Category Archives: forecasting

Redefining ‘Sustainable Fashion’

“Sustainable,” implies “able to continue over a period of time,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary. “Fashion,” on the other hand, implies change over time. To reconcile the two is impossible. No wonder striving for net-zero emissions makes us all feel like Don Quixote, tilting at windmills.

Because there is no simple answer to solving fashion’s role in climate change. Even the obvious one — don’t make, or buy, any new stuff, and don’t throw away any old stuff — has negative implications for employment, know-how and self-definition. (After all, people have been adorning themselves to express themselves for pretty much as long as they have understood themselves as “selves.”) The crucial issue for each of us, no matter which side of the equation we are on, is thinking about and understanding the effects of the choices we make, so we can make better ones in the future.

How Might Artificial Intelligence Affect the Risk of Nuclear War?

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are enabling previously infeasible capabilities, potentially destabilizing the delicate balances that have forestalled nuclear war since 1945. Will these developments upset the nuclear strategic balance, and, if so, for better or for worse? To start to address this question, RAND researchers held a series of workshops that were attended by prominent experts on AI and nuclear security. The workshops examined the impact of advanced computing on nuclear security through 2040. The culmination of those workshops, this Perspective — one of a series that examines critical security challenges in 2040 — places the intersection of AI and nuclear war in historical context and characterizes the range of expert opinions. It then describes the types of anticipated concerns and benefits through two illustrative examples: AI for detection and for tracking and targeting and AI as a trusted adviser in escalation decisions. In view of the capabilities that AI may be expected to enable and how adversaries may perceive them, AI has the potential to exacerbate emerging challenges to nuclear strategic stability by the year 2040 even with only modest rates of technical progress. Thus, it is important to understand how this might happen and to assure that it does not.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE296.html

https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE296.html

More than half the world’s millennials fear a nuclear attack this decade

The International Committee of the Red Cross, a worldwide humanitarian organization, surveyed 16,000 millennials — adults between the ages of 20 and 35 — in 16 countries and territories last year: Afghanistan, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Palestinian Territories, Russia, South Africa, Syria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States.

https://www.vox.com/2020/1/20/21070621/millennials-survey-nuclear-world-war-3-red-cross

Cities and the Metaverse (National League of Cities)

Cities are the places where people come together, live, love, work and play. Human connection is one of the most critical components of day-to-day life. Much of the world quickly learned how to connect with one another and access services in virtual environments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we lacked the ideal tools for connecting in this way. Zoom meetings, Google Chat and good old fashioned phone calls provide a poor simulation of the physical world. What if a true simulation of our physical world could be recreated in a virtual manner? What value would this bring to people’s lives, what challenges would it present, and would it ultimately prove to be a net positive for cities?

Risk, Uncertainty and Innovation

The past several decades have seen the introduction of a number of disruptive technologies into warfare, including some whose effects are so extensive that they can be considered their own domains, such as cyber– and cognitive warfare. Meanwhile, new technologies continue to emerge, ones which, as a recent article in NATO Review notes, “are already beginning to turn speculative fiction into reality.”

https://www.nato.int/docu/review/articles/2022/04/14/risk-uncertainty-and-innovation/index.html?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NATO%20Review%20Risk%20and%20Uncertainty&utm_content=NATO%20Review%20Risk%20and%20Uncertainty+CID_f1dc0a7bf310799e44a2254eeb3f8e34&

Subcultures are not dead. There is a software that identifies them through digital language

“Technology allows subcultures to be even more ephemeral in their nature. They can keep their ideology but quickly switch from one scenario to another or avoid it. And continue to thrive.”

https://www.nssmag.com/it/lifestyle/29677/culture-mapping

The Imagination Machine

The imagination space is a construct of what is immediately imaginable given our lived experience so far. Take, for a recurring example, the car. Because of the car it is easy for most folks to plausibly imagine more eco-friendly cars, autonomous cars, even flying cars. The car produces the imaginable future variations of the car within the limits of our futures cone or imagination space. However, these imaginable futures are also confined and structured by the car so that it is much easier to imagine marginal improvements on the car such as making it safer, more environmentally friendly or more efficient than it is to imagine cities without cars.

Essay for Yale Architecture Journal Perspecta 54 examining the relationship between imagination and expectation, science fiction and software.