Chapter 9. Trends and Progress – Leading Positive Change

3. Resource Sciences and Technologies Overview

Main concept: Resource sciences and technologies advances, aided by accelerating IT and nanotech, will perennially allow us to solve our self-induced scarcities and misuses, but if we were more foresighted, prudent, and collaborative, they would do so with far less conflict, catastrophe, and waste.

Leader’s challenge: Ensuring resource Abundance and growing Sustainability.

Summary sentence:

“Next gen tech, enterprise, & policy will solve our Grand Challenges (energy, water, food, CO2), but only under stress.”

Area topics:

Energy. We’re swimming in it, and will continue to move slowly to cleaner forms, barring climate disaster. Nat gas is cheap ($1.90 gal/equiv), and will remain so (US has 2K tcf). We’re switching out coal for nat gas. Filling stations and home NG compressors will grow. Electric-NG-Gasoline hybrids best transition solution. World has 1.2T bbls of proven oil, 38 yr supply, and 10T in shale and tar sands oil. We’ll never use most of it. Oil will stay below $200/barrel to keep alternatives from outcompeting it. “$100-200T of oil still to be sold.” Alternatives continue slow advance. Solar half as cheap every 10 yrs, doubles base every 2 yrs. Nanoengineered algal biofuels allow renewable transportation. H2 fuel cells have 10^5X further future efficiency potential (Daniel Nocera, MIT). Wind, geothermal, nuclear have 10% niches. Solar and artificial photosynthesis long term.  Just 1/10,000th of solar flux is our entire global energy use. Post 2030, Fusion could play a role.

Water. 1 billion people presently without safe, clean water, 2.5B have no sanitation. But water purification is simply a nanotech problem, and we’re rapidly learning how biology does it. Cellphones are now more prevalent than toilets. Leapfrog tech: Composting, desalinating, plumbing-free toilets. DEKA’s Slingshot water purifier.

Food. Agrobiotech, GMOs, aquaculture. Longer term: Cultured meat, vertical farming, aquaponics, aeroponics.

Population. Simon’s “Ultimate Resource.” World pop is flatlining. We reach 8.5 to 9B in 2040 (Next 30 yrs for 1.5 to 2 billion more, half in Asia, half in Africa) then we either stay flat or shrink. We’ve already hit “Peak Child” (Peak Births, 135M/yr total, in 1990 and Peak Fraction of Children, <15yrs, as % of Society, 1.9B, just 27% of population, in 2011). Better sanitation, water, and basic public health (lower infant mortality) greatly reduce birth rates in the last two growth areas (Asia, Africa). Growth of human population is almost over. Growth of robots and machine minds is just beginning.

Climate and Ecosystem Resources. We’ve overfished and acidified the oceans, overfarmed our soil, killed off and threatened many species. But deforestation isn’t accelerating, it’s saturating. CO2 will saturate as well beginning mid-century, as carbon capture and next gen energy emerge. All our raw materials supplies are greater than ever, and the smart mining and drilling robots have barely gotten started. Sustainable resources management is also emerging everywhere. Environmental issues are serious, but they are also overstated. We are innovating and legislating our way back to sustainability. Europe leads the way, the US is being dragged along, as we prioritize freedom/innovation over sustainability. Like individual vs. society, innovation vs. sustainability is our central tension. Both are key.

Books: Abundance, Diamandis etal, 2012; Power Hungry, Bryce, 2011; Skeptical Environmentalist, Lomborg, 2011.

Leadership Questions:

  1. What are your critical resource research, acquisition, R&D, hiring, training, measuring, & mgmt strategies?
  2. What key disruptions or threats must you anticipate in a world of regular critical resource shortages?
  3. What problems could be addressed and opportunities taken if you had more resources and sustainability?
  4. How can you get measurably more of the most valuable resource 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