Living in The Future
Some of my takeaways from the Worlds Fair NANO in San Francisco.
Late in 2015 Bloomberg columnist Richard Morgan profiled an entrepreneur named Michael Weiss. Morgan described an ambitious and dedicated event planner with an incredible vision, to bring back the Worlds Fair to the United States. The compelling profile begins with this statement;
What’s the future done for you lately? Our hoverboards don’t hover, our Roombas are no Rosie the Robot, and almost half a century after Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon, the U.S. relies on Russia to get to space. Maybe the problem, says Michael Weiss, is that Americans don’t do things big anymore.
Weiss, 25, is the founder of Worlds Fair USA, a crowdfunded company that plans to raise $16 billion to begin the process of bringing the expo back to the U.S.
Last weekend I attended Weiss’s Worlds Fair NANO event in San Francisco and get a closer look at what he and his team are up to. While the tech on display was truly interesting and inspiring, the impressive lineup of speakers was what really drew me into the event. Some of my favorite talks centered around discussions of the future of urban infrastructure, data and politics.
Converting Infrastructure to Match Our Needs
One of the coolest concepts highlighted in Stephen Engbloms talk about the future of urban infrastructure was the re-purposing of our warehouse and factory districts. Contrary to some peoples ideas, manufacturing and factory jobs are never coming back, and if they do, we are giving those jobs to robots.
Capitalism will see to it that manual labor, in developed, first world nations, is reduced to essentially zero in the next few decades. So what can we use all of our factory and warehouse space for? In his talk Engblom discussed re-purposing those spaces as vibrant maker spaces and artist enclaves. Our world is changing and if we are going to be competitive as business people we need to change with it.
Not only are our nations industrial areas perfectly suited for our rising tech and artist communities, but they perfect areas in which one can scale successful business. These places can also serve as the new hubs of education and innovation for a workforce who is being displaced.
Really Big Data
Hooman Radfar delivered some amazing insights into the future of data on Saturday. While he was touching on everything from personalized medicine, quantum computing and data storage he made some very tantalizing suggestions.
The most intriguing to me was a discussion of personalized medicine. With advances in computing, DNA sequencing and machine learning we are well on our way to doing things like treating cancer and developing incredible custom medical tools. Preventative medicine may suddenly become very specific.
Imagine, if instead of eating healthy because its a good idea, you knew, just based on a tracker which listed to your speech you had heart problems. Diets, exercise and other good practices, could be tailored to individuals. If you think that sounds bit far fetched, check out the team at Sonde Health.
Crowdfunding Political Action
For years I have thought it would be great to launch a crowdfunding platform for political action, apparently I was in good company. Steve Hilton of Crowdpac discussed our ability to challenge the status quo and make changes. As it turns out our democracy has gotten a bit stagnant of late, with the same small groups of people participating, and millions of others simply worrying about whats coming to Netflix in June.
One of the reasons the citizens of the United States of America dont participate is a lack of education regarding the process. Another reason they dont participate is a lack of funds. On their about us page it says the following;
Crowdpac’s mission is to give politics back to people — to make it easier for citizens to learn about politicians, run for office, and to find and support political candidates that match their priorities and beliefs. We want to help end the stranglehold of big money donors and special interests on the political system. Crowdpac is independent and non-partisan
This revolutionary platform has already influenced some elections. These tools have the potential to positively and massively impact our political system. Used effectively these tools could inject new parties into our nations politics and severely impact the balance of power.
We Are Living In The Future
We are living in the future. The world is an amazing place, and technology is taking us down roads we never even considered just ten years ago. Lets do something big in the coming years! Lets make something amazing happen for our nation and the global village of which we are a part.
My invitation to you is to participate in this revolution. Do something amazing or help someone else do it. Fund a Kickstarter, run for office, support your favorite entrepreneur or finally act on those good ideas you have.
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