Welcome to the Club of Amsterdam Journal.
Watch the new edition of The Future Now Show with Nichol Bradford and Katie Aquino about Consciousness Hacking Part 2!
Felix F Bopp, Founder & Chairman
Looking to the Future: Introducing the Concept of Cultural Maturity
By Charles Johnston, MD
The Institute for Creative Development
How do we best understand the future? We can miss that the simple attempt to do so is a radical enterprise – something both new, and suddenly essential. We’ve all had classes on history, on the past. But very few of us have had classes on the future, this in spite of the fact that the future is where we, and certainly our children, must ultimately reside. And if by chance we’ve had a class on the future, the odds that it provided significant insight is small.
Certainly the most commonly encountered thinking about the future doesn’t help us greatly. The evening news rarely takes us beyond the next electoral or business cycle. And the competing advocacies of the political left and the political right most often leave us stuck in all too predictable ideological claims.
The pronouncements of self-proclaimed futurists rarely get us a great deal further. Most futurists focus their attention on technological advancements – on inventions yet to come and how they may change our lives. This is a worthwhile focus, but by itself leaves the most important questions unanswered. Ultimately our future well-being depends much less on specific tools we may invent than whether we can manifest the ability to use those tools wisely. The most narrowly-conceived of technology-focused futures thinking is in the end “techno-utopian”. It makes new technologies the answer, in effect ignoring that the human dimension has any significant role to play.
We also sometimes encounter an almost opposite kind of futures thinking. We can find the future described in terms of human transformation, most commonly of a spiritual, New Age sort. Such thinking is often well-intended, but in the end it stops just as short. At best it represents naïve wishful thinking, proposes outcomes that are simply not possible. At worst, it describes results that on close examination we realize we would never want to have been possible.
Over the last thirty years, the Institute for Creative Development, a Seattle-based non-profit think tank and center for advanced leadership training, has worked to refine a very different way to think about the tasks ahead. The concept of Cultural Maturity applies a “developmental” perspective to understanding culture – and in particular, to making sense of the critical cultural questions now before us. Cultural Maturity is a specific notion within Creative Systems Theory, a comprehensive framework for understanding purpose, change, and interrelationship in human systems.
The concept of Cultural Maturity looks in detail at how our times are challenging us to rethink modern age institutions and values that we have assumed to be ideals and end points. It describes how the most important issues before us will require new skills and capacities if we are just to effectively understand the questions, much less formulate useful answers. It argues that our times are demanding – and making possible – an essential kind of “growing up” as a species.
Understanding all that is involved in this need “growing up” takes considerable reflection. My latest book Cultural Maturity: A Guidebook for the Future is 640 pages long. (An introductory companion volume, Hope and the Future, is a more manageable 150 pages.) But while the concept necessarily stretches how we customarily think, in the end what it describes is common sense, simply a maturity of common sense that we have not before been capable of.
While Cultural Maturity is not as easy a notion as the simple phrase “growing up” might suggest, most of us get-whether consciously or not-that something like what the concept describes will be necessary. Certainly, we appreciate that a sane and healthy future will require that we be more intelligent in our choices. We recognize that dealing with nuclear proliferation in an ever more technologically complex and globally interconnected world will be very difficult unless we can bring greater insight to how we humans relate. Similarly, people recognize that addressing the energy crisis or environmental concerns more generally, will demand a newly sophisticated engagement of hard realities. People’s more immediate frustrations also show a beginning appreciation of the need for greater maturity. With growing frequency, people today respond with disgust – appropriately – at the common childishness of political debate, and at how rarely the media appeal to more than adolescent impulses.
And most of us also recognize something further. We appreciate that it is essential, given the magnitude and the subtlety of the challenges we face and the potential consequences of our decisions, that our choices be not just intelligent, but wise. Cultural Maturity is about realizing the greater nuance and depth of understanding – we could say wisdom – that human concerns of every sort today demand of us.
We get a first glimpse of Cultural Maturity, certainly its necessity, with the recognition that human culture in times past has functioned like a parent in the lives of individuals. It has provided us with our rules to live by, and, in the process, a sense of identity and connectedness with other. Such cultural absolutes have also protected us from life’s very real uncertainties and immense complexities. In today’s increasingly multi-faceted world, such guideposts serve us less and less well.
The implications of this loss are Janus-faced – at once it brings disturbing absence and new options. Combined with how our world has become more risk-filled and complicated, this weakening of familiar rules can leave us dangerously overwhelmed and disoriented. And at the same time it reveals possibilities that before could not have been considered.
Importantly, this is not just new possibility in some “anything-goes” sense. The concept of Cultural Maturity describes how the “growing up” that generates today’s loss of past absolutes also creates the potential for new, more mature ways of understanding and relating. More than just a loss of guideposts is involved. Cultural Maturity brings specific cognitive changes that offer the possibility of more systemic and complete ways of being in, and making sense of, our worlds.
The concept of Cultural Maturity helps us in three primary ways. First, it provides a new guiding narrative in a time when stories we’ve traditionally relied on – from the American Dream to our various political and religious allegiances – serve us less and less well. Second, it identifies needed new skills and capacities that we can practice. Third, the concept of Cultural Maturity helps us develop the more sophisticated conceptual tools the future will increasingly require. (Cultural Maturity’s cognitive changes make possible new kinds of conceptual frameworks – Creative Systems Theory being one example.)
In the end, the concept of Cultural Maturity is about leadership, though this in a particular sense. Its concern is not just good leadership, but the specific kind of leadership the future will require. It is also about leadership understood most expansively. It is about what the future demands of all of us – personally and in associations small and large. What it entails is pertinent to leading nations or organizations, but just as much it concerns making good choices as lovers, friends, or parents. Ultimately, it is about leadership in the choices we make as a species.
You can find culturally mature perspective applied to current critical cultural issues as well as reflections on the continuing evolution of Creative Systems Theory at the Cultural Maturity blog.
The Future Now Show with Mikey Siegel and Katie Aquino
Every month we roam through current events, discoveries, and challenges – sparking discussion about the connection between today and the futures we’re making – and what we need, from strategy to vision – to make the best ones.
Mikey Siegel, Founder, Consciousness Hacker, USA
Katie Aquino, aka “Miss Metaverse”, Futurista™, USA
Paul Holister, Editor, Summary Text
Most of us invest significant time in pursuits, from religion to meditation to mountain treks, where a prime goal is mental or spiritual, such as enlightenment, contentment or inner peace. Generically one might say the goal is feeling better mentally. Now suppose we could use modern technology and the latest scientific knowledge, from neurology, brain imaging, brain stimulation, research into meditation etc., to hack directly into our consciousness and tweak it to achieve these desired mental states? This show tells us of a group of people with diverse skills, all joined in a quest for new ways of achieving this old and primal goal. If technology can help more people get there, how might the world change?
A journey to 2115: Two futurists, two stories – Story 1
In this essay, two futurists from different backgrounds, gender and status who only met online will tell two separate stories of the world set in the year 2115. The authors draw on both factual information and imagination to craft the narratives. Each of the stories addresses global challenges to the future of human survival. The stories are expressions of serious problems of the current and future world told in an amusing yet useful way.
I. Introduction: Two Futurists, Two Stories
This essay is a creative expression of personal images of the future set in 2115. Two futurists, who have only met online, explore possible futures for humanity in the next one hundred years. Each of the authors approach the project from different worldviews: East/West, Male/Female, Student/Teacher. The time horizon of one hundred years is the only common thread, aside from an agreed-upon checklist of global challenges, but otherwise there has been no collaborative effort to tell the stories. The project’s primary purpose is to allow those who teach and study foresight to capture and reflect on creatively-generated personal future scenarios.
In this essay, storytelling is the only purpose. This purpose is seen as opposed to the typical futures project that aims to synthesize hours of research and mountains of reference material. We hope to show that individuals who are well-versed in material and information about the future (i.e., students and teachers of futures studies/foresight) can tell valuable stories about the future by allowing creativity to lead the way.
II. Story 1: Aliasghar’s Story
Aliasghar Abbasi, Technology Foresight Group, Department of Management, Science and Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Title: In Search of the Origins
Setting: Planet One, Planet Earth
Date: A distant time in the future, 2015 to 2115
Main Character: X625, half human half machine
The Beginning: Some far faraway time in the future
I could hear a continuous beep as I tried to open my eyes. Where am I?! I was lying in bed and gazing at the ceiling. I activated my sensors to tell me my location and status. It tells me that I am in a laboratory and I was just born! Dr. Andy Aria, my creator, shows up with his team.
Andy: Welcome X625, you are one of our greatest projects. You’re half human, half machine, and you look like an ordinary young man, you will not get old and till the end of your time you will look the same.
Me: Why am I here?
Andy: We’ll soon place a small chip in your brain which gives you all the information you need. But to tell you in brief, you are now in Planet One. People here in Planet One do not exactly know where they came from. We did a big project to find out our origins and now after years of research and exploration we firmly believe that we came from the Earth, a very small planet in the Solar System, in the Milky Way galaxy. We spotted a period of time in which we probably first came from there to here. That period of time is equivalent to only one hour of our time, but in comparison to the time on Earth, that is 100 years. Your mission is to go there and live among its people through that period of time and transmit the information you get to us.
Quarter One: 2015 to 2040
Arriving on Earth
It’s 2:00 pm, October 1st, 2015 and I just arrived on Earth. I hid my spacecraft and left it in a rural area near Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. Nevertheless, my spacecraft was spotted by a sect called SPIP fighting against Iraqi government while I was landing, few minutes later a vehicle full of armed men stopped for me. Some fierce men took me with themselves thinking the spacecraft was a modern warplane and I was the pilot, they captured me that led to five-years in captivity. The Iraqi army found my spacecraft, which they believed belonged to SPIP and spread the rumor in media that one of the world powers is supporting SPIP by arming them with this creepy weapon. They worked on the spacecraft for few years but couldn’t figure out anything about it, later China offered $10 billion to buy it from the Iraqi government, and they agreed on it so they sold it to China, hoping to decode and make a copy of it. Although I doubt if they even realized how it worked. Many countries, including some European and Middle Eastern countries with the U.S as the leader, were fighting against SPIP along all these years. Finally after five years they succeeded by destroying most of SPIP and reclaim the lands SPIP conquered. I was then set free by Iraqi troops but as they realized I was unable to identify my nationality they supposed I lost my memory and therefore decided to post my picture online with the nickname Andrew, but nobody showed up for me. The government of India agree to grant me asylum, so I moved to Mumbai. Although I lived the few first months isolated because I was afraid of people, I later adjusted myself to their customs and language and now I was considered an Indian citizen.
Chinese Prophet Arises
During the time of captivity I heard the guards talk about news that shook the world: a new prophet! The day I heard it I never thought it would change my life. Mr. Yang was a respected man originally from Tibet, he gained most of the attention in western China where Buddhists first believed him when he claimed to be the messenger of God to bring about peace to the world. On the other hand, many religious extremists including former SPIP members were mad at Yang. The SPIP militants were from a variety of nationalities and after their collapse they came back to their motherlands and organized groups to fight Yang and his supporters. Yang was then deported by the government of China to Mumbai, India in 2024. That was then when I first met him.
In the slum where I lived, he started inviting people to his new religion which he called ‘The Sole Religion’. His words were so magical that almost nobody could resist. Yang was a middle-aged, tranquil man with good attitude toward people. We became friends right after the first time we met. He even let me live in his shack. A late night in December, I was standing beside Yang as he was talking to a group of followers when a car explosion happened in front of us, which was believed to be a terrorist attack targeting Yang. That night I lost my left foot to the explosion. I had the ability to regrow my foot, and the next day people surprisingly referred to it as Yang’s miracle, which gave him an even more positive reputation and I was happy too, because nobody suspected anything unusual about me.
There were several attempts after that to kill Yang. After all, the Indian government could not bear the pressure of Yang’s presence, therefore, Yang was once again deported in 2026, this time to Denmark and I went along with him. By that time he had become a mythic figure among people of India and China with the support of many outstanding characters like the Dalai Lama. However, there were many extremists who wanted him die especially in the Muslim world, which believed the last prophet was theirs. There were rallies in many Islamic countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan condemning the Sole religion. Conflicts between the followers of Sole religion and other religions and Muslims in particular worsened the situation of minority Muslims living in Burma, India and China until they had to abandon their homelands and migrate to other Islamic countries, particularly to Pakistan, Indonesia and Iran. Yang, however, was safe in Denmark and so was I. Denmark and Yang seemed the right place and the right person to stay with. I decided to stay there as long as possible. Yang needed me to monitor the media for him so that he could make best decisions in exile, and it was also beneficiary to me as my main mission was pretty similar to this.
Non-Religious People, Fascinated by Sole Religion
Yang surprisingly could convince the non-religious people of Denmark to follow him! Thanks to social networks he could get more and more noticed every day by the help of his fans and followers. In the mid-30s, followers of Sole religion existed in most countries located in East Asia, Europe and North Africa making it the most popular religion of all time by over three billion followers.
Not many religious people were happy about the new belief system that was growing amazingly fast. The Pope and leaders of some Islamic countries held a summit in Rome in 2036 expressing concerns about the new religion. As a result, they could persuade many influencing religious characters to unite against Sole religion. Shiite Maraji’ (plural of Marja, the supreme legal authority) in Iran and Iraq and Sunni leaders of the rest of Muslim world declared jihad against Solists. Consequently, Middle-eastern, North African and some South East Asian countries plus several European nations allied. The U.S and Russia, however, remained neutral.
The movement was not fierce from the start but gradually turned into a brutal, full-scale war in 2037 leaving millions of mortalities in involved countries. One year later and when the war was in its worst condition, some masked men could successfully enter the living place of Yang and me in spite of all security arrangements and kidnapped us. We then had been transferred to the Netherlands to be judged at the International Criminal Court, where Yang was charged with crimes against humanity, but he was shot and murdered by an angry Christian in front of the court. Yang’s Murder made those who were against him happy. Yang’s tragedy made him an everlasting hero among his followers, though. On the day of the trial, the lawyers labeled me as Yang’s mastermind and ultimately, I was sentenced to 20 years in prison for collaborating with Yang in stimulating religious sentiment in 2039. I was not sad about it as I had access to daily newspapers and that allowed me to stay connected with the outside world.
Quarter Two: 2040 to 2065
Energy, Cheaper Than Ever
In early 2040s, Japan’s JAXA and India’s ISRO in a mutual conference announced that they discovered an unknown material in Mars called the Magical X, with only 100kg of this, Japanese official said we are able to light the Earth for centuries. On the other hand, Chinese mission to mine the moon to extract Helium 3 was successfully accomplished in 2037. Consequently, oil prices dramatically dropped, which had some positive common effects on all countries like the end to air pollution, but it also made the situation hard for some middle-eastern and North African economies that were just recovering from the side effects of the holy wars and were highly dependent on oil money. These countries included Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Algeria, Libya, Sudan and Nigeria. Egypt and Saudi Arabia, however, were safe for the sake of money they made from tourism.
It encouraged other oil export nations to adopt different strategies. Iran focused on tourism as the ultimate solution to their critical situation. They chose the strategy of attracting tourists to their natural and historical attractions and so did Iraq. Lacking natural or historical attractions, Kuwait founded a center for science and technology and electronic technologies in particular. In 2044, they used American, German, Russian, Chinese and Japanese experts to help them with the process, as a result a powerful center was created known as the Silicon Valley of the Middle-East that they hoped to help them with their economy. UAE created the Small World City in 2048, an enclosed, museum-like city which had the top 100 attractions of the world in the exact size, shape and climate. Not all of these countries were successful in achieving their goals due to internal strict regulations that made the tourists unwilling to visit their countries, and that made their position even more vulnerable.
One Generation of Geniuses
In 2051 and after almost a century of study on Albert Einstein’s brain, scientists could finally devise an injection that could shape embryo’s brain exactly as Einstein’s. The UN made the syringe available freely worldwide which literally could make the next generation geniuses. Again in some countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan they refused the new drug because they believed it was against their religious beliefs, some other African countries plus China and North Korea refused it too, for they distrusted the west and found the new free drug fishy.
Discovery of Planet One ‘a super habitable and rather close planet’
Discovering habitable planets were not a new thing to the world, but every time you heard a news like that you would hear that traveling to these planets are not possible because of the huge distance, but the November evening news in 2057 was different. Scientists believed that traveling to at least one of the newly discovered planets that was very close to us in cosmos scale was completely plausible in near future.
In 2058, Chinese experts declared that the spacecraft they received from Iraq in the late 2010s was probably some kind of a time machine and did not belong to the current era and therefore can’t be copied by today’s technologies.
Moving to Japan
While serving my sentence in prison, I met a young man named Hiroto, he grew up an orphan, and was only 9 when he lost his parents in a volcano eruption. Hiroto was a computer geek sentenced to 10 years of confinement for hacking the website of a well-known trade brand. He was quite sociable and always wanted to talk about different issues with me. In 2059 we were both freed, and knowing that I have nobody to stay with, Hiroto asked me to go with him to Tokyo.
Life in Tokyo was amazing, they’d built another city underground, for security and safety reasons. Japanese authorities believed that this way was safer especially when it came to natural disasters like earthquake, tsunami or volcano eruption. Wealthy people who belonged to royal families lived in the underground city.
In Tokyo no human worked, all the works were done by smart robots. They conducted military affairs, they worked as surgeons, prison guards, policemen, firefighters and they also ease rehabilitation of the planet when possible. Work was separated from money and wealth, so there was no objection to these robot workers. In 2061 money and cards became history; instead of money you got credit and that was like info saved on you; no need for cards and signatures, the device could read the whole you.
Science and technology made good progress all over the world but it seemed to decline in ethics, for instance the police became a private business! You could order normal investigation for free or special investigation for a fee. There were also severe conflicts over many issues including natural resources and mainly water in many nations. Some people rose up for their rights against cruel rulers, and these consequently resulted in many countries divided; more than 1000 countries existed to this date.
Humans made good progress in science and technology at making almost any necessary human organs or fluid, ranging from artificial blood to an artificial womb and brain by the early 60s, yet they strived for more. Inspired by salamander, after nearly a century of study, researchers could devise a medication that help human organs to repair themselves, or regenerate, so if you hurt your eye or lost part of your body all you needed was time for your body to revive itself or regrow if you lost it. They eradicated many severe problems like poverty and diseases like AIDS and cancers, made a life elixir that resisted aging, extending human life expectancy up to 160 years which was almost double of life expectancy of humans of all time.
At midnight August 3rd, 2064, however, something terrifying happened that no advanced technology could solve. The sky was lit by an unexpected meteor rain, the size of each was incredibly huge hitting the earth and mostly the Arctic region. This caused a considerable amount of polar ice to melt, causing a great problem for some nations like Russia, Canada, north European countries, Alaska and Greenland. The meteors were hollow, containing an extremely poisonous gas that was released throughout the atmosphere killing millions of living creatures instantly. Before scientists even noticed what happened, there was already a catastrophic tragedy taking place. With melting of the polar ice, some of the deadliest viruses that were inactive for thousands of years became active again, thereupon, all seas and oceans around the world were contaminated by it resulting in perish of billions of sea creatures, floating on the surface of the free waters. The catastrophe was spreading so fast worldwide taking the lives of hundreds of thousands every minute, resistance of human body to antibiotics made the situation unbearable to any being.
Some Japanese scientists that were involved in space activities decided to escape to another planet as the ultimate and only chance of surviving. They sent the coordinates of their destination to their colleagues at European Space Agency, and to some others in India and USA, and left Earth to the alternative planet. Undoubtedly at least one of these groups made it there but not sure what they faced in their new homeland. There are two scenarios though: if life already existed there, depending on whether there were intelligent or wild life, it could be enjoyable or challenging for them to survive. If life did not exist, they had the challenge of living like primitives without any access to facilities and technologies they once enjoyed. Anyway, the shock of the incident and shame of leaving earth like that must had been prevented them from telling the truth to their children and that way it remained a mystery to the first and next generations of Planet One. This planet is fifty times bigger than earth and is like a paradise to humans of Earth with greater resources, no borders, no disease, and people live in peace with no police, no court and no prison as well.
Quarter Three: 2065 to 2090
Beginning of a New Era
Since my vital organs were machines, neither the dreadful virus nor the poisonous gas in the air could affect me. It was also true about the super smart robots that were mostly powered by solar energy. I guess there were numerous humans and a few kinds of animals and plants surviving, though. The Tokyo robots changed their tasks to collecting and burning the corpses and cleaning the city. This made Tokyo the only seemingly alive city in the world.
I had to find a way to transmit my observations to Andy on Planet One. I organized all robots available in Tokyo in a group and by February 2066, we started a new life independent of humans. I had the resources and work force, all I needed to do was to find a way to make it happen. We made some machines within years which were of no good use. One hopeless night in 2076, while I was reading the archive of technological news of JAXA I noticed a news from 2058 that said my spacecraft was held at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum! It was the sweetest news ever, I could get back to my homeland, all I needed was to go there and fly it back to where I came from but since my mission supposed to be a 100-year period I had to stay for some few more decades in Earth to make sure if the group that left the Earth to Planet One were the only ones who did it and were real ancestors of people in Planet One. With no media, I had to experience everything myself. Besides, I needed to collect some evidence, probably find some hair of astronauts that traveled to Planet One at their workplace for the DNA test, so I began a journey to former European Space Agencies and different countries involved including USA, India and China as my final destination because my spacecraft was in Shanghai. My robot buddies helped me with that and within a few years I had all the evidence I needed.
Emergence of New Life on Earth
During the travels I found out that the world’s vegetation was changing, some kind of weird plant emerged that could imbibe the poisonous gas of the atmosphere and turn it into Oxygen. This plant paved the way for life to gradually get established on earth again. The surviving beings of the world were mostly insects by early 80s, but after some time I could see different types of plants and trees growing here and there. Some creatures began appearing but this time they were kind of different from former habitats of earth, they were tiny amphibians feeding off of plants with no eyes and some different kind of navigation systems. By late 80s, some of them turned to eat some other kinds of themselves, guess I was witness of evolution just from the beginning but this time they were going to be totally different from previous Earth habitats.
Quarter Four: 2090 to 2115
Aliens Seize the Earth
The earth was recovering. The Ozone Layer for instance, was completely recovered by the early 90s, and the air was fresher than ever. Polar ices were freezing again, sea creatures were appearing again but no sign of human activity. One summer day in the mid-90s, my fellow robots and I were walking in the Amazon jungles, tracking the signs of life when we faced a huge creature that did not seem friendly at all. I tried to make contact with it but as she noticed us, she attacked us and destroyed one of our fellow robots. That made the other robots get defensive using their weapons to kill the beast. We later noticed that she was not alone and there were plenty of them in the Amazon, and we had to escape for we were low in number and could not defeat them. While we were retreating we could see hundreds of them landing on earth from the sky above. I believe what happened to earth in October 2064 was the attack to exterminate life on earth and make it theirs.
I had to leave earth in 10 years or so anyways, but my fellow robots were going to stay and take revenge on the occupiers. The Japanese super smart robots had the ability to reproduce themselves but under certain conditions and only in their lab in Tokyo. We went back to Tokyo and within a few years we were able to produce thousands of robots. Most of them stayed in Tokyo to protect the city, and some others went with me to Shanghai for my mission was over and I had to leave Earth to my homeland. I made a copy of my memory and handed it to my fellow robots in case if humans appeared once again on earth, they don’t get confused about their history. October 2115, after 100 years of stay on earth, I left earth to Planet One.
(end of Story 1)
Aliasghar Abbasi, Technology Foresight Group, Department of Management, Science and Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
424 Hafez Ave, Tehran, Iran, 15875-4413. +989195905905; email@example.com
A journey to 2115: Two futurists, two stories – Story 1
Alexandra Whittington, College of Technology (Adjunct)
University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
4800 Calhoun Street, Houston, Texas, 77204 +17137434110; firstname.lastname@example.org
Club of Amsterdam blog
Club of Amsterdam blog
by Humberto Schwab, Philosopher, Owner, Humberto Schwab Filosofia SL, Director, Club of Amsterdam
The Ukrainian Dilemma and the Bigger Picture
by Hardy F. Schloer, Owner, Schloer Consulting Group – SCG, Advisory Board of the Club of Amsterdam
The impact of culture on education
by Huib Wursten, Senior Partner, itim International and
Carel Jacobs is senior consultant/trainer for itim in The Netherlands, he is also Certification Agent for the Educational Sector of the Hofstede Centre.
What more demand for meat means for the future
by Christophe Pelletier, The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.
Inner peace and generosity
by Elisabet Sahtouris, Holder of the Elisabet Sahtouris Chair in Living Economies, World Business Academy
DARPA’s Top Secret Weapons
By Discovery Channel
For more than fifty years, DARPA has held to a singular and enduring mission: to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security.
The genesis of that mission and of DARPA itself dates to the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and a commitment by the United States that, from that time forward, it would be the initiator and not the victim of strategic technological surprises. Working with innovators inside and outside of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities. The ultimate results have included not only game-changing military capabilities such as precision weapons and stealth technology, but also such icons of modern civilian society such as the Internet, automated voice recognition and language translation, and Global Positioning System receivers small enough to embed in myriad consumer devices.
News about the Future
Tennis Tracking and Analysis System
KITRIS enables tennis players to quickly and effectively improve their performance and achieve a higher level at tennis. The system is based on a consistent analysis and evaluation of training sessions and matches that are provided to both players and coaches in the form of comprehensive feedback.
Cities, green infrastructure and health
Part of the Foresight future of cities project.This paper looks at how we can improve the health and wellbeing of people in our towns and cities through the use of ‘green infrastructure’. It defines this as the network of natural features – green spaces, rivers and trees – that provide us with ecological services, such as flood protection.
Marine World Heritage
UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage. Narrated by Gisele Bündchen
Recommended Book: The Upcycle Beyond Sustainability – Designing for Abundance
Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World
By Jared Green
In Designed for the Future, author Jared Green asks eighty of today’s most innovative architects, urban planners, landscape architects, journalists, artists, and environmental leaders the same question: what gives you the hope that a sustainable future is possible? Their imaginative answers – covering everything from the cooling strategies employed at Cambodia’s ancient temple city of Angkor Wat to the use of cutting-edge eco-friendly mushroom board as a replacement for Styrofoam – show the way to our future success on earth and begin a much-needed dialogue about what we can realistically accomplish in the decades ahead.
Featuring an international roster of leading design thinkers including:
• Biomimicry pioneer Janine Benyus
• Curator Barry Bergdoll
• Educator and author Alan Berger
• Environmentalist and author Lester Brown
• Architect Rick Cook
• Urban Planner Paul Farmer
• Critic Christopher Hume
• Architect Bjarke Ingels
• Landscape designer Mia Lehrer
• Architect Rob Rogers
• Critic Inga Saffron
• Artist Janet Echelma
International Space Station – interactive panorama
Click here to explore in full screen
Just before ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti left the International Space Station after 199 days, she took up to 15 pictures inside each module. Now, the images have been stitched together to create this interactive panorama.
These panoramas offer a snapshot of the International Space Station as it was in June 2015, after moving the Leonardo storage module to a new location.
Explore the modules and zoom in to see more detail. Use the map or the arrow icons by the module hatches to move to another section. You can explore every part of the Space Station except the Russian modules for now – the complete Station will be available later this year.
Click on the ‘play’ icons to watch Samantha explain or demonstrate an item, and click on the ‘text’ icons for web articles.
Finally, we recommend exploring in a full screen to do justice to this immersive interactive panorama.
The tour was improved by the assistance of Thomas Rauscher in Vienna, Austria, who helped to stitch the images together for some modules.
Futurist Portrait: Karlheinz Steinmueller
Karlheinz Steinmüller (born November 4, 1950 in Klingenthal) is a German physicist and science fiction author. Together with his wife Angela Steinmüller he has written science fiction short stories and novels that depict human development on a cosmic scale, grounded in an analysis of social structures and mechanisms. Angela and Karlheinz Steinmüller were not only among the most widely read authors in the GDR, ranking at the top of a 1989 poll of most popular science fiction authors in the GDR, but their works continue to be republished.
Dr. Karlheinz Steinmüller is a founding partner and Z_punkt’s scientific director. He is responsible for corporate and public Foresight projects. Since the early 1990s, Mr Steinmüller has been working as a future researcher, among others for the Sekretariat für Zukunftsforschung (SFZ – Secretariat for Futures studies) in Gelsenkirchen. He has graduated in physics and has been working as a scientist and a freelance author of science fiction novels. As part of the master’s programme in Future Research at FU Berlin, he lectures on foresight methods.
Karlheinz Steinmüller, Scientific Director at Z_punkt, recently gave two lectures at the World Conference of Future Research. The first lecture started from the premise that we are in desperate need of standards and quality criteria for Future Research. Standards and quality criteria are more than just a dry academic exercise, for foresight practitioners they are also an important reference point for the quality of their own work. The discussion about who determines the criteria and how they are obtained is still on-going. Steinmüller’s lecture gives an initial insight and overview. The discussion will be continued at the annual meeting of the Future Research Network in October 2015.
The second lecture was devoted to the question of how future researchers can draw attention to their subjects – whether in research or in the corporate context. Karlheinz Steinmüller, himself an experienced science fiction author, explained in Turku how bleak scenarios can be recounted and how they can draw attention to your own issues and problems, or rather how you can predict them. He did this with the help of several examples, including the extinction of bees. This led to the development of artificial insects to pollinate plants, but they suddenly becoming a swarm and started attacking people and animals! The talk was based on the idea that if we don’t invent the new threats ourselves, then we won’t be able to protect ourselves against them.
Studio Guest: Dr. Karlheinz Steinmüller, Futurologist | Tomorrow Today
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