The future of ...

Erwin van Lun predict the long term future and blogs about developments today gradually shaping that future. Also in Dutch

Category: Insight in Life

New insights (for me) in psychology, medicine, biology, sociology, history or astronomy that accentuates my vision of the future.

Future of Health: Your Health

Between 2005 and 2011 I've presented my vision on the future during seminars, conferences and conventions. During these days I got many questions like: 'Erwin, will we be like like CyBorgs? Half human, half robot? Will our organs be printed? Do we learn by knowledge 'beaming' in our brains rather than learning from life, from a teacher or from each other? What we will be the role of teleportation in society? What do you think about personalised medicine?.

The assumption beyond this questions was that the trend of us getting older combined with the trend that we would be get ill earlier in life. That the horrifying health numbers of today would even get worse. That 1 out of 2 would get cancer. That the costs of diabetes in 2050 will be higher than all other diseases together. That autism will be the new standard for our children. They assumed that we won't learn from what goes wrong in our society. That our smartest scientists won't be able to put their fingers on the essence of human health.

During answering those questions I noticed that it is actually quite difficult for me to explain my vision in just a few minutes, that I think the selfhealing ability of humans is so strong that I expect that we'll find a universal accepted methodology for people that keep themselves vital and that we'll create a society that stimulates people to do so. That combination is absolutely essential for a 100% healthy world.

In 2017 I will release my new book on the future of health which will be focussed primary on the individual reader. In the upcoming period, people will take back responsibility for their health, and will integrate recovery and maintenance of their mental, emotional and physical health in their lives. We'll use the next decennia to integrate our own insight and experiences in a new health system, supported by the latest universal and yet scientific insight.

Over the past months I have been working on the outline of the book, researching by interviews, by sharing and by reading a lot from different angles, and obviously by writing the first chapters. Although I love it, I won't be finished the coming months. To be continued! grin . Life has just begun.

Mobile Phone attitude 1999

This is briljant!!! Nobody in this video wanted to have a mobile phone in 1999, for various reasons. I bet they all have one!! (In Dutch).

Self control in our brain?

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have pinpointed the two brain regions responsible for managing self control. In people with poor self-control, a single brain region, the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) seems to decide based solely on the short term appeal of a choice, such as picking the tastier of two foods. In people with better self control the vmPFC interacts with another brain region, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which appears to add balance by incorporating long term considerations, such as the health consequences of the two foods.

Our brain peaks on unexpected words

Scientist have found how quickly the brain is able to relate unfolding sentences to earlier ones. For example, listeners only need a fraction of a second to determine that a word is out of place, given what the wider story is about. As soon as listeners hear an unexpected word, their brain generates a specific pattern named the N400 effect (so named because it is a negative deflection peaking around 400 milliseconds). And even more interesting, this will usually occur before the word is even finished being spoken.

In addition to the words themselves, the person speaking them is a crucial component in understanding what is being said. The scientist also saw an N400 effect occurring very rapidly when the content of a statement being spoken did not match with the voice of the speaker (e.g. "I have a large tattoo on my back" in an upper-class accent or "I like olives" in a young child's voice). These findings suggest that the brain very quickly classifies someone based on what their voice sounds like and also makes use of social stereotypes to interpret the meaning of what is being said.

Without physical contact you get sick

The amount of time that people spend daily in physical contact has been reduced from six to two hours in the last 20 years. In the same period the amount of hours people spend practicing activities like watching tv, playing video games, or being active on the internet – and thus are prevented from having physical contact with one another – has doubled to 8 hours a day. That concludes a study by Aric Sigman, a member of the Royal Society of Medicine, which will be published in this month's issue of Biologist.

The study, which uses data gathered in Western industrialized countries, shows that the lack of 'real' interaction combined with the dependency on technology bring a change in human physiology which stimulates diseases like cancer, dementia and strokes. The diseases are also getting more severe and the death toll linked to this lifestyle is evolving in a rising line.

'Apparently people have a protective evolutionary system that starts working when we work together and connect to each other physically. Although internet is a beautiful medium, it cannot replace real relationships and our use of internet has fallen completely out of balance,' says Sigman. Research shows that practically all nationalities are reducing the amount of physical meeting hours in a manner never seen before. (From: Express.be)

People can only oversee the coming weeks

Research shows that the best time to ask someone a favour is a few weeks before. It shows that people consistently overburden themselves because they believe to have more time in future.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In the future of 2050 we’ll barely plan far ahead and live by the day. That sounds short-sighted, but if we leave the long-term planning to computers we can enjoy the moment far more than we do now. This kind of insight are the arguments for this.

Buying experiences leads to more happiness than property

New psychological research shows that buying 'life experiences' instead of 'material possessions' leads to more happiness for the consumer and their relations.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In the economy of the future, it’ll all be about experiences, but the products will remain very normal too. It’s just a next block in the economy. After we’ve survived the economical crisis in ten years’ time, we’ll see that especially experiences in a virtual world have risen to great heights.

We like belonging

Neuroscientific research shows that we'd like to belong to the group. Of course we already knew that, but now we also know which processes in the brain ensure we do, even without us knowing it. A research group from Rotterdam-Nijmegen published this in the leading scientific magazine Neuron.

When we see we deviate from the group a 'wrong' signal goes off in our brain. Our 'oops-area' becomes incredibly active, the reward-area gets less so. Combined it creates such a strong signal of being wrong that we still won't make the same mistake twice a long time later, so say the researchers in Neuron.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

People are and remain herd animals. Brands will continuously keep you up-to-date with what your friends are doing, even more than you already know. This’ll only lead to more group behaviour, but end up getting a counter-movement. This is how we’re undulating through the future.

With a long ring finger you can earn more

Research of the Cambridge University shows that the length of the ring finger relates to the financial situation of people. The university claims that people with a long ring finger, in comparison to the other fingers, have a greater affinity for earning money. The scientists believe that the amount of testosterone in the womb are responsible for this.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Many wisdoms from the past have been sent to the land of fables during the development of modern science: they couldn’t be proven, therefore they weren’t ‘true’. Now that we’re developing new research methods we can reexamine old wisdom to form a better opinion. This is an example of this.

Biological effect of believing

According to Bruce Lipton, Professor in Medicine, we control our genes and not the other way around. Twice he's had to leave universities because of his radical ideas, but nowadays his ideas are more accepted. As a bridge-builder between science and spirituality, Lipton believes that bad vibes are bad for our DNA and good vibes improve them. How we handle feelings and emotions is determining in this.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

All matter consists of waves. Everything resonates. Everything is connected. Per definition.

The physics lesson at school dictated: “a model is a simplified rendition of reality”. A model is useful to use and our model, in which we modeled the human as matter, has brought us a lot further. However, new technology enables us to make better models, that fit better with reality. This kind of vision fit exactly into this.

How we think of a screwdriver


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When we think of a screw driver, there isn't one neuron that lights up, there's a whole pattern. We think of how we hold a screw driver, what we can do with it, what memories we connect with it. By measuring this pattern we can determine pretty precisely what someone is thinking of. What's also special is that the core of this process looks like the pattern of others. It looks like it, but it's never exactly the same. After all everyone has different experiences with screw drivers.

This does mean that you can determine that someone is thinking of a screw driver without any prior measuring. And that's shown in this movie by showing ten pictures and asking the subject to think of them. Then the computer guesses, without knowing which pictures were shown, correctly 10 times out of 10 without any problems. And you could call that 'mind reading'.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Almost without exception this’ll give people negative feelings. After all, the invasion of privacy is huge. Determining lies, the use in courts. People are shuddering from this.

Yet this technology has a very friendly side too. We can make traumatized people relive their experiences and reprogram them using virtual worlds to create very different associations. We can measure people’s feelings in certain situations. With animal confrontation, with violence or conflict. Or the behaviour in certain situations. And that’ll allow us to create very effective therapies.

But we can also use it to measure whether certain concepts will work. Whether you’ve understood something. And then offer the studying material again. It’ll make generations happier, more intelligent and create a more peaceful society.

Loyal customers by doing surveys

Just doing surveys regarding customer satisfaction is enough to get more loyal customers, reports Harvard Business Review. The research was conducted by the American scientists Dholakia and Morwitz.

Their research focused on 1000 customers of a financial aid instance and compared their purchasing behaviour to 1000 other customers who weren't asked about their satisfaction. Both groups were followed for a year and excluded from direct marketing activities. The result: customers who were asked for their opinion once (by phone) bought new products more quickly, walked away 50% of the time less and turned out to be more profitable than the unasked customers.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Just like in normal human relationships, it’s all about attention in the relationship between brands and humans. This kind of research proves that. Brands of the future are very good in giving (automated) attention. They’ll cherish their customers, lure them in and especially listen a lot. Listen a lot.

Giving makes you attractive

Altruism in humans is difficult to explain from the traditional theory in which the focus is on competition between humans for partners, space and food. Neuroscientific research now shows that altruistic behaviour makes you more attractive to the other sex.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In the world of 2050 in which there is peace and prosperity for everyone, in a completely transparent world in which power is divided more or less equally and in which physical labour is done completely by robots, owning something no longer gives you status, but what you give to others does. That’s an important part of Pamper Planet. This research is the scientific building block for this trend.

Touching gives confidence

A good handshake, a hug or, even better, a massage gives a feeling of trust. That's the result of neoscientific resaerch. Touch ensures that our brains give out oxytocin. In reverse, we subconsciously use the release of this substance to determined whether we trust someone or not. Further more oxytocin in turn releases a substance in the brain's reward center: dopamine. This creates a pleasant feeling around trustworthy people. The more touch, the stronger the feeling. This association is taken along in a next meeting with this person.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

People remain people. However real we make the virtual world, however much robots will resemble humans, the people we trust the most will be the people we’ve had physical contact with, which we’ve touched. And the most we touch them (with intensive sex as zenith), the bigger the trust. In Pamper Planet, in the spiritual world of 2050 (after we’ve automated and robotised everything) touch, the we-feeling, will be central (again).

Brain activity for different movies

Neuroscientific research shows that with sme movies the neocortex, the part of our brain that's responsible for perception and cognition lights up differently for different directors, content and style. Dependent on this the tested people show either very similar brain activity or different activity.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The nice thing is that insights like this lead to the creation of better content, but above all in the long term it’ll give us personalised content that continues to captivate us. Personalised to our brain activity. And that doesn’t even have to be measured from your brean, your facial expression might say enough. To turn down the volume. To shorten fragments. Or to ask activities. Making content will remain an art, but in time will go a lot further than movies and even games of today.

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