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									                                 Feedback                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     SUPPLEMENT TO THE FUTURIST: A
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              supplement to THE FUTURIST, the electronic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              newsletter Futurist Update, is sent to all sub-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              scribers who provide an e-mail address.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              SUBSCRIPTION: A subscription to THE
                                 ■ Two Sides of the Future                                                                                              But whatever marvels we accomplish in
                                                                                                                                                        the first part of the twenty-first century                                                                                                                                                                                            FUTURIST is included with membership in
                                    I just had a look at “Timeline for the                                                                              will most certainly be offset by all the                                                                                                                                                                                              the World Future Society. Membership dues
                                 Future” (Marvin J. Cetron, March-April                                                                                 horrors. They tend to cancel one another                                                                                                                                                                                              are $59 annually for individuals ($20 for full-
                                 2009). Wow! What could be in the next 30                                                                               out, so actually, we get nowhere.                                                                                                                                                                                                     time students under age 25). Subscription
                                 years is really something. But I’m 69                                                                                                             Tobias Van Buren                                                                                                                                                                                           is available to nonmembers (either individu-
                                 years old, and I probably have bought                                                                                                          New York, New York                                                                                                                                                                                            als or organizations) at $69 each. Payment
                                 my last car (a 2002 Mitsubishi Mirage,
                                                    gasoline-powered). The                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    should be in U.S. currency by means of a
                                                                                                                                                           Editor’s reply: We believe much of what                                                                                                                                                                                            check, money order, or credit card (VISA,
                                                    price of gasoline plus
Timeline for the Future: Potential Developments and Likely Impacts
                                                                                          By Marvin J. Cetron
                                                                                                                                                        is published in THE FUTURIST attempts
Designer babies, fiber-optic

                                                    such high tolls have
                                          nanotechnology was even further in
                                          the future. In 1970, clearly, technol-
                                                                                       With this rapid evolution in mind,
                                                                                    it is worthwhile to ask what technol-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mastercard, Discover, American Express).
                                                                                                                                                        to examine long-term solutions to prob-
plants, synthetic celebrities,            ogy still had a lot of accelerating to    ogy has in store for us. The timeline
                                          do, and chances are that it still does.   presented here offers some basic in-
and more. A timeline suggests                In order to better understand          formation to help with planning for
                                          what’s happening, let’s look at the       the years ahead. Each of the innova-
when we’ll see the evolving

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              For orders delivered in the state of Mary-
                                          product cycle. The useful life of a       tions on this list represents a general

                                                    caused me to limit my
technologies that will radically          product goes through four stages:         kind of change. The timeline deals
                                             • Idea (a theoretical breakthrough,    with emerging opportunities and

                                                                                                                                                        lems, including the companion article to
reshape human life.                       such as something that would be           their potential impacts on our lives,
                                          considered for a Nobel Prize).            rather than with any particular toys.
                                             • Invention (a patentable proto-
  In Future Shock (1970), Alvin Toffler   type).
                                                                                    About the Timeline for the Future
wrote that technology had acceler-           • Innovation (the first consumer

                                                    driving.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  land, add a 5% sales tax.
ated the pace of change so much that      product).                                   This timeline was first developed
people were beginning to lose their          • Imitation (cheap competitors         by British Telecommunications in

                                                                                                                                                        Cetron’s piece, “Emerging Technologies
moorings. The old, familiar world in      flooding the discount stores).            1991. It has been updated every two
which they had grown up was van-             Early in the twentieth century, the    or three years under the leadership
ishing so quickly that they no longer     product cycle was 40 years. By World      of futurologist Ian Pearson of Futuri-
knew where they stood. The result         War II, the cycle had shrunk to 30        zon GmbH in Ipswich. Forecasting
was a pervasive insecurity that could     years. Today, for most consumer           International’s update of the 2005

                                                       The coming change
only get worse as the transformation      products, it is about six months. In      timeline has been assembled from
gained still greater speed. In particu-   computers and cutting-edge elec-          the work of six contributors. Our

                                                                                                                                                        and the Global Crisis of Maturity” by
lar, long-term planning would be-         tronics, it is more like six weeks.       panelists were:
come increasingly difficult.              Bring out a really hot product and it       • Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at
  At that time, the personal com-         is likely to be reverse-engineered,       the NASA Langley Research Center.
puter, which would prove to be the        manufactured in China, and avail-
greatest single force for change since    able on eBay in two weeks or less.

                                                    to fuel-cell cars is not
                                                                                                      continued on page 36

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OUTSIDE U.S.A.: Subscription charges
the Industrial Revolution, had yet
to be invented. Genetic engineer-

                                                                                                                                                        William E. Halal.
ing was barely a fantasy, and

                                                    for people my age, es-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (dues) are the same throughout the world.
                                                    pecially on my income                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     For airmail service, the charge is $30
                                                    ($16,000 a year cur-                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Two Components of a New Design Economy                                                               worldwide.
                                                    rently). So I guess I’ll be                                                                                                                                                                                                          Two recent innovations, the Ponoko business model and 3-D printing, are set to transform the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         way we buy, sell, and conduct business, according to author Thomas A. Easton.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           What It Is          What It Does                            What It Means

                                                    driving an obsolete car.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Ponoko Business     Consumers peruse Web pages for          All power to the consumer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Model               designs uploaded by Ponoko users.       Manufacturers and retailers are

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              NEWSSTANDS: Available through Ingram
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               When a design catches their atten-      no longer in charge of buying
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               tion, they contact the designer to      and selling. You, the consumer,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               have him or her make the product.       contact the designer directly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Department stores and other expen-      and work out what kind of

                                                                                                                                                                                     The Design
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               sive middlemen play no part in the      product you want and how you

                                 I only hope that people in my situation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               equation.                               want it. Count on cheaper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       products that are tailor-made
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       just to your liking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Periodicals, 1-800-627-6247, or call Jeff
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           3-D Printing        Kitchen appliances, car parts, and      No more waiting for your on-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               almost anything else one might buy      line purchase to arrive in the

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               online emerges straight out of the      mail. Once you’ve selected a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               printer. The printer processes blue-    product design and had it cus-

                                 will be permitted to drive our relics and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               prints for a given product and prints   tomized to your liking, you
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               the finished product out, one thin      might print the finished prod-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               layer after another.                    uct right out of your home
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 At this moment, two phenomena

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cornish, 1-301-656-8274.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              are converging to create the succes-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sor to the information economy. The
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              first phenomenon is a new business

                                 that gasoline won’t be outlawed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              model exemplified by Ponoko, a San       ing printer, spearheaded by Adrian        Three-D printing has been in use
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Francisco company that bills itself as   Bowyer of the University of Bath,      in industry for nearly 20 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  A Brave New World for
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