Futures Friday — Signals of Change

In writing about how to think like a futurist, Jane McGonigal of the Institute for the Future speaks of “signals of change” — current news stories that show unusual technological or social advances. Her recommendation for aspiring futures thinkers is to constantly keep our eyes open for these news stories that describe signals of change already in place or just starting to happen.

So, here’s the first of a sporadic series of blog posts with links to news stories I have run across recently that open up my mind to future possibilities, from alien contact to robotic farming to defeating death through cyborgization of our minds.

Aliens May Have Tried to Contact Us in 2017

Oumuamua — alien space object“The most exciting aspect of the possibility that ‘Oumuamua is weird and unlike any asteroid or comet that we had seen before is that it might be a product of an alien technology…”


Holographic Doctors Visit Astronauts

It’s not science fiction: Hologram doctors beamed to space to visit astronauts.  In 2021, a team of hologram doctors was “holoported” to space to visit astronauts living aboard the International Space Station…the first humans to ever be “holoported” from Earth to space.

Iron Ox…applies…robotics and AI…to hydroponic farming practices…with the goal of increased sustainability and efficiency. In practice, that looks like a greenhouse manned by a fleet of mobile robots named Grover, plus a dash of computer visioning, or “big data for plants” as the Iron Ox team puts it.

…the first example of a patient in a fully locked-in state communicating at length with the outside world…


People Will Move Their Minds “To the Cloud” to Defeat Death

…future technological advances will allow us to obtain immortality by copying our mind and transferring it to the cloud. From now on, a person will be able to live forever in digital form and “settle” in the body of any cyborg.

Senior using VR headsetWhile studies suggest that traditional reminiscence therapy can significantly improve the well-being of older people, V.R. has the potential to make it more immersive and impactful. By putting on a headset, Mr. Faulkner could walk along the virtual Cliffs of Moher in western Ireland, just as he’d done with his wife several years earlier.


Every one of these specific “signals of change” opens up a wide range of possible future developments. Keep scanning the news and you likely will see some follow-up on some of these future forces.

See you in the Future, friends!

About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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