Tag Archives: futurism

Heading NXNW…TO THE FUTURE

This week, 1X57 is heading North by Northwest to Vancouver for the World Future Society‘s annual conference, World Future 2011, to kick off a new phenomenon we’ve co-produced, Futurists:BetaLaunch – an innovation showcase slash tech petting zoo featuring 12 ideas in beta that offer an exciting vision of the future.

Although this is 1X57′s first time to World Future and we’re not really sure what to expect, we’re pretty stoked. Earlier in the year, we were invited as guests of the World Future Society to an exclusive reception and screening of the Ray Kurzweil documentary, Transcendent Man, with uber-futurist Ray Kurzweil himself and the Director/Producer Barry Ptolemy. Hearing Ray speak in person was tantamount to doing mental crack.  He didn’t talk about common DC hot topics like LIvingSocial or big data (not that these are inherently unexciting) but for me, they pale in comparison to contemplating the bigger picture of what life will be like once we can physically achieve immortality or once AI surpasses human intelligence. These are gnarly questions that like it or not, we as a race are moving towards having to answer.

In our adventure, we’re bringing some friends – Tech Cocktail and Disruptathon – who will be adding an additional layer of awesomeness to F:BL. Disruptathon will be providing the platforms and the technology to collect real-time feedback from World Future attendees about each BetaLauncher and Tech Cocktail will be hosting an evening reception that will feature the BetaLaunchers alongside 12 local Vancouver start-ups.

We’re also looking forward to meeting two special guests, Dale Dougherty and Brian Wong. Dale is the co-Founder of O’Reilly Media and editor and publisher of MAKE magazine and will be doing a fireside chat on the maker revolution as a lead-in to the evening Tech Cocktail event. And Vancouver’s own Brian Wong, touted the next Mark Zuckerberg and the youngest entrepreneur to receive VC funding (for his brainchild Kiip) will be joining us on Saturday evening at Tech Cocktail to check out the innovations and start-ups.

Then there’s the content of the conference itself. Steve and I will be joined by our friend, Kirby Plessas, to discuss living content and how open communication and content platforms are molding the future. And there are several talks we’re looking forward to attending, including the Sunday keynote by scientist and Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Gray on the Prospects for Defeating Aging.

With everything that will be going on, I think I’m most excited about being in an environment that contemplates the future and asks not can we get there, but how - because ultimately that is how the future is made.

Leading into the Future: Why the U.S. will look to Japan, not China

On Wednesday night, ~75 futurists gathered for an engaging meet-up at Public Bar in Washington, DC. Patrick Tucker (@TheYear2030), senior editor of THE FUTURIST magazine, spoke briefly, as I had invited him to share a little about his experiences while on assignment in Japan during the past six months.

In an email response to Shashi Bellamkonda (who snapped some fun photos of the evening) on why he ventured to Japan, Patrick wrote:

…in searching for a picture of what the United States will look like in 2050, don’t look to China.  The story of the emerging superpower is one we’ve already lived.  China will industrialize, build factories, grow its middle class, and assert its interests on the international stage.  For all the menace that Washington projects onto the government in Beijing, too often we forget that China ’s ascent is the story of  America’s rise a century ago.  A more accurate picture of our later 21st Century might be found in Japan, a nation grappling with enormous national debt, insufficient natural resources, waning geopolitical influence, and the oldest population in the Industrialized world; 22% of the country is older than 65.

Japan is still the future. But the future is not what it was.

Japan’s aging and shrinking population is a lethal combination for economic growth according to many outside observers. Older populations draw down savings rather than reinvest, and they strain public services and government budgets, a particular worry in Japan where the debt to GDP ratio is above 200%.

Japan, however, is also a world leader in green product design, hardware design, and personal robotics.  In the coming decade, Japan will leverage its technology and design strengths in an attempt overcome its economic and demographic challenges.  Japan’s success or failure in this effort will be instructive for other developed economies with aging populations.

As someone who follows technology and innovation closely, Japan is exceptionally interesting – for its cultural tradition, discipline and honor, for its love of nature in its reverence for trees and seasons, and for its exuberant development of robots. Now, in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that disabled the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, I’m even more interested in how this country will lead the way in energy innovation (for example, read  how one Japanese company is pursuing a plan to harvest solar energy from the moon). And more importantly, how the United States will partner in these endeavors.

 

You might be a futurist if…

You find the now so yawn…what’ll be hot in a few months from now meh…transporters and nanobots and the singularity can’t get here soon enough.

In all seriousness (not that I was joking in the previous paragraph), I think futurists, and futurism, scare a lot of people. And it’s not because futurism challenges deeply held precepts of traditionalists.

No, I think it’s because people can barely handle their current reality, let alone the idea of ones in the future. Of course you’re going to think Ray Kurzweil is a kook if you cling onto the past or even worse, can’t come to terms with it.

Futurists are not people who live in fear, who aren’t so mired in reality they can’t envision what the future looks like. Futurists are dreamers and even more, they are believers in their own dreams. They are inventors and they are creators and they are problem-solvers.

Wikipedia defines futurists as “scientists and social scientists whose speciality is to attempt to systematically predict the future, whether that of human society in particular or of life on earth in general.”

But I don’t believe futurists are so much predictors of the future as they are drivers of it. Thomas Edison was just as much of a futurist as Martin Luther King. They had an inherent, insatiable need to create change based on an undying discontent with their current surroundings and circumstances. To quote Edison, “Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.”

So does future make the man or does man make the future? I think futurists make the future. One is able to predict the future by creating it. So the real question is, what kind of future do you want to create?

PS – Tomorrow (Wed, Apr 20) I predict a large group of people will gather at Public Bar in DC to talk about futurism, the future and Japan: dcfuturists.eventbrite.com

Press Release: Call For Start-Ups, Entrepreneurs, & Inventors

Are you an entrepreneur, inventor, or working for a start-up?

If so, here is an opportunity for you to get in front of 1,000 influential futurists and an online community of over 35,000.

We are pleased to announce the Futurists: BetaLaunch in partnership with the World Future Society, a 45-year old non-profit organization dedicated to advancing ideas of the future.

This launch platform will take place in July at the World Future Conference in Vancouver, Canada. The audience will be an enthusiastic and sophisticated group of customers, investors, forecasters, political figures, early adopters, engineers, and more!

To participate visit our website: Futurists: BetaLaunch website

Submit your innovation/invention, due by April 15!

We are looking for a wide range of entrepreneurs, inventors, start-ups, artists, educators, manufacturers, etc.


Official press release from the World Future Society

World Future Society – Futurists: BetaLaunch

Bethesda, Maryland

The nonprofit World Future Society has issued a call for inventions and innovations to showcase at the first annual Futurists: BetaLaunch, this summer in Vancouver. The Futurists: Beta Launch or F:BL will serve as a sort of technology petting zoo where engineers, designers or others can present their inventions to the 1,000 futurists expected to gather for WorldFuture 2011, the Society’s annual conference.

“Recently, the global community of the World Future Society was polled about what futurist ideas they would most like to examine. The results confirmed what we suspected; futurists love ideas, innovation and look to us [The World Future Society] to help them keep on top of coming technological breakthroughs,” says Jennifer Boykin, World Future Society director of development.

WorldFuture 2011

Founded in 1966 as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Washington, D.C., the World Future Society has members in more than 80 countries around the world. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join the Society and participate in its programs and activities.

The Society holds a two-day, international conference once a year where participants discuss foresight techniques and global trends that are influencing the future. Previous conference attendees have included future U.S. President Gerald Ford (1974), Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1975), behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner (1984), age-wave expert Ken Dychtwald (2005), U.S. comptroller general David M. Walker (2006) and inventor Ray Kurzweil (2010). Others in attendance typically include business leaders, government officials, scientists, corporate planners, and forecasters from across the globe.

“Because of their passion, conference attendees are key purchasers and influencers for markets serving innovation, inventions, learning, and new technologies of all kinds,” according to Boykin. She hopes that F: BL will allow inventors “to connect in a very personal way with an audience of people who can help you launch your idea.”

Where and When is the Event?

The Futurists: BetaLaunch showcase will be held in conjunction with WorldFuture 2011, the Annual Conference of the World Future Society at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre hotel in Vancouver, Canada on July 8-10, 2011. You can learn more about the conference by visiting www.wfs.org.

F:BL will be physically located in the conference exhibits area. The call for inventions will close on April 15, 2011. The World Future Society will notify all entrants of selection decisions by May 1, 2011.

All inventors selected for the conference will receive a complimentary registration to the conference ($750 value.) Travel costs are the responsibility of each inventor. Learn more about Futurists: BetaLaunch at http://wfsbetalaunch.com/ or contact Jennifer Boykin at jboykin@wfs.org or call 301-656-8274.

Press Release: Call For Start-Ups, Entrepreneurs, & Inventors

Are you an entrepreneur, inventor, or working for a start-up?

If so, here is an opportunity for you to get in front of 1,000 influential futurists and an online community of over 35,000.

We are pleased to announce the Futurists: BetaLaunch in partnership with the World Future Society, a 45-year old non-profit organization dedicated to advancing ideas of the future.

This launch platform will take place in July at the World Future Conference in Vancouver, Canada. The audience will be an enthusiastic and sophisticated group of customers, investors, forecasters, political figures, early adopters, engineers, and more!

To participate visit our website: Futurists: BetaLaunch website

Submit your innovation/invention, due by April 15!

We are looking for a wide range of entrepreneurs, inventors, start-ups, artists, educators, manufacturers, etc.


Official press release from the World Future Society

World Future Society – Futurists: BetaLaunch

Bethesda, Maryland

The nonprofit World Future Society has issued a call for inventions and innovations to showcase at the first annual Futurists: BetaLaunch, this summer in Vancouver. The Futurists: Beta Launch or F:BL will serve as a sort of technology petting zoo where engineers, designers or others can present their inventions to the 1,000 futurists expected to gather for WorldFuture 2011, the Society’s annual conference.

“Recently, the global community of the World Future Society was polled about what futurist ideas they would most like to examine. The results confirmed what we suspected; futurists love ideas, innovation and look to us [The World Future Society] to help them keep on top of coming technological breakthroughs,” says Jennifer Boykin, World Future Society director of development.

WorldFuture 2011

Founded in 1966 as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Washington, D.C., the World Future Society has members in more than 80 countries around the world. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join the Society and participate in its programs and activities.

The Society holds a two-day, international conference once a year where participants discuss foresight techniques and global trends that are influencing the future. Previous conference attendees have included future U.S. President Gerald Ford (1974), Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1975), behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner (1984), age-wave expert Ken Dychtwald (2005), U.S. comptroller general David M. Walker (2006) and inventor Ray Kurzweil (2010). Others in attendance typically include business leaders, government officials, scientists, corporate planners, and forecasters from across the globe.

“Because of their passion, conference attendees are key purchasers and influencers for markets serving innovation, inventions, learning, and new technologies of all kinds,” according to Boykin. She hopes that F: BL will allow inventors “to connect in a very personal way with an audience of people who can help you launch your idea.”

Where and When is the Event?

The Futurists: BetaLaunch showcase will be held in conjunction with WorldFuture 2011, the Annual Conference of the World Future Society at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre hotel in Vancouver, Canada on July 8-10, 2011. You can learn more about the conference by visiting www.wfs.org.

F:BL will be physically located in the conference exhibits area. The call for inventions will close on April 15, 2011. The World Future Society will notify all entrants of selection decisions by May 1, 2011.

All inventors selected for the conference will receive a complimentary registration to the conference ($750 value.) Travel costs are the responsibility of each inventor. Learn more about Futurists: BetaLaunch at http://wfsbetalaunch.com/ or contact Jennifer Boykin at jboykin@wfs.org or call 301-656-8274.