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How to Be a Tech Futurist: Predicting, Managing, and Creating in a World of Accelerating Change UAT Tech Forum 2005 John Smart, President, ASF Slides: Presentation Outline. 1. Overview 2. Types of Change 3. Intro to Accelerating Change

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How to Be a Tech Futurist:

Predicting, Managing, and Creating in a World of Accelerating Change

UAT Tech Forum 2005John Smart, President, ASF


Presentation outline
Presentation Outline

1. Overview

2. Types of Change

3. Intro to Accelerating Change

4. Prediction: Expecting the Future

5. Management: Thriving with Change

6. Creation: Making the Future

© 2005

Future prediction management and creation
Future Prediction, Management, and Creation

  • Prediction

    • forecasting methods, metrics, statistical trends, the history of prediction, technology roadmapping, science and systems theory, marketing research

  • Management

    • environmental scanning, scenario development, risk analysis, hedging, enterprise robustness, planning, matter, energy, space, and time management systems

  • Creation

    • personal and entrepreneurial tools for creating preferred futures, research and development, creative thinking, positive psychology, social networking, business plan production

© 2005

Acceleration studies foundation
Acceleration Studies Foundation

  • ASF ( is a nonprofit community of 3,100 scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, administrators, educators, analysts, humanists, and systems theorists discussing and dissecting accelerating change.

  • We practice “developmentalfuture studies,” that is, we seek to discover a set of persistent factors, stable trends, convergent capacities, and highly probable scenarios for our common future, and to use this information now to improve our daily evolutionary choices.

  • Specifically, these include accelerating intelligence, immunity, and interdependence in our global sociotechnological systems, increasing technological autonomy, and the increasing intimacy of the human-machine, physical-digital interface.

© 2005

Brief history of futures studies
Brief History of Futures Studies

  • 1902, H.G. Wells, Anticipations

  • 1904, Henry Adams, A Law of Acceleration

  • 1945, Project RAND (RAND Corp.)

  • 1946, Stanford Research Institute (SRI International)

  • 1962, Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future

  • 1967, World Future Society, Institute for the Future

  • 1970, Alvin Toffler, Future Shock

  • 1974, University of Houston, Studies of the Future M.S.

  • 1977, Carl Sagan, Dragons of Eden

  • 1986, Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation,

  • 1995, Tamkang U, Center for Futures Studies

  • 1999, Ray Kurzweil, Age of Spiritual Machines

  • 2002, Acceleration Studies Foundation

© 2005

Where are the u s college courses in foresight development
Where are the U.S. College Courses in Foresight Development?

  • Tamkang University

  • 27,000 undergrads

  • Top-ranked private university in Taiwan

  • Like history and current affairs, futures studies (15 courses to choose from) have been a general education requirement since 1995.

  • Why not here?

© 2005

2 two types of change evolution and development

2. Two Types of Change: Evolution and Development

The left and right hands of evolutionary development
The Left and Right Hands of “Evolutionary Development”

Replication & Variation

“Natural Selection”

Adaptive Radiation

Chaos, Contingency

Pseudo-Random Search

Strange Attractors


Selection & Convergence

“Convergent Selection”

Emergence,Global Optima


Standard Attractors


Complex Environmental Interaction

Left Hand

Right Hand

New Computat’l Phase Space Opening

Well-Explored Phase Space Optimization

© 2005

Marbles landscapes and basins complex systems evolution development
Marbles, Landscapes, and Basins (Complex Systems, Evolution, & Development)

The marbles (systems) roll around on the landscape, each taking unpredictable (evolutionary) paths. But the paths predictably converge (development) on low points (MEST compression), the “attractors” at the bottom of each basin.

© 2005

How many eyes are developmentally optimal
How Many Eyes Are Developmentally Optimal?

Evolution is always trying experimental structures.

Development has found an operational optimum.

Ex: Some reptiles (e.g. Xantusia vigilis, andcertain skinks) still have a parietal (“pineal”) vestigial third eye.

© 2005

Convergent evolution troodon and the dinosauroid hypothesis
“Convergent Evolution”:Troodon and the Dinosauroid Hypothesis

Dale Russell, 1982:Anthropoid forms as a standard attractor.

A number of small dinosaurs (raptors and oviraptors) developed bipedalism, binocular vision, complex hands with opposable thumbs, and brain-to-body ratios equivalent to modern birds. They were intelligent pack-hunters of both large and small animals (including our mammalian precursors) both diurnally and nocturnally. They would likely have become the dominant planetary species due to their superior intelligence, hunting, and manipulation skills without the K-T event 65 million years ago.

© 2005

How many wheels are developmentally optimal on an automobile
How Many Wheels are Developmentally Optimal on an Automobile?

Examples: Wheel on Earth. Social computation device. Diffusion proportional to population density and diversity.

© 2005

Something curious is going on
Something Curious Is Going On Automobile?


(Don’t look for this in your physics or information theory texts…)

© 2005

From the big bang to complex stars the decelerating phase of universal ed
From the Big Bang to Complex Stars: Automobile?“The Decelerating Phase” of Universal ED

© 2005

From biogenesis to intelligent technology the accelerating phase of universal ed
From Biogenesis to Intelligent Technology: Automobile?The “Accelerating Phase” of Universal ED

Carl Sagan’s “Cosmic Calendar” (Dragons of Eden, 1977)

Each month is roughly 1 billion years.

© 2005

A u shaped curve of change
A U-Shaped Curve of Change? Automobile?

Big Bang Singularity

Developmental Singularity?

50 yrs ago: Machina silico

50 yrs: Scalar Field Scaffolds

100,000 yrs: Matter

100,000 yrs ago: H. sap. sap.

1B yrs: Protogalaxies

8B yrs: Earth

© 2005

Brief history of accelerating change
Brief History of Accelerating Change Automobile?

© 2005

Henry adams 1909 the first singularity theorist
Henry Adams, 1909: Automobile?The First “Singularity Theorist”

The final Ethereal Phase would last only about four years, and thereafter "bring Thought to the limit of its possibilities."

Wild speculation or computational reality?

Still too early to tell, at present.

© 2005

The technological singularity hypothesis
The Technological Singularity Hypothesis Automobile?

Each unique physical-computational substrate appears to have its own “capability curve.”

The information inherent in these substrates is apparently not made obsolete, but is instead incorporated into the developmental architecture of the next emergent system.

© 2005

Macrohistorical singularity books
Macrohistorical Singularity Books Automobile?

The Evolutionary Trajectory, 1998

Singularity 2130 ±20 years

Trees of Evolution, 2000

Singularity 2080 ±30 years

© 2005

Macrohistorical singularity books1
Macrohistorical Singularity Books Automobile?

The Singularity is Near, 2005

Singularity 2050 ±20 years

Why Stock Markets Crash, 2003

Singularity 2050 ±10 years

© 2005

Eric chaisson s phi a universal moore s law curve
Eric Chaisson’s “Phi” ( Automobile?Φ): A Universal Moore’s Law Curve


Free Energy Rate Density

Substrate (ergs/second/gram)

Galaxies 0.5


Planets (Early) 75

Plants 900

Animals/Genetics 20,000(10^4)

Brains (Human) 150,000(10^5)

Culture (Human) 500,000(10^5)

Int. Comb. Engines (10^6)

Jets (10^8)

Pentium Chips (10^11)


Source: Eric Chaisson, Cosmic Evolution, 2001

© 2005

Unreasonable effectiveness and efficiency wigner and mead
“Unreasonable” Effectiveness and Efficiency: Wigner and Mead

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences, Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner, 1960 After Wigner and Freeman Dyson’s work in 1951, on symmetries and simple universalities in mathematical physics.

Commentary on the “Unreasonable Efficiency of Physics in the Microcosm,” VSLI Pioneer Carver Mead, c. 1980.





In 1968, Mead predicted we would create much smaller (to 0.15 micron) multi-million chip transistors that would run far faster and more efficiently. He later generalized this observation to a number of other devices.

© 2005

Example holey optical fibers
Example: Holey Optical Fibers Mead

  • Above: SEM image of a photonic crystal fiber. Note periodic array of air holes. The central defect (missing hole in the middle) acts as the fiber's core. The fiber is about 40 microns across.

  • This conversion system is a million times (106) more energy efficient than all previous converters. These are the kinds of jaw-dropping efficiency advances that have historically driven the ICT revolution.

  • Such advances are due even more to human discovery (in physical microspace) than to human creativity, which is why they have accelerated throughout the 20th century, even as we remain uncertain exactly why they continue to occur.

Lasers today can made cheaply only in some areas of the EM spectrum, not including, for example, UV laser light for cancer detection and tissue analysis. It was discovered in 2004 that a hollow optical fiber filled with hydrogen gas, a device known as a "photonic crystal," can convert cheap laser light to the wavelengths previously unavailable.

© 2005

Understanding the lever of ict
Understanding the Lever of ICT Mead

“The good opinion of mankind, like the lever of Archimedes, with the given fulcrum [representative democracy], moves the world.” (Thomas Jefferson, 1814)

The lever of accelerating information and communications technologies (in outer space) with the fulcrum of physics (in inner space) increasingly moves the world. (Carver Mead, Seth Lloyd, George Gilder…)

"Give me a lever, a fulcrum, and place to stand and I will move the world."

Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212 BC), quoted by Pappus of Alexandria, Synagoge, c. 340 AD

© 2005

Our historical understanding of accelerating change
Our Historical Understanding of MeadAccelerating Change

In 1904, we seemed nearly ready to see intrinsicallyacceleratingprogress. Then came mechanized warfare (WW I, 1914-18, WW II,1939-45), Communist oppression (60 million deaths). 20th century political deaths of 170+ million showed the limitations of human-engineered accelerating progress models.

Today the idea of accelerating progress remains in the cultural minority, even in first world populations.It is viewed with interest but also deep suspicionby a populace traumatized by technological extremes, global divides, and economic fluctuation.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Out of Control, 1993

© 2005

Acceleration quiz
Acceleration Quiz Mead

Q: Of the 100 top economies in the world, how many are multinational corporations and how many are nation states?

© 2005

Acceleration quiz1
Acceleration Quiz Mead

Q: Of the 100 top revenue generating entities in the world, how many are multinational corporations and how many are nation states?

76 MNC’s and 24 Nations.

GBN, Future of Philanthropy, 2005

© 2005

Acceleration quiz2
Acceleration Quiz Mead

Q: How many of the lowest net-worth Americans would it take to approximate Bill Gate’s net worth? (296 million Americans in 2005)

© 2005

Acceleration quiz3
Acceleration Quiz Mead

Q: How many of the lowest net-worth Americans would it take to approximate Bill Gate’s net worth?

Roughly 110 million Americans in 1997, when his net worth was $40 billion. At $30 billion presently (2005), Mr. Gates ranks roughly as the 60th largest country, and the 55th largest business. When MSFT went public in 1986, Bill was worth $230 million.

NYU economist Edward Wolff (See also Top Heavy, 2002)

© 2005

Acceleration quiz4
Acceleration Quiz Mead

Q: Disney and Sony (respectively) produce and launch one new product every _________?

© 2005

Acceleration quiz5
Acceleration Quiz Mead

Q: Disney and Sony (respectively) produce and launch one new product every _________?

Three minutes for Disney.Twenty minutes for Sony.

Elizabeth Debold, What is Enlightenment?, March-May 2005

© 2005

World economic performance
World Economic Performance Mead

GDP Per Capita in Western Europe,

1000 – 1999 A.D.

This curve looks quite smooth on a macroscopic scale.

Notice the “knee of the curve” occurs at the industrial revolution, circa 1850.

© 2005

Three hierarchical systems of social change
Three Hierarchical Systems Meadof Social Change

  • Technological(dominant since 1950!)

    “It’s all about the technology” (what it enables, how inexpensively it can be developed)

  • Economic(dominant 1800-1950’s, secondary now)

    “It’s all about the money” (who has it, control they gain with it)

  • Political/Cultural(dominant pre-1800’s, tertiary now)

    “It’s all about the power” (who has it, control they gain with it)

    Developmental Trends:

    1. The levels have reorganized, to “fastest first.”

    2. More pluralism (a network property) on each level.

    Pluralism examples: 40,000 NGO’s, rise of the power of media, tort law, Insurance, lobbies, etc.

© 2005

Humans are prediction systems
Humans are Prediction Systems Mead

“Our brain is structured for constant forecasting.”

Jeff Hawkins, Inventor, PalmPilot, CTO, Palm ComputingFounder, Redwood Neurosciences Institute

Author, On Intelligence: How a New Understanding of the Brain will Lead to the Creation of Truly Intelligent Machines, 2004

© 2005

The prediction wall and the prediction crystal ball
The Prediction Wall and MeadThe Prediction Crystal Ball

What does hindsight tell us

about prediction?

The Year 2000 was the most intensive long range prediction effort of its time, done at the height of the forecasting/ operations

research/ cybernetics/

think tank (RAND) driven/ “instrumental rationality”

era of Futures Studies.

(Kahn & Wiener, 1967).

© 2005

Many accelerations are underwhelming
Many Accelerations are Underwhelming Mead

Some Modest Exponentials:

  • Productivity per U.S. worker hr has improved 500% over 75 years (1929-2004, 2% per yr)

  • Business investment as % of U.S. GDP is flat at 11% over 25 years.

  • Nondefense R&D spending as % of First World GDP is up 30% (1.6 to 2.1%) over 21 years (1981-2002).

  • Technology spending as % of U.S. GDP is up 100% (4% to 8%) over 35 years (1967-2002)

BusinessWeek, 75th Ann. Issue, “The Innovation Economy”, 10.11.2004

© 2005

Moore s law
Moore’s Law Mead

Moore’s Law derives from two predictions in 1965 and 1975 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, (and named by Carver Mead) that computer chips (processors, memory, etc.) double their complexity every 12-24 months at near constant unit cost.

This means that every 15 years, on average, a large number of technological capacities (memory, input, output, processing) grow by 1000X (Ten doublings: 2,4,8…. 1024). Emergence!

There are several abstractions of Moore’s Law, due to miniaturization of transistor density in two dimensions, increasing speed (signals have less distance to travel) computational power (speed × density).

© 2005

Ray kurzweil a generalized moore s law
Ray Kurzweil: A Generalized Moore’s Law Mead

© 2005

Transistor doublings 2 years
Transistor Doublings (2 years) Mead

Courtesy of Ray Kurzweil and

© 2005

Processor performance 1 8 years
Processor Performance (1.8 years) Mead

Courtesy of Ray Kurzweil and

© 2005

Dram miniaturization 5 4 years
DRAM Miniaturization (5.4 years) Mead

Courtesy of Ray Kurzweil and

© 2005

It s exponential economics
IT’s Exponential Economics Mead

Courtesy of Ray Kurzweil and

© 2005

Relative growth rates are surprisingly predictable
Relative Growth Rates are MeadSurprisingly Predictable

Brad DeLong (2003) noted that memory density predictably outgrows microprocessor density, which predictably outgrows wired bandwidth, which predictably outgrows wireless.

Expect: 1st: New Storage Apps, 2nd: New Processing Apps, 3rd: New Communications Apps, 4th: New Wireless Apps

© 2005

Dickerson s law solved protein structures as a moore s dependent process
Dickerson’s Law: Solved Protein Structures as a Moore’s-Dependent Process

Richard Dickerson, 1978, Cal Tech:

Protein crystal structure solutions grow according to n=exp(0.19y1960)

Dickerson’s law predicted 14,201 solved crystal structures by 2002. The actual number (in online Protein Data Bank (PDB)) was 14,250. Just 49 more.

Macroscopically, the curve has been quite consistent.

© 2005

The start of symbiosis the digital era
The Start of Symbiosis: The Digital Era Moore’s-Dependent Process

With the advent of the transistor(June 1, 1948), the commercial digital world emerged.

New problems have emerged (population, human rights, asymmetric conflict, environment), yet we see solutions for each in coming waves of technological globalization.

“The human does not change, but our house becomes exponentially more intelligent.”

We look back not to Spencer or Marx and their human-directed Utopias, but to Henry Adams,who realized the core acceleration is due to the intrinsic properties of technological systems.

Michael Riordan, Crystal Fire, 1998

© 2005

The symbiotic age
The Symbiotic Age Moore’s-Dependent Process

  • A time when computers “speak our language.”

  • A time when our technologies are very responsive to our needs and desires.

  • A time when humans and machines are intimately connected, and always improving each other.

  • A time when we will begin to feel “naked” without our computer “clothes.”

© 2005

An ict attractor the linguistic user interface
An ICT Attractor: Moore’s-Dependent ProcessThe Linguistic User Interface

  • Google’s cache (2002)

  • Watch Windows 2004 become Conversations 2020…

  • Convergence of Infotech and Sociotech

© 2005

Ai in the interface a k a ia
AI-in-the-Interface (a.k.a. “IA”) Moore’s-Dependent Process

• AI is growing, but slowly (KMWorld, 4.2003)

  ― $1B in ’93 (mostly defense), $12B in 2002 (now mostly commercial). AGR of 12%

― U.S., Asia, Europe equally strong

― Belief nets, neural nets, expert sys growing

faster than decision support and agents

― Incremental enhancement of existing apps

(online catalogs, etc.)

• Computer telephony (CT) making strides

(Wildfire, Booking Sys, Directory Sys).

ASR and TTS improve. Expectdedicated DSPson the desktopafter central CT. (Circa 2010-15?)

• Coming: Linguistic User Interface (LUI)

Persuasive Computing, and

Personality Capture

© 2005

Robo sapiens
Robo sapiens Moore’s-Dependent Process

“Huey and Louey”

AIST and Kawada’s HRP-2

(Something very cool about this algorithm…)

Aibo Soccer

© 2005

Social software lifelogs
Social Software, Lifelogs Moore’s-Dependent Process

Gmail preserves, for the first time, everything we’ve ever typed. Gmailers are all bloggers who don’t know it. Next, some of us will store everything we’ve ever said. Then everything we’ve ever seen. This storage (and processing, and bandwidth) will continue to make us all networkable in ways and at a level we never imagined.

Lifeblog, SenseCam, What Was I Thinking, and MyLifeBits (2003) are early examples of “LifeLogs.” Systems for auto-archiving and auto-indexing all life experience. Add NLP, collaborative filtering, and other early AI to this, and data begins turning into wisdom.

© 2005

Personality capture
Personality Capture Moore’s-Dependent Process

In the long run, we become seamless with our machines.

No other credible long term futures have been proposed.

“Technology is becoming organic. Nature is becoming technologic.” (Brian Arthur, SFI)

© 2005

Your digital you digital twin
Your “Digital You” (Digital Twin) Moore’s-Dependent Process

“I would never upload my consciousness

into a machine.”

“I enjoy leaving behind stories about my life for my children.”

Prediction: When your mother dies in 2050, your digital mom will be “50% her.”

When your best friend dies in 2080, your digital best friend will be “80% him.”

Successive approximation, seamless integration, subtle transition.

When you can shift your own conscious perspective between your electronic and biological components, the encapsulation and transcendence of the biological may begin to feel like only growth, not death.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Greg Panos (and Mother)

© 2005

Tomorrow s fastspace user created 3d persistent worlds
Tomorrow’s Fastspace: Moore’s-Dependent ProcessUser-Created 3D Persistent Worlds

  • Future Salon in Second LifeStreaming audio for main speaker, chat for others. Streaming video added 2005. Cost: $10 for life + fast graphics card ($180)

© 2005

Phase transitions web semantic web social software metaweb
Phase Transitions: Web, Semantic Web, Social Software, Metaweb

Nova Spivak, 2004

© 2005

The valuecosm
The Valuecosm Metaweb

  • Microcosm, Telecosm (Gilder)

  • Datacosm (Sterling)

  • Valuecosm (Smart)

  • Recording and Publishing DT Preferences

  • Avatars that Act and Transact Better for Us

  • Mapping Positive Sum Social Interactions

  • Much Potential For Early Abuse (Advice)

  • Next Level of Digital Democracy (Holding Powerful Plutocratic Actors Accountable)

  • Early Examples: Social Network Media

© 2005

Accelerating public transparency panopticon
Accelerating Public Transparency (“Panopticon”) Metaweb

David Brin,

The Transparent Society, 1998

Hitachi’s mu-chip: RFID for paper currency

© 2005

Automation and the service society
Automation and the Service Society Metaweb

Our 2002 service to manufacturing labor ratio, 110 million service to 21 million goods workers, is 4.2:1

© 2005

The voluntary future
The Voluntary Future Metaweb

Prediction: Great increase in voluntary activities. Culture, entertainment, travel, education, wellness, nonprofit service, humanitarian and development work, the arts, etc.

Source: The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism, 2000, Robert Fogel (Nobel-prize-winning economist, founder of the field of cliometrics, the study of economic history using statistical and mathematical models)

© 2005

Saturation example 1 total world population
Saturation Example 1: MetawebTotal World Population

Positive feedback loop:Agriculture, Colonial Expansion, Economics,

Scientific Method, Industrialization, Politics,

Education, Healthcare, Information Technologies, etc.

© 2005

So what stopped the growth
So What Stopped the Growth? Metaweb

© 2005

Saturation example 2 total world energy use
Saturation Example 2: MetawebTotal World Energy Use

DOE/EIA data shows total world energy use growth rate peaked in the 1970’s. Real and projected growth is progressively flatter since.

Saturation factors:

1. Major conservation after OPEC (1973)

2. Stunning energy efficiency of each new

generation of technological system

3. Saturation of human population and

human needs for tech transformation

Royal Dutch/Shell notes that energy use declines dramatically proportional to per capita GDP in all cultures.

Steve Jurvetson notes (2003) the DOE estimates solid state lighting (eg. the organic LEDs in today's stoplights) will cut the world's energy demand for lighting in half over the next 20 years. Lighting is approximately 20% of energy demand.

Expect such MEST efficiencies in energy technology to be multiplied dramatically in coming years. Technology is becoming more energy-effective in ways too few forcasters currently understand.

© 2005

Global energy use saturation energy consumption per capita
Global Energy Use Saturation: MetawebEnergy Consumption Per Capita

When per capita GDP reaches:

• $3,000 – energy demand explodes as industrialization and mobility take off,

• $10,000 – demand slows as the main spurt of industrialization is completed,

• $15,000 – demand grows more slowly than income as services dominate economic growth and basic household energy needs are met,

• $25,000 – economic growth requires little additional energy.

Later developers, using “leapfrogging technologies”, require far less time and energy to reach equivalent GDP.

Energy Needs, Choices, and Possibilities: Scenarios to 2050, Shell Intnat’l, 2001

© 2005

Long term future solar energy
Long Term Future: Solar Energy Metaweb

  • Twenty to forty year development horizon.

  • 5-10% efficiencies at present. Need 50%.

  • Need good, cheap energy storage systems.

© 2005

Underground ahs
Underground AHS Metaweb

Much cheaper than air transport.

10X present capacity, under our cities.

Requires IVs and ZEV’s (2025+)

© 2005

Longer term example hurricane control new nasa noaa mission
Longer-Term Example: MetawebHurricane Control - New NASA/NOAA Mission?

Hurricane Ivan: $11B in property damage. 11 named storms in 10 months in 2004, 7 have caused damage in U.S.

NOAA expects decades of hurricane hyperactivity.

Controlling Hurricanes, Scientific American, 10.2004

Ross Hoffman, use Solar Powered Satellites (SPS’s).

In 1968, Peter Glaser, microwave-relay SPS’s for power on earth, tuned away from climate. These would be tuned to water vapor (like microwave oven). Low pressure centers disruptible by atmospheric heating. Very sensitive to hi pressure side steering. Cyclones, monsoons, blizzards, possibly even tornados.

Research: Russian mylar mirrors, 1993, 1999 (failed).

23 m mirror (above), 5 km light circle on the ground.

Arrays would raise surface temp. several degrees.

© 2005

We have two options future shock or future shaping
We Have Two Options: MetawebFuture Shock or Future Shaping

“The future’s already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.” ― William Gibson

“We need a pragmatic optimism, a can-do, change-aware attitude. A balance between innovation and preservation. Honest dialogs on persistent problems, tolerance of imperfect solutions. The ability to avoid both doomsaying and paralyzing adherence to the status quo.” ― David Brin

© 2005

Carpe diem
Carpe Diem Metaweb

"In a time of change, it is learners who inherit the future. The learned find themselves well equipped to live in a world that no longer exists." — Eric Hoffer

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than those you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Give yourself away to the sea of life." — Mark Twain

© 2005

Our greatest strategic interest managing globalization
Our Greatest Strategic Interest: MetawebManaging Globalization

“America has had 200 years to invent, regenerate, and calibrate the balance that keeps markets free without becoming monsters. We have the tools to make a difference. We have the responsibility to make a difference. And we have a huge interest in making a difference. Managing globalization is… our overarching national interest today and the political party that understands that first… will own the real bridge to the future.”

Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (2000).

© 2005

Globalization eras
Globalization Eras Metaweb

Globalization I: 1800’s – WWI


Industrial Revolution, cheap transportation

Backlash Ideologies:

Communism, Socialism, Fascism

© 2005

Globalization eras1
Globalization Eras Metaweb

Globalization II: 1980’s – Present


Information Revolution, cheap communications

Backlash Ideologies:

Fundamentalism, civil disobedience, crime, eco-activism

Examples: Al Qaeda,Hugo Chavez, Sem Teto

© 2005

Globalization management
Globalization Management Metaweb

Backlash forces have to be kept in check by:

  • Global tech innovation and diffusion

  • Global economic growth

  • Global political

    • accountability

    • transparency

    • fair policies

    • minimal government (maximizing tech and economic development)

    • security

© 2005

The pentagon s new map
The Pentagon’s New Map Metaweb

A New Global Defense Paradigm

© 2005

Shrinking the disconnected gap
Shrinking the Disconnected Gap Metaweb

The Computational “Ozone Hole”

© 2005

U s transcontinental railroad promontory point fervor
U.S. Transcontinental Railroad: Promontory Point Fervor Metaweb

Built mostly by hard-working immigrants

The Network of the 1880’s

© 2005

It globalization 2000 2020 promontory point revisited
IT Globalization (2000-2020): MetawebPromontory Point Revisited

The more things change,

the more some things stay the same.

The intercontinental internet will be built primarily by hungry young programmers and tech support personnel in India, Asia, third-world Europe, Latin America, and other developing economic zones.

In coming decades, such individuals will outnumber the First World technical support population between five- and ten-to-one.

Consider what this means for the goals of U.S. business and education:Global management, partnerships, and collaboration.

© 2005

Information age staggered closing of global divides
Information Age: MetawebStaggered Closing of Global Divides

  • Digital divide is already closing fast. 77% of the world now has access to a telephone*. Innovation leader: Grameen Telecom

  • Income divide may be closing the next fastest. First world plutocracy still increasing, but we are already “rationalizing” global workforce wages in the last decade*.

  • Education divide may close next (post-LUI)

  • Power divide likely to close last. Political change is the slowest of all domains.

*World Bank, 2005

© 2005

Digital ecologies and development
Digital Ecologies and Development Metaweb

Key Questions: Public access? Subsidized? Education?

Strong network effects. Intrinsically socially stabilizing.

“There is no digital divide.” (Cato Institute)




Low Power TV


Cell Phones



Cordless Phones

Game PCs


(Program Guides)

Desktop PCs

Social Software


© 2005

Oil refinery multi acre automatic factory
Oil Refinery (Multi-Acre Automatic Factory) Metaweb

Tyler, Texas, 1964. 360 acres. Run by three operators, each needing only a high school education. The 1972 version eliminated the three operators.

© 2005

Automation and job disruption
Automation and Job Disruption Metaweb

Between 1995 and 2002 the world’s 20 largest economies lost 22 million industrial jobs. This is the shift from a Manufacturing to a Service Economy.

  • America lost about 2 million industrial jobs, mostly to China.

  • China lost 15 million ind. jobs, mostly to machines. (Fortune)

  • Despite the shrinking of America's industrial work force, the country's overall industrial outputincreased by 50% since 1992. (Economist)

    “Robots are replacing humans or are greatly enhancing human performance in mining, manufacture, and agriculture.  Huge areas of clerical work are also being automated.  Standardized repetitive work is being taken over by electronic systems.The key to America's continued prosperity depends on shifting to ever more productive and diverseservices.  And the good news is jobs here are often better paying and far more interesting than those on we knew on farms and the assembly line.” (Tsvi Bisk)

    "The Misery of Manufacturing," The Economist. Sept. 27, 2003"Worrying About Jobs Isn't Productive," Fortune Magazine. Nov. 10, 2003 “The Future of Making a Living,” Tsvi Bisk, 2003

© 2005

Understanding process automation
Understanding Process Automation Metaweb

  • Perhaps 80% of today's First World paycheck is paid for by automation (“tech we tend”).

  • Robert Solow, 1987 Nobel in Economics (Solow Productivity Paradox, Theory of Economic Growth)“7/8 comes from technical progress.”

  • Human contribution (20%?) to a First World job is Social Value of Employment + Creativity + Education

  • Developing countries are next in line (sooner or later).

  • Continual education and grants (“taxing the machines”) are the final job descriptions for all human beings.

Termite Mound

© 2005

Empire progression note the west far east trajectory
Empire Progression Metaweb(Note the West-Far East Trajectory)


(Temporary: Pop density,

Few youth, no resources.

East Asian Tigers


Hong Kong

South Korea




Expect a Singapore-style “Autocratic Capitalist” transition. Population control, plentiful resources,

stunning growth rate, drive, and intellectual capital. U.S. science fairs: 50,000 high school kids/year. Chinese science fairs: 6,000,000 kids/year. For now.


BHR-1, 2002

© 2005

Creative destruction creating a legal and social culture of innovation
Creative Destruction: Creating a Legal and Social Culture of Innovation

  • Key Metric: Of the top 25 companies in each country 25 years ago, how many are still the same?

    France, Germany, Japan: Almost all.

    Europe: Most

    United States: Roughly half

    Taiwan, Hong Kong: Very few

Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, 2000

© 2005

Taiwan s example
Taiwan’s Example Innovation

  • Taiwan requires university undergraduates to take courses in Futures Studies.

  • Taiwan owns 46,000 contract factories in China (mutually assured economic destruction).

  • Taiwan has become the IT hardware manufacturing capital of the world.

  • Taiwan has the highest degree of economic creative destruction in the world.

© 2005

U s innovation competitiveness acceleration has flagged in recent years
U.S. Innovation/Competitiveness/Acceleration has flagged in recent years

  • China surpassed the U.S. this year as the largest recipient of foreign direct investment.

  • In 2002, US Corporate R&D declined by $8 billion, largest percentage drop since 1950.

  • Five countries (Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Finland, Israel) spend more GDP on R&D than the U.S.

  • Foreign owned companies and foreign born inventors now count for nearly half of all U.S. patents, with Japan, Korea, and Taiwan accounting for more than one fourth.

  • Federal R&D funding is now 1/2 of its 1960's peak of 2% of GDP.

  • Total scientific papers by American authors peaked in 1992 and have been flat ever since.

  • Services are the fastest growing sector of many technology companies, yet much of our service sector, now more than half the U.S. economy, traditionally does little R&D on business process design, organization, and management.

Innovate America, NII, Council on Competitiveness, 2004

© 2005

National innovation initiative recommendations sample
National Innovation Initiative Recommendations (sample) recent years

Our Biggest Opportunity: Innovation partnerships with the 3 billion new workers who weren’t in the global economy ten years ago.

© 2005

Innovate America, NII, Council on Competitiveness, 2004

Our generation s theme
Our Generation’s Theme recent years

First World Saturating,

Third World Uplifting.

© 2005

Smart s laws of technology
Smart’s Laws of Technology recent years

1. Tech learns ten million times faster than you do.(Electronic vs. biological rates of evolutionary development).

2. Humans are selective catalysts, not controllers, of technological evolutionary development.

(Regulatory choices. Ex: WMD production or transparency, P2P as a proprietary or open source development)

3. The first generation of any technology is often dehumanizing, the second is indifferent to humanity, and with luck the third becomes net humanizing. (Cities, cars, cellphones, computers).

© 2005

The nbic report and conferences
The NBIC Report and Conferences recent years

Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance:

Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science

Edited by Mike Roco and William Sims Bainbridge, National Science Foundation, 2002 (NSF/DoC Sponsored Report)

© 2005

Nbics 5 choices for strategic technological development
“NBICS”: 5 Choices for Strategic Technological Development

  • Nanotech (micro and nanoscale technology)

  • Biotech (biotechnology, health care)

  • Infotech (computing and comm. technology)

  • Cognotech (brain sciences, human factors)

  • Sociotech (remaining technology applications)

    It is easy to spend lots of R&D or marketing money on a still-early technology in any field.

    Infotech examples: A.I., multimedia, internet, wireless

    It is almost as easy to spend disproportionate amounts on older, less centrally accelerating technologies.

    Every technology has the right time and place for innovation and diffusion.

    First mover and second mover advantages.

© 2005

Some tools for shaping the future
Some Tools for Shaping the Future Development

  • Education

  • Investment

  • Literacy / Environmental Awareness

    • Technological

    • Business

    • Political

    • Social

  • Foresight

  • Innovation

  • Competition (fair, creatively destructive)

  • Leadership

    • Local Commitment

    • Global Perspective

  • Activism

© 2005

Education questions
Education Questions Development

  • How do we best educate our ourselves, our employees, our community, our children?

  • How do we learn “on demand” when we need it?

  • How do we learn when to act locally, and when to act globally?

  • When to learn individually vs. collectively?

© 2005

Developmental windows
Developmental Windows Development

  • In 2005, India is seeing a grassroots movement to get schools to teach English in first grade (vs. fourth grade). Three to six is a developmental window for effortless language acquisition. Mandarin or Hindi for your child?

What will tomorrows for-profit daycare chains be like?

© 2005

On demand tech ed from geek squad to global computer helpers
On Demand Tech Ed: From Geek Squad to Global Computer Helpers

80 million smart, underemployed tech workers, working at a salary of $1,400/year (China, India)

+ 140 million U.S. labor force (2000).

+ Exponentiating capabilites of our IT systems

+ Commodity communications costs

+ PC transparency software (Gotomypc)

+ Trust (Privacy)

= On Demand Tech Education

How soon?

© 2005

Create your own network consider ben franklin s junto
Create Your Own Network: HelpersConsider Ben Franklin’s Junto

  • Met every Friday. The group invented:

    • the first subscription library in North America

    • the most advanced volunteer fire department

    • the first public hospital in Pennsylvania,

    • an insurance company, a constabulary,

    • improved streetlights, paving

    • the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Broad Interests, Narrow Tasks.

    • Scientist

    • Inventor

    • Businessman

    • Statesman

© 2005

Investment questions
Investment Questions Helpers

Are you practicing socially responsible and technologically responsible (acceleration aware) investing?

Supporting companies, products and services that are increasingly:

  • Global

  • Intelligent

  • Interdependent

  • Immune/Transparent

  • Efficient

  • Innovative

© 2005

Literacy questions
Literacy Questions Helpers

  • Are you computer, web, and communications savvy?

  • Do you use social network media (blogs, web communities, etc.)?

  • Do you subsidize online and technological innovation (leading, not bleeding edge)?

  • Are you reading and interpreting what’s going on in the world?

  • See ASF Community Directory (

© 2005

Foresight questions
Foresight Questions Helpers

  • Do you take time to consider the past, present, and future of your personal and professional life?

  • Do you use strategic planning, scanning, competitive intelligence, trend extrapolation, forecasting, scenario generation, or other futures tools?

  • Do you read the opinions of key future thinkers in your areas of professional interest?

  • Are you supporting the emergence of a professional futures community?

© 2005

Innovation questions
Innovation Questions Helpers

  • Are you thinking about innovation across the spectrum (products and services, offline and online)?

  • Do you know which of your employees, business partners, and customers is the most innovative, all else equal? Do you reward that in your business model?

  • Are you working with a global and virtual innovation team?

© 2005

Leadership questions
Leadership Questions Helpers

  • Are you sharing your future visions or keeping them quiet?

  • Are you getting critiques and feedback, and is this changing your perspective?

  • Are you responding respectfully, adequately, yet concisely to your critics?

  • Are you looking for others who also want to work toward a common vision?

  • Is this a mutual appreciation society or is your group affecting real change?

  • Are you tolerant of parallel, pluralist approaches?

© 2005

Good leadership attributes
Good Leadership Attributes Helpers

  • The best are passionate about 1) creating community, and 2) making it easy for users to find their voice.

    Stephen Covey, The Eighth Habit, 2004

    “Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.”

    Slow to criticize, ego-minimizing, always striving to be nice, modeling good behavior, empathic, yet responsive to communication problems.

© 2005

Digital activism skype internet telephony
Digital Activism: HelpersSkype (Internet Telephony)

© 2005

Digital activism linkedin business networking
Digital Activism: HelpersLinkedIn (Business Networking)

© 2005

Digital activism videoconferencing and groupware
Digital Activism: HelpersVideoconferencing and Groupware

  • SOHO Web and Video ConferencingWaveThree: $199. Max of 10, 128 Kbps/user.

    Linktivity: $1,500 + dedicated server. Max of 5 users.VoiceCafe: $75/month. Max of 5 usersViditel: $35/month/person, unlim. meetingsiChat AV: $150 webcam, OS X, broadband

    • Dramatic improvements over the last year.

  • Groupware

    Groove Virtual Office: $69/person, one time cost.

    Just purchased by Microsoft. Robin Good: Best SOHO groupware solution for PowerPoints, file sharing, IM, private spaces, and project development tools. No audio or video capacities at present. Drawback: Need a fast computer.

© 2005

Digital activism user created 3d persistent worlds
Digital Activism: HelpersUser-Created 3D Persistent Worlds

© 2005

Seeing the extraordinary present
Seeing the Extraordinary Present Helpers

“There has never been a time more pregnant with possibilities.”

- Gail Carr Feldman

© 2005