Futurist Thomas Frey: 2013 has been a year of considerable change for both me and the rest of our team at the DaVinci Institute. While most of what you see here on Futurist Speaker is about my research, thinking, and philosophy on the future, I thought this might be a good time to step back and fill you in on the people behind everything you’re reading.
The core staff at the Institute consists of Deb Frey (my wife), Jan Wagner, Nancy Slattery, and Steve Campbell. This is a truly amazing team working on all of the crazy projects we come up with, and we always seem to have something new lurking around every corner.
Last year we launched DaVinci Coders to teach those wanting to switch careers the fine art of programming. DaVinci Coders is what I’ve termed a Micro College because it’s oriented around immersive training done in the least possible time. And it’s been very successful. Our instructors, Daniel Stutzman and Jason Noble, are two of the best Ruby on Rails teachers in the world. Joining the team in 2014 will be Dave Woodall, a very talented instructor who will be focused on our newest course in HTML5, CSS3, and jQuery.
Earlier this year I worked with one of our Senior Fellows, Michael Cushman, to launch Vizionarium, a consulting arm of the DaVinci Institute focused on working with companies to develop Blue Ocean Strategies, or as we’ve termed it, Blue Ocean Futures. For those looking to reorient their business products and services around the needs of the future, we have an unusual process to help you uncover where you need to be.
As a professional speaker, my talks have taken me all over the world, and in the past couple years I’ve been to Moscow, Shanghai, Melbourne, Auckland, Sydney, Puerto Rico, Istanbul, Toronto, Brisbane, Vancouver, Seoul, and far too many places in the U.S. and Canada to list here. I’ve shared the stage with some amazing people at some amazing companies. While I do have some speaking topics listed, every talk is custom tailored to the audience I’m working with. I love working on unusual topics, provided they fall with my main focus of “technology-driven change.”
In 2014, I will be releasing my newest book. Much of the content for my book has been percolating inside my weekly columns on Futurist Speaker. Over the past year, these columns have touched a wide range of topics from future jobs, to future crimes, to futurist thinking. Some have attracted considerable attention, but others not so much.
With this brief into, let’s take a look at the most popular columns from 2013.
The list below is comprised of the most popular columns written in 2013. However, my most popular column of all times remains one written in 2010 titled – “Reinventing Humanity by Reinventing Time” - a thought-provoking piece on our relationship with time and a topic I refer to as “circadian time.”
The 2nd most popular has been “55 Jobs of the Future“
Here are the most trending columns in 2013:
With all of the water we have in the world, only 2% of it is fresh water. To make matters worse, only one-forth of all fresh water is accessible to humans. Until now, the entire human race has survived on 0.5% of the available water on earth. But that’s about to change.
Since we all depend on the rains to provide the water we need, what if we could extract this rain at the very time and place we need it? On-demand water extractors.
A new breed of inventors has emerged to tackle this exact problem. Using solar, wind, and other forms of passive energy, our future water networks will be operate with far more efficiency and convenience than anything imaginable today.
We are now on the verge of another business transformation, but this time workers are not being replaced by low cost labor in other countries. Rather, they are being replaced by machines.
Hidden inside this menacing movement to displace labor is a far more complicated shifting of social order. What appears on the outside to be little more than executives with blinders chasing higher profits may instead be humankind’s biggest opportunity.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been sketching out ideas on how to think about redirecting the energies of people. Here are some thoughts on how this may unfold.
As we continue down the path of automation, virtually every city will have 24-hour convenience stores, 24-hour libraries, 24-hour banks, 24-hour churches, 24-hour schools, 24-hour movie theaters, 24-hour bars and restaurants, and even 24-hour shopping centers.
The side effect of a workerless business is that it can operate 24 hours a day for roughly the same cost as a 12-hour operation. With that in mind, here are some of the changes that accompany this shift in lifestyle.
For decades we’ve been attempting to solve past problems, and it’s easy to become sun-blinded with problems as everywhere we look we see more of them. Cancer, tornados, floods, wars, and famine are all reoccurring themes sucking up all our attention.
However, this backward-facing preoccupation we have with problem solving leaves little attention to be paid to the question, “where do we go from here?” Our whack-a-mole approach of beating problems over the head, only to find them springing up again in a different place, has left us in an endless loop.
For this reason I’d like to propose we create a real Prime Directive for all of humanity.
By 2025, over 75% of the workforce will be comprised of Millennials, a group many refer to as the Facebook generation. That’s just over 11 years away. For big corporations this should come as shocking news.
As most Millennials have come to realize, finding a job is an entrepreneurial activity. You’re selling your skills to the highest bidder, or most often, just anyone willing to pay for them. If you can’t find a full time job, a part time one will do for now. Even project work will be fine.
Within the next 10 years, the average person who turns 30 will have worked between 200-300 different projects. Here are many of the things you haven’t heard about this trend, any why your next job will likely be anything but permanent.
As a tiny pebble being dropped into the massive pond of healthcare costs, one of the first truly disruptive technologies for the hearing aid industry may be Google Glass with its conductive-bone audio transmission capabilities.
Three features that give it such disruptive potential are the elimination of an earpiece, the processing capabilities of its onboard microprocessor, and an open API that allows the geeks of the world to develop apps far more ingenious than anything in existence.
Here are a few thoughts on why this tiny sub-category of Google Glass will likely have such a massive impact.
Even though the vast majority of drone use today is government and military, one of the big emerging markets will be agriculture. Several new companies have begun moving into the ag-drone space, but there are a few short-term problems. Current FAA rules limit their operation to under 400 feet and to steer clear of airports and crowds on the ground. But that will change in a couple years. The U.S. Congress has mandated the FAA incorporate drones into national airspace by Sept. 30, 2015.
Many in this new industry are chomping at the bit to get started. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicles International, once drones get okayed for the national air space, the first 3 years will produce $13.6 billion in economic activity and 34,000 new manufacturing jobs will get created.
The FAA estimated up to 10,000 drones could be airborne in the U.S. by 2018. Here’s why that number is far too low.
Humanity will change more in the next 20 years than in all of human history. However, much like predicting the weather, the farther we move into the future, the less accurate our predictions become.
So why do we make them?
In this column, I’ll make a series of 33 provocative predictions about 2030, and how different life will be just 17 years in the future. I will also explain why predictions are important, even when they are wrong.
How quickly we forget. Events of 20 years ago seem like a distant memory, but 1994 was the year when Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa, O.J. Simpson was arrested for killing his wife, huge massacres were happening in Rwanda and Sarajevo, and China got its first connection to the Internet.
Bill Clinton was President; the Academy Award for Best Picture went to Forrest Gump; and the world’s population reached 5.6 billion.
But here’s one crazy detail you may not have considered. Many of the teens of 1994 are now the parents of teenagers in 2014. This is the group tasked with reinventing the rules of childhood in terms of screen time, cellphone curfews, social networking etiquette, and more. But we’re just getting started.
Our teenage years have always been a time of great awkwardness, super hormones, and bad decision-making. But lately these years have moved even further down the path of supreme weirdness.
So will the teens of 2034 be even more difficult to define? Are they trending towards becoming a different grade of human?
This report maps some of the key evolutionary changes we’re seeing with teens living in America.
People who surround us today are part of the present and will also be part of the future. For people who are intellectually enlightened and “tuned in,” it’s easy to discount those who have a different perspective.
Yet the future is being created by all of us. If we believe we have a purpose, then so does every butterfly, pocket mouse, and beam of light.
With this in mind, I’ll start with a rather unusual question. “Why are there exceptions to every rule?”
Over the coming decades, the amount of education we consume to stay competitive will increase exponentially.
However, the education we “buy” will increasingly be on “our terms” not on theirs. We will want education that is relative, timely, available on-demand, and fits within a specific need. And it will need to be far more affordable.
For these reasons and more, which I’ll explain in this column, we will begin to see the mass failure of traditional colleges. But out of this will come an entire new education era unlike anything we have ever seen.
1.) Have we reached peak employment? 24 future industries that will lead to an era of super employment!
We are automating tons of jobs out of existence and we will continue to do so. Every downloadable app has the potential of eliminating small fractional jobs. But cumulatively, this amounts to millions of positions around the world.
So will we simply run out of work? Of course not!
In fact, we will never run out of work. But there aren’t always jobs associated with the work that needs to be done. And that’s where we find ourselves today – plenty of work, not enough jobs. Here are some thoughts on how we can escape the downward employment spiral and 24 future industries that will lead to an era of super employment!
Author of “Communicating with the Future” – the book that changes everything