Archive: mark anderson
I am a fan of Mars. I think people will live there one day. Really. So I was quite excited to watch the NASA/JPL live feed last night of the landing of Curiosity, the largest craft ever soft landed on another planet, and to share vicariously in the moment. Watch it here.
Then today my friend and colleague Mark Anderson, of Strategic News Service (I serve on the advisory board for his annual conference, Future in Review), published the following Special Alert about the landing. In Mark’s classic and hard-hitting way he tackles what the accomplishment should mean for science, and politics.
Here is Mark Anderson…
To All SNS Members:
Many of you have already written in asking for permission to re-distribute this piece. Please feel free to distribute to as many people and publications as you wish, with the caveat that it be complete, and have attribution. I hope it does good in larger circles – and thank you for your willingness to do so. – mra.
To Our Members:
As you are no doubt aware, at 1:38 a.m. this morning, NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech succeeded in landing a one-ton rover named Curiosity on the surface of Mars. This effort required years of scientific, technical and engineering preparation, resulting in a novel multi-stage process for getting heavy equipment onto the red planet, rife with steps which, if any failed, would likely cause mission failure.
The landing occurred without a single problem, including minutes during the critical last phases of the flight when the spacecraft was out of communications with Earth and ran autonomously.
While this effort will no doubt have a great impact in improving our knowledge of the Mars geology and surface, including habitability for future human missions, and perhaps information on past life in the targeted crater, there is a deeper meaning to this effort:
Science is reality.
At a time when a large and increasing fraction of the U.S. population does not “believe in” science (i.e., objectively provable reality) – or, worse, has bought into the idea that science is just one choice on the reality menu – NASA has again given concrete reason to understand that science works, and that science is not an option, not a theory, not a menu item, but instead represents the finest efforts of human minds in understanding, and addressing, objective reality.
Those on Earth who currently think that science is a political football should take note: not only are you endangering your own reputation, you are endangering the welfare of your constituents, and today, of the planet itself.
Any person or party which mocks science should be considered for what he or it is: a threat to the welfare and future of us all. Under the influence of political propagandists, misled religious zealots, and truly dangerous television and radio empires (such as Fox (Not) News and Rush Limbaugh), too many people today have been led to believe that science is in some way an option to opinion.
Science is as optional as gravity. Ignorance is the only real option.
It is time for the U.S. to catch back up to the world in this matter, and recognize the value of scientific study and theory, the use of scientific consensus in guiding public policy, and the wonders that we can achieve when we abandon self-aggrandizing political fantasy in favor of objective scientific knowledge.
We should use this marvelous achievement to create a new cultural change in the United States, returning us to the group intelligence of past eras, when no one doubted that an experiment, done with the same result several times, demonstrated an objective truth. Not an opinion, not a religious position, not a political chip, but another addition to human scientific knowledge.
The world owes much to the people of NASA, of JPL, and to the taxpayers of the U.S., who have achieved the most important step in space exploration yet attempted. This was done by a willing and informed government, working with private contractors, paid for with taxes. It stands as one of the greatest of tributes to human intelligence yet achieved, shoulder to shoulder with decoding the human genome.
I highly recommend that you take a moment to watch the scene inside JPL headquarters in Pasadena, as Curiosity makes its way safely to the Martian surface. We owe a great deal to those pictured in their moment of triumph, and citizens of the U.S. owe it to themselves, if they wish to remain a great nation, to put a rapid end to the rise of ignorance in their country which threatens scientific endeavor, and the acceptance of scientific findings.
Our thanks go out to all of the people who, using Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, just flew a car-sized laboratory across the solar system, landed it safely at the end of four lines under a crane under a rocket under a parachute, to bring us yet more scientific knowledge about the world.
It is time for all Earth inhabitants to recognize the value of science. In doing so, we will find common ground for agreeing on other important things.
Long live Science.
CEO, Strategic News Service
My friend and colleague Mark Anderson publishes the Strategic News Service, for many years the most accurate newsletter on technology trends. Each December he makes his top ten predictions for technology in the coming year. Among his ten predictions below (read them in full here at SNS) the two most interesting are number 1 about TV and number 3 about the cloud. Virtually every tech expert is saying that in the contest between computers and televisions the phone will be the winner. Not so fast, says Mark, next year the TV will emerge as the center. And cloud computing will dissipate somewhat as enterprises are unable to trust it for mission critical activity. Check out all the forecasts…
I. TV Becomes the New Center of Gravity in the tech universe, as all other devices find their niches in the TV galaxy.
II. 2012 Will See Tectonic Shifts in Phone Markets.
The Wireless Revolution Is Real: Asia Is In, Scandinavia Is Second. Nokia, the historic market leader, fails to regain global dominance…
Google Loses Technology Control of Android…
Smartphones Grow Share Dramatically to dominate the total cellphone market.
III. Clouds Are for Consumers (and Startups). Even as a large number of enterprises move pilots onto external clouds, it will become clear that the real trend is for enterprise to stay away from clouds in all key areas, for reasons both of security and reliability.
IV. Security Splits the Tech World in Two, finally getting Front of Mind (and wallet) attention from CEOs: companies with real IP, and the others (Meat vs. Mashed Potatoes).
V. SIRI Stuns the World.
VI. We Enter the Amazing World of Dave and HAL, as Voice Recognition comes of age.
VII. E-Readers Prosper, but Pads Continue to Dominate the CarryAlong Market.
VIII. The Consumption World Explodes. Get ready for new devices, new content, new bundles, new connection techniques, new distribution channels, new aggregators, new pads, new phones, new players, new self-published authors, new garage bands, new consumption models riding on social networks: there is nothing but high energy in the content consumer market. People are now ready to spend subscription money for this sector, and the publisher response will be huge.
IX. Governments and Corporations Focus on IP as though it were their most prized asset. It is.
X. Amazon Gets It All.
You have to read the whole thing at SNS.
Glen Hiemstra is a futurist, author, speaker, consultant, and Founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech, workshop or consultation contact Futurist.com.
My year as a consulting futurist and speaker began on January 8, 2009 with a speech on future trends for Cobalt, a company that does websites and other marketing and computer services for the auto-dealer community, historically General Motors dealerships. They obviously face some big challenges in 2009.
In that speech I said, for the first time, “This is not your father’s recession, but it could be your children’s renaissance.â€ Since that time most observers have suggested that when we come out of this recession the world economy, national economies, and our personal economic outlooks, will be different. As one friend, formerly a city manager, now CEO of a municipal development corporation put it, people hoping to get back to normal are going to be surprised the learn that the next normal does not look like the old normal.
So, here is my question. If what emerges on the other side of this economic chasm is something new, what does it look like? I hope SNS blog readers will weigh in on this via comments.
In the video interview below, I suggest some preliminary thoughts. The interview was conducted by Brenda Cooper, futurist, science fiction writer, and technology executive. Brenda happens to be a featured speaker at FiRe 2009 in the program slot on the final day, where we look “further ahead.â€ (I will be interviewing Brenda on-stage.)
We live in a time where exaggeration of all things is the norm, and thus it is easy to become caught up in the idea that “everything is going to change,â€ (a familiar phrase, no?) because of the economic meltdown. We need to be cautious with our forecasts. But a few things seem likely – a less debt-driven consumer culture which translates to slower growth in consumer spending, a financial culture focused more, for a while at least, on investing in innovation and productive capacity rather than merely manipulating digitized money in the global casino, a more cautious corporate culture when it comes to debt financing, ditto for the construction industry. Most of all, a shift in societal values toward sustainability and back to thrift as admirable habits. These value shifts may manifest most of all in the newest generation, the Millennials, if we believe what they say they want. Admittedly, we will have to see if these value-shifts hold and become long lasting as the long climb out of the recession continues.
The video interview also explores what keeps me up at night: the chance of a run-away negative feedback loop if Arctic methane meltgets out of control and we get a quick spike in global warming, and also the deep political divides in this nation that lead people to prefer to be right rather than happy. The latter shows up especially when people express a hope that certain economic remedies fail, and fail spectacularly, so that a particular point of view can be proven right, never mind the consequences for communities.
And finally, in the interview with Brenda I discuss the concept of optimism, about which I am asked all the time. To be optimistic is to believe, as I think Mark Anderson once said, that human beings have the capacity, when it matters, to choose the right problems and apply workable solutions to them. This is not guaranteed, but always an option.
Let’s hear from some of you: If the world on the other side of this recession is actually different from what came before, what are a few of its new features?
Here is the video interview of Glen Hiemstra on the future and what comes after this recession.
[This blog entry is cross-posted at the Strategic News Service blog site.]