Top 10 Futurist Speaker Columns for 2022
It seemed like a good idea to close out 2022 with an overview of the ten most impactful columns of the year. The rating system we used was one where the editors at FuturistSpeaker.com all weighed in and decided which columns would most likely have a significant impact over time. With that thinking in mind, here is what we came up with:
What do we know about human purpose and whether humans were placed on planet Earth by a divine force or whether our presence is the result of randomness and chance? In this column, I discuss the thinking of several past and contemporary experts, including Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Tony Robbins, Jordan Peterson, Brian Armstrong, and Michio Kaku, on the subject of life’s meaning and purpose. I also discuss the limitations of our current mathematical models and why they don’t make sense. My conclusion is that there are clear signs of intelligent origin and that humans were not placed here by accident, but admittedly, this still leaves far more questions than answers.
As a futurist, next-generation learning has been one of the topics I’m most passionate about. Our need for hyper-individualized learning is driven by several factors, including our time, our personality, and an overwhelming need to feel unique in a world of over 7 billion people wanting many of the same things. This AI-driven learning system will be driven by personal interests, a hyper-individualized sense of purpose, and a set of milestones to help define progress. Unlike traditional institutions that only credential their own in-house courses, this system will test, assess, and grant micro credits for virtually all topics, subjects, and forms of learning that align with the user’s interests.
We have information flowing continuously from thousands of different sources, and it’s preposterous of us to think that only credentialed learning has any value. One of the first tasks for the designers of this future learning system will be to establish a universally accepted equivalency scale based on micro-credits. The equivalency scale will be based on an additive barometer of lifetime achievement. It will show users when their credits and micro-credits add up to the equivalency Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. It will then add hundreds of levels beyond Ph.D. onto the accomplishment scale. Micro-credits will be used to assess learning in far more granular forms by using a learning measurement scale where 100 micro-credits are the equivalent of 1 college semester credit.
The third part of future learning will involve smart glasses or contacts, which may even replace smartphones if they can figure out the right interface. People consume a ton of information every day. Bookworms spend countless hours reading. And YouTubers, gamers, music lovers, TV addicts, Twitchers, and networking junkies each have their own way of absorbing knowledge. But we currently have no way of monitoring what we’re being exposed to or measuring the salient pieces of wisdom being added to our working memory. The early monitoring devices will likely be incorporated into something like smart glasses to see what we’re seeing, hear what we’re hearing, and will have sensors to feel, touch, smell, and taste everything we’re experiencing. This device would complete the future learning trifecta that I’ve been envisioning. So will AR smart glasses replace smartphones? I believe the more relevant questions are what portion of our online time will be spent utilizing smart glasses and how soon will that happen?
We are seeing a growing number of companies implementing a four-day workweek and the benefits it can bring for both businesses and employees. A study by Ernst and Young found that 40% of companies in the survey have implemented or plan to implement a four-day workweek. This trend is also seen in other countries such as Iceland, the UK, Japan, and New Zealand. Both businesses and workers prefer the four-day workweek as it can increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction, and allow for greater flexibility in scheduling. The psychological effects of the four-day workweek have shown that employees are more focused and committed to their work when they have a shorter time frame in which to complete it. The four-day week will likely become far more widespread in the future as it offers a balance between work and personal life and may be better suited to the needs of a modern workforce.
The future of energy will involve transitioning from fossil fuels to alternative sources, such as renewables and nuclear power. Renewables, including wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and biomass, currently make up about 12.5% of energy usage in the US but face limitations due to the need for invisible energy and the backlash to visible infrastructures like wind and solar farms. Nuclear energy, which currently only accounts for 8.9% of energy usage in the US, is projected to become a primary energy source in the future. Thorium-based reactor systems have several advantages over uranium-based methods. Even though most changes in the power industry are slow, it is expected that nuclear power will eventually surpass fossil fuels and renewables as the primary energy source.
The U.S. has more laws than any other country, and that has contributed to the U.S. having a higher percentage of prisoners than any other country. To address this issue, I have proposed a four-step approach to correcting the situation. Essentially, “Four Laws for Managing the Laws”:
- Public Access Requirement: All laws must be posted in one central online location. Any laws not posted on this website will be deemed unenforceable.
- Sunsetting Laws: Any laws that have not been applied or enforced in the past 20 years become unenforceable and must be removed from the list.
- Simplification: All laws must be written at an 8th-grade comprehension level. No new laws can go into effect or current laws enforced until they’re certified to have reached this standard.
- Code of Government Ethics: No governmental entity shall be allowed to profit from the enforcement of its own laws. After all, whenever there’s a direct profit motive that links enactment with enforcement, the nature of government changes, and our humanity becomes compromised.
As an avid researcher, I’m constantly tuned in to progress being made on the stem-cell-derived meat front. We’re still very much on track for widespread production and consumption, given the investments we’re seeing from major players, including individuals and even meat processing companies. With the outlook for lab-grown, often called slaughter-free meat, wide open, it’s time to take this to a new level and push the envelope of our stem-cell lab programs for the benefit of humankind. At the macro level, cultured meat technology, combined with others like precision fermentation-derived microbial proteins, and good “old-fashioned” plant-based meat products, could fundamentally change our food supply in a way that wouldn’t dramatically affect our consumption experiences but improve our world in many other ways.
In the future, space research and development is expected to be driven by private enterprises on privately owned space stations. As the International Space Station deteriorates to the point of becoming unusable, NASA and other agencies will begin renting space on privately owned, Earth-orbiting laboratories. In addition, space tourism companies will use private space stations as space hotels to offer tourists the opportunity to vacation in space. Private space stations will gradually be upgraded to offer more comfortable living arrangements for tourists and, over time, will be located in other locations beyond Earth’s orbit, such as the moon or Mars. Private space stations will also serve as staging areas, regional offices, and warehouses for commercial ventures in space. There will likely be additional space structures along well-established routes for resupplying, deliveries, and other functions.
While some challenges related to the technology and logistics of drone delivery have been addressed, others still need to be resolved. However, these challenges should not hold back the widespread implementation of drone delivery, as we saw with the introduction of cars in the early 20th century. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will allow the drone delivery industry to progress if appropriate safety measures are in place. Within 4-6 years, most people in the U.S. will be able to receive drone deliveries, and the transition will happen even quicker in other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The widespread implementation of drone delivery may seem gradual, but we are on the leading edge of a massive new industry, and the transition will be breathtaking.
As we step into 2023, last year’s thinking will begin to fade into the tombs of ancient history. But rest assured, we’re in for several crazy years as the path of transition we’re going through still has a long way to go.