Chapter 9. Trends and Progress – Leading Positive Change

4. Engineering Sciences and Technologies Overview

Main concept: Engineering sciences and technologies advances, aided by accelerating IT and nanotech, will increasingly drive us to smarter, richer, cleaner, safer, and more green urban areas. Those cities that solve their engineering problems the fastest will gain the lions share of STEEPS productivity, both human and machine.

Leader’s challenge: Solving problems of Urbanization, growing Automation.

Summary sentence:

“Making smart, networked, virtualized, secure, productive, sustainable urban space is key to every country’s future.”

Area topics:

Smart Cities. 50% of us live in urban areas.  60% by 2025. By 2050, 70% will live in megacities (>10M).  1/3 of urbanites (850M) now live in substandard slums (“shadow cities”). 2B by 2050. Must participate in global workforce. Keep infrastructure and slums working, and crime, gridlock, pollution from growing, — the options, money and efficiencies in cities beat everything else. Major drop in violent urban crime in the US from 1990-2010 had many causes: planned parenthood, unleaded gas, urban renewal, policing upgrades, growth of digital entertainment. Sustainable, walkable, smart cities are growing. We can expect a return to the 1950’s in this regard, cities as a desirable place to live.

Dematerialization and Efficiency. We are dematerializing our economies. This is a key to sustainability. Learning how to substitute digital products and processes for physical ones (think of telepresence vs. physical travel, or all the physical products an iPhone and intelligent household robot will replace). Beyond $25K per year people consume sharply less energy per salary (World Bank, Shell). They have their house and key appliances, and they increasingly share them, use them on demand. Efficiency drives our sustainability initiatives, which get increasingly intelligent.

Greentech and Pollution. Greentech is growing, but slowly. Carbon capture tech (Skyonic, C12, Calera) will soon rescue (decarbonize) coal, which will grow from 27% today to 30% of energy in 2030. Carbon taxes will win over carbon markets. Transportation and Logistics. Robocars will save 1.2M deaths/year, $230B in lost productivity. 2% of GDP. Expect collision avoidance, autovalet, commercial first (2020?) then public robocars, giving us back 5% of work time now lost to commuting (100 of 2100 hrs/yr), HOV lanes for robocars. Internet of things will allow even smarter, just-in-time logistics. 9B people, each with ~1-5K sensors and other connected objects per person will create “smart environments” after 2020.

Manufacturing & Farm Automation and Robotics. Specialization, Trade and Automation are the top drivers of economic  growth. GWP has grown 15X from 1950-2010, $4T to $60T. Trade growth drove our 2002 switch to a steeper GWP growth rate. Hi-tech family farms are resurging. Local mfg will resurge as advanced robotics emerges, and China’s wages grow faster than US wages. Some (New Balance, etc.) are have already “reshored” factories again. Local on-demand mfg and making are growing too, but “desktop mfg” and “3D printing” are much harder than boosters claim.

Books:  Triumph of the City, Glaeser, 2011; In Praise of Hard Industries, Fingleton, 1999; Reinventing Fire, Lovins, 2011

Leadership Questions:

  1. What are your equipment and engineering research, acquisition, R&D, hiring, training, measuring, & mgmt strategies?
  2. What key disruptions or threats must you anticipate in a world of increasing urbanization and maker abilities?
  3. What problems could be addressed and opportunities taken with better engineering innovation capabilities?
  4. How can you get measurably more of the most valuable engineering capabilities, at an efficient ROI?
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Table of Contents


Chapter 2. Personal Foresight – Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 2: Personal Foresight

Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 4. Models – Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 4: Models

Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 7. Acceleration – Guiding Our Extraordinary Future

Chapter 7: Acceleration

Guiding Our Extraordinary Future (In Process)

II. Global Progress: 5 Goals, 10 Values, Many Trends

Innovation: Our Abundant Future
Intelligence: Our Augmented Future
Interdependence: Our Civil Future
Immunity: Our Protected Future
Sustainability: Our Rebalanced Future

III. Universal Accelerating Change

Great Race to Inner Space: Our Surprising Future
Entropy&Information: We’re Running Down & Up
The Puzzle of Meaning: We Have No Einstein Yet
Trees, Funnels & Landscapes: Intro to Evo Devo
Big Picture Change: Five Scales of Accelerating ED
Transcension Hypothesis: Where Acceleratn Ends?
IDABDAK: Social Response to Accel & Developmnt
We’re On a Runaway Train: Being Accelaware

IV. Evo Devo and Exponential Foresight

Seeing It All: Accel., Diverg, Adapt, Convrg, Decel.
Natural (I4S) Innovation: The Evolutionary Drive
Natural (I4S) Intelligence: The Human-AI Partnership
Natural (I4S) Morality: Why Empathy and Ethics Rule
Natural (I4S) Security: Strength from Disruption
Natural (I4S) Sustainability: The Developmental Drive
S-Curves: Managing the Four Constituencies
Pain to Gain: Traversing the Three Kuznets Phases
Hype to Reality: Beyond Hype Cycles to Reality Checks
Exponentials Database: Measuring Accelerations
TINA Trends: Societal Evolutionary Development
Managing Change: STEEPCOP Events, Probs, Ideas
A Great Shift: A Survival to a Sentient Economy

V. Evo Devo and Exponential Activism

Building Protopias: Five Goals of Social Progress
Normative Foresight: Ten Values of Society
Top & STEEPCOP Acceleratns: Positive & Negative
Dystopias, Risks, and Failure States
Three Levels of Activism: People, Tech & Universe
A Great Opportunity: Exponential Empowerment


Chapter 8. Your Digital Self – The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

Chapter 8: Your Digital Self

The Human Face of the Coming Singularity (In Process)

I. Your Personal AI (PAI): Your Digital Self

Digital Society: Data, Mediation, and Agents
Personal AIs: Advancing the Five Goals
PAI Innovation: Abundance and Diversity
PAI Intelligence: Bio-Inspired AI
PAI Morality: Selection and Groupnets
PAI Security: Safe Learning Agents
PAI Sustainability: Science and Balance
The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

II. PAI Protopias & Dystopias in 8 Domains

1. Personal Agents: News, Ent., Education
2. Social Agents: Relat. and Social Justice
3. Political Agents :  Activism & Represent.
4. Economic Agents:  Retail, Finance, Entrep
5. Builder Agents :  Work, Innov. & Science
6. Environ. Agents : Pop. and Sustainability
7. Health Agents :  Health, Wellness, Death
8. Security Agents :  Def., Crime, Corrections

III. PAI Activism & Exponential Empowerment

Next Government: PAIs, Groupnets, Democ.
Next Economy: Creat. Destr. & Basic Income
Next Society: PAI Ent., Mortality & Uploading
What Will Your PAI Contribution Be?

Chapter 10. Startup Ideas – Great Product & Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs

Chapter 10: Startup Ideas

Great Product and Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs (In Process)

I. 4U’s Idea Hub: Building Better Futures

Air Deliveries and Air Taxis: Finally Solving Urban Gridlock
Ballistic Shields and Gun Control: Protecting Us All from Lone Shooters
Bioinspiration Wiki: Biomimetics and Bio-Inspired Design
Brain Preservation Services: Memory and Mortality Redefined
Carcams: Document Thieves, Bad Driving, and Bad Behavior
Competition in Govt Services: Less Corruption, More Innovation
Computer Adaptive Education (CAE): Better Learning and Training
Conversational Deep Learning Devsuites: Millions of AI Coders
Digital Tables: Telepresence, Games, Entertainment & Education
Dynaships: Sustainable Low-Speed Cargo Shipping
Electromagnetic Suspension: Nausea-Free Working & Reading in Cars
Epigenetic Health Tests: Cellular Aging, Bad Diet, Body Abuse Feedback
Fireline Explosives and Ember Drones: Next-Gen Fire Control
Global English: Empowering the Next Generation of Global Youth
Greenbots: Drone Seeders and Robotic Waterers for Mass Regreening
High-Density Housing and Zoning: Making Our Cities Affordable Again
Highway Enclosures and Trail Networks: Green and Quiet Urban Space
Inflatable Packaging: Faster and Greener Shipping and Returns
Internet of Families: Connecting People Over Things
Kidcams: Next-Gen Security for Child Safety and Empowerment
Kidpods: Indoor & Outdoor Parent-Assistive Toyboxes
Microdesalination: Democratizing Sustainable Fresh Water Production
Noise Monitors: Documenting and Reducing Noise Pollution
Oceanside Baths: Sustainable Year Round Beach Enjoyment
Open Blood Scanners: DIY Citizen Health Care Sensor Tech
Open Streaming Radio: User-Centered Audio Creation and Rating
Open Streaming Video: User-Centered Video Creation and Rating
Open Values Filters: Social Rankers, Arg. Mappers, and Consensus Finders
Personal AIs: Your Private Advisor, Activist, and Interface to the World
Pet Empowerment: Next-Gen Rights and Abilities for Our Domestic Animals
Safe Closets: Fire-, Earthquake-, and Intruder-Proof Retreat Spaces
Safe Cars: Reducing Our Insane 1.3M Annual Auto Deaths Today
Safe Motorcycles: Lane Splitting in Gridlock Without Risk of Death
Shared Value Insurance: User-Centered Risk Reduction Services
Sleeperbuses and Microhotels: Demonetized Intercity Travel
Space-Based Solar Power: Stratellite Powering and Weather Management
Stratellites: Next-Gen Urban Broadband, Transparency, and Security
Touch DNA: Next-Gen Home Security and Crime Deterrence
View Towers: Improving Urban Walkability, Inspiration, and Community

Chapter 11. Evo Devo Foresight – Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Chapter 11: Evo Devo Foresight

Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Appendix 1. Peer Advice – Building a Successful Foresight Practice