Archive

How to Predict the Future

Every sin­gle futur­ist has one of these as the first slide in their deck. It does­n’t real­ly mat­ter what this is. An expo­nen­tial curve, up and to the right. This rep­re­sents all of tech­nol­o­gy. The past thir­ty years of tech­no­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion is described in this. This could be any­thing. This is proces­sor pow­er. This is mem­o­ry per dol­lar. This is Internet pen­e­tra­tion. This is the num­ber of peo­ple play­ing Angry Birds.

Deep Sensing

When we think about short-term think­ing, how short-term is short-term? Because if you plant a tree, like an oak tree, it takes 100 to 120 years for an oak tree to be ful­ly grown. So any­thing between the point in which you plant the tree to when the tree is ful­ly grown is short-term think­ing, when we speak about land.

ASU KEDtalks: Water, a Pricing Paradox

Water is a dif­fi­cult com­mod­i­ty. It is free, and yet cost­ly. It is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly a pri­vate good, and a pub­lic good. It helps cities flour­ish finan­cial­ly, but now it is their finan­cial bur­den. Almost nobody pays for the water per se. The cost of water is the cost of mak­ing it avail­able at the right time, in the right place, and with the right qual­i­ty.

The Conversation #25 — Frances Whitehead

Some of my artist friends think what I’m doing isn’t art, and I’ve giv­en up on art. It’ll take care of itself. You know. I mean it’s always been there, it will always be there, and we always know that new art nev­er looks like art at first, ever. So why should this be any dif­fer­ent? We just have to trust the process. And I would say that must be true for every oth­er dis­ci­pline.

The Conversation #23 — Carolyn Raffensperger

When the pub­lic can­not prove that the oil com­pa­ny is going to cause dam­age, then we’re not allowed to say, Nevertheless, the risk is not accept­able.” So we have turned it over, the deci­sion, to the expert. We have tak­en it out of the hands of the com­mu­ni­ty. And then when we say we want com­mu­ni­ty input, we hold a pub­lic hear­ing, and the experts sit up at a table. And then the grand­moth­er who does not have a grad­u­ate degree, she’s not allowed to say, Here’s what I’ve seen. Here is what’s hap­pened in my com­mu­ni­ty. And that’s not accept­able.” Her view is not tak­en because she’s not an expert. And so we’ve tak­en away the right for self deter­mi­na­tion and for com­mu­ni­ty deter­mi­na­tion.

The Conversation #22 — Wes Jackson

You’re deal­ing with timescales that are beyond humans’ inter­est. I mean, it’s sor­ta like glob­al warm­ing. The heat that we have now built up, that car­bon was burned thir­ty years ago. It’s going to take a while for the cor­rec­tion process. So, if you have the ele­ments of the phos­pho­rus, the potas­si­um, the man­ganese, and so on, it can be built back pret­ty fast. But a short­hand way of putting it is that soil is as much of a non-renewable resource as oil. And, more impor­tant than oil. I mean, we’re talk­ing about stuff we’re made of. So that’s why I’ve said that the plow­share has destroyed more options for future gen­er­a­tions than the sword.

The Conversation #19 — Joseph Tainter

I see a set of con­straints fac­ing us in the future, and they’re all going to be very expen­sive. First is fund­ing retire­ments for the Baby Boom gen­er­a­tion. Second is con­tin­u­ing increas­es in the costs of health­care. The third is replac­ing decay­ing infra­struc­ture. The fourth is adapt­ing to cli­mate change and repair­ing envi­ron­men­tal dam­age. The fifth is devel­op­ing new sources of ener­gy. The sixth is what I see as in all like­li­hood con­tin­u­ing high mil­i­tary costs. The sev­enth is the costs of inno­va­tion.

The Conversation #12 — Gabriel Stempinski

In the future, we have to change the way we look at con­sump­tion. That’s why I’m such a big pro­po­nent of the shar­ing econ­o­my. Because it’s not an issue of if it’s going to hap­pen, it’s when it’s going to hap­pen. And I’d rather peo­ple vol­un­tar­i­ly adopt it now and start real­iz­ing the ben­e­fit of it now while we’re still in this kind of rel­a­tive land of plen­ty, than be forced into it lat­er when all of a sud­den there’s not enough water to cov­er Phoenix any­more because it’s a huge city in the mid­dle of a desert and they have to go on water rationing.

The Conversation #10 — Timothy Morton

I don’t think eco­log­i­cal aware­ness is a sort of hap­py hap­py joy joy, we are all earth­lings” thing. I think it’s actu­al­ly a kind of uncan­ny real­iza­tion. On the one hand there’s no away, on the oth­er hand what the hell is this? This is not my beau­ti­ful waste. This is not my beau­ti­ful toi­let. This is not my beau­ti­ful Pacific Ocean.” You know, all of a sud­den these things become some­how not exact­ly what we thought they were.

The Conversation #7 — Alexander Rose

If the point of mak­ing a 10,000-year clock is to get peo­ple to think longer term how do you design that expe­ri­ence so that it real­ly does that? And one of the things that we we real­ized is that peo­ple real­ly need to be able to inter­act with it. That they need to be able to make the moment they vis­it it their own. So while the clock does keep time all by itself with the tem­per­a­ture dif­fer­ence from day to night, it does­n’t actu­al­ly update any of the dials, none of the chimes chime, unless some­one’s there to wind it.