Brian David Johnson Wants to Know: How can we change the future?

7 March 2012

Everybody who attended ASU’s Emerge Mashup on 3 March 02012 received a copy Intel’s book The Tomorrow Project Anthology: Conversations About the Future. Chapter One was written by Intel’s Futurist Brian David Johnson and is titled How to Change the Future.

Hmm… Johnson has come up with a great question: How can we change the future?

I liked how Brian David Johnson ended the first paragraph of chapter one.

I have always believed that everyone should be an active participant in the future. If we are all making it and we are all going live in it then why not do something about it individually.

I want to be an active participant in the future. The following was my Facebook status update on Sunday, 4 March 02012…

“I ain’t no ____” has become one of my frequently used phrases. Yesterday, I started a blog posting with “I ain’t no futurist,” but I deleted it because we’re all futurists.

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From 01900 to 01968 to 02012 to 02036

5 March 2012

[rough draft]

I had a chance to hear Neal Stephenson speak on 3 March 02012 at ASU’s Emerge Mashup. He took a person from 01900 and transported them to 01968. The changes were beyond belief. He then took a person from 01968 and transported them to 02012. About the only notable change was the proliferation of computers (in both power and number) and the Internet.

I liked Stephenson’s story, but I noted that the difference between 01900 and 01968 was 68 years, while the difference between 01968 and 02012 was only 44 years. How about putting that person from 01968 into the year 02036?

First, here’s my take on a person who is transported 44 years from 01968 to 02012. It looks like everybody is knitting, but they’re communicating by typing with their thumbs and swiping tiny screens with their pointer fingers. People spend a lot of time walking around talking to themselves. Computers are vastly more powerful and vastly cheaper to the point where they’re ubiquitous. They like being sensed, so sensors are becoming ubiquitous. People spend a lot of time using something called the Internet. Planes, trains and automobiles are better, but nothing to write home about. There lots of baseball fields around but you rarely see people playing baseball. And, they still really like our rock’n roll.

Now a person is transported 68 years from 01968 to 02036. What do they “see”?

I only know the following: In 02036, IBM’s Watson is 25 years old (i.e. a young adult). “Big Data” is beyond yotta-bytes and STEMers (Scientists, Technologists, Engineers, Mathematicians) have had approximately 17 years of exascale computing (“infinite computing”) to do their work. It’s seven years after the expiration of Long Bet #1 and it’s possible Ray Kurzweil won (if not, then maybe he would have won if the bet ended five years later in 02034). The Unix clock is still working, but the Y2.038K problem is near (less than two years away).