Much has been said about clean coal, and how it is a “wave of the future.” Clean coal refers to reducing or neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions at the burn point, but regardless of China’s continuing commitment to coal-powered electrical plants, the United States has a natural gas glut and increasingly cost-competitive wind and solar power. As well, mountaintop leveling, destructive chemical processing, and byproduct disposal challenges continue to complicate any solutions that billion-dollar U.S. projects such as the recently canceled FutureGen might have produced.
It is beyond the scope of this blog to discuss the globe in 2030 on a country-by-country basis, but one dramatic shift in employment opportunities is likely to center on the continent of Africa. Between now and 2030, population growth rates in Africa will be greater than for any other country, including China (which has in fact reversed its growth trends through its political one-child policies). Africa is expected to quadruple in population over the next 90 years, with its greatest economic and political growth likely in North Africa.
Older workers are a burden and a salvation for the economic future. We are all aware that the graying populations in developed countries now, followed by developing countries, are a demographic force whose impacts will be felt over the next 50 years.
Problems such as poverty, global health, basic education, and environmental quality are systemic in nature, have both political and technical dimensions, and tend to require cross-sector and cross-profession collaboration. But there is a knowledge gap in developing and implementing viable solutions.
During my last year as president of the World Future Society, I had a very interesting experience concerning people’s feelings about the future. I had been asked to talk about the future of communications technology to a group of senior corporate vice presidents, largely U.S. based. After delivering what I thought was a rather effective (and well received) analysis on the growth of “white noise” in modern society and response strategies, we came to the Q&A discussion, which turned out to be 20 minutes or more.
It has long been a given that the Chinese commitment to saving 40 percent or even more of gross family income would be a continuing element of that nation’s economic profile. While consumer spending is skyrocketing in many developing countries, Chinese citizens have tended to tie their wealth up in savings and real estate, in part because of the lack of social safety nets that are offered by many developed countries.
As it was for many futurists, science fiction was my “gateway drug” to the world of alternative futures. I was hooked by age nine or ten. We always had stacks of sci-fi lying around the house because my mother was a member of a science fiction book-of-the-month club. I devoured everything I could get my hands on.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - A World on Fire: New Report from AAI Foresight
While I have written in the past about the revolution that the world of retail is undergoing, one interesting thing about the future is that it keeps unfolding. Like any lively crossroads of converging technologies, the principles of retail choice (or should I say persuasion) brings psychology, behavioral economics, and even neuroscience together with digital technology to change the mechanics of human decision making.