July 24th, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments

Immigration is not overwhelming the future

During recent visits to various parts of the U.S., in casual conversation with people I am asked what I think should be done about the “tidal wave” of illegal immigration allegedly going on. When I point out that the problem is not nearly so bad now as it once was, people literally take a step back and look at me like I am crazy, so thorough is the news propaganda that hypes this issue endlessly.

It is an issue that matters to me, as a child of immigrant grandparents and mother. We ourselves are not that long in this country, and I grew up on stories of what it was like for my mother’s family to sail into New York and to pass by the Statue of Liberty with its famous but now nearly forgotten welcoming words:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Instead we have the quite embarrassing scene of hoards of “patriots” standing at the border protesting the entry of 60,000 – 60,000!! — children and young people who are refugees seeking to escape violence and poverty in their home countries. Americans should be, and used to be, much better than that.

As for the real truth about immigration the recent stats are these…

While the number of unaccompanied youth crossing the border has doubled to nearly 60,000 in the past year, the total number of undocumented immigrants has mostly declined. About 1 million people have been caught crossing the border nearly every year between 1983 until 2006, but that number has dropped to about 400,000 in 2013.

The future will undoubtedly involve people moving around the world. We had better figure out how to deal with it in an intelligent way.

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July 22nd, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments

Drivers Wanted – Will Teens Really Disdain Cars Forever?

For several years I have been following the trend away from an auto-centered culture. This trend is reflected in fewer miles driven and even more dramatically in the declining interest of teens and young people in driving or owning a car at all. This trend is dramatic, and has been sustained now for several years, indicating that it may be a true emerging trend that will stick.

Mustang2015Here are some of the more recent numbers. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that the number of American teens getting their license is dropping fast. Between 1982 and 2010 the number of 17-year-olds who got a driver’s license fell from 69 percent to 46 percent. For 18-year-olds the numbers declined from 70 percent to 54 percent.

It was not that long ago that teens dreamed of their first car, and certainly their driver’s license, and their ticket to freedom and to social mobility. No longer. Teens now see a car not only as unaffordable due to cost and insurance, but as more of an albatross than a means of breaking free.

Older people are quick to assume that high costs and a bad economy are the reason that teens and young people no longer covet cars, or even suggest that today’s teens are too lazy to drive. But they have this quite wrong. There is a profound cultural and technological shift underway in which driving is seen at best as a nuisance and something to be avoided. Young people are more likely to see driving as an interruption of their lives than a means to live. I expect this trend to deepen, until the car companies become truly alarmed. There is evidence they are already concerned, mostly in the way that advertising has skewed almost completely toward trying to convince young people, even children, that cars are cool and that they should want one. I do not think it will work.

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July 21st, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

James Garner Always a Favorite

As many of you who know me know, I’ve enjoyed just a few most appreciated opportunities to work with the television and film communities, a passion of mine. One of my favorite all-time stars was lost to us this weekend, James Garner.

Enjoy these terrific lines by Garner in the film “The Americanization of Emily” with Julie Andrews, then check out Garner discussing the film, script by Paddy Chayefsky. Note how unlikely it is that such a speech would be allowed in an American film today, a strange turn of events in my lifetime.

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May 19th, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Environment & Energy | Comments Off

Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways! – You can help

Update June 30 – Solar Roadways made it, raising nearly $2.3 million. Thanks to all who helped. They really have a chance now to commercialize their vision.

I will leave this blog up a bit longer so you can watch this wonderful video. We will get back to some new blogs about the future in July.
GH

10 days left to invest in Solar Freakin’ Roadways !!!!!

Go to Indiegogo and help now.

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April 27th, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Science & Tech | Comments Off

Seven IT Trends for Five Years

The small businessmanOur futurist friend and colleague Gerd Leonhard wrote last year about 7 digital trends for SwissNex San Francisco, a project of the Swiss Consulate in San Francisco (Gerd resides in Basel). It is a nice summary of several features of what I call a data flow society. His seven for the next 5 years…

1. The end of offline. Our entire lives have merged with the data flow. We can escape, but few do for long.

2. Global consumerization of IT. Really interesting trend where consumers and young employees pull IT departments along, rather than the other way round.

3. Revolution in data-input methods. We’ve been waiting for this, but do you find yourself swiping, waving, pointing at or speaking to your devices more and more? I do. Out there in the labs is a lot work on direct brain to machine interfaces.

4. Almost all business is socially-driven (especially those based on digital products). Peer to peer recommendations, ratings, endorsements and all kinds of Likeonomics essentially replace CRM; the same goes for hiring and general HR needs.
 
5. Big Data everywhere! Data levels, depth, and sheer frequency reach unimaginable pace and proportions, and anyone/anything having to do with data-mining and management is in high demand. Key issue is how to make meaning trump noise.

6. We are shifting from downloads to flows and from stuff to bits, both in terms of technology as well as user behavior and consumption habits. Information accessed and filtered and sifted when and where and how it’s needed.

7. The Internet of Things and pervasive machine-to-machine connectivity become very real.

Great stuff as always from Gerd.

And a special note: his new web video series that he is calling “The Future Show” launches on Monday, 28 April 2014. Check it out. Good luck Gerd, and hey, maybe he will interview us one day!

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