Let's Debate the Future, Please!

April 28 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Culture   Year: General   Rating: 10 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

(An opinion piece)

Cross-posted from jumpthecurve

Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, recently had a thoughtful opinion piece bemoaning the media’s lack of meaningful coverage of today’s important issues. To emphasize her point, she noted that many American’s can now tell you Barack Obama’s bowling score but can’t recite one major plank in his health care plan.

It is a valid criticism and I wholeheartedly agree with her critique but Edwards, the candidates, and the media are missing another serious issue – the accelerating pace of science and technological change.

More specifically, no candidate is approaching today’s important issues of health care, education, the environment and war from the perspective that the near-term future of all of these issues will almost certainly will be different – and perhaps radically so – because of the accelerating pace of technological change.

Let me provide just a few recent examples. Late last year, the Pentagon reported that it had begun arming robots with guns for the first time ever. It then announced, to little fanfare, that it intended to triple the number of robots in battlefield situations by 2010. And by 2015 – a date that would place it near the end of the next president’s second term – the Defense Department has publicly stated that it expects one-third of the U.S. fight force to consist of robots. (cont.)

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Top Energy Stories of 2008: #3 The Obama Election

December 16 2008 / by joelg / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 5 Hot

By Joel Greenberg

Barack Obama's energy platform included goals for renewable energy, higher automoative gas mileage standards, support for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and targets for energy efficiency of homes...and that's just to start.  With the recent announcement of Nobel laureate and now former head of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Steven Chu as Energy Secretary, Obama's administration can be the catalyst that makes alternative energy markets viable.

Will the Obama administration be successful in making the energy changes he promised in the election?

Obama's Energy Plan

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Change is in the Air - We Need a President Who Can Help Us Prepare for It

November 04 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Business & Work   Year: 2012   Rating: 4 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

An opinion piece. Cross-posted from www.jumpthecurve.net

Our elected officials should spend less time promising that they will “deliver” change and more time helping society prepare for the change that is coming because it is going to be massive.

After almost two years of campaigning, it is finally here: Election Day! Change is in the air, but not for the reasons one might expect.

Regardless of a person’s preference for Obama, McCain, Nader or one of the other candidates, I don’t actually believe they (or any politician for that matter) will be the primary instrument of change in the near future. That mantle will instead belong to technology.

Let me just provide a quick glimpse from the world of technology through the lens of a single day—today.

I began my morning by reading this article on a “solar power game changer.” The piece describes how a new antireflective coating now allows for the “near perfect” absorption of sunlight. In other words, society is one step closer to solar technology replacing a number of conventional energy sources. Politicians can clamor all they want about “clean coal” and “more drilling” but my hunch is that technological advances will render their opinions and policy suggestions moot.

Next, I stumbled across this article discussing a new “heart-patching” technology. Combined with yesterday’s announcement by a Medtronic official that the “medical device industry is done,” it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that health care is quickly moving in the direction of preventative care.

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America's New Face to the World

November 20 2008 / by DSMason / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Government   Year: 2009   Rating: 2

Cross-posted fromThe End of the American Century

The election of Barack Obama sends a signal to the rest of the world that the U.S. can behave differently.

In the last chapter of my book The End of the American Century, I write that “a best-case scenario for the future of the United States would have to begin with new political leadership” and that the first thing a new president could do “would be to mend American relations with the rest of the world and to temper the unilateralism, hubris and militarism that have made it so difficult for the United States to work with other countries in solving pressing global issues.”

The election of Barack Obama is a big first step for the United States in changing our orientation to the rest of the world, and the way the world sees the U.S.

As Britain’s Economist magazine put it, in its endorsement of Obama as “the next leader of the free world”—“Merely by becoming president, he would dispel many of the myths built up about America: it would be far harder for the spreaders of hate in the Islamic world to denounce the Great Satan if it were led by a black man whose middle name is Hussein; and far harder for autocrats around the world to claim that American democracy is a sham.”

He is widely seen as a leader who is open to the views of others, and willing to work with other countries. France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, in a handwritten letter of congratulations to the U.S. President-elect, said “your election raises immense hope” in Europe and beyond, “of an open America. . .that will once again lead the way, with its partners, through the power of its example and the adherence to its principles.”

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