Digital Twins Reach A Tipping Point

I had the pleasure of joining Alan Shimel of Techstrong TV for a short Interview on digital twins. Our discussion explored the growing number of scenarios enabled by the convergence of multiple technologies. We discussed its application in the context of food and health in the short term, the Metaverse and smart cities in the medium term, and the off-planet economy in the long term. Alan does a great job with these interviews. You can explore several topics at Techstrong TV.

Innovation And Our Well-Being

In a post from 2016, I launched an innovation wheel that captured the activity of the second industrial revolution. This activity set the standard of living that much of society enjoys today. As I mentioned in that earlier post, in a brilliant journey through the economic history of the western world, author Robert J. Gordon looks at The Rise and Fall of American Growth. The book focused on a revolutionary century that impacted the American standard of living more than any period before or after. Our standard of living is typically viewed as the ratio of total production of goods and services (real GDP) per member of the population. But this measure fails to truly capture enhancements to our well-being. Human well-being is influenced by advances in the areas of food, clothing, shelter, energy, transport, education, health, work, information, entertainment, and communications. The special century (1870 – 1970) that followed the Civil War was made possible by a unique clustering of what the author calls the great inventions. Clearly – as the visual depicts – the great inventions of the second industrial revolution significantly improved our well-being.

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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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Innovation Is Everywhere

My belief that human development will accelerate in the coming decade is fueled by a wave of emerging innovation both now and in the future. Our ability to invent dates back a very long time. Each new wave of invention builds upon the last, with subsequent waves accelerating on the strength of new building blocks that emerge and the growth of knowledge. We stand on the shoulders of brilliant people that came before us, and as inventors, inventions, and knowledge converged, our standard of living was elevated. No period represents this phenomenon better than the late 19th and early 20th century. It was early 2016 when I first attempted to capture the dynamics of that period visually.

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The Journey: A World Of Ecosystems

In a continuation of my series titled “A Journey through the Looking Glass”, I will describe how convergence across multiple forces likely changes the organizing system of society. The focus of the post is on one element of this change: the way value is created and captured in the future. The post picks up from the last, where I explored the next phase of human development. The well-being discussion from that post flows naturally into a discussion about our life experiences. Those experiences will increasingly be enabled by ecosystems.

A WORLD OF ECOSYSTEMS

Yogi Berra is credited with saying that the future ain’t what it used to be. What a perfect way to describe a phase transition that completely changes the way we think about the future. In an earlier series post, I described the complexity, volatility, and uncertainty associated with envisioning possible futures. Indeed, the experimentation we often talk about in the context of innovation also applies to the future. While running for president in 1932 during the depths of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt remarked:

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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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2022 Prediction Season

It’s that time of year when the airwaves are filled with predictions. I launched my post on signals prior to the holidays, consciously avoiding the term prediction. Regardless of how I feel about predicting in the current environment, there are many thoughtful articles to consider. Here are several prediction articles that I have curated.

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Therapeutic Agents That Target Cancer Cells Directly

Two scenarios in our emerging future are healthy life extension and radical life extension. The former extends are healthy lives and the latter pursues immortality. At the heart of both scenarios lies astounding and rapid advances in science and technology. A recent article provides a great example while exploring the possibility of cancerous tumors eliminating themselves. Per the article, a new technology developed by University of Zurich (UZH) researchers enables the body to produce therapeutic agents on demand at the exact location where they are needed.

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Futuristic New Cities

I believe the smart city represents the intersection of multiple emerging ecosystems. Energy, transport, water, food, health, and more, could come together to create a more equitable and sustainable future. At least that’s the mission of Telosa. A recent article via Oscar Holland describes the vision of billionaire Marc Lore:

The cleanliness of Tokyo, the diversity of New York and the social services of Stockholm: Billionaire Marc Lore has outlined his vision for a 5-million-person “new city in America” and appointed a world-famous architect to design it.

Oscar Holland – Plans for $400-billion new city in the American desert unveiled

Per the article, the 150,000-acre proposal promises eco-friendly architecture, sustainable energy production and a purportedly drought-resistant water system. It embraces a “15-minute city design” that allows residents to access their workplaces, schools and amenities within a quarter-hour commute of their homes. The brief video describes the vision.

The Good Future: A Perspective Via Gerd Leonhard

We must make the right decisions now, if we want a good future

Gerd Leonhard – The Good Future is entirely possible, and it’s our choice!

That quote from fellow Futurist Gerd Leonhard comes from a recent film he produced to convey optimism about our ability to create a good future. He opens with several statements that are core to my beliefs about our emerging future. He states that what we have done for the last one hundred years is no longer going to be suitable for the future. In other words what got us here won’t get us there. It was back in 2013 when I wrote about the structural change expected in the future. Much like my belief that structures and institutions will change, Gerd believes that the current system is unfit for the future, driving the need for a different logic. He mentions something that he has been saying for years: science fiction is becoming science fact. In exploring the possibilities of a good future, he starts with a question: what does good look like? He proposes a definition of good that includes relationships, experiences, the planet, purpose, and prosperity.

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The Probability Of Living Past 110 Is On The Rise

I posed this question in 2018 in a post on healthy life extension: Has the first person to live to 200 already been born? I ask that question in various forums to provide a good example of how one scenario can challenge current institutions and traditional thinking. In that earlier post, Johnty Andersen, had this perspective on that question:

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What Does A Recent Trend Study Tells Us About The Future?

Each year the Future Today Institute releases a very comprehensive trend study during SXSW. I just finished getting through this very comprehensive installment. In announcing this year’s report, Founder Amy Webb had this to say:

The cataclysmic events of the past year resulted in a significant number of new signals. As a result, we’ve analyzed nearly 500 tech and science trends across multiple industry sectors. Rather than squeezing the trends into one enormous tome as we usually do, we are instead publishing 12 separate reports with trends grouped by subject. We are including what we’ve called Book Zero, which shows how we did our work. There is also an enormous, 504-page PDF with all content grouped together as one document.

Well, Amy was not kidding, there is quite a bit to digest. The 12 separate reports referenced can be downloaded Here. As I do with each look into the future, I captured some highlights from this year’s trend study. I will start however with an important observation that Amy made in the opening of the report.

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Watch A Robot Perform Surgery On A Banana

As we march relentlessly towards an Automated Society, scenarios emerge to provide signals. How far will we take this automation scenario? My post last week focused on sports and a robot that Shoots Baskets with stunning accuracy. My post for today looks into robotic surgery, which is traditionally defined as any surgery done with a complete robotic surgical system. It was originally developed for the military so that surgeons could remotely do open surgery on wounded soldiers in the field. This Article on the topic describes it this way:

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Nanobots To Improve Our Health and Someday Connect Our Minds

Nanotechnology is defined as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers. Wikipedia had this to say about the field:


Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in nanomedicinenanoelectronicsbiomaterials energy production, and consumer products. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials, and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios. These concerns have led to a debate among advocacy groups and governments on whether special regulation of nanotechnology is warranted.


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Reversing The Aging Process

Advances in life sciences have scientist believing that the first person to Live to 200 has already been born. This Healthy Life Extension scenario has major societal implications. In this scenario, we are not just enabling people to live longer, but we will also be healthier. This healthy longevity challenges traditional views of retirement, wealth, savings, our social contract, and the phases of our lives, among other things. Now, you may ask, how is it possible to extend our lives in a healthy manner? In a Post from 2018, I shared a perspective from Johnty Andersen, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Anti-Aging Medicine researcher:

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Revisiting the Intersections That Shape Our Future

The building blocks of our future are numerous, and they are intersecting in ways that drive rapid shifts. I Visualized this phenomenon a while back, trying to depict the complexity of our world and the challenges it represents. It was Futurist Gerd Leonhard that gave me the idea. As someone who used my Anchor Visual in keynotes, he reflected on how impactful it might be to demonstrate the convergence that was occurring across the visual.

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Tectonic Shifts Expected As Digital Expands

Prognosticators continue to point to massive shifts in the aftermath of COVID-19. In this recent Article, author Bhaskar Majumdar explores an aggressive convergence of the physical and digital worlds. Pointing to the domains that have already converged – education and entertainment – Mr. Majumdar sees this phenomenon overwhelming all aspects of our lives. In the near future, he sees it impacting banking, medicine, trade, shopping, dining and sports. As we come to terms with social distancing in a post-COVID world, some level of change is inevitable.

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The Personalized Health Ecosystem

A recent article on the Future of Medicine explores the emerging Wellness Ecosystem and the impact that COVID-19 is likely to have on its path. The key message from the article and associated video below is that Connected Health has a greater opportunity for realization. The pandemic has proven that virtual ways of working and telemedicine can work. The video examines the role of artificial intelligence, 5G, Sensors, and data in the progression towards a personalized health ecosystem.

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Global Progress and The Post-War Order

A recent Article by Bryan Walsh explores the human development enabled by a post-world war two order. To avoid a repeat of the turbulence of the Thirty Year period that began in 1915, this post-war order was established. Institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations (UN), World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) were formed. Despite an occasional spike of violence, the article reports that the absolute number of people killed in war and conflict has been declining since 1946.

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Coronavirus: Permanent Change? 34 Big Thinkers Explore the Possibilities

While the immediate focus of our global health crisis remains on the present, as we approach the other side, many will focus on a post-pandemic future. Painting pictures of possible futures was already critical in this time of rapid change; the pandemic elevates the urgency. I have been sharing the perspectives of many global thinkers in the interest of providing foresight to those who will need it when the focus shifts. A virtual session focused on a post-pandemic society is being planned, and I will likely participate. In discussing that possibility, I was presented with this Article.

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