Futures Perceived, 5

1. “The automation myth: robots aren’t taking your jobs, and that’s the problem.” Vox.

2. “This computer vision company is tracking all the people moving through the cities.” Fast Company.

3. Google Translate’s app now instantly translates printed text in 27 languages. TechCrunch. App on a smart phone, using phone camera.

4. Smart Sniper Rifles with WiFi connections can be hacked by hackers: disable, change target. Wired.

5. A programming language for robot swarms: when it comes to robotic flocks, do you control each machine individually or the entire swarm overall? A new programming language allows both. MIT.

6. Intel’s new memory chips are faster, store way more data. Wired. Non-volatile (store without power, so potential alternative to flash storage), 1,000 times faster than existing chips in mobile devices, can store 10x more data than DRAM on PCs. Will drive a new generation of computers, phones, tablets.

Futures Perceived, 4

1. Self-driving cars:

2. World’s first malaria vaccine approved. Al Jazeera.

3. Science Mag: special issue all about Artificial Intelligence.

4. How digital books are transforming the school library. Atlantic Monthly.

5. “Only a few multinationals have succeeded in crafting products in emerging markets and selling them worldwide.” HBR.

6. The Exoskeletons are coming. MIT Technology Review.

7. Dubai is using Palm Trees (Smart Palms) to charge your phone. Wired.

8. Asteroid mining firm Planetary Resources launches its first exploratory probe. Mining asteroids could completely change the economy of Earth, and I’ve long thought this is an area Christians should be active in.

9. A link between climate change and ISIS isn’t entirely crazy. Atlantic. ISIS = Water War (sort of).

10. The Genesis Engine: we now have the power to quickly and easily alter DNA. Wired. “It could eliminate disease. It could solve world hunger. It could provide unlimited clean energy. It could really get out of hand.”

Futures Perceived, 3

1. Drones+GoogleAutodrive+Explosives = remotely-directed, observed, managed, self-guided, “lethal weapons“: is it suicide if there are no humans inside? More like a mobile IED. Will there be “no Autodrive zones” around key places (like government buildings)?

2. Telepresence Robots + Explosives (or chemical weapons) = the assassin you summon to yourself.

3. Uber+Google Autodrive = most taxi drivers lose their jobs. Plus, you don’t have to own a car.

4. Uber+GoogleAutodrive+Your Credit Card = Surveillance of everywhere you go. (Likely rapidly adopted in China, Singapore, etc?)

5. Hyperloop. When cities are connected via extremely fast (>500mph), cheap transportation, the cities merge.

6. High energy batteries + Google Autofly + Strong materials = Flying Cars. Yes, it’s possible. (especially useful in places with no passable roads?) Is this the MAF of the future?

7. Rapid 3D Image Formulation (ability to create a new 3D image out of computation)+specifically-engineered Artificial Intelligence+Oculus 3D Imaging+SexToys = “Victimless Pornography.” Is it pornography if no one was “filmed”? How will this change definitions? How does it affect viewers? What if it involves things we presently outlaw (like pedophilia)? How will it decimate the adult actor industry? Far future but with Moore’s Law, possible by 2050.

8. “Rise of the Robots” and the decimation of the economy leads to the decimation of giving, and the decline of missions from the West.

9. The Big One. “1 in 3” chance of >8 magnitude earthquake in Pacific Northwest by 2050; “1 in 10” chance of >10 magnitude quake.

10. Robots+(Recording & Responding equating to Listening & understanding) = Robot Therapists. Depending on the design of the robot, people will interact with it in different ways, including opening up and revealing things.

11. “These 9 trends show the future of mobile payments and banking.” VentureBeat. Mobile payments will influence giving patterns, too.


Futures Perceived, 2

1. “Babies halt the Great Commission“: Christian researchers think population growth will stall the Gospel’s spread. Christianity Today.

2. “How Mexico is becoming the drone capital of Latin America.” Fusion.net.

3. “Chances are, your smartphone is constantly betraying you.” New Scientist. Traveling missionary, beware.

4. Fewer people are being killed by natural catastrophes.

5. Mergers & Acquisitions among US churches in the Multisite Church Movement. Christianity Today.

6. China’s hunger for robots marks a significant shift: having devoured many of the world’s factory jobs, China is now handing them over to robots. WSJ.

7. DeepStereo: takes multiple pictures and synthesizes new views, walk thrus. Google.

8. “More data, more problems: surveillance and the information economy.” Book reviews of “Data & Goliath: the hidden battles to collect your data and control your world” and “Disruptive power: the crisis of the state in the digital age.” Foreign Affairs.

Current trends may not continue

One of the key phrases in any scenario is, “it’s possible,” or “it’s likely,” or “if current trends continue.”

Many scenarios of the future presently being bandied about project the decline of Christianity. They say, “if current trends continue, _x_ will happen by 2050.”

Remember that 2050 is 35 years off. That’s a generation and more. It’s plenty of time to make a difference. It’s plenty of time to make sure current trends don’t continue.

The future is not inevitable. It is chosen, and even the smallest person can make a difference.

Kinds of futures: Should vs. Will

There is a difference between the kind of future you think we will have, and the kind we might have, and the kind we should have, and the kind we want to have.

The difference is in the power you have to affect change. And I think the power you actually have is greatly affected by how much power you think you have–in reality, we have far more power over the future than we think we do.

How much power we think we have is articulated in our descriptions of the future.

So–might we change our view of how much power we have, by changing how we talk about it?

By changing “the future will be like…” to “the future should be like…”?

I want to change the future of this blog, by knowing how to better address the challenges and questions you face in missions. Help me find the right topics to address next month, by completing this anonymous, short, 5-question survey.

Friday Futures: solar power, 3D fabric printers, satellites

1. Glass windows that make electricity out of sunlight (Economist). “Most solar cells are opaque to absorb all the light they can to maximise their efficiency. But what if visible light could pass through? Using glass to make electricity out of sunlight could turn buildings and cars into their own power stations, and that is exactly what scientists are trying to achieve.”

2. Electroloom’s ‘3D printer for fabric’ creates seamless garmets in any size (Techcrunch).

3. Robotic sewing machines could throw garment workers in low-cost countries out of a job. This is how high-tech countries will compete with low-cost workers in low-cost countries: invent robots that do the job for free. Prices will be reduced but companies will likely still make profits?

4. Putting satellites into space easier ($100,000 with CubeSats). SpaceKnow is a startup that lets you analyze satellite imagery in new ways.

5. Brain Waves could replace passwords (TechCrunch).

6. Skype’s web-based client now open to everyone in the USA and UK. We stopped using Skype in favor of VSee due to security issues related to usage in China.

7. Population growth trends starting to rise again in the Middle East? Economist explores.

The future is not made without you

You have a part to play in the making of the future.

Your part may be active, shaping what the future will be.

Or, your part may be passive, allowing, endorsing and supporting the shaping work of others.

No matter which, you get some responsibility for what the future is like. Great responsibility implies great power. Shouldn’t you use it?

Tell someone what sort of future you think we should have!

Friday Futures: long-range iris scanning, personal drones follow you, more

facial recognition

The need for strategic foresight

Toward 2025:

1960s: companies/computer
70s: computers/company
80s: /office
90s: /home
2000s: internet/home
10s: smartphones/person
20s: chips/garment

Artificial Intelligence

Automated Automotive


Social Photography



3D Printing

Virtual Reality