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2008 State of the Future
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 @ 22:57:25 GMT by vlad

Testimonials 2008 State of the Future report proposes 15 global challenges
KurzweilAI.net, July 14, 2008

The future continues to get better for most of the world, but a series of tipping points could drastically alter global prospects, according to the 2008 State of the Future, a report due to be published late this month, and obtained by KurzweilAI.net Sunday.

Half the world is vulnerable to social instability and violence due to rising food and energy prices, failing states, falling water tables, climate change, decreasing water-food-energy supply per person, desertification, and increasing migrations due to political, environmental, and economic conditions, says this report published by the Millennium Project, a global participatory futures research think tank affiliated with the World Federation of UN Associations.

However, it notes that "Ours is the first generation with the means for many to know the world as a whole, identify global improvement systems, and seek to improve such systems. We are the first people to act via Internet with like-minded individuals around the world. We have the ability to connect the right ideas to resources and people to help address our global and local challenges."

The report is a "global overview of our technological, environmental, social, economic future prospects, strategies to address them -- what the educated person should know about the world and what to do to improve it," co-author and Millennium Project Director Jerome C. Glenn told KurzweilAI.net.

The report identifies 15 global challenges, ranging from "How can everyone have sufficient clean water without conflict?" and "How can the global convergence of information and communications technologies work for everyone?" to "How can scientific and technological breakthroughs be
accelerated to improve the human condition?"

The 2008 State of the Future (paper and CD ROM with about 6,300 pages of research) will be available for $49.95 later this month. It is the 12th annual report of the Millennium Project.

Also see:

We've seen the future ... and we may not be doomed



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"2008 State of the Future" | Login/Create an Account | 5 comments | Search Discussion
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A hands-on approach to Third World aid (Score: 1)
by vlad on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 @ 23:04:48 GMT
(User Info | Send a Message) http://www.zpenergy.com
Month-long IDDS workshop targets development through design

David Chandler, MIT News Office
July 10, 2008

About 60 people from 20 nations will descend on the MIT campus next week to begin an intensive month-long process of creating technological solutions for the needs of people in the world's developing nations. The goal of the program is to develop simple, inexpensive devices that in some cases can be produced locally and make a real difference for people and communities.


More: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/idds-adv-0710.html [web.mit.edu]

The university of the future (Score: 1)
by vlad on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 @ 23:23:54 GMT
(User Info | Send a Message) http://www.zpenergy.com
In a world where economies are increasingly dependent upon high-level knowledge, higher education is a key national resource. But a Forward Look initiated by the European Science Foundation (ESF) shows that we need to know more about how universities, and other higher education institutions, are changing in the 21st century.

A team led by Professor John Brennan of the U.K.'s Open University has just examined what we know about today's higher education, and what we need to research further.

In the report of the Higher Education Looking Forward (HELF) project, Brennan he and a multinational team of experts point out that universities are as affected by internationalisation and globalisation as other actors are, ranging from people and companies to whole countries. In the past, universities have educated national elites and produced skilled people needed for local or regional economies. Now they are producing people for the global economy, but their local mission continues. This can expose them to financial as well as academic risk, and can call for more financial and management resources than many universities have available.

Brennan says: "Universities are constantly rethinking their strategy in the light of globalisation. But the expectations of universities are growing all the time and there are some pressures that are hard to balance. For instance, higher education institutions are being asked to produce more research, and also to teach more students in a more personal way. Perhaps more importantly, universities do not exist just to produce economic benefits. They are also important in providing equity, social cohesion and social justice. How can they do this on a world scale?"

He suggests several new lines of research that are needed to improve our knowledge of the changing world of higher education.

Future research must, Brennan thinks, ask about the connections between contemporary social and economic change, the changes now occurring within higher education, and the roles of academics.

This big question leads on to other research questions:

* How are the changes in the balance of power between higher education's different constituencies affecting higher education's social functions and the way they are carried out?

o Must universities adopt new functions and blur their boundaries with other social institutions to retain their importance in the knowledge society?

+ How do changes in the organisation of higher education institutions relate to changes in intellectual programmes and agendas, and to advances in knowledge?

# Do different types of higher education institution have different relationships with the larger social and economic worlds of which they form part?

* How do national, regional and local contexts help to determine the characteristics of modern higher education systems? What is the role of public authorities? How much do universities vary in the size and nature of their international connections? What does this mean for their development?

o How might new forms of comparative research achieve a better understanding of the interactions between higher education and society, and the different forms these interactions take in different parts of Europe and more widely?

Brennan says that new forms of social science methodology will be needed to answer these questions. But without this new knowledge, we will not know how universities are adapting to the global world in ways that are compatible with their existing missions and their academic strengths.

Source: European Science Foundation
Via: http://www.physorg.com/news135350258.html [www.physorg.com]

Re: 2008 State of the Future (Score: 1)
by ElectroDynaCat on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 @ 11:23:43 GMT
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I would like to be as optimistic, but  too many problems have been ignored for too long, and vested interests make a habit of denying that those problems even exist.

One thing is for certain, the rich get richer and the poor have children. Every day there's another new billionaire in the world, along with 175,000 babies that will grow up  hungry, sick, and with no foreseeable future.

Being outnumbered 175,000 to one are not good odds, despite all the advantages wealth gives to those that have it. I would be looking over my shoulder in that future world.

The wealthy make the rules, but the ultimate rules are still in the hands of the masses. Right now the people are content with their satellite TV and X boxes, but when the power goes out, civilization is up for grabs.


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