Welcome to Future Blogger

February 26 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Other   Year: 2008   Rating: 20

“I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.”
George Burns, late great cigar smoking comedian

As a species, we just can’t get ahead.

Despite the many innovations that have bettered humans’ ability to look into the future, the ongoing convergence of these technologies and information structures has accelerated the pace of change, making it harder for us to imagine what’s just around the corner. New blogs (Tech Crunch, Mashable, Gizmodo), trend trackers (TechMeme, Buzz Market, Trendio) and prediction markets (Inkling, Predictify, Zii Trend) are useful and necessary attempts to claim back our forecasting advantage. Adding to such efforts is the brand new Future Blogger, a site that aims to take discussion of the wider future to the next level.

On behalf of the Future Blogger team: Welcome!!

Future Blogger is a blog network focused on exploring ground-breaking information related to the future. The site combines rich top-down reporting and images with broad bottom-up content generated by a community with diverse interests. Experts and amateurs alike can contribute predictions, scenarios, trend analyses, future fiction, illustrations, videos and any other future-related content. Guided by a community feedback system, the best posts are funneled to the top, to the front page and a broader audience, where they receive increased community feedback. These posts are also submitted to Future Scanner, a future-focused digg-clone that both amplifies the signal of Future Blogger and serves as a valuable resource for future bloggers working on new posts.

All that being said, what does all of this mean for you, the future-interested web surfer?

For one, you can regularly check out the main pages of both Future Blogger and Future Scanner to quickly get an overview of the wild future ahead of us. Go deeper by filtering content by future year and category or by exploring other posts by your favorite future bloggers. And make sure to take advantage of our various RSS feeds and Facebook widget if you’re pressed for time.

It’s also easy (and free) to open an account that lets you comment, vote, submit cool links and keep track of your favorite content. Taking a moment to setup a MemeBox account will not only help organize your simulation of the future, it will serve to incorporate your feedback into the broader site, helping shape the overall direction and content.

For those of you looking to contribute memes to the global future dialogue, there’s no better place to post your thoughts, predictions, illustrations and scenarios than Future Blogger. Whether you’re an established writer looking to extend your reach, or an up-and-coming thinker seeking feedback and an audience, teaming with the Future Blogger community is a win-win proposition. You can easily submit original or cross-posted content through your user account to engage an active future-focused community.

Together, Future Blogger and Future Scanner represent a new method for imagining the future ahead of us. As Burns said, we’re all going to spend the rest of our lives there, so it’s important that we better our simulation of what’s coming next. We’re psyched that you’ve ventured our way and hope you’ll stick around as we build a valuable resource and thread together visions of the possible tomorrows ahead of us.

Holler at Your Future-Focused Boys & Girls, -vis

Utopian vs. Dystopian Futures

July 19 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Social Issues   Year: General   Rating: 16 Hot

In the field of futures studies, expectations on what the next century holds for us range anywhere from the fantastical to the downright depressing. Some would say having a negative outlook on the future hinders the science of actually progressing towards a better future. Others contend that expecting the incredible will lead to irreparable technological mistakes.

Utopians might argue that if you see the future as doomed, then every decision you make will be influenced by that negative outlook. A perfect example is the pleadings of many scientists and environmentalists for the media to stop portraying global warming as inevitable. Their fear is that if people feel that global warming can’t be stopped, then why care about pollution? Why try and bail out a sinking ship if it’s guaranteed to go down?

On the other side, having a positive outlook on the future also heavily impacts your choices. Utopianism is by far more uplifting (for obvious reasons), but there is harm in it as well. If you have the expectation that humans will invent a cold fusion reactor in the next decade, maybe you’re less likely to conserve energy. Or maybe you’re not concerned about the impact of smoking cigarettes because thirty years from now, you assume there will be a cure for cancer.

In the utopian corner of futures study we find a world where “biotech and nanotech advances eliminated disease and aging,” according to Dick Pelletier of www.positivefuturist.com. In his vision of the future, every human on Earth is not only free of illness, but also lives in an “ageless body powered by enhanced neurons.” This fantastical view he sees as not only entirely possible, but so easily attainable that he estimates all this will be achieved by the year 2030. Raymond Kurzweil, famous futurist and holder of 15 honorary doctorates, calculates that our rate of progress is doubling every decade. Pelletier, although holding seemingly fictional beliefs, might not be too far off the mark. (cont.)

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The Chronicles of Extreme Future Part 1: On Demand Medicine

May 05 2008 / by Fictionthis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2015   Rating: 9 Hot

Steve has had a long day. He is tired despite having taken the anti-fatigue pill “Alert” to get through the last web conference on the company’s newest video unit.

Steve has had a long day. He is tired despite having taken the anti-fatigue pill “Alert” to get through the last web conference on the company’s newest video unit. A happy hour beer-fest at an Alfa lounge sounds tempting, but just after leaving the building; a sharp chest pain stops him mid step. The pain finally subsides, and he quickly speaks to his cell phone, activating his personal health record by uttering the word, “Emergency”.

Immediately, Steve is routed via the internet to his health plan’s Clinical emergency centre for diagnosis. This Involves answering a series of yes or no questions about the symptoms and vital signs asked by a Med-Tech on duty computer. Steve places a finger on the screen of his cell phone where his bio-signature converts his bio-scan signals and sends them instantly to the Emerg-Med Team via virtual Net Centre many time zones away.

The GE Cyberdoc decides that Steve’s condition maybe acute cardiac ischemia and dispatches a clinic mobile to his exact location. En route to the nearest emergency-care unit, a battery of tests, including another bio-scan, are performed and transmitted immediately through a wireless devise in real time to a lab for interpretation. (cont.)

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5 Media Trends For 2009

January 03 2009 / by Jeff Hilford / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Entertainment   Year: 2009   Rating: 9 Hot

2009 promises to be a big year on the media landscape as next stage public adoption of online product will spur tremendous growth.  Here are 5 things to watch for:

  • Tweet!  Twitter explodes and joins the parade - MySpace --> YouTube --> Facebook --> Twitter - as an elite meme that everybody has heard of.  In the process it requisitely transforms into a corporate tool and attracts an older demographic cohort. pewinter1.png
  • Online Advertising Hangs Tough  Despite all of the end times rhetoric, online advertising actually increases 10%.  The efficiency of the web is wreaking havoc on traditional media.  Companies still need to advertise their products and eyeballs are continuing to flock to the web.  Bang for the buck and big metrics make web media undeniably compelling.
  • The Future Gets Hot  The present stinks and people will turn their attention elsewhere.  While many will pine for a return to the past they will be forced to look ahead.  The doom and gloom of the economic meltdown and global warming combined with the incredible pace of technological change provide a fertile backdrop for projection.  ABC's 2100, Discovery's 2057 and plenty of content about the next decade will push this meme to the forefront.  Sweet.  

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Augmented Reality - Closer Than You Might Think

February 09 2009 / by Jeff Hilford
Category: Technology   Year: 2009   Rating: 9 Hot

Here are two cool examples of augmented reality apps/prototypes that are already out.  The first is a really fun one from GE's futuristic Ecoimagination campaign.  By making a print-out from their site and holding it in front of your monitor it brings the animation out of the box and into your room.  Here's the Future is Awesome's Duncan Rawlinson demonstrating it with the print out attached to his mobile.

 

Here are some other DIY examples that illustrate it further  123.

Another very cool, though early incarnation technology that gives us a hint of how we'll be interacting with information in our physical environments comes to us from the MIT Media Lab - demoed at the recent TED conference (via Wired).

It's "a wearable computer system that turns any surface into an interactive display screen."  Definitely has some of that early stage Minority Report feel to it and I think when looking at these two examples it's pretty obvious that this world will be here sooner than most people think.

Chronicles of Extreme Future Part 5: Utopia

May 02 2008 / by Fictionthis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Transportation   Year: Beyond   Rating: 8 Hot

Underwater cities have been a dream of futurists. Starting from Atlantis to the evasive Captain Nemo.

The first underwater built city in Dubai was a scientific breakthrough. Located just off the coast of the man made “World” islands, it was the first under water facility capable of sustaining prolonged life under water. It was built in the shallow waters, merely ten meters from the surface allowing plenty of natural light to seep through.

At first air was pumped from the outside until a new air harvesting technology called “air farming” was adopted in 2020. Air farming is literally a network of fields of sea plants, saturated with pumps and filtering systems, extracting and transporting air to the underwater city. The switch from external to internal air came in 2022 which introduced a new era of development under water. It was later discovered that air produced and extracted straight from the ocean was so beneficial to human health that the underwater cities quickly became the preferred choice for the rich and famous. Nicknamed “Utopia”, it became the centre of the scientific advancement. (cont.)

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Positive vs. Negative Futures

March 26 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Other   Year: General   Rating: 7

When considering the future, is it more important to focus on the extinction risk posed by advancing technology or the massive potential for social advancement enabled by the same?

Futurist blogger and core Lifeboat Foundation member Michael Anissimov argues that calculating and combating existential risk is the moral imperative of our time.

Anissimov writes, “In less than a decade, humanity will likely develop weapons even more deadly than nukes – synthetic life, and eventually, nanorobots and self-improving AI. Even if we consider the likelihood of human extinction in the next century to be small, say 1%, it still merits attention due to the incredibly high stakes involved.”

Jamais Cascio, founder of worldchanging.com and a popular futurist blogger in his own right, concurs that existential risk is a most valid concern.

In a recent Nanotechnology Now column he explains, “[S]ome technologies may enable individuals or small groups to carry out attacks, on infrastructure or people, at a scale that would have required the resources of an army in decades past. This is not an outlandish concern by any means; many proponents of the “super-empowered angry individual” (SEAI) concept cite the September 11 attacks as a crude example of how vulnerable modern society can be to these kinds of threats. It’s not hard to imagine what a similar band of terrorists, or groups like Aum Shinrikyo, might try to do with access to molecular manufacturing or advanced bioengineering tools.”

But then Cascio turns things around a bit and points out that “angry people aren’t the only ones who could be empowered by these technologies.”

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The Future of Violent Sports

September 18 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Culture   Year: General   Rating: 7 Hot

If there’s one thing NASCAR has shown the world, it’s that people will watch even the most boring “sport” on the planet in the hopes they’ll see a little blood.

The fact is, people like to see destruction. No, I’m not saying they like to watch death or serious injury, but they do enjoy dramatic destruction. Like it or not, seeing cars smash into each other at high speeds makes is exciting. Even crashing airplanes gets a good deal of attention on YouTube.

A quick glance at human history reveals that people have always had a taste for blood, from the Greeks with their Olympic Games to the Romans and their their arena gladiators.

Think about it. There’s a reason traffic slows down by an accident even though the crash has been cleared off to the side of the road, there’s a reason people crowd around a burning building, there’s a reason The Dark Knight was so popular (want to watch me make a pencil disappear?), and there’s a reason torture-porn movies like Saw and Hostel have raked in so much cash.

So what about our future sports?

We may begin to see more sports straight out of post-apocalyptic movies. With nanobots able to repair injuries within minutes and safety technologies advancing day by day, shouldn’t we expect sports to continue pushing the envelope?

Cities around the country could set up their own arenas, much like the Romans built coliseums around their empire. The Thunderdome from Mad Max could soon become a contemporary institution (in fact, real-life Thunderdomes already occur today, but are notably less deadly than the fictional kind). With such new sporting events, sports relying on violence for viewers, like the UFC, which displaced boxing, might find themselves outdated.

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The Next Great Political Debate of the Future?

February 12 2009 / by juldrich / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Culture   Year: 2009   Rating: 7 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from www.jumpthecurve.net

In one of those wonderful historical anomalies, February 12, 2009 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.

Lincoln is recognized as one of the greatest American presidents for helping end slavery. Darwin, of course, is the father of evolutionary biology.

534px-Abraham_Lincoln_seated__Feb_9__1864-1.jpg467px-Charles_Darwin_02.jpg

It might appear these two historical giants have little else in common except the same birthday, but Darwin’s theory of evolution will soon call forth a new political debate which could, if not peacefully resolved, rip this country apart as surely as slavery did.

In today’s Wall Street Journal there is an article describing how advances in genetic technology are ushering in a new era of “designer babies” and some parents are pre-selecting embryos based on cosmetic characteristics such as eye and hair color.

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The Chronicles of Extreme Future Part 2: The Strength Suit

May 06 2008 / by Fictionthis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 6 Hot

It was the summer of 2022 and I was invited to go rock-climbing with some friends. I had never attempted this exercise before, so naturally, I was concerned.

My friends simply dismissed my unease, saying “rock-climbing is not what it used to be”.

They were right.

Body line pressurized suits have been in use since 2012; first in NASA spacewalks and then were quickly introduced to the public. At first they were simply pressurized and used as a space suit based wrap. It increased mobility and decreased its size. Since then electronic fibers were introduced to manipulate the structure of the “smart” fabric thus magnifying the strength of movement while wearing the suit. Making the user of it, astoundingly stronger. I knew that hours in the gym would not be needed for what would be a grueling rock-climbing trip, because my hire suit enhanced my strength five fold. The trip turned out to be great, getting to the top was definitely worth the now-easy trip. Next month we will go kite surfing, I think I might need hire the suit again.

IBM's Business Card of the Future

August 06 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Business & Work   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

You’re chatting with a person whose name you can’t remember. Agonizing minutes pass as you try and figure out not only what they do, but also where the heck you met them before. Your last hope is that some good Samaritan will introduce themselves, but everyone you try to make eye contact with just ignores you. You secretly wish you had that character in the movies who walks around with foreign dignitaries telling them the names of important people.

According to this video by IBM, these awkward situations may soon be a thing of the past.

The most amazing thing about this software isn’t that it can take photos of business cards and put the data directly into your address book, but that it can aid your memory where memories sometimes bottom out.

Faces are probably the easiest thing to remember about a person, but putting a name or even a history behind it can be downright difficult. The idea that you can enter into your PDA where you may have met this person, when it might have been, and then get a list of names and pictures of anyone who matches it is startling. And yet, it’s not entirely unthinkable or outlandish.

So what does the future hold? By 2010 you’ll probably be stalling for time to bring up information on the guy walking towards you (a popular stall might be ‘Just a sec, I’ll be right back.’) instead of winging your way through ten minutes of conversation with a total stranger. Perhaps by 2015 facial recognition will get so good that you’ll be able to “remember” anyone, even complete strangers who for some reason remember you.

What IBM is promising is an end to slowly typing contact information into your cell phone, an end to familiar faces but forgotten names, and an end to lost business cards from people you actually did want to keep in touch with. It won’t be just a cultural exchange miracle – it’ll be a social saving grace.

MemeBox Launches The Energy Roadmap Blog

September 22 2008 / by memebox / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Energy   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

What does the future of energy look like in the 21st century? Which elements will remain the same? Which emerging technologies might reinvent how we look at energy? Most importantly, how quickly might things change?

Dear Future Blogger Readers,

In case you haven’t already clicked on the new button in our right-hand column, MemeBox.com, Your Forum for the Future, is proud to point you in the direction of The Energy Roadmap. Edited by energy industry futurist Garry Golden (who we’re thrilled to have officially join the MemeBox team), the new blog/site focuses on the most disruptive ideas poised to transform the energy industry over the next decade and beyond.

“The Energy Roadmap aims to bridge the gap between emerging energy technology and deeply rooted accelerating change,” says MemeBox CEO Jeff Hilford, “Garry’s professional background in energy and futures studies will open up new conversations on the future of energy. We are very pleased to add his unique voice to the mix.”

The sheer scale of the energy industry means that most changes will happen gradually, but the sector is not immune to the power of disruptive technologies, accelerating change and entrepreneurial business models. The Energy Roadmap seeks to place these dynamics into the proper context around some of the biggest ideas shaping the future:

- Role of carbon pricing schemes
- Impact of nanoscale materials science and engineering
- Role of biology in energy production and carbon utilization (e.g. algae biofuels)
- Energy storage and distributed power generation (e.g. micro-power, on-site power generation)
- Role of software and power management systems for ‘smart grids’
- Evolution of the Hydrocarbon Industry (coal, petroleum and natural gas)
- Next generation renewables, nuclear, wave, geothermal, and beyond
- Reducing energy intensity of industrial processes (e.g. chemicals, agriculture, materials manufacturing)
- Growing influence of venture capital and energy entrepreneurs

“Energy has become synonymous with the future,” points out Garry Golden, Editor of The Energy Roadmap, “Global demand for energy will double in only a few decades. Incremental improvements will simply not be enough to meet increasing expectations for clean and abundant energy. And we expect disruptive energy systems to emerge from the convergence of new science, technology and business models. The Energy Roadmap is the first blog explicitly devoted to this structured debate about the future of energy.

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