Five Regions of the Future - PCC - ebook

The futurist writer of Paradigms co-authors a study of five large-scale patterns that will define evolving technologies in the areas of fusion power, aerogel insulation, electric wind turbines, organic plastics, and stem cells, explaining how they will impact everyday life and how companies and consumers can make the most of them. 40,000 first printing.

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Not all high tech is created equal. In fact, if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, it's clear most new technology falls clearly into one of five well defined yet distinctively different fields or regions:

By mapping advancements in each of these regions, you can make smart decisions about which technologies will ultimately transform your industry and generate the best growth opportunities. This is the best way to stay one step ahead of the marketplace rather than forever being forced to play catch up.

Key Thoughts

“As futurists who have been studying this phenomenon for the past twenty-five years, we believe that we have identified five major directions the future could take. Each of these five directions is strongly driven by specific sets of technologies. Each one affords great opportunity for new businesses and for new ways of living. Different nations, regions or groups can choose different directions, and each of these directions is filled with many positive long-term benefits. Right now, however, small groups of people are making the choices that will determine the direction of your future and our future. The irony is that many of these people don't even realize what they are doing. We think it is imperative that the discussion and the choice of our future direction should be public ones."

Joel Barker and Scott Erickson

Region 1Super Tech—Bigger is better

Super Tech is all about the biggest, brightest and best. The underlying theme here is to develop big ideas like supersizing, supermarkets, superhighways and supercomputers. The Super Tech region thrives in the United States where Super Tech technologies attract huge media coverage. Super Tech is summed up by the ideal of constant economic growth that will undeniably raise the standard of living for everyone everywhere given enough time.

The Four Dominant Themes of Super Tech

1. Global“superabundance”is just around the corner —and soon everyone on the planet will have more than enough of everything. Therefore, there is no need to worry about recycling or resource depletion.

2. There is no problem that science and technology cannot solve —given enough time and money. Therefore, developing new technologies is always the best way to solve any new problems that appear.

3. Science can always do things better than Nature —and therefore there is no point waiting for things to evolve. It's far better to be proactive and develop what will be needed.

4. Given a choice, human beings will always choose more leisure time over work —and therefore any technology(like robots)that decreases work time and increases our discretionary leisure time is worth pursuing.

Super Tech Products Already Being Developed

■ Replace the use of fossil fuels with fuel cells running on hydrogen or nuclear fusion power cells.

■ Harvest tar sands to produce more usable oil for the world economy than all known oil reserves.

■ Mine gas hydrates from underseas to generate enough fuel to meet the world’s energy needs.

■ Pet robots that can replace live animals.

■ Robotic vehicles that will transport people wherever they want to go without anyone driving.

■ Robotic exoskeletons that nurses can use to lift heavy patients or that soldiers can use in the field to augment their strength and stamina.

■ Miniature robots the size of ants that can crawl around industrial plants to inspect them and carry out repairs.

■ Mobile robot appliances for use in the home—mowing the lawn, cleaning the carpet, providing security, etc.

■ Growing fish in huge pens rather than going to sea and catching them in their natural habitat. (The fish themselves are genetically modified to grow faster).

■ Formulating pesticides and herbicides that will control weeds and discourage animal pests.