Futurism


Design&Futurism10 Feb 2006 11:00 am

I just was reading the recent issue of the trendwatching newsletter. I find tracking new trends to provide very useful insights into the markets, new businesses and emerging geopolitical and economic forces.

Some of the more relevant trends as listed by TrendWatching include:
Minipreneurs – this is the trend of consumers becoming entrepreneurs, this is heavily aided by online services like eBay and Paypal.

Hygienia – this is the trend of the mature global consumer being able to instantly and expertly rate the various factors for each and every good, service and experience on offer in the marketplace. These hyper consumers trained by years of consumerism and access to up to the minute detailed information for all the products and services are the future consumer.

No-Frills-Chic – exemplified by products from Muji or Ikea, these are low cost products that have a high degree of design and quality yet are still low in price. Often coupling superior customer service to deliver an overall positive customer experience, examples of this include Jet Blue or Song.

Futurism10 Jan 2006 09:45 am

Bruce Sterling had a chat with some folks over at the Well.com discussing the state of the world in 2006. It is a great chat from one of the best writers of our time. I highly recommend taking the time to read it, its funny and you will probably find many new factoids (a definite plus for all you useless trivia junkies). My favorite quotation of the whole chat is about the Chinese and their really strange future demographics: “I’m not sure that I buy the mass-migration theory, but there’s never been a society anywhere, ever, with that kind of age and sex-ratio structure. China forty years from now looks like a lumberjack camp for geezers. I wish ‘em luck with that.”

Futurism24 May 2005 07:39 pm

Most people will be familiar with the Long Now foundation. Some people may have missed (like I did) the Long Bet. Essentially this is a website that allows people to make bets about future events, if they win their winnings are given to a charity of their choice. Its a neat system and makes for some interesting reading. People bet on everything from the length of the future work week to the likelyhood of AI.

Design&Futurism12 May 2005 02:16 pm

I have been saying for a long time that the solution to humanities energy needs is not going to be one single technology. Rather a constellation of technologies that all complement each other, solar, wind, tidal, thermal, nuclear, etc. Well a version of solar power I have been watching for some time is looking as if its going to come to the commercial market soon. It works very differently than traditional photovoltaics. It uses a Stirling engine and a solar collector to pump heat into the engine and from there a generator is turned producing electricity. Based upon a 1000 MW power plant the cost per kWh would be about 6 cents.

Given that the average cost of power so far in 2005 for residential users is 8.49 cents per kWh I think we are now ready for solar power.

Additionally technology like this must become our mainstay for power generation for a variety of reasons

Futurism&Musings02 May 2005 08:56 am

Gotta love MIT. Apparently you only need one time traveler convention.