September 16th, 2013 | By Mallory Smith | Posted in Art & Society, Innovation | Comments Off

Let’s Talk About Sports

future sportsSport (n): A physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.

As I research the future of sports, I notice two clear and important themes. First, many activities fall under the category of “sports”, but most of the media attention and critical thought goes into the most popular team sport games, such as football (both kinds), baseball, and cricket.  Second, there is almost no thought at all going into the generation of the completely new games for the tech-savvy people of the future.

The rising concussion crisis in American football could lead to safer helmets or a change in rules. Good.   But also, duh. We’re changing sports rules to reflect the (un)fairness of chemical enhancements. Some might say we should have figured this out a long time ago, but nevertheless, it’s good that we’re getting to it.  Gender equality in sports and gaming is becoming a big issue due to sexism complaints and our changing cultural views, and so we’re starting to make some changes, like the recent FINA approval of mixed gender relays for swimming. Super.

There is a big difference, however, between responding to problems we encounter along the way and envisioning potential opportunities and problems that we will encounter in our technology-boosted future. A more valuable use of brainpower would be to start adjusting the rules for when biologically enhanced people are commonplace. In Man and Superman, they discuss the fairness of athletes with biological advantages competing against those without. The issue has already come into light several times, especially in sports where timing up to a tenth of a second is crucial.   So, how will technological enhancements influence penalties and the game itself in the future? How will it inspire the invention of completely new games?

Here are a few potential sports of the future:

  • Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots: Life-Sized Edition. Syfy is already on top of this, but what about when technology and education is so accessible that anyone can play?
  • Superhuman Olympics: Where Biologically Enhanced Players Compete. Slowly, but surely, we’re already working on this. What should the rules look like for these games?
  • Competitive LARPING: The Technology Enhanced Version. Literally Transform Yourself Into your Avatar and Play an Adventure or Strategy Game In Real Life.

How do we make rules for these games? Who decides? Where and how will they be played? Answer these questions and suggest more futuristic sport ideas in the comments below…

…AND THEN KEEP READING

SOCIAL MEDIA: MAKING LIFE HARDER SINCE 2002
Social media is making it hard for players with radical opinions to express themselves freely. The argument now is that players are always supposed to be representing their team, but is it fair that “improper use” of personal social media off the field results in player penalties on the field?   It seems that a reconfiguration of how we govern sports is in order. How are we supposed to maintain a personal life while also representing a larger team with different values?

DEAR CABLE, YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE IN TOWN
Most professional sports today are more about entertainment and advertising opportunity than the actual sport itself. This means distribution is a huge factor for sporting events, and a huge area for opportunity. Cable the way it stands now is on its way out. We are on the hunt for high quality alternatives for watching sports, but in a world with so many options, how will we all share and watch sports together? And how will this affect advertising? Will this affect how many people watch games? And will that affect which games get media attention?

WHICH GAMES ARE FADING OUT OF STYLE?
Last February, in a decision that shocked the world of sports well beyond wrestling, the International Olympic Committee voted to exclude the sport after the 2016 Rio Games. The rationale was that modern audiences would rather watch skateboarding, or some such more “exciting” sport, although actual attendance at the Games had always been high.

This reflects a problem in the efficacy of our rating methods. So, what constitutes a popular sport or game to watch? If it’s only TV ratings we use to judge viewing numbers, it’s a clearly flawed system because most of us find other ways to consume our media – and many of us are watching together—which is not reflected in the numbers.

IS THE FUTURE PLAYING GAMES OR WATCHING THEM?
Watching live sports has always been a popular pastime. Watching fictional sports teams in movies has also been popular in America, a phenomenon now spreading to unlikely places like New Delhi. But, with skyrocketing ticket prices and limited access to affordable viewing at home, could watching professional sports give way to actually playing?

Outreach efforts like the Let’s Move campaign in America and the Sports festival for orphans in Nigeria encourage young people to play sports because of the mental and physical benefits of exercise and collaboration. As we learn and communicate more about the importance of healthy living, will the future be more about playing games or watching?

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September 13th, 2013 | By Mallory Smith | Posted in Art & Society, New at Futurist.com, Science & Tech | Comments Off

Seattle Sci-Fi Film Series

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New at Futurist.com! We are sponsoring an educated sci-fi film series at Henry & Oscar’s  in Seattle and you need to be there.  Starting September 25th at 7pm, we will be showing Blade Runner, District 9, and Hunger Games over the next few months. Each film will be hosted by a special guest who will discuss the technology and scientific topics presented in the film. So, if you want to learn the real-world applications and research being done today on the science and tech in your favorite films, come be with us! Click the image on the left to enlarge and read more details about these events. And note, if you RSVP by the day before the film, admission is free!

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September 9th, 2013 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy, Innovation | 4 Comments

Future State of Careers: An Infographic

Taking a close look at the current and future state of careers is a good idea, whether you’re just starting college and trying to pick out a major, or you’re already ensconced in a job and contemplating the long-term possibilities. If the industry you choose to work in is not one that will be in great demand in the future, then you may find that path at a dead-end, with high levels of competition, low pay, and no long-term prospects. Finding the right fit for your skills, personality, interest and experience can take a lot of trial-and-error—so do your research before committing. Otherwise, you may finally find the ideal position and then find yourself out of a career when the entire field loses relevance.

For example, if you were planning on a becoming a journalist, think again. Ranked the worst out of 200 jobs in the United States, a newspaper reporter is a position that offers low pay and almost no future. On the other hand, if you enjoy working with numbers or science, there are quite a few career options for you to consider. Take a look at this infographic by Cedar Education Lending before making a decision on your major or career of choice.

This infographic was created by Marcela De Vivo, founder of Gryffin Media, in cooperation with  Cedar Ed Lending. See something that interests you? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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August 2nd, 2013 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Art & Society, Environment & Energy | 1 Comment

Living Buildings: The Bullitt Center


Last week we had the pleasure of visiting The Bullitt Center in Seattle.  It’s a net-zero energy building, complete with compost toilet, rooftop solar panels, and a rainwater capture garden.

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Each desk is monitored so they don’t go over a certain amount of energy consumption. The building houses several independent contractors and small business groups, making it a lovely collaborative workspace. Most groups working in the building are interested in sustainability.  Sustainable Seattle is one such group, and they were kind enough to give us a tour.  Sustainable Seattle’s mission is to bring together individuals, organizations, and businesses in the greater Seattle area to build a sustainable future through innovation, education and on-the-ground projects.

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One of the most ambitious aspects of the Bullitt Center will be achieving the goals of the  Living Building Challenge  (version 2.0), as described by the International Living Building Institute. Before they can complete the Living Building Challenge, they must fulfill a few more requirements, such as filling the space with more occupants, and ensuring that most of the inhabitants are using sustainable or shared transportation methods. Find out more about the Living Building Challenge and why they are important.

 

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July 24th, 2013 | By Mallory Smith | Posted in Art & Society, Science & Tech | 1 Comment

Dear Kids, Have It All. Love, Future Toys

istock_000003138127smallKids.  Those extremely wise little Buddhas covered in hair. You may think they can’t grasp basic concepts, but these crafty little beings have somehow convinced us to give them everything they want in the future.

A lot of you have kids now. Even more of you will have them later. And then you’ll have grandkids. And great-grandkids. And with the rate of longevity around here lately, you’ll probably even have great-great-grandkids.  What do all of these kids have in common? They like to play. Oftentimes with toys. The question of the hour is, what will toys of the future look like? Don’t care? You should.  Even if you don’t have kids, at some point during your lifetime you’re probably going to get coerced into buying a toy for a friend’s kid, due to the Law of Social Niceties, so don’t think you can get out of this blog without even giving it a cursory glance.

Kids Will Get Whatever They Want

Word on the street is that the Millennial generation is just a bunch of entitled, self-involved brats (rude). Well, what would you say if these entitled little brats had offspring that could have or be whatever they wanted? That’s what the future of toys has in store for us. With the terrifyingly wide spectrum of 3D-printed toys available, printing whatever their little hearts desire will be a snap. WARNING: For those of you crossing your fingers that your kid is just a little less advanced than all the rest, making it impossible for him to invent his own printable code – get ready to be disappointed. Even if your kid is the slowest kid on the block, a lot of code is already open-sourced, and 8-year-olds are already learning how to code, so they’re going to figure it out somehow.   Plus, we don’t even have to own a 3D printer to design and purchase toys.   The Dreambox is a 3D printing vending machine that allows you to upload your custom design and print with a simple click.

And whatever you don’t print yourself, you’ll buy. Interactive tabletops are fun and multi-functional. One day we might even integrate flexible touch surfaces and interactive holograms to separate these tabletops from giant cellphones, which is what they are now. Toys that are programmable and electrically charged, like robotic blocks, will encourage invention, and things like hover boards, transformer toys, and energy conscious night-lights might also make inspiring toys.

Oh! And don’t forget tech-savvy toddlers will probably need video cameras for their v-blogs, and holographic chess sets to feed their spongy little intellect. I could see things that grow and then dissipate being popular toys as well. Almost like self-destructing Tamagotchis. Physically self-destructing, that is, since Tamagotchis already commit digital suicide when you neglect them. Come to think of it, all digital toys that disappear at some point would be popular for parents, too, as they wouldn’t leave messes behind.

Kids Will Be Whatever They Want

One of the most popular digital toys to come will be virtual reality games. These let kids transform into whatever they want to be, whether it’s a  zombie fighter, or an explorer, or a fantasy character. A lot of ideas for immersive VR games for kids are still in their infancy, but the opportunity to control environments and avatars is already an  exciting prospect for kids testing devices today.

Yes, it’s safe to say future toys will be interactive, customizable, and creative. So, will serving kids a heaping pile of virtual reality diminish their capability to be imaginative on their own? Will kids be able to see a ball of yarn strung up around the house as highly volatile laser beams, A.K.A Tons of Fun? Maybe they won’t. Maybe a pipe cleaner bent into funny shapes just won’t do the trick anymore.  But maybe toys in the future will increase creativity and enhance imagination by opening young minds to a world in which all things are possible.

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