Signals: "We Are Technology" ... The Futurist Leader ... Life in 2050 ... and more

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Volume 1,
Number 18
July 20, 2015

Podcast: Futuristic Now

Techno-philosopher Gray Scott, editorial director of the Serious Wonder online futurist journal, has launched a new podcast series titled Futuristic Now. In the weekly series, he will offer his analysis and reflections about the implications of such developments as replicants, cyborgs, and sexbots.

In the first episode, “We Are Technology,” Scott discusses the digital evolution of humanity. “To understand the future of technology, we need to begin with one fundamental truth: Technology is natural,” he says. But “technology has yet to fully reveal itself to us.”

Technology will keep evolving until it becomes conscious, he says. “It may take 50 years or a thousand years, but it will happen. And when it does, we will stand face to face with our digital reflection.”

Listen: Futuristic Now, episode one

Signals: artificial intelligence, cyborgs, evolution, technology, transhumanism

New Book: The Futurist Leader

The Association for Talent Development has published Kedge principal and managing director Yvette Montero Salvatico’s new book, The Futurist Leader (June 2015, $24.95 paperback or PDF), as part of its “TD at Work” series.

To master the challenges of an ever-shifting business landscape, leaders must embrace strategic foresight, which will enable them to recognize emerging patterns before they become threats—or opportunities. The workbook provides guidance and a framework that will help organizations and their leaders put strategic foresight into practice.

Details: ATD Publications

Signals: business, leadership, strategic foresight

Essay Contest: Life in the Year 2050

What will daily life be like 35 years from now? What will you wear, where will you live, where will you go on vacation, and how will you get there?

The 2050 Club is seeking creative, forward-looking essays (deadline July 31), offering a grand prize of $250 and “Cool Kids” prizes of $100 for entrants under age 16 (submitted by their parents).

Details, Vote on submissions: 2050 Club on Facebook

Signals: creativity, futurism, youth, visions

In the News: Patrick Tucker on C-Span

The nearly simultaneous cyber failures at United Airlines and the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month, along with news of a major hack at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, brought Defense One’s technology editor Patrick Tucker to the studios of C-Span’s Washington Journal on July 12.

While the UA and NYSE failures were unintentional technological glitches and quickly resolved, the OPM hack is gravely concerning, affecting as many as 21.5 million people. The hackers targeted the information provided by individuals who had gone through or applied for security clearance, which means that any information that was given about, for instance, personal contacts in other countries, is now in the hands of hackers. This makes U.S. intelligence assets (i.e., agents) vulnerable, Tucker pointed out.

All three of these failures were predictable, Tucker said. The problems result from the massive demands modern society now makes on technologies, such as imposing complex new software on top of legacy systems that cannot accommodate it.

While the OPM hack “was preventable,” Tucker said, “that’s the thing that hindsight gives us—the knowledge that something was preventable.” We should have been expecting such a sophisticated malware attack, and we should have been protecting ourselves from it. “You have to assume that data that has been collected is going to get out.”

View: Patrick Tucker on U.S. cyber threats, Washington Journal (July 12, 2015)

Signals: complexity, cybercrime, government, security, software, technology

Calling All Conference Goers!

Are you attending Worldfuture 2015 this week in San Francisco? Please send us your reports and photos from the event!

We also want to hear about any other conferences, exhibitions, or experiences that you’d like to share with the wider foresight community.

Contact: Cynthia G. Wagner, consulting editor, at, or Tim Mack, managing principal, at

Foresight Report: IT Revolution, Aerospace, and Society

AAI Foresight is pleased to announce the publication of “Emerging Impacts of the IT Revolution upon Technology, Aerospace, and Society: Creating Problems and Enabling Solutions” by Dennis M. Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA Langley Research Center.

In the report, the third in AAI Foresight’s series of Foresight Reports, Bushnell reflects on the multiplying effects of converging technological revolutions, which the information technology revolution in particular has enabled. As a result, the world is avowedly technologically “flat.”

These technologies offer the promise of accelerating our exploration and development off planet, including Mars. And while they force society to confront the challenges of technological unemployment, developments such as “tele-everything” and 3-D printing manufacturing will also enhance individual independence, he says.

Download:IT Revolution, Aerospace, and Society” by Dennis M. Bushnell, Foresight Report (Summer 2015), PDF.

Signals: communications, computing, information technology, Mars, space, 3-D printing

Report from Tim Mack: Personal Responsibility for the Future

In his latest blog for AAI Foresight, managing principal Tim Mack reflects on the changing nature of the questions he’s being asked about the future. In describing audience reaction to a speech he prepared shortly before retiring as president of the World Future Society, he writes:

“Although a few questions did relate to the content of my presentation, the majority of audience inquiries keyed off of the speaker introduction, which mentioned that I was retiring in a few months to an island in Puget Sound, north of Seattle. The myriad of questions all had an 'end times' feel to them, including how I was preparing for catastrophic weather, resource shortfalls, civil unrest, and so on.”

Wondering whether such questions stem from disillusionment with public problem solving—and acceptance of more personal responsibility for larger issues—Mack invites readers to join him in a dialogue about whether “concern about the future [is] growing while confidence in our ability to affect its course declines.”

Read “Taking Personal Responsibility for Larger Issues” by Tim Mack, Foresight Signals Blog, posted July 20, 2015.

Signals: catastrophe planning, dialogue, public policy, responsibility, values