The future of ...

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

Category: Twists

Twisted thoughts. A visionary view which all of a sudden is somewhat changed or accentuated.

Ugly buildings converted in the blink of an eye

Based on the post about nanocars combined with programmable material I thought that in our future of 2050 all ugly buildings will disappear from the earth en masse. The current owners may go on vacation for a few weeks and millions, maybe even billions, of microrobots (nano/bio) will be poured over a building that's then broken down molecule by molecule, gets separated and deported immediately to be rebuilt into a new building with the same technology and recycled material. Completely automated. Or a complete city that wants to be moved because it's inconveniently below sea level. Or because the inhabitants would rather live by the sea. Or have some more sun. That's a weird world, isn't it? Or does everything think this is normal? Did it, done it?

End of money and property

This is one of the most special twists I've ever had. Money will disappear, and property will disappear. That sounds really crazy. Below my reasoning.


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Nanocars: individually moving molecules

Scientists of Rice University have accidentally discovered how atoms can move individually on nanoscale. The so-called nanocards determine their own path.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

That count mean that we’ll start to develop issue that, for example, folds clothes or cleans clothes (goes directly to the dirty spots), pulls away water from the sink (will you even need a kitchen?) or paints the wall. Or that envelops our body when we get cold and has exactly the right temperature. That clothing will then adapt to the environment. With friends? It’ll get very different colours, other properties then when we make music or meditate or practice a sport. After we’ve gotten used to ‘normal’ robots in our lives, everything will change exactly how we want it at that moment. Now that‘s mass-customisation.

Brains are formed culturally

Researchers have shown that people from East Asian countries use their brains differently from people who've grown up in the US. In the American culture the individual is more central and it emphasis the independence of objects. But East Asian cultures see the context and connection more. The difference in culture is shown in people's brain activity in judging objects (lines and shapes). I imagine that people saw a few lines and a square: is this a chair? And that beside a table or without a table. It turns out that for East Asian people the frontal-parietal brain region (which is known to be active for concentration-tasking assignments) is more activated for judgements without context (so what they're not used to) then with contexts, though American are the exact opposite. You can conclude that if you perform more difficult tasks you need more concentration and the frontal-parietal brain region will be more active. Furthermore, it showed that with people who identified strongly with a specific culture the effect was stronger.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In a future world such difference with be less common. Objects with or without a context, we’ll all do it increadibly easily. This because this type of insight won’t just lead to new toys, but also to a radically different way of raising children that’ll be shared across the globe. A way of raising children in which mothers (and fathers) will be supported 24 hours a day. Ccoaching brands that help you with raising your children. Which teach parents how to get the best out of their children. Something you can’t know yourself. After all you only raise a few children at the most and you do it with the information and intuition that you have. That doesn’t you don’t get the best out of your children, just that you give the best you can.

In future thiese things will fall together. But it’ll be a few decades before this is at full force and at least until 2050 before the first differences in brains are measurable.

TV Blik gives signal when someone’s been on tv

TVblik, the Dutch portal for internet television has recently launched its personal files. In a personal file you can find the completely television oeuvre of the person in question. Take for instance the writer Susan Smit. Her profile appears and the media (DVDs and books) by her appear next to it. Of course you can order them directly from Dutch online mediaretailer bol.com (and through an affiliation program, TV Blik earns from this).

Then you can set an alarm clock for Susan andyou're given an email when a person has been in an episode together with a link to the episode. You'll never have to miss your favourite idols agian. A nice developmet, but thinking about this I see some privacy issues if anyone can be recognised anywhere. Read the scifi scenario.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

As soon as people appear in public they’ll be conscious of the fact that others can see them: on the street, in the bar or in the media, we can follow it exactly and automatically. When someone makes a photo of a street you happen to be on this photo (like every photo) will be on the internet per definition and your fans will be given an email immediately: ‘Erwin spotted!’ with the exact location and time. This turns every individual unknowningly into a paparazzi.

The result of this will be that automatic facial recognition on photos will be chained. Someone will always make a photo somewhere. You’re always allowed to share them and that makes everyone on this earth trackable. Wigs and glasses won’t help, posture, movements and vocabulary will also be taken into account for the recognition. From a judicial point of view you could solve this by forbidding publically showing photos. That’s pretty far-reaching. That would mean you wouldn’t be able to shoot tv programs on the street. There could be people in there who don’t want to be seen at all. That means a lot of steps back. Another option is to ask everyone on the photo/video for permission. You can’t do that either. There’ll always be someone who says no. What you could also do is automatically remove everyone who says they don’t want to be recognised. But if a lot of people do that a lot of empty pictures will be created and that’s not the intention either. And a last option is allowing public recognition service only for people who have given permission for this. The question is if this’ll work. There’ll probably be illegal software that trawls the web to spot specific people for yo. That’s not going to work either.

I think it can only lead to an extremely open society. In which anyone can see anything, in which we have no more secrets from one another and in which we’re very tolerant of the behaviour of others. A world culture with shared norms and values. And beside this society we also have the ‘underground’ (which by the by will be above ground): a secret world in which the making of recordings, sensing and electronics will be strictly forbidden. The only world in which you can break the norms. A world of which everyone knows you’re ‘in it’, ‘are in it’, afterall you’ve ‘disappeared’ from the surface of the world. And that’ll be fine. We’re all human after all. But food for scifi authors.

Expression, affection and cognition measured and used

In this movie, Tan Le of emotive systems demonstrates how someone, by thinking of something can really move objects (on a screen). She expects the first applications with gamers. I see a radical change of human existence in the long term.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The moment we start to measure our brains, and we bring the subconscious into the conscious mind, we’ll be able to do brilliant things, we’ll be able to train our brain a way that still seems impossible, we’ll be able to do things that are currently considered to be ‘miracles’. Remembering all names of a couple of hundred people at the same time, counting the amount of pins falling to the floor, or knowing the number pi to a few thousand numbers after the comma. It’ll all be in our reach later. Well, for us? Actually for the generations in 2050. The time of Pamper Planet.

Artificial addition to DNA bases

Scientists have succeeded in adding four extra base pares to DNA. Of course DNA consists of four base pairs, that make up the genetic code. This is the basis of all life on earth. Now, Masahiko Inouye and his colleagues of the University of Toyoma, Japan have developed four new artificial base pairs (Journal of the American Chemical Society, DOI: 10.1021/ja801058h). The plan is to research how this artificial DNA can replicate itself.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

We’re recreating life. We’re researching how we can develop new life that’ll assist us in all kinds of ways, that’ll help humanity along, on the most fundamental level. Because we’re not doing this kind of research for fun. When in 2050 the time of the robots will be behind us again, how can completely new life forms help us get further? What can new life forms do that robots can’t? And it has to be something that no organism on earth can do now. Green people that turn sunlight into oxygen aren’t part of this for example. We can make that by combining existing codes. But it is about physical life (and not on spiritual/energy level) that can replicate itself. Gaseous life that cleans the air? Self-expanding space-shields that life on energy in space and which we can use to travel through time? Self-repairing metal (useful for robots, no?) If anyone has a suggestion…

Cultural differences between Australia and the Netherlands

As known, I'm spending a few months in Australia to prepare my emigration in September. I'm all alone, without partner sniff, but the good thing is that you're completely immersed in Australian culture. A few differences I've noticed...


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Why brands will soon react to movement

A nice feature of the iPhone is of course the built-in accelerometer. With this the device's movements can be measured in every 3D dimension and in regard to itself (rotation). A lot of fun applications are made for this at the moment.

I think the ones which are the most fun still have to come, namely when you can transmit the movements through Safari, the iPhone's internet browser. Then a third party can view along from a distance and react automatically. If you also turn on your camera, the image is complete. Then brands can reconstruct 3D images and determine exactly in what kind of environment you are and assist you. But just measuring the location change of the iPhone would be a step forward. Then you can determine the location even better than with just GPS and you can see, for example, how many centimetres you're away from someone else('s iPhone). It shouldn't get any crazies... But it will.

Mediacompletion and Robots end of an era?

I realised this morning that the mega trends media completion and roboworld are both the height of very long-lasting trends.

Media completion ends the chapter of long distance communication. Since the invention of writing, printing, telephone, radio and television, we've been trying to generate experiences that came from elsewhere (whether that exists or not). This trend was kicked into high gear by radio and television and is now living its greatest days, and it'll accelerate even more. In a year or fifteen, however, the additional consequences for society will fast decrease.

Then the next trend is given attention again: roboworld. But that too is actually the end of an era. An era that may have been started even earlier, namely in prehistoric times. There we used tools to make our lives easier. The industrialization made a great contribution. All sorts of equipment for in the house. But if robots take over all our jobs equally, we won't need to do anything by ourselves anymore.

And so we return, logically really, back to nature. To living in balance with nature. Where everything is about energy. Not that the rest is gone, in the contrary, but the real change of society has a spiritual dimension then. The world of Pamper Planet, the next mega trend. Sounds pretty logical, right?

Why we can’t solve the ethics of robots

Discussions that place question marks around the ethics of robots appear regularly. How can we ensure that robots won't hurt us? The answer is simple: we can't.


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Holographic sports?

Although, when we think of holography, we tend to think of projection, of something that comes from elsewhere, I wonder what happens if you view it a few steps further. If you could, for example, draw in the air. If you could make a circle in the air and say that it's green, to then lift the circle and verbally give it weight, to form it and throw it. This allows us to build a landscape. With others standing beside us, or on the other side of the world, for that matter. Or we can develop new sports and games in this environment. With real people and virtual humans and creatures. With holographic dragons, for example. Forms of experimental theatre are great too. You use your fingers to draw a door and you have a door. Of you just say what you want, and it'll be there and then you can reshape it a little with your hands. Or how about musical instruments you can play with your entire body? That track how your body movies and creates music to match? Others could dance to that. And of course the 3D rendering of your house, your car, or just a vase you can then have produced in reality. Wired World. Any other ideas?

When does my out-of-the-box thinking stop?

Thinking out of the box is an often-used term in creative sessions. Thinking outside existing boundaries. This is especially important in a changing world. Consider the following sentence:

"How can our department of our organization reach our target audience better?"

It's filled with assumptions. What is an organization? Does that organization stay? What is a target audience? Are those people? Should we see them as a target audience, as a group we want to inform? Or do we want to involve them? And more importantly: what do they want from us? And then the organization? What is that weird term? Is that some statistic we draw with a little rake? How do informal relationships play a part? But do we want to organize everything neatly so we can report success at the highest level: to the stock holders? Stocks, another weird term. And relationships with those people in the target audience? And with people on the site? And with former employees? And people who write about as? And then we haven't even discussed department? There once was a reason to put us in a separate cubicle. But is that still true? If we could do everything over again, would we still organize it the same way? Would we organize it at all or would good communication tools be enough?

And then this is still very practical. You can think further on humans. How do you view people? Are people relationships? Are people like bouts in the sea, bobbing along with the rest? How do I undertake things then? Or should I undertake nothing at all and just constantly feel when something should happen? And how do I do that?

But however far you want to think out of the box, it always has a limitation, and I'm looking for mine. Who can help me?


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Women who live together synchronize menstruation

Women who live together, like they do in prisons, convents or brothels, subconsciously synchronize their menstrual cycles. This effect is known as the McClintock effect. This phenomena was first determined officially in 1971 (but has been around as long as humanity). Also, animals have a comparable effect. In 1998 Martha McClintock did a follow-up study in which she determined that (axilla)smell has an influence on this synchronization. The research isn't completely uncontested.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Controversial or not, if matter consists of waves, our behavior consists of waves, women’s menstrual cycles are also the result of counting up waves. For who has forgotten old physics classes: grab a piece of paper, draw a three axis diagram and add up the waves. The result is a new wave, with a special form, but again a form that repeats itself. Always, no matter what you draw.

If people get in sync with one another, ‘get on the same frequency with one another’, it’s not so weird that the result of different waves starts to resemble one another. In this case: that menstrual cycles too start to look like one another.

Such an approach could also give insight in for example telepathy.

They’re thoughts, twists, and I’d like to know more about them. Not just because, but because I think that this kind of insight could give an image of humanity in 2050, in the time of the Pamper Planet.

Our house is a raree show

Often I use the raree show as a metaphor for the creation of the virtual world, wherein the hole of the box is our window onto the virtual world and stands for screens today, and especially of tomorrow. But as time passed I realized that the metaphor needs to be sharpened. If you view your house as a collection of screens: all your windows, 'tv' screens that cover the entire wall, with holographic projection and light controls, then you can't go through a single screen, but in fact you're in the raree show surrounded by windows. And that box is placed in an environment: in the middle of the forest, in Rome of a thousand years ago, or on Mars. Wherever you look, it seems like your house was moved in its entirety. If we can also get additional stimulation for our other senses through holographic projection or the addition of warm or cold or other stimulating air flows – with smell of course – then a raree show as metaphor just doesn't cover it. The year that goes with this, 2025?

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