 2017 versus projections for 2100. The tweet is shared again below, click on arrow in the visual to see the changes.

Population size is important in several ways. Historically, experts worried about societies ability to sustain an ever-growing population. With climate change issues mounting, those concerns remain. However, a scenario where our global populations shrink brings a different set of challenges. As this article on projected labor shortages describes, the growth rate of an economy is determined by two factors: growth in hours worked and growth in productivity. The sustained economic growth of the last 250 years can be attributed to a growing skilled workforce (education played a major role) and major innovations that drove productivity.

Continue reading

Population Growth

Recent estimates for population growth are at odds with one and other. Where the United Nations sees 11 billion people on the planet by 2100, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation sees growth to 9.7 billion initially and then a decline back to 8.8 billion by the end of the century. Future population sizes underpin future strategies for governments and industries around the world. This article via the World Economic Forum underscores the point. The quick video snippet in the Tweet below is fascinating.

Continue reading

The Future Of Freight Transport

Our fascination with autonomous vehicles spans over ten years. Much of that time was focused on self-driving cars in our cities and highways. While that scenario has been slow to materialize, autonomous vehicles are emerging all around us in various applications. We see autonomy rolling out in agriculture, mining, and increasingly, logistics. The autonomous trucking trials happening in the southern region of the U.S. are a harbinger of things to come. The movement of freight however is not limited to our current roads. This recent article describes the future of freight transport – which may be heading underground.

Continue reading

Resistance To Renewable Energy Is Similar To The Early Rejection Of Coal

Without good stories to help us envision something very different from the present, we humans are easily stuck in our conventional mental programming

Per Espen Stoknes

I was reminded of the above quote when I came across this recent article about America’s early rejection of coal. With cheap wood available and houses having wood fireplaces, not many saw the wisdom of shifting to coal. As the article states, our current societal struggle with renewable energy has a long history. Coal itself faced a similar pushback in the early 19th century when the power source promised to solve many of the country’s problems.

Continue reading

Living An Extra One Hundred Years

One of the future scenarios that I have focused on for some time is healthy life extension. When I mention to an audience that the first person to live to 200 has already been born – it gets quite the reaction. That scenario is not as far-fetched as people believe. This recent article explored research in the field of senolytics – drugs that work to eliminate cells that degrade tissue function. The drugs are already showing promising results and could become available on the market within the next decade.

Continue reading

Alexa Can Mimic Anyone’s Voice

The Alexa team demoed the new feature during the event by presenting a scenario in which Alexa uses the voice of a dead grandmother to read a bedtime story to a little boy

Dale John Wong – Alexa will soon be able to talk using a loved one’s voice (even if they’re dead)

That quote from a recent article builds on the digital resurrection post from June 14th. When they say anyone’s voice – they mean it. Take a look at the video below starting at the 1:01:58 mark, which is a different application of the same scenario – resurrecting a lost loved one. If you have not already responded to the poll below, please provide your thoughts.

Continue reading

The Consciousness Debate

The AI and consciousness discussion was bound to emerge in the media at some point – and here we are. The debate in my mind is hindered by how we define consciousness. Nonetheless, the debate continues. Watch the video and see where you land on the question. Take the quick poll below to provide your thoughts.

Continue reading