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The Futurists Are (Almost) Here

Futurists from around the globe will meet in Chicago July 19-21 to discuss technology, education, business, and the future of the human race at WorldFuture 2013: Exploring the Next Horizon, the annual conference of the World Future Society.

Sometimes called a "World's Fair of Ideas," WorldFuture 2013 will feature more than 60 sessions, workshops and special events over the course of two-and-a-half days on such topics as life in the year 2100, nanotechnology, building computers that can think like humans, saving humanity from environmental collapse, the geo-security environment of the future, and the effects of rapidly accelerating technology on business, education, health, and the way we live. The event will take place at the Hilton Chicago Hotel.

Who are "futurists"? They include business and government decision-makers, military strategists, educators (and students), and a wide range of individuals and organizations who are interested in knowing the trends that are shaping the world of tomorrow. Registration for this event and membership in the World Future Society is open to the public.

Speakers at this year's conference will include:

* Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the MIT Media Lab, author of the bestselling book Being Digital, is also a seminal voice in education reform. His One Laptop Per Child program has distributed more than 2.5 million computers to children around the globe.

At WorldFuture 2013, he'll discuss his most recent and bold experiment in education, ever. Here's how he described it recently:

"We have delivered fully loaded tablets to two villages in Ethiopia, one per child, with no instruction or instructional material whatsoever . . . Within minutes of arrival, the tablets were unboxed and turned on by the kids themselves. After the first week, on average, 47 apps were used per day. After week two, the kids were playing games to race each other in saying the ABCs."

* Ramez Naam is the H.G. Wells Award-winning author of More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement. Naam spent 13 years at Microsoft, where he led teams working on a variety or projects including artificial intelligence. His most recent nonfiction book is The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet (University Press of New England, March 2013), Seattle, Washington, USA.

At WorldFuture 2013, Naam will dive into the perilous challenges that face us as a species, how we've overcome similar challenges in the past, and the steps we have to take now to maximize our odds of coming out of the twenty-first century richer and better off than when we entered it. Read Naam's feature article in the March-April issue of THE FUTURIST magazine

"Humanity is at the peak of its accomplishments and well-being. But we also face the largest challenges we've ever seen: climate change, finite fossil fuels, disappearing fish and forests, dwindling freshwater supplies, and the pressures of meeting the needs of billions rising out of poverty," Naam writes on the World Future Society Web site.

"Against these challenges of a finite planet, our most powerful resource is our ability to innovate to produce new solutions, to replace physical resources that have been depleted, and to multiply the power and effectiveness of the physical resources that remain. To tap into our ability to innovate, however, we must make key changes."

* "Most people laugh when I tell them I am a professional futurist," says Sheryl Connelly. But her job is no joke. Connelly is the Global Consumer Trends and Futuring Manager for Ford Motor Company. As Ford's corporate futurist, she identifies global trends that feed into functions across the entire company, including design, product development, and corporate strategy. She was recently named one of the most creative people in business by Fast Company magazine.

At WorldFuture 2013, she will share her unlikely journey to becoming a corporate futurist.

* Opening night kicks off with Futurists: BetaLaunch, a technology petting zoo where engineers, designers and others will present their inventions to the 900 futurists expected to gather for the conference. Futurists: BetaLaunch is one of the few design and expo showcases that focuses only on future-changing inventions.

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About the World Future Society

Founded in 1966 as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Washington, D.C., the World Future Society has members in more than 80 countries around the world. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join the Society and participate in its programs and activities. The World Future Society publishes the internationally read FUTURIST magazine.

The Society holds a two-day, international conference once a year where participants discuss foresight techniques and global trends that are influencing the future. Previous conference attendees have included future U.S. President Gerald Ford (1974), Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1975), behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner (1984), age-wave expert Ken Dychtwald (2005), U.S. comptroller general David M. Walker (2006) and inventor Ray Kurzweil (2010). Others in attendance typically include business leaders, government officials, scientists, corporate planners, and forecasters from across the globe.

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Bonus Video! The World Future Society's Current Top Ten Predictions.

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More predictions here.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on June 20, 2013


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