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Strategic Insights in Accelerating Technological Change

30 June, 2005
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AC2005: Last Two Days for June Registration!
On Saturday, July 2nd, the conference registration price goes up another $50. Join us now if you can! AC2005 will feature 40+ world-class speakers and 350+ distinguished attendees discussing the increasing intelligence of machines (artificial intelligence or AI), the evolving effectiveness of technology-aided humans (intelligence amplification or IA), and how these twin trends are shaping our future.

Come meet Vernor Vinge, Ray Kurzweil, Daniel Amen, Esther Dyson, Harold Morowitz, Marcos Guillen, Beth Noveck, Colin Angle, Philip Rosedale, Eric Boehnisch-Volkmann, Blake Ross, David Fogel, Robert Hecht-Nielsen, Ruzena Bajcsy, T. Colin Campbell, Steve Jurvetson, Peter Thiel, Scott Rafer, Cecily Sommers, and special host Moira Gunn of TechNation. See the speakers confirmed to date.

Sign up now with your Accelerating Times discount code (AC2005-ATIMES, entered in all capital letters) and get $50 off! This special $350 post-discount conference rate is available to ATimes readers until July 1st. Coming to AC2005? Tell your friends! Get and post a "meet me at" button (see right) at your site.

Accelerating Times Articles Posted at Our Weblog!
Beginning this month, Accelerating Times articles will be posted at, courtesy of ASF Board Member Mark Finnern. Have any feedback to share on these articles? Post it there for everyone in our community! RSS-savvy? You can RSS-subscribe to posts and comments as separate feeds. The leaders of all four of our physical world salons (Palo Alto, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego) have posting privileges to this weblog. Link to it and visit us regularly to stay in touch.

Ready for 3D Online Community? Last night ASF held our third Second Life Future Salon (picture right, speaker line-up here). This was streamed live in audio and video to the Second Life homepage—a first for virtual events, and a new direction for salon participation! We had over 50 participants onsite, temporarily maxing out the local area, and got great feedback on improvements for next month. For more, see our Second Life Future Salon Blog, run by ASF Director Jerry Paffendorf. Download Second Life and join in!

Visit the Future Salons Start Page to see where our Salons are presently located and the Upcoming Calendar for each. Don't see your city there yet? Email us and let us help you create a Salon in your area.

ASF is Hiring!
Our Executive Director Iveta Brigis starts her UC Irvine MBA program this fall, so ASF is hiring a new ED to start with us in August. We are starting interviews next week. See ASF positions for more.
Know anyone who would be a great fit for our service mission? Interested yourself? Please inquire with ivetabrigis(at)accelerating(dot)org.

New AC2004 Audio
See Google Director of Search Quality and Research Peter Norvig's informative talk "Web Search as a Force for Good" now available as a podcast (streaming or download) courtesy of Doug Kaye at our media partner, IT Conversations. You can regularly check the free AC2004 audio archive at IT Conversations, or register for email notification of new postings.

"War, except in self-defense, is a failure of moral imagination, political nerve, and diplomacy." — Bill Moyers

"Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men most." — Thucydides

"Pleasure, love and grace are not man's to control. They come from identifying with life, and rejoicing in its splendor, vitality, and beauty. Although pleasure, love and grace are ephemeral, trust them and follow them, for they contain the meaning of life." – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



Institute for the Future @ Anne Arundel Community College (Arnold, Maryland)
Director Steve Steele describes IF & AACC ( as "a growing vehicle to deliver future thinking by acting locally." It is a great model for building a futures network at the community college level. At IF, Professor Steele has collected a range of AACC professors with interest in the future into a speakers bureau available for anyone seeking a talk on present trends and future "P's and a W": possible, plausible, positive, preferable, preventable, and wildcard future scenarios within their field of study.

Some one-question interviews with futurists at:
Browse their online ezine, Future Portal, at
Sign up at

Resources and Tools

Beyond Wi-Fi, David Pogue, New York Times, 6.23.05
[Commentary by John Smart] Great article about Verizon's EV-DO Wireless Broadband. A $70 Kyocera KPC650 card (the best option) plus $80/month to Verizon will get you wireless cellular broadband for your laptop, with 400-700 Kbps download (cable modem speed), and 100 Kpbs upload (crippled to keep you from using it as a wireless server). Fortunately, Skype will work on a minimum of 34 Kbps, so you can now use your EV-DO-equipped laptop for unlimited-length free calls to PC users anywhere with Skype, or super low-cost calls (see SkypeOut global rates, often just 3 cents/minute) to any standard or mobile phone in the world.

Verizon's $1 billion, true 3G network presently covers 32 major U.S. cities, and will cover half the country by December. Fortunately, Sprint will also offer EV-DO by the end of this year, so the $80/month corporate-level rate may fall to a consumer level as early as 2006. This is a very empowering development!

Philips Sonicare IntelliClean Toothbrush and Decapinol Oral Rinse
Here are two great new tools for healthy teeth. The first is the $120 Philips Sonicare toothbrush, whose sonic technology and liquid toothpaste dispensing system is "one step closer to daily flossing," for those millions who don't floss regularly as there is as yet no convenient way to do it.

The second is a new oral rinse for combating one of the most common diseases of aging, gingivitis, or inflamed and shrinking gumlines. Rather than killing natural oral bacteria, delmopinol hydrochloride (Decapinol) takes away their ability to stick to teeth, gums, and each other, reducing bacterial plaque and the toxins they release at the gumline. Decapinol has just been approved by the FDA, so expect it in U.S. stores soon. In the meantime, you can call your friends in the United Kingdom who have had it for years and have them mail you some. Decapinol also doesn't interact with toothpaste, unlike anti-gingivitis treatments like chlorhexidine, so with luck we may even see it added to liquid toothpaste in these sonic systems a few years hence. Sounds like intelligent cleaning to me! Thanks to Bryan Hall for the Decapinol link.

The Acceleration Story in Five Spaces

ATimes covers world news and insight in five "spaces," giving one to three briefs in each space. The story of accelerating change, the most fascinating story of our time, appears to be one of movement from outer, to human, to inner, to cyber, and ultimately, to hyper space, the world beyond the present. Each of these deserves understanding for a multidisciplinary perspective on the future:

Outer Space (the world around us: science, the natural and built environment, universal systems theory)
Human Space (the human world: our bodies, behavior, minds, human systems theory)
Inner Space (the world below: energy, small tech, computer "bodies", inner systems theory)
Cyber Space (the virtual world: computer "behavior", computer "minds", cyber systems theory)
Hyper Space (the world beyond: new paradigms, phase transitions, hyperphysics, hyper systems theory)

If you have important stories to share with our 3,100 acceleration-aware readers, we'd love to hear from you

Outer Space
science (biology, chemistry, geology, physics, research), the natural and built environment, universal systems theory (developmental physics, hierarchical substrates)

Population Science
National Geographic's Genographic Project.
Get your Participation Kit here. Map your Deep Genetic History for $99, and get a neat map and DVD in the bargain. An inspiring application of rising transparency in our genetic heritage, driven by falling sequencing prices, the partnership of an innovative computing company (IBM), and inexorably improving science. In the same way that cosmology is narrowing in on 13.7 billion years as the rough age of our universe, paleontologists have long told us that modern humans emerged in Africa just over 150,000 years ago, and migrated out in a series of waves. Since the mid-1990's, population geneticists have estimated the last great wave began less than 100,000 years ago, but the most recent estimates have narrowed this down to just over 60,000 years ago. Using Y chromosome and mtDNA, we can assign individuals to populations haplogroups, and begin to map roughly when and where they diverged from other common ancestors. It is a beautifully interlinked picture that is emerging.
Did you know that even as a species we humans have less genetic diversity than does a single troop of baboons? Thanks to Johann Gevers for this edifying link.

Human Space
bodies (biology, health, neuroscience), behavior (business, education, foresight, governance, innovation, pre-digital technology, society), minds (psychology, spirituality), human systems theory (ecological psychology, memetics)

A Visit to the University of Advancing Technology's Tech Forum 2008

[Commentary by Iveta Brigis] Last week, John Smart and I traveled to Phoenix for UAT's Tech Forum 2008 (they say they are three years ahead of the curve). Twice a year, the university flies in industry leaders to speak to and network with their students at a three-day conference. The ASF was privileged to have John present How to Be a Tech Futurist (slides available here).

UAT is a haven for teenage techies whose parents want them to have a solid liberal arts education along with their CS, video game design, and network securities classes. And the administration really cares about preparing their students for jobs in the real world, which is why they bring in experts from companies like Microsoft, Red Storm Entertainment, and Security Horizon. I sat in on some very informative sessions, like Anna Sweet's presentation on Women in Gaming and Evan Robinson's Software Development Practices: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Anna shared some personal experiences being one of the few women at Microsoft Game Studios and recommended that all the students, not just the women, jump on the chance to work on games tailored for women because it is such a large potential market. Evan shared some practical management tools and tips for working in software development.

UAT's balance of hard-core techi-ness and liberal arts is a boon for young adults growing up in this time of accelerating change. We applaud UAT for their work and look forward to seeing where they go next.

World Security
The End of War?: Explaining 15 Years of Diminishing Violence, Gregg Easterbrook, The New Republic, 05.24.2005
[JS] Excellent coverage of a worldwide trend that seems a direct result of our increasingly interdependent, media-saturated environment. Synopsizes the recent findings of Monty Marshall of George Mason University and Ted Robert Gurr of the University of Maryland. Unfortunately, TNR doesn't have an option for you to buy this without a subscription, but you can read the first paragraph.
Fortunately, another recent piece, "Warfare Waning Across the World," by David Sands, Washington Times, 06.27.2005, synopses the same findings and is freely available.

In fact, there are a host of developmental processes we can statistically predict today with increasing accuracy given past history, such as more globalization, higher GDP's and per capita incomes, more democracy, transparency, less warfare, faster and smarter computers, etc. ASF believes futurists need to be making that special class of things much more obvious to the general public, and we will do our part in coming years to advocate for statistically-backed prediction as a core futurist methodology. Thanks to Jerry Paffendorf for the link.

Online Collaboration; The Voluntary Economy
The Power of Us, Business Week, 06.20.2005
[JS] Concise coverage of the way the positive sum opportunities of easy collaboration have turned our online lives into a cornucopia of the commons. They discuss the radical disruption of free P2P VoIP systems like Skype, the 180,000 (and counting) new independent service businesses created by eBay, the way Microsoft is losing global ground to Linux in servers, commodity OS environments, and in emerging nations (China, Brazil), the vast value of Amazon's millions of freely-created product reviews, the advancement of collective online innovation communities like InnoCentive, the continuing wonders of Google, the creativity of 3D worlds like Linden Lab's Second Life, and the emerging sophistication of free open source platforms like SugarCRM, a tool that will redefine the lower end of the market for large customer relationship management companies like Siebel Systems and

Bottom line: The easier and more powerful collaboration becomes, the more stunning the new products and services we will see. What's more, we are still only at the beginning of what we might call the "Voluntary Economy." Business visionary Gary Hoover, in his excellent online article, "Beyond the Corporation," summarizes the work of Nobel-prize-winning economist Robert Fogel (The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism, 2000) who tells us that the lifetime discretionary hours of first world residents has risen from 43,800 in 1880 to 176,100 in 1995, and will reach 246,000 in 2040. The longer people are able to live, and the less total lifetime hours they need to work to support a voluntary lifestyle, the more freely-given, nonprofit, and other creative projects the world will see. Our life in the voluntary commons is just beginning.

The more we all become digital activists, the faster we improve the quality of these products. How do you keep track of all the cool stuff? You can't, but you can have fun trying. Pick of the month:, an open source tool for managing and collaboratively sharing bookmarks. This lets us all continually discover the current most popular sites, by consensus.

Inner Space
energy, small tech (nanoengineering, miniaturization), computer "bodies" (automation, computer hardware, nanotech, robotics), inner systems theory (acceleration, efficiency, miniaturization, reductionism)

GE's Water-Treatment Group to Unveil Its First Major Project, Kathryn Kranhold, Wall Street Journal, 6.24.2005
[IB] General Electric has announced plans to build what will be Africa's largest seawater desalination plant in Algeria. The Hamma Water Desalination SpA will produce 53 million gallons of potable water each day, enough to supply 25% of the capital city Algiers' population. Due to relentless advances in nanotech, today desalination is a $5 billion market, growing between 10% and 15% annually, according to the WSJ.

It's very exciting to see that desalination costs have declined sharply (see this interesting piece on desalination in Israel by Dr. Pinhas Glueckstern) because of accelerated progress in desalination technologies. GE has plans to build and run water treatment plants all around the world and accordingly expects to earn 60% of its desalination revenue growth in emerging markets in the next decade. By providing a consistent, inexpensive source of drinking water for people all around the world, desalination really has the potential to increase quality of life for many individuals. One pioneering industry group that is working on the desalination solution is the International Desalination Association.

Cyber Space
computer "behavior" (co-evolution, automation, symbiosis), computer "minds" (computer software, simulation), cyber systems theory (holism, information, intelligence, interdependence, immunity)

Digital Newspapers: Today's Front Pages and
[JS] The Newseum's exhibit of front page PDFs of 300 English language newspapers is an interesting design idea. Just mouseover the mini pictures and click, and a popup (turn your popup blocker off) will give you a readable PDF of the daily front page, as well as a link to the paper's homepage, where you can often read the rest of that day's stories for free. Their "list by region" interface is very slow for finding papers, but this is a free site, and they were the first to do this kind of aggregation, beginning back in 2001, so give them credit where due.

Newstran is a newspaper portal site with free access to an astonishing selection of American and autotranslated international newspapers. It's also worth a look, but the time lag between click and view will be an issue for some.

For those wanting the best commercial solution, for $10/month, Press Display/NewspaperDirect will electronically download thirty one newspapers to your regular or Tablet PC. They now have 200 papers from 50 countries available. Their web display updates with the top half of front page pictures every day, and is quite fast. The ability to bookmark is limited, and text search is currently restricted to only one of your subscribed papers, but this is an excellent next step for scanning multiple papers daily.

For the future? Imagine your favorite story subjects, culled from every participating newspaper globally, all autotranslated and downloaded to the Media Servers that connect to our Tablet PCs, lightning-quick, annotatable and searchable using Google desktop. Major new subscriber base! Reader heaven! Thanks to Clive Pearce, and to Harland Harris of Newseum.

Hyper Space
new paradigms (including evolutionary development), phase transitions, hyperphysics (black holes, multiverse, string theory, supersymmetry), hyper systems theory (computational limits, emergence, phase transitions, technological singularity hypothesis, developmental singularity hypothesis)

Ethics in a Voluntary Economy
Only the Ethical Need Apply, Susan Llewelyn Leach, Christian Science Monitor, 03.30.2005
[JS] How will the first world workforce transform over the next two generations, as people increasingly work as they choose, on ever more abstract, "high-touch," service-based jobs? Leach cleverly outlines the position of Dick Samson, Tom Malone and others that as automation replaces our more rote cognitive and behavioral tasks, workers will transition into an increasingly transparent, highly connected society. In that environment our ability to be fair, responsible, dependable, trustable, and credible (doing what we promise), as well as our ability to empower and help others, as determined by their public feedback, will become the primary propositions differentiating our value to the system.

These are excellent insights into a world where technology will increasingly replace even today's knowledge worker jobs, pushing us all into ever-more-abstract sectors of the service economy. The basic liberal arts education that stresses good communications skills, civics, and a broad understanding and valuing of diversity will never have been more valuable. The more things change, the more some things stay the same.

Ethics are game theories for successful conflict resolution, and as the change of pace increases successful conflict resolution will continue to increase in importance, even as they get more refined. Looking for good books to guide you in your increasingly high-stakes, high-value interactions? Joseph Grenny and Kerry Patterson's books, Crucial Conversations 2002, and Crucial Confrontations, 2004, are excelent places to start. For corporate interpersonal skills training, see also the VitalSmarts website.

We all deserve a little fun every day. Send your entries for the next ATimes!

The Onion in 2056. If you like this online humor site, you'll enjoy their parody of our mid-century future. A few precious bits, like "Million Robot March Attended by Exactly 1,000,000 Robots." Hilarious! Thanks to Brent Bushnell.

Nearly Hairless Club
Another example of the amazing variety that evolution hides in reserve. The Chinese Crested Hairless toy dog (more crazy pictures) is pictured here. These dog's aren't shaved, these are their natural features! A curious fact is that a number of hairless or nearly hairless breeds, including the Chinese Crested, have sweat glands all over, not just on their paws only, like a typical dog. Combined with panting, their heat management must be excellent, though they will sunburn without protection, just like us. Extreme genetic variety usually also has a hidden cost: hairless dogs have more variation in the quality of their nails and teeth. So... if dogs developed technology, would the hairless ones become genetically preferred? Thanks to Marc Goodner for the original link.

Call for Submissions
ASF is always seeking interesting submissions for our Accelerating Times (AT) web publication. AT is a "free and priceless" monthly newsletter covering scientific, technological, business, policy, and social dialogs in accelerating change. Anyone may submit scan hits, mini-articles, pictures, artwork, quotes and questions to mail(at) Accepted work will appear, fully credited, in future issues. Please submit your feedback to the Future Salon Weblog, where these articles are posted.


Register for AC2005! Weblog

ASF Hiring Executive Director

New AC2004 Audio


Resources and Tools

Telling the Acceleration Story... in Five Spaces

Cool Futurist Groups


Map Your Genetic History

Tech Forum 2008

The End of War?

The Power of Online Collaboration

Building Africa's Largest Water Desalination Plant

Digital Newspapers

Ethics in a Voluntary Economy


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20th National Conference on Artificial Intelligence

July 9-13
Pittsburgh, PA

AlwaysOn Innovation Summit
July 19-21
Palo Alto, CA

World Future 2005
(WFS Annual Conference)

July 29-31
Chicago, IL

Open Source Convention
August 1-5
San Francisco, CA

Accelerating Change 2005
September 16-18
Palo Alto, CA

Thanks for telling your acceleration-aware friends.