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2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years

The new book “2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years” by Jorgen Randers raises the possibility that humankind might not survive on the planet if it continues on its path of over-consumption and short-termism. 

In the report author Jorgen Randers raises essential questions: How many people will the planet be able to support? Will the belief in endless growth crumble? Will runaway climate change take hold? Where will quality of life improve, and where will it decline?

Read more about the book on The Club of Rome.

The Perfect Storm and Black Swan Theory

The BP oil crisis in the Mexican gulf, deadly heat waves in Russia, earthquakes in Haiti (7.0 Mw) and Chile (8.8 Mw) and flooding in Australia caused almost 300.000 deaths from natural disasters in 2010 (1).

A few months into 2011 New Zealand is hit by a 6.3 Mw earthquake followed by the Japan 9.0 Mw earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The situation in Libya, Syria and many other Arabic and African countries adds uncertainty to global stability. The complexity of the situation demands a new approach to early warning systems for natural disasters and reduction of global systemic risk.

[Read more...]

Reducing Systemic Cybersecurity Risk

The report “Reducing Systemic Cybersecurity Risk” is part of OECD’s “Future Global Shocks” series, in which thinkers from various disciplines assess whether events in their fields might become as damaging to the world as the recent financial crisis or a global pandemic.

Single online events, such as a major DDoS attack, are unlikely to have such worldwide effects, but the combination of something like a botnet DDoS attack, a major EMP, and specific attacks on SCADA or other computer-controlled machinery, and some form of real-world “kinetic” attack might well shock the world.

Via Ars Technica. Download the report (PDF) “Reducing Systemic Cybersecurity Risk” from OECD.

Why you already live in a cyberpunk future

Our perception of a cyberpunk future is shaped by the foresight of luminaries like William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and Bruce Sterling. Their vivid scenarios of ubiquitous computers, high tech weaponry, corporate tyranny and social disintegration have never been closer to reality than in the world of 2011. Here’s a few facts that will make you question the very fabric of our contemporary existence and learn to embrace the promise and perils of an increasingly cyberpunk reality.

A reality filled with high technology run by low life.

[Read more...]

IBM offers glimpse into the future

Air-powered batteries, 3-D cellphones that project holographs and personalized commutes are among the predictions of IBM scientists gazing into their crystal balls.

Source: Physorg.

Report: Space Security 2010

The rate at which new states gain access to space increased dramatically in the past decade. By the end of 2009 a total of 50 states had placed satellites in space … This number is expected to continue to grow as more states seek the socio-economic benefits that space provides through the efforts of the commercial sector and countries such as China, which are helping states to develop affordable small satellites. Companies such as the former Surrey Satellite Technologies Limited and China have assisted states including Algeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria, Portugal, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, and South Africa in efforts to build their first civil satellites.

Excerpt from the Space Security 2010 Report (PDF). MSNBC has a summary of the report in the article “World’s military projects dominate space“.

Also see “US Space Security Policy” (PDF) from the Centre for International Policy Studies.

Raytheon unveils second generation exoskeleton – Sarcos XOS 2

The suit is built from a combination of structures, sensors, actuators and controllers, and it is powered by high pressure hydraulics. It enables its wearer to easily lift 200 pounds several hundred times without tiring and repeatedly punch through three inches of wood. Yet, the suit, which was developed for the U.S. Army, is also agile and graceful enough to let its wearer kick a soccer ball, punch a speed bag or climb stairs and ramps with ease.

“Getting exoskeletons deployed is inevitable in my view,” said Smith. “They are desperately needed, and I believe the military looks at them as viable solutions to a number of current issues they are trying to address. With a sustained commitment, they could be in place within five years.”

Via Engadget. Check out video at YouTube.

Future Shock (1972)

Documentary based on the book with the same name by Alvin Toffler, narrated by Orson Welles.

(c) Copyright Plausible Futures Newsletter 2013