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The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights

The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights
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A Singularity in All Four Quadrants The Singularity: Rupture or Rapture? There is an old analogy about an ancient emperor of China and the inventor of chess that is often used to help understand the speed of technological growth. According to the story, once the emperor became aware of the game of chess, he sent a message throughout the kingdom seeking to reward its inventor, offering anything within his power to give for such an exceptional game. Upon meeting him, the inventor, who was a poor peasant farmer, thanked the emperor for his generosity, and proceeded to place a single grain of rice in the first square of a chessboard. He then placed two grains in the second square, four in the third, eight in the fourth, etc., doubling the number of grains for each of the chessboard's 64 squares. At first the emperor was fairly amused by the farmer's request—after all, these were mere grains of rice, how much could he possibly lose? According to Moore's Law, computational power is doubling every 18 months. Conclusion

The Hidden Danger of Being Risk-Averse - Heidi Grant Halvorson by Heidi Grant Halvorson | 9:00 AM July 2, 2013 People are generally not all that happy about risk. As Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman has written, “For most people, the fear of losing $100 is more intense than the hope of gaining $150. [Amos Tversky and I] concluded from many such observations that ‘losses loom larger than gains’ and that people are loss averse.” While the phenomenon of loss aversion has been well-documented, it’s worth noting that Kahneman himself refers to “most people” — not all — when describing its prevalence. Studies from Columbia’s Motivation Science Center have shown that prevention-focused people work more slowly and deliberately, seek reliability over “coolness” or luxury in products, and prefer conservative investments to higher-yielding but less certain ones. They even drive differently. That’s because everything I just told you about prevention-focused people is true when everything is running smoothly — when the status quo is acceptable.

The Future Doesn’t Hurt.... Yet Ven. Matthieu Ricard Interdependence is a central Buddhist idea that leads to a profound understanding of the true nature of reality. Nothing in the universe exists in a purely autonomous way. Phenomena can only appear through mutual causation and relationship. Since all beings are interrelated and all, without exception, want to avoid suffering and achieve happiness, this understanding becomes the basis for altruism and compassion. Unchecked consumerism operates on the premise that others are only instruments to be used and that the environment is a commodity. The vast majority of Tibetans have never heard of global warming, although it is a well-known fact that the ice is not forming as thickly as before and the winter temperatures are getting warmer. People usually only consider changing their way of living when they are forced to do so by circumstances, not by rational and altruistic thinking. Within ten years they could make substantial investments in renewable energy.

Imagine a Future Where Africa Leapfrogs Developed Economies - Ed Bernstein , and Ted Farrington by Ed Bernstein and Ted Farrington | 11:00 AM November 25, 2013 Dreaming about the future creates dissonance. On one hand, we like to imagine a future utopia: the world is at peace, the moon is colonized, cats and dogs get along, and we all travel to work via hover cars or teleportation. In 2012, the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) commissioned a foresight study into the future of R&D management called IRI2038. For starters, we have to consider the impact that current sustainability and environmental protection sentiments have on our collective identity. As natural resources become further constrained, R&D innovations focus more and more on process and efficiency as the world moves deeper into a zero-sum competition over materials. Cradle-to-grave responsibility over raw materials from company products becomes an asset instead of a burden, and expected legislation shifts material ownership from cradle-to-grave to cradle-to-cradle.

As the digital revolution kills jobs, social unrest will rise News October 7, 2013 05:26 PM ET Computerworld - ORLANDO - Gartner is forecasting some major changes in technology, especially in areas like 3D printing, machine learning and voice recognition. In the industrial revolution -- and revolutions since -- there was an invigoration of jobs. But the digital revolution is not following the same path, said Daryl Plummer, a Gartner analyst at the research firm's Symposium ITxpo here. Plummer points to a company like Kodak, which once employed 130,000, versus Instagram's 13. "Occupy-type Wall Street movements are going to grow," he said during his presentation of the "Top 10 Strategic Predictions." One attendee who agreed with the prediction that digitization and automation will cost jobs was Tom Seitzberg, director of international IT operations for Genomic Health in San Francisco. "Ultimately, every society lives from the backbone from a strong middle class," said Seitzberg. Here are the remaining predictions from Gartner: .

The Corporation is at Odds with the Future - Grant McCracken by Grant McCracken | 1:00 PM May 29, 2013 A client recently asked me to comment crisply on the future. I came up with these observations. See if you can spot my error. The world is speeding up . In 1989, Alan Kay said it takes at least 10 years for an innovation to get from the lab into everyday life. I carried my assumptions into the future. Boo! What I should have done is examine my idea of a corporation, dig out the assumptions, and re-craft the idea. Here is my present idea of the corporation, give or take. But that's a problem. Hence, the great antagonism between corporations and time. The corporation puts a particular boundary between now and the future. Too bad. Most of all, we want a corporation that is porous in ways it was not before . It's a weird idea, counter-intuitive in exactly the ways that provoke suspicion and dismissal.

Suspense & Surprise: Poetics of the Future I have often said that the role of the futurist is to resist the temptation for premature coherence! To do this, the futurist seeks to remain in suspense for as long as possible … respecting the surprising fragments of antenarrative … and experiencing the suspense of weaving these fragments into a poetics of the future. Foresight is a poetics of suspense and surprise, and as we connect antenarrative fragments, new moments of suspense and surprise arise. This is seen in the use of scenarios that play a role of inserting a sense of suspense and surprise into the strategic fabric of an organisation. Because suspense and surprise stretch and deform ‘time’, the practice of foresight (as a poetics of the future) is a way to stand outside the flow of time and enter into different temporal experiences (or touchpoints). Threshold experiences arise from touchpoints with the fields of suspense and surprise. Pure surprise is pure novelty. Like this: Like Loading...

Living in the Futures In 1965 Royal Dutch Shell put into service what it called the Unified Planning Machinery (UPM), a computer-driven system meant to bring more discipline to the company’s cash flow planning. This kind of rational, model-based financial forecasting was very much in vogue in the 1960s. But before long, Shell’s top executives realized that many of the commitments they had to make extended well beyond UPM’s six-year time horizon—and that even within that horizon, UPM tended to get a lot wrong. In the early 1970s they shut it down. Things have gone much better for another Shell initiative that was begun in 1965, albeit with far less fanfare. Under the leadership of Newland and Davidson, who became Shell’s first overall head of planning in 1967, the “futures” operation began to take shape. The practice is also enjoying a renaissance outside Shell, with growing evidence of its effectiveness. Make It Plausible, Not Probable But, of course, you can never identify all the forces at play.

We've Entered The Volatile Postnormal Stage Of History Mark Twain once wisecracked, "History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes." In retrospect, we can occasionally hear an echo of some past juncture while listening to the news, or see the silhouette of earlier events superimposed on what is happening before our eyes. Perhaps that metaphorical understanding of the self-similarity of human events is part of the work--or tools--that futurists find useful. There are some things happening in our present that "rhyme" with major disruptions of the past, several of which are widely under appreciated in the U.S., and which have led some people, like myself, to believe we have slipped inexorably out of the late industrial, postmodern era that started soon after the end of World War II. I refer to this period as the postnormal. I did so partly to avoid the unwieldy "post-postmodern," but also to indicate the nature of the break: the old rules don’t apply any more, but there may still be some rhymes we can use to pierce the postnormal fog.

Innovation Starts With Sensing Future Possibilities In 2007, a team of MIT professors decided to bet on an impossibility. These were the days when “mobile” still meant “I’m speaking to you but my phone isn’t anchored to a cable,” when the vision for mobile advertising still looked like walking past a Starbucks and having a coffee coupon flash up on your screen (“geosensing,” they called it). These professors decided to chart a different path. They began building a database to track little clues your mobile phone spits out whenever you use it--your device code, time of day, location info--so that they could make sense of the information. They figured their quest would be valuable to someone, so someone would pay for it. The database was practically useless at the time. But they forged ahead, and today their quixotic journey has become Sense Networks, one of the world’s leading providers of predictive analytics, processing more mobile location data points than any company except Facebook and Google. [Image: Flickr user Live4Soccer]

Living in the Futures In 1965 Royal Dutch Shell put into service what it called the Unified Planning Machinery (UPM), a computer-driven system meant to bring more discipline to the company’s cash flow planning. This kind of rational, model-based financial forecasting was very much in vogue in the 1960s. But before long, Shell’s top executives realized that many of the commitments they had to make extended well beyond UPM’s six-year time horizon—and that even within that horizon, UPM tended to get a lot wrong. In the early 1970s they shut it down. Things have gone much better for another Shell initiative that was begun in 1965, albeit with far less fanfare. Under the leadership of Newland and Davidson, who became Shell’s first overall head of planning in 1967, the “futures” operation began to take shape. The practice is also enjoying a renaissance outside Shell, with growing evidence of its effectiveness. Make It Plausible, Not Probable But, of course, you can never identify all the forces at play.

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