Recently, Disney released a new animated film called Meet the Robinsons. As the futurist chosen to work on the film, mostly for promotion, I had a blast. From flying cars to instant nano-buildings and genetically enhanced frogs that sing, the film is a great adventure romp into the future. I went down to the studio and was interviewed for Movie Surfers.
Of course this was pure Disney–a retro-vision of the future, with a theme about a young orphan who wants to make the world a better place in the future, and he did. The other cool fact about this film was the outstanding animation, first after the merge of Pixar and Disney, with the genius of John Lassiter on overdrive.
Also, Disney is rolling out the film this week to 700 theaters in 3-D. Somehow this retro-innovation is coming back strong. Rodriguez of Spy Kids did a 3-D film and it was a hit. This is the wave of the future 3-D Web. I think the dancing T-Rex probably deserves his own film next time. Check out the film if you have kids or not.
There are some large scale ideas emerging about how to fix climate change by deploying huge clean technologies, called geoengineering. Whether this is an engineering fantasy, or reality born on impending environmental risk, we shall see. But the Accelerated Change, brought by the convergence of innovations, primarily nano-bio-info-neuro NBIC, see Nano, may be of use to mitigate climate change risk. Averting climate change with geoengineering, like alternative schemes to block sun radiation, redirect or alleviate ozone, even apply terraforming to the earth’s atmosphere, may be the only solutions to avert future crises to the environment or human health.
There is a new United Nations Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change which predicts more droughts, fires, floods and storms. The report says temperatures will rise by 6.7 degrees, by 2080. If we are wrong, and sea levels rise in coastal cities, where most of the world’s population will be living by 2030, then we could face a risk that is hard to measure in dollars or lives. I am not afraid of forecasting the authentic trends that may hold to disasters such as the environment-at-risk here. The convergence of mega-cities, population growth and extreme climate change simply puts the developing world in harms way in the future.
In case anyone was out, Sunday’s 60 Minutes had a devastating first-person view of what climate change means – NOW. Vice President Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was a wake-up call for many about the dangers that face us sooner, then later. 60 Minutes’ point that glacier meltdowns and rising seas will effect fresh water supplies in the third world the most over the next few decades, was startling evidence that we must act now to avert future crises. In my book, The Extreme Future, and here Amazon I made the point that vast issues will affect both personal and national security due to climate change. 60 Minutes’ The Age of Warming.
Our friend and gerontologist, Ken Dychtwald, produced a terrific new PBS special last week on the Boomer Generation. This was a two hour special nailing down the key concepts that have created the boomer ethos. The historical overview was spot on for analyzing why the boomers actually believe and act as they do. The 60′s and 70′s for the boomers were periods of drastic change, crisis and even transformation. The Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations, Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, all defined the nation and the Boomer Generation. I heartily recommend it. PBS
Mobile barcodes, or rather software on phones to read barcodes — something old with something new — is fast emerging. In the EU and Latin America, mobile pay is the beginning. Motorola and Nokia are moving ahead. A whole lot more adoption by merchants to agree to bar code and share common platforms would be smart. Don’t count on it soon. But, in select areas, this will be a fast mobile solution for buying. Maybe exchanging currency or other values–like info, stock or IP.
OK, so don’t get nuts about Web 2.O, but it is here. How many companies are leveraging customer generated media, or Wikkis or blogs — not enough. The RSS revolution will transform
mobility and commerce. Web 2.0 is not all hype when your competition is leveraging rich media on YouTube and you’re still trying to figure out what RSS is. Collaboration, Search, Interactivity –Web 2.0 in a rich interactive cross platform mobile world is emerging. By the way, Berners-Lee’s Semantic Web project, the grand-daddy of Ajax? is coming as soon as XML steps up.
The recent Virtual Worlds conference in NY shows the excitement of this emerging new market, where virtual world’s lifestyles are increasing. Already dozens of brands are in virtual worlds and over 60 virtual worlds exist. Are we witnessing the next transformation of the web? I say yes. For example, Second Life may reach the mega-city population level by 2010, outpacing real world cities in population numbers.
Most interesting to this futurist is the virtual economics–the buying and selling of virtual products. The emergence of a virtual economy in these worlds may come to rival real-world economies someday, I forecast. Coke or Pepsi sold over 50,000 cans of virtual soda. The buying and selling of virtual real estate is common. Even a Second Life virtual terrorist group attacked a shoe mall in a virtual world.
This is when real telepresense–sensory collaboration–feel me (smell me) technology becomes available. Then look out for 3-D bling–the cash will flow and advertisers will follow. It is not hard to see the beginning of this. Force-feedback is in games. Cheap virtual reality glasses are here. Web 2.0 hype has arrived. My forecast is that VR worlds will be here faster then anyone can imagine–mobile, seductive, and commercial.