George Battye Towards an abundocracy

The inevitable paradigm shift as we move towards an age of abundance is an interesting one. From this side of the revolution it is very difficult to think about how it will happen. Our recent history with digital products, opensource and zero distribution costs may be an applicable model, but even in that micro world the story is far from over - capitalism and large-scale businesses still thrive in the face of unchecked piracy and free product. However, while the economic changes are certainly going to be massive, I am somewhat more interested in the social/human impact. Our progress through industrialization can be seen as an evolution in our individual assessment of self-worth. We have progressed from valuing our brawn, to valuing our craft, to valuing our knowledge and now - in an age where knowledge is free and abundant - we are at the point where we value our ability to apply that knowledge through creativity and innovation. As we move into a true state of abundance with a world population readily at-hand to supply endless innovation coupled with a perfectly matched ability to manufacture, what qualities could we look to to find personal value? Understanding and solving that problem would surely also show us what the likely economy will be?
Posted: 10 July 2014 at 08:39

Matthew Friedland Towards an abundocracy

Fascinating stuff! I read an amazing syfy story many years ago.. I think it was called Business As Usual Only Different. Aliens leave replicators at the foot of a civic building and people quickly learn how to replicate the replicators. The cat is out of the bag...the only thing left is uniqueness.. One of a kind designs. However, in our case I suspect that there will simply be a shift in power bases. It seems (as in nature) that economies abhor vacuums too. Currently the resources needed to make a) hyper pure silicon for PC chips and PV panels are still controlled by certain key players. Even if the PV revolution moved to biotech, I believe that corporations will find a way to corner the market.But I could be wrong....
Posted: 10 July 2014 at 09:05

Doug Vining Towards an abundocracy

Thanks for a great comment George! Understanding the future is definitely the first challenge, but I'm sure the eventual outcome will still surprise most of us.
Posted: 10 July 2014 at 09:23

Doug Vining Dangers also abundant in future

Futurist Thomas Frey supports our thinking that abundance comes with turbulent consequences, technological unemployment being one of them:

"Even though we are headed toward a world of abundance, having a significant loss of jobs due to robots and automation has the potential of causing a near term backlash."
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Posted: 10 July 2014 at 09:51

Doug Vining Good bot, bad bot

This is a hot topic at the moment. Will the automation of everything create or destroy jobs? Silicon Valley is split on this issue, with technologists and analysts alike fairly evenly divided as to how intelligent machines and the internet of things will affect the economy. One thing we can predict with confidence, it will be massively disruptive, and we'll all have to unlearn the old way of doing things.

More comment on this report at The New York Times.
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Posted: 7 August 2014 at 14:54

Doug Vining Robot-enabled digital fabrication

Jordan Brandt is another futurist who sees 3D-printing as a key driver of innovation in manufacturing:

“On the 3D printing side, the biggest impact is ... the way that it’s making existing manufacturing processes more efficient,” sometimes by up to 60 percent, Brandt said in an interview. In these cases, new-age devices aren’t replacing traditional technologies, they’re augmenting them.

Brandt also sees the need for humans to work with machines:

“You’re now going to be training a robot to help you do your job,” he said. “It’s not about being replaced by automation; it’s about collaborating.”
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Posted: 18 August 2014 at 16:23

Neil Jacobsohn Big Data insights

Everyone's talking about Big Data, even if only a few organisation are really using, or even understanding it. So here;s some interesting perspectives on how much data we are actually generating, and whether it could, indeed, move "heaven and earth"!
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Posted: 3 September 2014 at 10:46

Doug Vining The end of ownership

In the networked economy, it's increasingly not necessary own assets, if you have access to the services those assets provide. This is well understood in the consumer market, but also applies in the commercial space.

This article contributes to that thinking and concludes:

"Within the next decade, businesses will need to become much more open and collaborative to survive in an increasingly zero marginal cost economy. Those who develop proprietary software are finding it harder and harder to sustain 'business as usual'.”
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Posted: 9 September 2014 at 13:48

Doug Vining 3D printing managed by robots

Just as we suggested might become the case, a small manufacturing plant using 3D printers has scaled up by adding a robot to do the work at night. See the attached MindBullet for further scenario options!
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Posted: 20 October 2017 at 18:45
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