Archive: future

March 29th, 2014 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Education, Environment & Energy | Comments Off

How to Negotiate a Better Future – Part Two

Diplomacy between Nations

The negotiations that take place between world leaders and their staff have shaped the world we live in today more so than any other types of negotiations. Sometimes negotiations can avoid wars, sometimes they can go wrong and cause wars – history would look a lot different if just a handful of negotiations had turned out differently. An example of ongoing negotiations that have been very unsuccessful between nations is in the Middle East, where countries have been at war for centuries. Generations of would-be negotiators have tried their hand at finding a resolution, but it’s all been futile so far. When the stakes are so high, and negations go wrong, it’s often the innocent who pay the price. A recent example is the current situation going on in Ukraine, and a great quote comes to mind “Deals Don’t Stick if they Don’t Resolve the Problem“. So far, all we’ve seen is examples of negotiations failing, but for the betterment of the entire region let’s hope that both sides are able to reach an agreement.

Takeaways

In life, sometimes it’s easy to hold a grudge but you’ve got to ask yourself, is it really worth it? Even if you’ve been slighted in the past, sometimes you’ve got to start with a clean slate in order to move forward. Set your preconceived notions aside before you get to the negotiation table.

Working Together For Mother Nature

It’s never easy to get countries to come together to protect the environment because that often comes at a price, and many countries will put their own short-term prosperity ahead of the long-term health of our planet which is very frightening. It takes incredible people with amazing negotiation skills to get countries to work together for the greater good of all mankind when the results won’t be seen until future generations are living on our planet. “It’s a great person who plants the seeds of trees whose shade they’ll never enjoy”, says the old saying. A major issue with climate negotiations is that the current global economic crisis is taking attention away from long-term issues like achieving sustainable energy, clean and safe drinking water, having safe and healthy food available, and more.

Take fisheries, for example, over-fishing is hurting ocean life, but those fish are being used to feed humans. As the world’s population grows, we need to make sure that we reach an agreement that will protect wild life and at the same time supply the quantity of fish needed for food. That`s very hard to do when you take into consideration profit-driven fishermen and illegal fishing.

Takeaways

In negotiations, it can help to point out when both parties are working towards a greater good that reaches beyond either group’s self-interest. Then, if both sides are willing to give a bit of wiggle room, everyone can be better off.

BDO_oceanconsumption_infographic_1660x960_V3

The Global Workforce

As multinational corporations, and even smaller businesses, start to outsource from all around the world to expand their operations, they are going to be hiring all sorts of different people. Not everything works the same from one country to the next, including the ways that people negotiate. You could greatly offend someone from one culture with something that seems perfectly acceptable in another culture, especially when you’re negotiating!

Takeaways

If you’re negotiating in unfamiliar territory, and this applies to all aspects of our lives, make sure you do your due-diligence to really understand what you’re getting into.

This is similar to the first situations we discussed, which were globalized trading opportunities. How does this apply to our own lives? No matter where you work, chances are there will be someone from another country who might not speak English, but a friendly smile and a wave of recognition can go a long way towards helping someone feel welcome. There are major negotiations, and then the small ones we face on a daily basis, like smiling at a stranger, deciding not to be rude even if a waitress is ignoring you, and so on and so forth. The way you handle these micro-negotiations has a larger impact on your mood, your success, and your life than you might realize.

Final Thoughts on the Importance of Negotiations for a Better Future

More than ever before, we’re living as a global community. Hopefully this helps people to understand that their actions, or lack of actions, have a widespread and profound impact not just on those of us who live on this planet, but for our children and their children and all who come after.

|| Written by Mary Ann Keeling ||
Mary Ann is a writer and a blogger from Brisbane who likes to share her passion for the future through her writing.

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March 28th, 2014 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Education | Comments Off

How to Negotiate a Better Future – Part One

Eyes on the Future by Good and Coloumn FiveNegotiations between people, between companies and between countries are going to be the driving force in solving the world’s biggest problems of our generation. From the environment, to trade, to diplomacy, and ensuring that we don’t destroy ourselves with nuclear weapons – negotiations will play a key role in absolutely everything. Here’s a more in-depth look at just how important negotiations are in many of the aspects that keep our world turning.

Along with taking a big-picture look at each of these situations, we’ll also break it down and look at what we can take away from each situation to help us in our own lives. Most of us will never have to negotiate nuclear treaties or sit across the table from an angry world leader, but these takeaway tips can help to improve our own lives.

Globalized Trading Opportunities

With a global economy and opportunities all around the world, people from all backgrounds are doing business together every second of every day. Negotiation skills play a huge role in the success of global trade. It’s not hard to overcome a language barrier in this day and age, but it is very difficult to overcome a negotiations barrier. When it comes to trade negotiations, each national representative has a very clear- cut objective and that’s to reduce trade barriers and to slant things in favor of their own nation. An example of negotiations not going incredible smoothly are the Doha round negotiations at the WTO.

Sometimes, negotiations will be outpaced by technology and the economy, so large businesses will put their own interests ahead of the interests of their country, and everyone else on this planet. If WTO negotiation results were implemented immediately, there wouldn’t be time for lobbyists to muddy up the waters as much.

Takeaways

Keep an open mind.

Don’t forget that other cultures may see the world differently than you. Whether you’re on vacation and trying to book a room or just trying to get help from a call center, patience goes a long way into ultimately getting your way – and that’s the best kind of negotiation.

Remember in your day to day life that just like the representatives of large nations, people will typically look out for themselves and their loved ones, and you will be doing the same – but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to reach common ground.

Nuclear Agreements & Treaties

Some countries have been allowed to have nuclear weapons and others have not. Negotiations, when it comes to nuclear agreements, are very difficult and incredibly important. When nuclear power is involved, we’re talking about something that can absolutely devastate an entire region in an instant if there’s an accident, or something that can completely destroy a nation if it’s used in an attack.

Takeaways

“Mutually assured destruction” is a phrase used to describe why rational countries are very careful with their nuclear programs. Any rational nation realizes that it’s better to find another solution to a problem than to have both nations destroy one another.

Have you ever had an immature co-worker or friend who seems to live by the rule “If I can’t get what I want, nobody can!” Often times in negotiations, it’s much more beneficial to reach a compromise rather than to reach a stalemate that harms both parties. In other words, don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

|| Written by Mary Ann Keeling ||
Mary Ann is a writer and a blogger from Brisbane who likes to share her passion for the future through her writing.

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March 16th, 2014 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Education, Innovation, Media | Comments Off

What does your world look like in 2030?

2030 world

The Expert Editor has announced the launch of a new writing competition based on people’s vision for the future. The editing company is offering $1000 in prize money to the best “idea” created on Ideapod related to the theme “#2030″.

Entrants must detail their vision for the world in the year 2030, in 200 words or less. They can explore a range of topics, including technological and scientific developments, the state of humanity, the environment, and politics.

Questions entrants may want to answer include what will the world be like? What are you most excited about? What dangers does the world face? What are the opportunities? People from all over the world are encouraged to enter.

A team of high profile judges who will evaluate the ideas, including futurist.com’s own Glen Hiemstra, a world renowned Futurist; Gerd Leonhard, another leading Futurist and best-selling author; Katherine Keating, Contributing Editor to The World Post; and Amir Dossal, founder of the Global Partnerships Forum.

The aim of the competition is to stimulate debate about the future and to generate debate about what the world may look like in 2030. Entrants are only limited by their imagination and ability to creatively peer into the future.

Ideapod has been chosen to host the competition because it’s a social media platform that encourages idea-making and it will allow an unprecedented level of interaction. On Ideapod we’ll be able to view each entry as it’s posted, comment on them and establish a conversation based around the ideas. This is not only a writing competition, but the chance to create a community based on each person’s vision for the future.

Please view the competition homepage for more information - http://www.experteditor.com.au/competition

About Ideapod

Ideapod is a new social media platform based in which users can create and share ideas that matter to them. It recently launched in beta version and new ideas are being posted every day from people worldwide. Visit http:///www.ideapod.com for more information.

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February 27th, 2014 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy, Innovation, Media, Science & Tech | Comments Off

Google Search’s Amit Singhal – Constructing the Conversational Computer

The Galactic Public Archives are videos that feature past and present visionaries on their explorations of the future and how it could be embraced with optimism.

Introduction to Amit Singhal (at Google) from Galactic Public Archives on Vimeo.

Meet Amit Singhal. During Amit Singhal’s 13 years at Google, the company has been evolving the iconic search bar into a voice-controlled search engine that allows for a more natural, conversational search – à la Star Trek’s LCARS computer. They aren’t there yet. If you ask Google – using voice – who Bill Clinton is, and then ask who his (using the pronoun instead of his name) daughter is – Google can tell you. You can even follow that up by asking what her job is, and again, Google understands. If however, you follow up your question about Bill Clinton with, “Who was the next president?” Google is stumped. Its ability to hold context means that it can only hold a conversation as long as you stick within some narrow parameters. Clearly search has not reached Her status – as envisioned by Spike Jonze. Most people are not in danger of mistaking Google for a love interest. Still, the system’s current competence is quite a feat considering it happens to be ‘conversing’ and interfacing with millions of people at once.

Amit Singhal, however, believes that the current situation is just a stepping-stone, and that natural, ‘frictionless’ conversation with a computer is an attainable goal.

We interviewed Amit Singhal at Google HQ in 2013. He’s a personable guy with a positive outlook on the future, as well as a staunch belief that information science & search can allow humanity to be, essentially, more human.

Amit Singhal (at Google): Constructing the Conversational Computer from Galactic Public Archives on Vimeo.

During our conversation Amit said that the challenge is finding the missing “intelligent connections” that humans can make and computers can’t – the missing links between today’s search and a true conversational machine. Amit and his team are working on algorithms to allow computers to build those connections.

These videos, and others in the Galactic Public Archives are compiled from our conversations with inventors, scientists, visionaries and thinkers who have compelling visions of the future, in conjunction with 2030, an upcoming film about the future. Discover more GPA videos at Vimeo.com/GalacticPublicArchives.

*Guest Author: Ellen Boss at The Galactic Public Archives

2030

 

 

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January 17th, 2014 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Innovation | Comments Off

The Future of Pregnancy

pregnancy pic

Image source: iamnotthebabysitter.com

By Guest Author Alex Pejak

Pregnancy and the process of childbirth have come a long way in the past century or so, and huge advancements are happening more and more frequently that make pregnancy safer for the mother and the baby. In the mid-1800s, the mortality rate of women during childbirth was greater than 1 in 10, even at some of the world’s top hospitals at the time. With modern medicine and hospitals, that number is closer to 1 in 10,000 now. The entire process of pregnancy and giving birth will undoubtedly get even safer as technology and medicine advance further, and pregnancy is also going to change and evolve in other ways besides just safety.

Let’s take a look at the future (and present) of pregnancy, including such topics as choosing the sex of your baby, prescreening for diseases, and fertilization techniques that allow couples to have babies though they wouldn’t have been able to in the past for numerous reasons.

Current Achievements in Pregnancy

You don’t have to look far into the future to find some very interesting advancements that have taken place when it comes to pregnancy. Before we start to look at what’s coming up on the horizon, let’s discuss what’s currently taking place with PGD.

PGD stands for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, also known as embryo screening, which is a process that has been practiced since the 1990s. You can think of this as a type of filtering process in which a three-day-old embryo has its six cells tested to see if it contains any genetic markers that would indicate the potential for disease. Only the embryos that have tested negative for signs of disease would be implanted into the womb of the mother. As such, the likelihood of the baby being born with disease is reduced. This process has been improving, and it opens the doors to all sorts of other options for selective reproduction in which parents could choose other traits for their children as well, such as gender, height, and a lot more.

Let’s not forget the 3/4d ultrasound, which gives us a much clearer image of the baby. It wasn’t that long ago that there weren’t any ultra sound photos at all, but the level of detail we can see today is very impressive.

What’s In Store In The Future for Pregnancy?

Undoubtedly, pregnancy is going to become even safer as time passes. Even though it’s become much safer than it was, becoming pregnant remains the single most dangerous thing a woman can do, statistically. According to ABC News, approximately 1000 women die each day giving birth, mostly due to bleeding or infections.  Safety isn’t the only thing that’s going to change as the future draws nearer, however, so let’s take a look at advancements when it comes to being able to “design” your baby, artificial wombs and more.

Designer Babies

In this day and age it’s possible to customize everything from a cellphone case, to a t-shirt, to a home. What’s next, designer babies? Yes, quite possibly, but it doesn’t quite work how many people might imagine. It’s not a matter of filling out a checklist that says “I want a male baby that grows up to be six feet tall, with blonde hair, a lean body type, and a fondness for mathematics and science.” That’s just not how genetics work, however if you recall the process of “filtering” embryos to select the ones that are disease free, the process of choosing other traits could work similarly.

We aren’t there yet, scientifically, and it poses a lot of moral questions as well. Some argue this is creating even more of a barrier between the haves and the have-nots, where wealthy people will be able to selectively design “premium” babies that have all sorts of advantages, essentially rigging the genetic lottery in their favor. In general, people are a lot more comfortable with screening for diseases than screening for blonde hair or pretty eyes.

In some countries, a similar process can be used to help ensure that the mother gives birth to whichever gender she chooses for her child. Many people from Australia and around the world will travel to California, where this in vitro fertilization process costs roughly $30,000, but the price tag doesn’t matter for parents who are desperate to choose the gender of their baby. It’s worth nothing that there are no guarantees that this process will work.

Easier To Get Pregnant

Many couples still struggle with fertility. They’re not concerned with pre-screening for diseases or choosing exactly how they want their baby to look, their major concern is simply to bring new life into this world. When one partner suffers from infertility, it can cause a major strain on even the healthiest of relationships. Here’s what Alan Trounson has said on the topic, “I think it will be possible that we’ll be able to extend the fertile period for women by producing germ cells from iPS technology, or by a variant of nuclear transfer, so somatic cells [which make up most of the body's cells] become germ cells and are refreshed genetically.”

This will make the fertilization process easier for some couples who are struggling with it, but as with most things when it comes to changing how nature intended pregnancy to work, there are moral concerns. On the topic of morality and ethics, Mr. Trounson says, “Ethics keeps moving. What was once seen as dangerous goes on to be seen as within the confines of acceptable risk. Probably the major development in the field will come from something we’ve never thought about.”

The End of Infertility – Artificial Wombs, Eggs and Sperm

As we blaze trails medically and scientifically in the 21st century, parenthood and raising their own children is becoming a possibility for couples who previously wouldn’t have had the opportunity. Homosexual couples, for example, currently have to find a woman who is willing to carry their child for them, however the idea of artificial wombs is making a huge splash. As you can imagine, similar to most of the things we’ve discussed thus far, this is a controversial topic. However, when you bear in mind the fact that pregnancy is the most common cause of death amongst women, and the fact that an artificial womb offers a solution for women with fertility difficulties, it’s likely only a matter of time until this concept is widely accepted in society.

Final Thoughts on the Future of Pregnancy

Nobody has a crystal ball and we can’t predict the future, but as the human race moves forward, there’s no doubt that the way women get pregnant and the ways that they are able to deliver their babies are going to continue to evolve and change. One hundred years ago, who would have predicted what the face of pregnancy would look like today? Now fast forward another 100 years, who knows what’s in store?

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