Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Future is Closer than you Might Think

This article is part of the ‘Think Further’ series, sponsored by Fred Alger Management, Inc. For more ‘Think Further’ content and videos, visit thinkfurtheralger.com

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The future can be both invigorating and paralyzing.

imageWe have the realists. These are the people that are so heavily entrenched in their day to day efforts that they don’t take the time to think about what could be. Whether they don’t feel they have the luxury of time or spare cycles in their day is a question they also don’t seem to have time to answer. In the not too distant future we may have an answer for them and it will be bigger than they could have ever imagined. So, perhaps the realists are smart for waiting it out.

Then we have the dreamers. Are you a dreamer? Do you ever dream of being a dreamer? If you answered yes to these two semi-rhetorical questions then you just might be that person sitting with their feet up on the desk or the one walking around bare foot in the grass. You might be one of those people that is envisioning the future of work and the future of play. The two will likely merge much more as we begin to realize that we can Think Further.

For those that dare to Think Further there are multiple factors and scenarios to consider on both a micro and macro level. From a sheer ‘mass of humanity’ scale there are factors related to the growing population of humans around the world and the aging of these populations in developed and developing countries. Both of these factors are being weighed and considered and for the most part they will continue to accelerate. Therein lies the rub. It is expected that sub-Saharan Africa will grow to include about 2 billion (that’s with a B) humans by 2050. This population will rival the huge populations of the Asian continent.

How will we feed, clothe and house them all? And I did say we. No longer will the isolationist policies that have allowed some countries to prosper while adjacent countries are bogged down with strife that cripples the economy and destabilizes the region.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking
we used when we created them.
~ Albert Einstein

Agri-Business, Nanotechnology and Renewable Energy

These are three of the areas that will allow for continued growth of the human population. The advances in crops, watering systems, drones and computer modeling (think Big Data) will allow farmers all over the world to utilize land and water more effectively. There is another element there that needs to be considered – we cannot allow a permanent deleterious impact on wildlife and natural areas that will bound the farms and cities of the future. This is another area where people need to Think Further to fully understand the impact of their efforts.

Nano-Technology will change the way farms operate and the way humans operate – literally and figuratively. The rise of nanotech will allow for plants as well as humans to be repaired from the inside.

Energy Matters. The need for power will never fade. More energy will be required to service and support the rising population levels. We can and will continue seeking ways to reduce energy use, but the overall demand will continue to rise. Which will give rise to new ways to provide, transmit and store power. Wind, Solar and Thermal energy will take a front seat with the traditional petroleum and hydro based options. One of the areas that may start to gain more traction is the ability to store energy captured by wind, solar, thermal and others means of energy production. Molten salt holds some promise here as a battery for energy captured by wind and solar sources.

Communications, Medicine and Robotics

There will be continued significant advances in communications. Today more people on the planet have mobile phones than have toothbrushes. There are about 7 billion people on the planet today and around 4 billion of them have cell phones. The other side of this is that there will be a boom in communications to support these efforts. Both with traditional infrastructure and also with satellites, balloons and drones providing coverage in remote or otherwise unserviceable areas.

Medicine will continue to advance which allows for longevity for humans which further increases the need for continuous improvement in medicine, which increases the demands on the growth and distribution of crops, and the ways human are transported (think autonomous vehicles).

This is where robotics will come into play. Most people cannot imagine a robot butler that caters to their every need, but this is a likely scenario. Robots, or autonomous systems, will also help humans get from point to point safely, effectively and inexpensively.

Where is this leading us?

It’s going to take a lot of people willing to Think Further and to take decisive actions. I’m confident that there are enough people willing to take these bold steps and to make the effort to insure their voices are heard and that action is taken.

I don’t envision a doom & gloom mentality. I think when the challenge is presented that people will make the effort to Think Further.

Image and Video Credits: Fred Alger Management

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Jeff is an expert in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2. He is currently the consulting with Microsoft and partners to drive Community Engagement and Alliances.

Tweet him
@jshuey or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ He is active in the Microsoft Partner Community and is the co-founder and President of the IAMCP Seattle chapter.

He is a contributing author to
Entrepreneur, Elite Daily, Yahoo, US News and to the Personal Branding Blog.

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