May 25, 2013
I've worked in the computer business for many years and have been retired since the 1990s.
Computers, AI, nanotech, alternative energy sources.
I'm Hank Lederer and I'm interested in technology and computer futures. I'm currently a member of the MN Futurists and have been a member for about 30 years.
Help support your MeetupChip in
COME TO THE NEXT MEETING OF THE MINNESOTA FUTURISTS
Understanding Trends and Forecasting Future Implications
Science and Technology | Sociology | Demographics | Economics | World Affairs | Ecology and the Environment | Genetics, Medicine and Health Care
If you interested in how the world is developing and what that might mean for the future sign up for our Meetup and you will receive notices of up-coming meetings.
Who Attends Meetings? Individuals attend from a variety of backgrounds, interests, and demographics. They include but are not limited to sociologists, scientists, engineers, technologists, educators, students, and retirees. They are thinking people who seek a better future for themselves, their families and society. It might appear that you need a technical background to benefit from and be of benefit to the group. That is not the case. Some members do have strong technical backgrounds but many have no technical background whatsoever.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you look at past meetings you will see that it shows that between 1-6 people sign up for most meetings. In actuality, between 12 and 20 people attend virtually every Saturday morning and the discussion is lively, civil and sometimes fascinating.
• Sign up for our MeetUp and you will receive notices of up-coming meetings
• Regular Meetings: Saturdays, 9:30-11:30 AM
Knights of Columbus Building - 1114 American Blvd West, Bloomington, MN 55420
Among the emerging technologies in which we are interested and have focused are:  electric, hydrogen fuel cell and driverless car technology,  clean-renewable alternative energy,  innovative farming techniques,  desalinization and purification of water,  nanotechnology,  3D printing,  virtual and enhanced reality,  digital medicine,  neuroscience,  human-machine-cloud interfaces,  biology, genomics, genetic engineering, biotechnology and biomedical engineering  automation-robotics-artificial intelligence  big data analysis coupled with "the internet of things" and more  drone technology  holographic technology  Computer technology
Below is a partial list of the trends and phenomenon in which we are interested.
Science and Technology
• The speed and miniaturization of computers along with their ability to self-program, learn and recognize patterns in data is increasing exponentially as is the size of the network of linked sensors and chips generating that data.
• Reasoning is shifting from people to artificial intelligences designed to learn our preferences, overcome our decision-making limitations, give advice and, in some situations, take action considering complex cost-benefit trade-offs. Driverless or computer assisted cars and computer driven stock trading are a good examples.
• Whether by manipulation of the human genome or through other emerging technologies we are working feverishly to affect a sea change enhancement in our mental and physical capabilities, extend our lifespans and increase our vitality and wellness.
Challenges to Be Mitigated or Avoided
• As the world’s store of oil are depleting, technology is allowing us to find more sources of oil and better ways of extracting it. Plus, we are finding increasingly effective ways to supply our energy with relatively less need for oil.
• Disturbing ecological trends are developing. These include but are not limited to more extreme wet and dry conditions, lack of usable water, loss of soil, desertification, species extinction, rising ocean levels and acidity plus stronger and more frequent destructive weather events. In response, technology is being developed to mitigate or eliminate the risk of these trends and most of the world's governments are working to reduce their economy's CO2 emissions.
• Bacteria are becoming increasingly drug resistant and biological disasters and epidemics remain constant threats.
• The proliferation of increasingly powerful weaponry along with the use of terrorism and cyber-warfare is growing as is the number and power of radicalized individuals and groups with fanatical ideas and agendas.
Demographic and Sociological Trends
• It took over 2 million years for human population to grow to 1 billion while, over the last 200 years, we have grown from 1 billion to 7.3 billion. We are still growing; although more slowly due to decreases in birthrates. In addition, because lifespans are increasing, the world’s human population is rapidly aging. Presently, the nations with the youngest populations also have both the highest birthrates and the largest increases in life expectancy. These nations are among the poorest per capita and are primarily in Africa and Asia.
• The family is at risk in America. The divorce rates and the percent of unmarried mothers has increased significantly over the past few decades. In addition, where there are two parents in a household, the percent of families where only one parent works has decreased significantly. Time spent with spouses has decreased as has the spousal satisfaction.
• Global labor, capital, and resources are more mobile, trade barriers are reduced, access to information is exploding and capitalism is spreading globally. As a result, economies are becoming more integrated, poverty rates are decreasing and access to more energy, clean water, nutritious food, comfortable shelter, clean environments, health care and education are becoming more widespread.
• In most of the developed world central banks and governments have created economies that are dependent for growth on the increasing use of artificially low interest rates, money creation, increasing debt, and easy credit. Over the last 40 years this strategy, assisted by positive demographics, has worked. However, each period of economic weakness has required more stimuli. In addition, demographics are now a headwind as the baby boom generation retires. In America, six years after the last recession, interest rates are still near century lows and we are experiencing the weakest recovery since WWII.
• Although we enjoy our predominant position geopolitically, Americans are rapidly tiring of acting as the world’s policeman. Because of  the cost and generally negative public opinion of acting as the world’s policeman,  our huge and increasing debt load,  our relatively small reliance on foreign trade outside of Canada and Mexico and  our increasing energy independence, America is becoming incrementally less interested in using its military or economic power to affect the behavior of other nations and foreign agents and more interested in strengthening its own economy and infrastructure.
Who are MN Futurists? Established in 1969, Minnesota Futurists is the oldest existing chapter of The World Future Society. We are a group of curious people interested in understanding the evolution and state of current social, cultural, economic, geopolitical, scientific and technological trends and phenomenon and then considering  the probability of that trend or phenomenon persisting, accelerating, or regressing,  the probable and possible implications if it does and  the future we prefer along with strategies and tactics for moving toward it.
974 Google Developers
2,549 Museum and Arts Enthusiasts
4,449 Small Business Owners
1,044 Hackers & Founders