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Catalyzing the Symbiotic Age: Discovering, Predicting, and Creating our Next Era of Accelerating Change Las Vegas Future Salon John Smart, President, ASF ( Presentation Outline 1. Definitions 2. Futuring I: Intro to Accelerating Change

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Catalyzing the Symbiotic Age:

Discovering, Predicting, and Creating our Next Era of Accelerating Change

Las Vegas Future SalonJohn Smart, President, ASF


presentation outline
Presentation Outline

1. Definitions

2. Futuring I: Intro to Accelerating Change

3. Futuring II: Globalization, Information, Service Age

4. Futuring III: The Symbiotic, Intelligence Age

5. Activism: Accelerating Positive Change

© 2005

acceleration studies foundation
Acceleration Studies Foundation
  • ASF ( is a nonprofit community of 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

systems theory
Systems Theory

Systems Theorists Make Things Simple

(sometimes too simple!)

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

— Albert Einstein

© 2005

discovery prediction and creation yin you and yang of accelerating change
Discovery, Prediction, and Creation: Yin, You, and Yang of Accelerating Change

Equally Important Life Processes:

Ends, Philosophy, and MeansNurture, Organism, and NatureDestination, Life, and Journey

Development, Complex System, and Evolution

Discovery, Prediction, and Creation

What you manage to achieve in life (innovation, productivity) is a serendipitous synthesis of what unexpected benefits and catastrophes come to you (discovery), what you aim for (prediction), and the unique things you make along the way (creation).

Innovation is a synthesis of discovery, prediction, and creation.

Lack of interest in the unexpected (good or bad), short-term thinking (and “the future can’t be predicted”), and resistance to the new are also discovery, prediction, and creation choices.

© 2005

the evo devo paradigm may explain many natural polarities
The Evo-Devo Paradigm May Explain Many Natural Polarities

As complex systems, we each have both of these qualities. Their best use always depends on context. Use them both. Keep the balance.

© 2005

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

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

Evolution tried this experiment.

Development calculated an operational optimum.

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

© 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

the symbiotic age
The Symbiotic Age
  • 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

the start of symbiosis the digital era
The Start of Symbiosis: The Digital Era

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

acceleration quiz
Acceleration Quiz

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

© 2005

acceleration quiz15
Acceleration Quiz

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

51 MNC’s and 49 Nations.

© 2005

acceleration quiz16
Acceleration Quiz

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

© 2005

acceleration quiz17
Acceleration Quiz

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

Once every three minutes for Disney.Once every twenty minutes for Sony.

© 2005

acceleration quiz18
Acceleration Quiz

Q: How much of Hewlett Packard’s revenue comes from products launched in the last year?

© 2005

acceleration quiz19
Acceleration Quiz

Q: How much of Hewlett Packard’s revenue comes from products launched in the last year?


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

© 2005

acceleration quiz20
Acceleration Quiz

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

© 2005

acceleration quiz21
Acceleration Quiz

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 (of 280) and the 55th largest business. When MSFT went public in 1986, Bill was worth $230 million.

NYU economist Edward Wolff, Top Heavy, 2002

© 2005

something curious is going on
Something Curious Is Going On


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

© 2005

henry adams 1909 the first singularity theorist
Henry Adams, 1909: 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
The Technological Singularity

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

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

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

Each month is roughly 1 billion years.

© 2005

brief history of accelerating change
Brief History of Accelerating Change

© 2005

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


Free Energy Rate Density

Substrate (ergs/second/gram)

Galaxies 0.5

Stars2 (“counterintuitive”)

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

big picture
Big Picture
  • Outer Space2025: Sustainability, Transitioning to Nuclear, Hydrogen and Solar
  • Human Space2025: Advanced Globalization, Transparency, Early Symbiotic Age, Linguistic User Interface, Early Valuecosm
  • Inner Space2025: Synthetic and Computational Biology, Early Technocellular Substrate (Silicon Photonics, Spintronics, Nuclear Energy, etc.)
  • Cyber Space2025: GPS/LPS, Local Search, Persistent and Mirror Worlds, Early Artificial Life and Hyperreality
  • Hyper Space2025: Bio-Inspired Computing, Early Personality Capture/DT

© 2005

virtual space is inner space the final frontier
Virtual Space: Is Inner Space the Final Frontier?
  • Mirror Worlds, David Gelernter, 1998. Real structures in spacetime (very large and very small) are:
  • Computationally very simple and tractable (transparent)
  • A vastly slower substrate for evolutionary development
  • Rapidly encapsulated by our simulation science
  • A “rear view mirror” on the developmental trajectory of emergence of universal intelligence?
          • versus

Non-Autonomous ISS

Autonomous Human Brain

© 2005

smart s laws of technology
Smart’s Laws of Technology

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 prediction wall and the prediction crystal ball
The Prediction Wall and The 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

moore s law
Moore’s Law

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

This is one of several abstractions of Moore’s Law, due to miniaturization of transistor density in two dimensions. Others relate to speed (the signals have less distance to travel) and computational power (speed × density).

© 2005

relative growth rates are surprisingly predictable
Relative Growth Rates are Surprisingly 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

some tech capacity growth rates are independent of socioeconomic cycles
Some Tech Capacity Growth Rates Are Independent of Socioeconomic Cycles

There are many natural cycles: Plutocracy-Democracy, Boom-Bust, Conflict-Peace…

Ray Kurzweil first noted that a generalized, century-long Moore’s Law was unaffected by the U.S. Great Depression of the 1930’s.

Conclusion: Human-discovered, Not human-created complexity here. Not many intellectual or physical resources are required to keep us on the accelerating developmental trajectory. (“MEST compression is a rigged game.”)

Age of Spiritual Machines, 1999

© 2005


Hans Moravec, Robot, 1999

© 2005

four pre singularity subcycles
Four Pre-Singularity Subcycles?
  • A 30-yearcycle, from 1990-2020
    • 1st gen "stupid net "/early IA, weak nano, 2nd gen Robots, early Ev Comp. World security begins.
  • A 20-year cycle, from 2020-2040
    • LUI network, Biotech, not bio-augmentation, Adaptive Robots, Peace/Justice Crusades.
  • A 10-year cycle, from 2040-2050
    • LUI personality capture (weak uploading), Mature Self-Reconfig./Evolutionary Computing.
  • 2050: Era of Strong Autonomy
    • Progressively shorter 5-, 2-, 1-year tech cycles, each more autocatalytic, human-centric, invisible.

© 2005

ephemeralization the accelerating efficiency of physical computational transformations
Ephemeralization: The Accelerating Efficiency of Physical-Computational Transformations

In 1938 (Nine Chains to the Moon), poet and polymath Buckminster Fuller coined "Ephemeralization,” positing that in nature, "all progressions are from material to abstract" and "every one of the ephemeralization trends.. eventually hits the electrical stage."(And today, due to principles like superposition, entanglement, negative waves, and tunneling, the world of the quantum (electron, photon, etc.) appears even more ephemeral than the world of collective electricity.)

In 1981 (Critical Path), Fuller called ephemeralization, "the invisible chemical, metallurgical, and electronic production of ever-more-efficient and satisfyingly effective performance with the investment of ever-less weight and volume of materials per unit function formed or performed". In Synergetics 2, 1983, he called it "the principle of doing ever more with ever less weight, time and energy per each given level of functional performance”

This trend has also been called “virtualization” and Matter, Energy, Space, Time (MEST) compression, efficiency, or density by other theorists.

© 2005

mest compression managing technological development
MEST Compression: Managing Technological Development

Since the birth of civilization, humanity has been learning to build special types of technological systems that are progressively able to do more for us, in a more networked and resilient fashion, using less resources(matter, energy, space, time, human and economic capital) to deliver any fixed amount of complexity, productivity, or capability.

We are faced daily with many possible evolutionary choices in which to invest our precious time, energy, and resources, but only a few optimal developmental pathways will clearly "do more, and better, with less."

© 2005

unreasonable effectiveness efficiency eugene wigner and carver mead
Unreasonable Effectiveness/Efficiency: Eugene Wigner and Carver 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
  • 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 continue to drive the ICT and networking revolutions.
  • 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

acceleration awareness
Acceleration Awareness

What do you see accelerating around you?

What do you see remaining constant?

© 2005

many accelerations are underwhelming
Many Accelerations are Underwhelming

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

different kinds of accelerations efficiency vs transformation
Different Kinds of Accelerations: Efficiency vs. Transformation

Business Week’s First Edition, October 1929:

  • IBM has an ad for “electric sorting machines.”
  • PG&E has an ad announcing natural gas powered factories in San Francisco.

Could we have predicted that one of these technologies would continually transform itself while another would experience accelerating efficiencies but, on the surface, be unchanged?

© 2005

physical space is biotech a saturated substrate
Physical Space: Is Biotech a Saturated Substrate?

21st century neuropharm and neurotech won’t accelerate biological complexity!

  • Neural homeostasis fights “top-down” interventions
  • “Most complex structure in the known universe”

Strong resistance to disruptive biointerventions

  • Ingroup ethics, body image, personal identity

We’ll learn a lot, not biologically “redesign humans”

  • No human-scale time, ability or reason to do so.
  • Expect “regression to mean” (elim. disease) instead.

Neuroscience will accelerate technological complexity

  • Biologically inspired computing. “Structural mimicry.”

© 2005

physical space accelerating public transparency panopticon
Physical Space: Accelerating Public Transparency (“Panopticon”)

David Brin,

The Transparent Society, 1998

Hitachi’s mu-chip: RFID for paper currency

© 2005

punctuated equilibrium in biology economics politics and technology
Punctuated Equilibrium (in Biology, Economics, Politics… and Technology)
  • Eldredge and Gould

(Biological Species)

  • Pareto’s Law (“The 80/20 Rule”)

(income distribution  technology, econ, politics)

Rule of Thumb: 20% Punctuation (Development)

80% Equilibrium (Evolution)

Suggested Reading:

For the 20%: Clay Christiansen, The Innovator's Dilemma

For the 80%: Jason Jennings, Less is More

© 2005

three hierarchical systems of social change
Three Hierarchical Systems of 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

our greatest strategic interest managing globalization
Our Greatest Strategic Interest: Managing 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

Globalization I: 1800’s – WWI


Industrial Revolution, cheap transportation

Backlash Ideologies:

Communism, Socialism, Fascism

© 2005

globalization eras52
Globalization Eras

Globalization II: 1980’s – Present


Information Revolution, cheap communications

Backlash Ideologies:

Fundamentalism, civil disobedience, crime, eco-activism

Examples: Sem Teto, Hugo Chavez

© 2005

globalization eras53
Globalization Eras

Backlash forces have to be kept in check by

  • global economic growth
  • accountability
  • transparency
  • fair policies
  • minimal government (maximizing economic and technological development)

© 2005

information age closing of global divides
Information Age: 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

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

Built mostly by hard-working immigrants

The Network of the 1880’s

© 2005

it globalization revolution 2000 20 promontory point revisited
IT Globalization Revolution (2000-20):Promontory 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

empire progression note the west far east trajectory
Empire Progression(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

our generation s theme
Our Generation’s Theme

First World Saturating,

Third World Uplifting.

© 2005

the pentagon s new map
The Pentagon’s New Map

A New Global Defense Paradigm

© 2005

shrinking the disconnected gap
Shrinking the Disconnected Gap

The Computational “Ozone Hole”

© 2005

examples iraq
Examples: Iraq
  • Communications (cellphones)
  • Lighting (digital solid state)
  • Energy (centralized economies of scale, subsidized deflationary prices; decentralized storage and generation)

Example: Donkey cart generators

  • Security (networked cameras; camera traps)

Culturally-dependent: Britain vs. S. Africa vs. U.S.

  • Portable CD Players/local music ($10 at Wal-Mart)
  • Public access radio and TV stations
  • Food storage, culinary, and women’s needs
  • Sports / Youth Fads

© 2005

the say do development gap
The Say-Do Development Gap

2,600 Iraqi Development Projects Promised

160 under way presently. (Time, July 2004)

Of all of these, communications has been our biggest shortcoming (“failure to communicate”).

We wired ourselves superbly (CPOF) but we never wired in to the populace, or even helped them to wire themselves, in exponential fashion.

Example: DARPA/USC ICT Tactical Language project. Top-down thinking. Avatars vs. Persistent Worlds.

We could have had scores of Iraqi/Arabic youth teaching our incoming soldiers tactical culture in massively multiplayer online worlds, and using those worlds for their own benefit as well. A tipping point among the youth (like Satellite Television in India, etc.).

© 2005

immune recognition vs rejection
Immune Recognition vs. Rejection

The phenomenon of immune recognition (and immune tolerance) vs. rejection.

The honeymoon period.

Rejection, if no measurable exponential value within the host network.

We did not pass this test (in fairness, we may never have passed).

Nevertheless, there were many missed opportunities for deploying MEV strategy.

© 2005

automation and the service society
Automation and the Service Society

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

© 2005

understanding process automation
Understanding Process Automation
  • 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

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

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

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 such 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

creative destruction creating a legal and social culture of innovation
Creative Destruction: Creating a Legal and Social Culture of Innovation
  • 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
  • Taiwan requires all 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)

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

innovation competitiveness acceleration vs efficiency cooperation sustainability
Innovation/Competitiveness/Acceleration vs. Efficiency/Cooperation/Sustainability
  • The first of these macro processes of change is evolutionary, the second developmental.
  • Ideally each must be equally prioritized, in general (yet not in specific contexts).
  • Asia presently overweighted to the former, Europe is overweighted to the latter.
  • The U.S. has fallen behind in the former in recent years.

Innovate America, National Innovation Initiative, Council on Competitiveness, 2004

© 2005

studies in innovation
Studies in Innovation
  • Amar Bose (Bose Suspension System)
  • Bill Gates (Microsoft IPTV)
  • Sergey and Larry Brin (Google)
  • Jeff Bezos (Amazon)
  • Helen Greiner (iRobot)

© 2005

an ict attractor the linguistic user interface
An ICT Attractor:The 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”)

• 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

infotech digital ecologies
Infotech: Digital Ecologies

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

today gmail
Today: Gmail

Free, search-based webmail service with 1,000 megabytes (1 gigabyte) of storage. Google search quickly recalls any message you have ever sent or received. No more need to file messages to find them again.

All replies to each retrieved email are automatically displayed (“threaded”). Relevant text ads and links to related web pages are displayed adjacent to email messages.

© 2005

tomorrow social software lifelogs
Tomorrow: Social Software, Lifelogs

Gmail preserves, for the first time, everything we’ve ever typed. Gmailers are all bloggers (who don’t know it). Next, we’ll store everything we’ve ever said. Then everything we’ve ever seen. This storage (and processing, and bandwidth) makes us all networkable in ways we never dreamed.

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

robo sapiens
Robo sapiens

“Huey and Louey”

AIST and Kawada’s HRP-2

(Something very cool about this algorithm…)

Aibo Soccer

© 2005

personality capture
Personality Capture

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)

“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 will feel like only growth, not death.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Greg Panos (and Mother)

© 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
  • 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

long term future solar energy
Long Term Future: Solar Energy
  • Twenty to fifty year development horizon.
  • 5-10% efficiencies at present. Need 50%.
  • Need good, cheap energy storage systems.

© 2005

long term future hurricane control a new nasa noaa mission
Long-Term Future: Hurricane Control - A 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

the future is already here
The Future is Already Here

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 a paralyzing adherence to the status quo.

- David Brin (paraphrased)

We have two options: Future Shock or Future Shaping

© 2005

some tools for shaping the future
Some Tools for Shaping the Future
  • Education
  • Investment
  • Environmental Literacy / Scanning
    • Technological
    • Business
    • Social/Political
  • Culture of Foresight
  • Culture of Innovation
  • Culture of Competition (fair, creatively destructive)
  • Culture of Leadership
  • Local Commitment
  • Global Perspective

© 2005

leadership questions
Leadership Questions
  • 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

education questions
Education Questions
  • How do we improve the critical early years of child education (e.g.,
  • How do we educate our youth and ourselves to have a futures perspective?
  • How do we learn to see the value of local commitment and global compassion?
  • How do we learn how to create a better individual future through collective action?

© 2005

investment questions
Investment Questions

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
  • 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

futuring questions
Futuring Questions
  • 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
  • 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

activism good leadership attributes
Activism:Good Leadership Attributes
  • 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.”

They are slow to criticize, ego-minimizing, always striving to be nice, modelling good behavior, empathic, yet responsive to communication problems.

© 2005

digital activism civic space online community platform
Digital Activism: Civic Space (Online Community Platform)

“CivicSpace enables bottom-up people-powered campaigns to operate on a more level playing field with more traditional top-down organizations, and, similarly, allows top-down organizations to leverage the power of grassroots organizing.”

© 2005

digital activism videoconferencing and groupware
Digital Activism: Videoconferencing 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 nokia lifeblog
Digital Activism:Nokia Lifeblog

© 2005

digital activism user created 3d persistent worlds105
Digital Activism:User-Created 3D Persistent Worlds
  • Future Salon in Second LifeStreaming audio for main speaker, chat for others. Streaming video (April 2005). Cost: $10 for life + fast graphics card ($180)

© 2005

activism ideashare
  • A global shareware ideas bank
  • Unleashing the ingenuity of students
  • Improving innovation and entrepreneurship

© 2005

brief survey of u s problems and some potential partial solutions
Brief Survey of U.S. Problems and Some Potential Partial Solutions

Problem: Crime-ridden inner cities

© 2005

u s problems solutions
U.S. Problems & Solutions

Problem: Crime-ridden inner cities

Solution: Subsidized front-lawn cameras (camera traps) photographing all neighborhood activity, car drive-bys, people, etc. 97% of several hundred thousand surveillance cameras in Manhattan are privately owned.

© 2005

u s problems solutions109
U.S. Problems & Solutions

Problem: Widening income gaps, loss of middle class weakens democracy

© 2005

u s problems solutions110
U.S. Problems & Solutions

Problem: Widening income gaps, loss of middle class weakens democracy

Solution: This is pendular, no middle class 100 years ago, maximum middle class 50 years ago. How do we reverse the current trend?

© 2005

u s problems solutions111
U.S. Problems & Solutions

Problem: Underfunded, archaic, and over-regulated public schools

© 2005

u s problems solutions112
U.S. Problems & Solutions

Problem: Underfunded, archaic, and over-regulated public schools

Solution: Digital kids. More online education. Home schooling resources. Young teacher recruitment. Technology internships.

© 2005

the extraordinary present
The Extraordinary Present

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

- Gail Carr Feldman

© 2005

action items
Action Items
  • Free Accelerating Times e-news (
  • 2. Attend Accelerating Change 2005
  • September 16-18 at Stanford, Palo Alto, CA
  • 3. Send feedback to
  • Thank You.

© 2005