Category Archive: Scenarios

Proto-Post Scarcity

On the blog, Rick Webb wrote a lovely post on the period of time and culture that transitions us from where we are now to the big question of what comes next. There’s no sense in continuing our current version of capitalism now that the vast wealth in our financial system is controlled by so few. This includes twerky control of the democratic wheels (Congress, Judicial branch, and the Executive), as well as our cultural messages (mass media: TV, movies, the “news” and other feeders to our public dialog). Here, Webb walks us out to a future I can believe in.

I promise this is about Star Trek. Sort of. Bear with me a moment.

I’ve been reading a lot about robots lately. When I read about robots, and the future, I can’t help but think about it in economic terms. And that inevitably turns my mind to the branch of economics called post scarcity economics. Traditional economics, of course, deals with the efficient allocation of inherently scarce materials. Post scarcity economics deals with the economics of economies that are no longer constrained by scarcity of materials — food, energy, shelter, etc.

The thing that never sits quite right with post scarcity economics, though, at least the very little that I’ve read, is that it’s always sort of an all or nothing affair: you either don’t have enough of anything or you have enough of everything. Thinking of this as a mental exercise is kind of fun, I think, but in reality it seems to me that getting from point A — a scarcity economy — to point B — post scarcity — is going to be a long, complicated journey as some things become more abundant in some places, while other things are still scarce.

What is needed is some sort of interim-, or proto-post scarcity economics. …

Take a few minutes (he suggests 20) and walk with him through a compelling story.

As a side note, back in 1998 I wrote a “speech” by Chu, a young person from the future. You can read that talk here.


Scenarios for San Leandro

On June 1st of this year, 28 people in San Leandro, California gathered for an adventure in looking into our future. The result of that day, plus some ongoing thinking and analysis by a small, dedicated group of authors, produced our report: Scenarios for San Leandro: Stories About Our Future. Continue Reading


WITI: Mechanical Ducks, Tea-cup Robots and Frankenstein’s Monster

Mechanical Ducks, Tea-cup Robots and Frankenstein’s Monster: Imagining a New Future for Computing with Genevieve Bell, Ph.D. who invites us: Come think with me. How technologists work together. I bring to Intel the ability to think about people’s lives, what drives people. Going nearly 14 years, I spend time bringing stories into the building.

They brought her a photo of Intel’s “who we’re selling to,” which was properly questioned as three generations of white people, enjoying the same television program, where there was no clutter and the woman had the remote control. Ok, Intel came back with another photo. Heh. If we want to sell to people, it has to be something compelling, something that breaks through the noise.  Continue Reading


WITI: Global Women. Global Business. (Panel)

Session on Global Women. Global Business with:

Joanne Martin, Ph.D., Moderator, IBM Corporation, which has 250,000 technical people around the world. Ran with contributors from several different countries. Excited about how much she learns about different cultures.

Marina Levinson, CIO Advisory Group, LLC, has worked with Palm (spin-off from 3Com), then NetApp as global CIO, now retired from corporate life. Now runs own company. She’s worked in global companies since 1987, on international projects. Also immigrated from Russia, sensitive to diversity issues.

Heather Healy, EMC Corporation, provider of cloud and big data solutions. Has worked in a variety of positions, cross-boundary. Has been at EMC for 13 years, global focus, tools for collaboration. Leading global teams.

Joanne: Why do you think “global” is important, today and in the future?  Continue Reading


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