Futurology: shining a bright, broad beam of light into the darkness | Lydia Nicholas | Science | guardian.co.uk
Planning for the future predicted by our current data leaves us vulnerable to unexpected derailments. Embracing uncertainty and preparing for the implausible gives us the chance to choose a better world
It is really interesting to find a defense for my area of futures thinking, in the Guardian. Normally I would see this as a sign of increasing acknowledgement of the relevance of the discipline. Judging from all other signals I unfortunately thinks this is most likely just another shot in the dark in the total future-present confusion we are currently experiencing. A phenomenon which comes from the breakdown of the basic mental models we used to understand the world for the last centuries.
So-called anticipatory systems such as Google Now represent one example of what could result. We’re already seeing the transformations that big data is causing in advertising and other situations where millions of people’s activity can be measured at a time. Now data science is looking at how it can help individuals. Timely updates on a United Airways flight may be among the tamer applications. Think instead of statistical models that tell you what job to take, or alert you even before you feel ill that you may have the flu. — Google Now, Anticipatory Systems, and the Future of Big Data | MIT Technology Review
This Is The World’s First Entirely 3D-Printed Gun (Photos) - Forbes
All sixteen pieces of the Liberator prototype were printed in ABS plastic with a Dimension SST printer from 3D printing company Stratasys, with the exception of a single nail that’s used as a firing pin. The gun is designed to fire standard handgun rounds, using interchangeable barrels for different calibers of ammunition.
Of course, Defcad’s users may not adhere to so many rules. Once the file is online, anyone will be able to download and print the gun in the privacy of their garage, legally or not, with no serial number, background check, or other regulatory hurdles. “You can print a lethal device,” Wilson told me last summer. “It’s kind of scary, but that’s what we’re aiming to show.
What is Resilience? is a nifty, free, 20page, visual ebook overview defining resilience. It’s free, and published by the researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. (Free ebook is free.)
Resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. It is about the capacity to use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis or climate change to spur renewal and innovative thinking.
This publication presents the major strands within resilience thinking and social-ecological research. It describes the profound imprint we humans have had on nature and ideas on how to deal with the resulting challenges.
The publication is based on three scientific articles that were prepared for the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on global sustainability, which took place in Stockholm in May 2011. The articles were later published in the scientific journal Ambio. They represent a mix of necessary actions and exciting planetary opportunities. They also illustrate how we can use the growing insights into the many challenges we are facing by starting to work with the processes of the biosphere instead of against them.
Chapter One describes in detail the complex interdependencies between people and ecosystems. It highlights the fact that there are virtually no ecosystems that are not shaped by people and no people without the need for ecosystems and the services they provide. Too many of us seem to have disconnected ourselves from Nature. A shift in thinking will create exciting opportunities for us to continue to develop and thrive for generations to come.
Chapter Two takes us through the tremendous acceleration of human enterprise, especially since World War II. This acceleration is pushing the Earth dangerously close to its boundaries, to the extent that abrupt environmental change cannot be excluded. Furthermore, it has led scientists to argue that the current geological period should be labelled the ‘Antropocene’ – the Age of Man.
Chapter Three highlights the fascinating paradox that the innovative capacity that has put us in the current environmental predicament can also be used to push us out of it. It introduces the term social-ecological innovation, which essentially strives to find innovative ways to reconnect with the biosphere and stay within planetary boundaries.
What 3-D Printing Means To The Future Of Advertising | Co.Create: Creativity \ Culture \ Commerce
Advertisers will be forced to reconcile their physical outputs in the world in a way that spitting out spots and microsites never faced us with. Or, said differently, our ad crap is made more evident when it’s a real piece of crap sitting on a desk or floor. We’ll have to continue to ask ourselve, “Is this additive value or just some more crap?” And the crap factor will, hopefully, make us work harder to do better for audiences who are increasingly immune to our virtual ad crap, more so when it’s physical ad crap.
We as consumers will likely find ourselves in a world where, in addition to all the images and messages we are bombarded with today, almost every physical object in public places are designed by somebody in order to make us feel, react, think and ultimately consume in a certain way. A likely reaction against this will be that we will not just close our ears with headphones, but also our eyes to shield our fragile and adaptive minds against all these intrusions.
Just 20 years of development… And it is just not another new technology but an almost fully diffused tool for the masses.
How To Get Around The Peak Car Conundrum
BY DR. PETER GRAF AND GIL PEREZ, fastcoexist.com
We have tons of cars—and tons of congestion. But new breakthroughs in connecting cars to the cloud (and eliminating the need for car ownership) show what a better future for cars might look like.
By all accounts, the global automotive indus…
The talk about Peak Car is picking up speed. Maybe the discussion in itself will enforce the phenomenon further…mo
Humans’ indelible stamp on Earth clear 5000 years ago - environment - 29 April 2013 - New Scientist
When did humans stamp our footprint on the planet? The idea that we have entered a geological epoch defined by our very presence – the Anthropocene – is gaining traction, but exactly when did this epoch begin? After the first atom bomb went off? At the start of the industrial revolution in the mid-18th century? Or was it a lot earlier? A new study argues that the Anthropocene began with the rise of farming or even in Neolithic times, when we took to widespread burning of the bush to hunt animals.
Ownership might be getting replaced with membership, or revised to mean membership. In the not-distant future, maybe we’ll belong to dozens of “exchange communities” or bartering networks of varying levels of exclusivity. The largest barter network in the Maryland-DC area, Barter Systems Inc., has over 1400 members. Members can barter a mailing list management service for stress management or maid services. — Things Aren’t What They Used to Be: Is Ownership Passé? | Harpy’s Review | Big Think (via futuristgerd)
A look at internet usage globally.
Only A Third of the World’s Population is Online
Via Statista. Select to embiggen.