The questions below, color-coded for Physical
Space, Virtual Space, and Interface
themes in accelerating change, will be placed one on each
round table (seating up to eight attendees) for our Saturday
evening dinner. Each question will be repeated two or three
times at different tables
After dinner, a speaker from each table can volunteer to
give a brief summary of the group's ideas in the main ballroom,
representing the table alongside speaker(s) from other tables
with opposing views in a freewheeling and frenetic debate
known as "Futuristically Incorrrect"
Note: These questions are rough guidelines
for discussion. The most interesting part of the discussion
may not be the answers you choose, but the ideas and opinions
you share with your table in the process, and that your
table reporter shares with the audience. Attributions of
opinions to particular individuals at a table is encouraged
but entirely optional.
If your table finds your question unclear
or unappealing, feel free to pick any from the list below,
or invent your own. You might begin with the question you
are given, but feel free to go wherever conversation and
group interest takes you.
us with edits or additional questions to propose.
Questions: Physical Space Theme
P1. Globalization, Automation,
and Economy. Is the current "third wave" of globalization
helping or hurting us? Should we be making it easier for
foreign workers to come here, and for smaller companies
to invest and employ abroad? Are there any dangers from
either increasing globalization or automation? More generally,
what investment opportunities, sectors, and strategies are
most likely to keep us on a curve of accelerating economic
productivity for the next five to ten years? How do we sort
hype from good investments in a world of information overload?
Are there any dangers from either increasing globalization
P2. Transparency, Networks
and Homeland Security. With ubiquitous computing sensing,
and networks, are we heading toward a transparent society?
Is this generally a good or a bad thing? What are the benefits
and drawbacks? Are the privacy and civil rights issues overwhelming
or manageable? More generally, how can we break down the
"last mile problem" in bandwidth access, and how
critical is this vs. other technical issues to improving
national productivity and security in the coming decade?
P3. Development and International
Security. How do we best help develop countries like Afghanistan
and Iraq? How rapidly can we (or should we) try to bring
competitive markets, democracies, and liberal traditions
to cultures with no history in these areas? To what extent
do we need to prioritize third world development vs. first
world development in coming decades? How do we promote the
"triple bottom line" (society, economy, environment)
of industrial ecology in our global economy? Which current
or horizon technologies, law, and policies will be most
effective in emerging nations development in the next ten
P4. Energy and Resources.
Is there an "energy problem"? Are carbon sequestration
technologies and fossil fuel efficiencies going to keep
our hydrocarbon regime healthy for another fifty years?
Is the Hydrogen economy premature or critically needed?
Do we need more investment in alternative and sustainable
energy sources or is our present course of development proceeding
Questions: Physical Space Theme
V1. Persistent Worlds and
Virtual Markets. How important are persistent worlds, virtual
markets, and the new graphical environments emerging in
cyberspace? How rapidly and significantly will they impact
existing business and social models? Is a "Metaverse"
emerging, a network of virtual spaces that may become the
fastest, most creative, most information-rich and most globally
connected "place" to spend our productive time?
Will dwelling in physical space seem like "slow space"
in comparison? After massively multiplayer games, what will
be the early "killer apps" in virtual space?
V2. Personality Capture,
Productivity, and Privacy. How extensively do we want our
computer interfaces to record ("capture") our
experiences, preferences, and even personal characteristics?
Will high quality interfaces increasingly manage, persuade,
and 'control' us? Will they make us more productive or more
neurotic? What are the privacy, personal rights, and individual
identity issues and threats?
V3. Digital Democracy, Digital
Identity, and Avatars. What are the issues of technology,
policy, and standards keeping us from a world of useful
digital identities and virtual avatars? How important is
it that we create spoof-resistant identities sooner rather
than later? What level of digital democracy should we strive
for, and is there such a thing as "digital mobocracy"
(tyranny of the majority)? What new legal standards do we
need for transactions with your avatar?
V4. Media, Blogs, and Citizen
Education. As more of us enter virtual and blog space, will
we put the "Me" (personalization and individual
critical voice) back in media? Or will intelligent interfaces
do this, and will they come courtesy of large software companies
or open source? Does the new electronic journalism portend
a better future for citizen education or a more fractured
information space? Does a network of bloggers get us closer
to the truth or make it harder to know what's really going
on? How do we get to a more critical, civic-minded public?
Questions: Physical Space Theme
I1. Education, Self-Empowerment, and Technology.
Are electronic media and other technologies of convenience
responsible for the well-studied forty year decline in math,
science, verbal, and analytical skills in our nation's high
school and college students? If we continue with "business
as usual" are things likely to get worse or better
over the next few decades, as we create new educational
and living tools and technologies that can do more and more
"thinking" for us? If worse, what are the solutions
I2. Health Care and Wellness. Can we fix
health care coverage and quality gaps in the U.S. now or
do we need to wait for smarter medical informatics systems
and more economic strength? Will global access to cheap
superspecialist physicians (in India and elsewhere) through
tomorrow's telemedicine systems finally give us the ability
to get the quality instant help we need? How do we keep
the lid on double digit premium increases as medical therapies
become increasingly helpful?
I3. Intellectual Property and the Creative
Commons. To what extent can open source and new copyright
agreements reinvigorate the human experience? What kinds
of information, services, and systems work better as "experiences
to share" than as "things to charge for"
or own? Do we need more ownership of user-created content
on the web to stimulate virtual creativity, or less? How
do we account for the growing value of intangibles in our
I4. Big Projects in IA and AI. Do we need
any "moon shots" (major new national technological
development projects) at this stage, or are we better off
letting the market run its course? Are there any projects
in intelligence amplification ("IA") for humans,
or artificial intelligence ("AI") for our machines
that particularly need better funding? Anything that is
significantly overfunded? Any big dangers we aren't addressing?
Are we neglecting personal and social issues (IA) at the
expense of technology (AI) or are these two moving along
reasonably well together?