Monday, April 18, 2016

What Will Life Be Like In 2050

What will life be like for our children and grandchildren by 2050, as we continue our transition from a Type 0 into a Type 1 Civilization.

A Type 0 Civilization extracts its energy, information, raw-materials from crude organic-based sources (e.g. wood/fossil fuel); information is communicated by books, newspapers, oral tradition; natural and man-made disasters coupled with societal conflicts create extreme risk of extinction; it's capable of orbital spaceflight; limited medical and technological advancement; failure to improve social and environmental conditions often lead to their own extinction.

A Type I Civilization extracts its energy and raw-materials from fusion power, hydrogen, solar, and other renewable resources; able to utilize and store energy available from its neighboring star, i.e. the sun; capable of inter-planetary spaceflight, colonization, and communication within its solar system; mega-scale global engineering and trade; regional and world governments; digital access to all known information and knowledge; achieves medical and technological singularity; still vulnerable to possible extinction.

My grandparents grew up during the final transition from the 'Agriculture Age' into the 'Industrial Age' back in the early 1900's. They were there at the start-up of the automobile industry, the beginning of aviation, the introduction of home appliances like the washing machine and refrigerators. Long distance travel was largely by steam ships or locomotives. They were there when electricity and telephones were first introduced. My parents got to see these innovative new products and industries mature. They got to travel by jet airplanes and were there when black & white televisions were invented, when color TV sets came into being, and even saw the emergence of computer technology. They were there at the start of the 'Space Age' and when the first man walked on the moon.

I grew up in the 1960's and lived and worked during the transition from the 'Industrial Age' into the 'Information Age' of the 21st Century. I was there to see the startup and rapid growth of the information technology (IT) industry, the transition from analog to digital communication networks, the birth of the Internet and world wide web (WWW), the emergence of regional and global governing entities, the start of inter-planetary flight, the commercialization of space travel, the emergence of mobile, wearable and implantable IT systems, the mapping of the human genome and the birth of regenerative medicine, in addition to the development and use of artificial intelligence, drone technology, laser beams, 3D printing, virtual reality, and so many other advancements rapidly leading up to the achievement of medical and technological singularity.

So try and imagine what advancements and massive changes our children and grandchildren will see and experience by 2050 and beyond. For example, will they witness:
  • Rapid growth in predictive and regenerative medicine leading ultimately to the end of disease and death as we know it;
  • Achievement of medical and technological singularity, leading to the transition of humans from our existing life forms into cyborg or android bodies;
  • Development of high-speed hyperloop transnational transportation systems on Earth;
  • Development, deployment, and use of next generation inter-planetary transportation systems;
  • Establishment of initial colonies on nearby planets within our solar system, i.e. Mars;
  • Development and widespread use of 3D manufacturing, virtual reality (VR) and teleportation technologies;
  • Reduction in Earth's population to more manageable levels, e.g. 5-6 billion people.
  • Development and deployment of telepathic methods of communications between people;
  • Development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) interfaced to the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Free and 'open access' to all the world's knowledge by human beings as needed;
  • Exponential growth of innovative technologies and solutions to facilitate continued advancement of our civilization in order to transition from a Type I into a Type II Civilization in the 22nd Century.

Some of the many characteristics of a Type II Civilization will include: the ability to harness and control the power of a star; mastery of faster-than-light travel; the capability of inter-stellar travel; the colonization of other solar systems in our galaxy; starships powered by the collision of matter and antimatter; the ability to communicate all knowledge in a short, massive burst; initial contact established with other civilizations in the universe; the extinction of our inter-stellar civilization will be highly unlikely.

What do you think our children and grandchildren will see and experience in their lifetimes? Share your thoughts with us.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Open Revolution and the Information Age – Taking action to restore the American Dream

As I have said before in previous blogs on the 'Open Revolution', we are in the midst of the transition from the 'Industrial Age' to the 'Information Age' and are experiencing major changes and disruptions similar to those experienced when our country transitioned from the 'Agricultural Age' to the 'Industrial Age'.  Many organizations, business practices, skills, values, and behavior that worked well in the past have become ineffective, outdated and must change with the times.  

History reminds us that back during the Agricultural Age, the wealth of many nations and governmental power rested disproportionally in the hands of kings and their noblemen – the 1% of that era.  As we moved into the Industrial Age, conditions led to a series of revolutions (e.g. American & French Revolutions) where the 'middle class' wrested power from these nobles and set up governments that placed more power  in their hands.

Today, we again find ourselves in a position where the royalty or 'noblemen' of today, the billionaires and Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of large corporations, hold a disproportionate level of wealth and power – the 1% of this era. Again, as we transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, revolution is breaking out.  Hundreds of millions of people in the 'middle class' are seeking to wrest power away from the noblemen of today and restore fairness or balance to a system going out of control.

The Internet, computer chips, social media, and mobile technology coupled with open source, open access, open standards, open data, and other key components of the 'open' movement are all contributing to the disruptive 'Open Revolution' that is occurring all around us.  These new technologies and the growth of 'social networks' are being used to bring about major changes in the public and private sector organizations, as well as our society and culture in general.

So, once again let's ask the following questions.  What does this all mean to us? What steps will Americans take to strengthen or replace existing ways of doing business, improve the way our government works, and how we lead our lives in the 21st century?  What can we do to help shape a better future for our country and our people? We shouldn't just complain or shout at others about the current state of affairs, we ought to provide constructive recommendations on next steps to take as we move deeper into the 21st century.

So, let's start to figure out what 'We the People' believe ought to be the best way forward. Let's identify some of the key issues facing us and specific strategies and alternatives we should pursue. For example:

  • Do we want to see our global nation-state system give way to a world governed by large powerful multi-national corporations?  Is this what the 'Open Revolution' is all about?
  • Or, do we see the 'Open Revolution' and the Information Age empowering individuals and providing for a more democratic society?
  • Do we want to see decentralization and re-distribution of governmental power away from billionaires and  large corporations back into the hands of an informed citizenry?
  • Should we be insisting on the passage of laws outlawing corporate lobbyists? Not just placing restrictions on their activities, but outlawing them – especially by former Congress members or their staff.
  • Do "We the People" want to pass laws specifically aimed at reversing the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision allowing organizations to spend unlimited dollars on political campaigns?
  • Do we want to actively encourage the adoption of 'open solutions' as one way to increase competition and innovation in the coming century? e.g. open source, open access, open data, open standards, etc.
  • Should many of the "too big to fail" corporations and monopolies based in the U.S. be broken up? Has their power become a major threat to our Constitution and way of life?
  • As an alternative, should we more proactively encourage the growth of small and mid-size organizations that tend to compete and collaborate more in a truly 'open' marketplace?

What are your thoughts? What do you think needs to be done? How do you see the 'Open Revolution' playing out as we move deeper into the Information Age over the coming decades?

* Interested in the Future of America? Visit the blogging site on the America's Future: 2020-2050.