October 21st, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Business & Economy, Millennial City, Science & Tech, Transportation | Comments Off

Self-driving car in mirror is closer than you think

Recently Elon Musk, leading global innovator, revealed that all Tesla autos coming off the assembly line for the last couple of weeks have the hardware for hands-free auto driving. As he notes, they have been able to accelerate the introduction of autonomous driving. The general consensus had been that true hands-free driving may be a decade away or at least a half-decade. Tesla is jumping the line.

The self-driving car will, I think, have a profound impact on the future of transportation. It is well known that young people in the U.S. have demonstrated a declining interest in driving and in auto ownership. Given a choice between a smart phone or a car, they will chose the phone. Millennials have contributed greatly to the global move to urban areas, where alternate transportation from transit to walking to Uber is more readily available. This generation notes that time spent commuting alone is generally time wasted, and would prefer to transport themselves in a way that enables continued productivity. Driverless cars, capable of at least taking over while a car is on the highway or freeway, will enable people to turn to their phones and their tablets and to continue working or to engage in socializing. Will this lead to more cars in the commute, and a return to a desire to own a car? Perhaps.

If you want to learn more about autonomous vehicles join us for an MIT Enterprise Forum Northwest on October 29, 2014 at the Impact Hub Seattle, 220 Second Avenue South, Seattle, WA from 5:30 to 8:30 PM. You can register here.

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October 20th, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Business & Economy, Science & Tech, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Ten Enterprise IT Trends

Tech Crunch noted ten technology trends changing enterprise IT yesterday. The list of ten enterprise IT trends has some old (by now) standards, and few new developments…

    1. Cloud computing
    2. Virtualizing everything
    3. New IT buyers – departments making their own purchases
    4. Rise of inside and web-based sales – fewer sales people
    5. Land and expand sales model – use of free trials, freemium pricing and the like allows customers to try you out
    6. Reimagining enterprise workflows – can you run your whole business from a smart phone?
    7. Security moves beyond the perimeter – you need security at internal points as well
    8. Data the new competitive advantage – InsideSales.com mined data to discover that a sales rep who responds within 5 minutes to a lead increases the sale rate by 10X
    9. Speed kills your competitors
    10. Consumer quality interfaces – employees expect internal interfaces to match the quality of their consumer experiences

Check out the full piece here for more explanation.

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October 13th, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Art & Society | Comments Off

Future of Population and U.S. Culture

Back in 2012 the U.S. Census bureau released numbers forecasting that, in the U.S., the non-Hispanic white population – the historical majority – will peak in 2024 at 244 million. That demographic group will then begin a slow decline in actual numbers while the former minority groups continue to grow, until minorities become the majority around the year 2043. This is a well known forecast, but the deeper meanings of this change for the country are under explored.

Paul de Lumen, Futuro Media Group photo

Paul de Lumen, Futuro Media Group photo

Right now, PBS is running an 8-episode series that digs into this impending demographic shift, called America by The Numbers. As the host, Maria Hinojosa notes, the standard media treatment of demographic change is that it is something to fear. But, she argues, “I think what we’re trying to do with our television series is in fact put a mirror up to our country. And if we are already in fact the country that is incredibly diverse — in many cities, already majority non-white — then why are we fearful for something that is already happening?”

I think the most fundamental question as this demographic shift takes place is whether and how the emerging majority will participate in the democratic process, both voting and running for office. Right now there are frantic efforts by the political right in the U.S. to discourage and where possible prevent people in the emerging majority from voting. If such efforts succeed for a while, then we may see much less political change than might be expected.

What do you think will be the impacts of this ongoing and fundamental change to a more diverse U.S. population?

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September 18th, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Business & Economy | Comments Off

Future Rise of China, and Alibaba

Tomorrow, September 19, 2014 Alibaba, the Chinese Amazon-like company, makes its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. The IPO is anticipated to be the largest ever. This is just another, though powerful, indicator of the rise of China, and Asia more generally. What does this mean for the future?

Now Forecasting Net has published an interesting piece on the rise and fall of modern empires, suggesting that forecasting tools could see this coming long ago. The article is accompanied by this chart…

Source: Forecasting Net

Source: Forecasting Net

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September 5th, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Space | Comments Off

Mapping the Universe – Where are We?

This a truly astonishing video, published by Nature video, based on research led by Brent Tully, University of Hawaii. Watch, and marvel at how dense and connected the universe is, note that star clusters move toward each other as well as away, and of course ask, can we really be alone in all this vastness?

Ht to Lloyd Walker of the APF for calling attention to this video, posted at BusinessInsider.

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