Solar Update, Remembering Richard Lamm, and more

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Volume 7,
Number 10
September 30, 2021

Mack Report: Update on Solar Power

Solar energy made up 43% of new energy capacity in the United States in 2020, reports AAI Foresight managing principal Tim Mack in his latest article for the AAI Foresight Signals blog. Among the new installations of solar power are those on reclaimed brownfields in places like Texas and California, he notes.

Despite such bright prospects, solar and other renewable energy projects continue to face logistical challenges, notably “the continued health, safety, and operational viability of workers in what has been a work theater marked by accidents, injuries, and work-related illnesses,” Mack writes.

And, despite growing demands for carbon emission reductions, energy-intensive sectors of the economy are only at the beginning of decarbonization and will require trillions of dollars in infrastructure investment over the next 30 years, Mack says.

ReadSolar and Renewable Power in 2021” by Timothy C. Mack, Foresight Signals blog (September 28, 2021).

News and Updates from the Field

  • The UN has released its Our Common Agenda report proposing, among other initiatives, a Summit of the Future in 2023 and the creation of a Futures Lab to address the needs of younger and future generations. [Download PDF]
  • Meanwhile, more than 200 leading futurists around the world have signed an open letter, submitted to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, proposing a new UN Office of Strategic Threats. “We need a specific UN Office that just focuses on what could make us go extinct and how to prevent it,” says Jerome Glenn, CEO of The Millennium Project. [Learn more]
  • A project to create a State of the Future Index for Greece (SOFI-GR) is now under way, announced Epaminondas Christophilopoulos, head of the UNESCO Chair on Futures Research at the Institute of Technology and Research (FORTH). Christophilopoulos is co-chair of the Greece node of The Millennium Project, which developed SOFI as a tool to provide a 10-year outlook based on analysis of selected key indicators. The goal of SOFI-GR is to create an indicator of national prosperity that is more accurate and meaningful than, for example, GDP. [Learn more]
  • The TechCast Project, led by Bill Halal, has posted the results of a survey and roundup of reflections about the “Mis/Disinformation” problem. The discussions and extensive commentaries addressed the dissemination of both honest errors and information that is intended to deceive, as well as the sources, uses, and effects of this dissemination and what might be done about the problem. [Learn more]

TransVision Conference Update

TransVision 2021, taking place October 8-10 in Madrid, has added a streaming option for those who wish to attend virtually, according to organizer José Cordeiro. Among the scheduled speakers are Ray Kurzweil, Aubrey de Grey, Ben Goertzel, and Natasha Vita-More. Visit

Foresight Opportunities

  • UN Global Pulse is seeking a Creative Specialist—Foresight to work with the UNGP Finland Lab manager and deputy director. The incumbent will be “an integral part of the foresight team ensuring the outputs of foresight work are tailored to different audiences, including UN senior leadership and decision-makers.” Deadline to apply is October 12. [Learn more]
  • Renaissance College at the University of New Brunswick invites applicants for two tenure-track assistant professorships in leadership studies, one position commencing July 1, 2022, and the second, January 1, 2023. Applicants with backgrounds in a wide range of leadership areas, including futures studies and foresight, are encouraged. Deadline is November 1. [Learn more]

New and Noteworthy Publications

  • Futures studies scholar Richard A. Slaughter has released a free download of his new publication, Deleting Dystopia: Re-asserting Human Priorities in the Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Slaughter presents a critical analysis of information technology development that turned innovations once thought liberating into tools for “an oppressive global system that appears more dangerous and invasive with each passing year.” [Learn more]
  • Fast Future Publishing has released Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon (September 28, 2021), its second volume of essays exploring the post-pandemic world. Edited by Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells, and Alexandra Whittington, the volume explores developments and new ideas in business and the economy, society and lifestyles, innovation and technology, regional futures, and more. [Learn more]
  • Tom Lombardo, director of the Center for Future Consciousness, has simultaneously published two new volumes of his Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future series. Volume Two: The Time Machine to Metropolis covers the period 1895 to 1930, featuring works from H. G. Wells to Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis. Volume Three: Superman to Star Maker focuses on science fiction of the 1930s and concludes with an extensive philosophical examination of Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men and Star Maker. [Learn more]
  • Futuros México hacia 2050, edited by Concepción Olavarrieta, Guillermo Gándara, and Jorge Máttar, Debate/Penguin Random House, 2021. This collection of essays addresses global challenges as we approach 2050 and looks at scenarios and projects that may guide us toward a more promising future. The first edition is in Spanish; an English version to be published by Tecnológico de Monterrey is also planned. [Learn more]
  • Imperial Consulting Corporation president Edward Gordon has compiled and updated the installments of his Job Shock white paper that were previously published in the Gordon Report newsletter. The series focuses “on the growing talent deficits in the U.S. labor market” and proposed solutions for meeting the workforce needs of the future. [Download PDF]
  • Executive management consultant and futurist Karl Albrecht published his Blueprint for a New America (October 2020) with the intent “to shake up America’s national conversation.” He addresses such issues as taxation, the “Commons,” and the responsibilities corporations owe to the republic. [Learn more]

Quiz: What Kind of Future Leader Are You?

Are you a Navigator, Strategizer, Sense-Maker, or Mobilizer? Swiss-based think tank Supertrends Institute has created a short quiz to reveal your leadership style as a futurist. “Take this Future Perspectives Assessment to identify what qualities you can bring to a strategic generation process.” (Signal courtesy of Alexandra Whittington via LinkedIn) [Take the quiz]

In Memoriam: Richard D. Lamm

Former Colorado governor, U.S. presidential candidate, and futurist Richard “Dick” Lamm died July 29, 2021, following complications from a pulmonary embolism. His death came five days before his 86th birthday.

Lamm was known for his environmental activism and progressive stance on women’s rights. As a futurist, he also advanced warnings about the coming challenges of an aging society and about the need to “futurize” American institutions. Following his three terms as governor, Lamm became executive director of the Center for Public Policy and Contemporary Issues at the University of Denver.

In addition to contributing articles to The Futurist magazine, Lamm notably addressed the World Future Society’s 1996 meeting in Washington, D.C., when the announcement of his presidential nomination in Ross Perot’s Reform Party generated overwhelming media interest in Lamm’s keynote presentation.

Lamm is survived by his wife, Dottie, along with two children, two brothers, and four grandchildren.

ReadColorado turns out to honor former Gov. Richard Lamm” by Marianne Goodland, Colorado Politics (September 1, 2021).

Signal Thoughts

“The future isn’t something we inherit. It is something we create.” Richard Lamm (quoted by the late Graham T.T. Molitor, who considered Lamm one of his “favorite political heroes”)