The futurist: More of the 56 firsts waiting to happen
Achievements of this nature don’t always fit neatly into categories like those in part one of this column. Here are a few more that needed a bit more explanation:
- First Global Election: When will we see the first global election with over 500 million people voting from over 50 different countries? Will they be voting for a person, or voting on an issue? If it’s a person, what position will that person be running for? And, if it’s an issue, what issue will be so compelling that everyone wants to vote on it?
- First Crowd-Funded University: With a huge number of experiments going on it today’s world of higher education, one logical approach will be to crowdfund an entire university from scratch.
- First Billion-Cam Video Project: What would it take to get people to connect 1 billion video cameras to the Internet?
- First Billion-Person Genealogy Project: The genealogical industry currently exists as a million fragmented efforts happening simultaneously. While the dominant players, Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com, have multiple websites with hundreds of millions of genealogies, there is still a much bigger opportunity waiting to happen.
- First Global DNA Animal Library: Similar, in some respects, to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, this library would preserve the actual DNA of all animals.
- First Instant Sleep: A workaholic’s dream. People who need to finish an important project, but are feeling exhausted, could simply walk into the instant-sleep chamber. Voila! In a few seconds they could walk back out, fully rejuvenated and raring to go. Is this possible?
- First Dream Recorder: How often have you forgotten your dreams the next morning? Is it possible to create a “hit-play-to-record” device that would allow you to visually archive your dreams?
- First Dream Clique: As someone falls asleep and starts dreaming, others can also enter and participate in the same dream with the aid of Dream Clique Technology.
- First Centralized Law Project: Very few countries have their laws posted in a central repository. In the U.S. the laws, rules, and regulations are so numerous and obscure that few people know what laws are governing them at any given moment.
- First Crowd-Sourced Court System: If a court system were developed using crowdsourcing to form its jury decisions, what things would have to change?
- First Atom-Mapping of a Kernel of Wheat: Going beyond the genome sequencing of plants and animals, the next quest will be mapping the interplay between individual atoms.
- Perpetual Self-Filling Canteen: In a world where people continually die from lack of hydration, one of the most-needed devices is a handheld canteen that is constantly extracting moisture from the air.
- Reviving the First Extinct Species: Should extinct species be brought back to life? This question will come to the forefront once the first one is revived.
- First Self-Cleaning House: The long-time dream of housewives everywhere remains today as little more than a far-off dream. However, this could soon change with the right visionary.
- First Plant or Animal Communicator: With prototypes of natural language translators already in existence for humans, the next step will be technology that bridges the communication gap between humans, and plants and animals.
- First Swarmbot Sweater: Flying SwarmBots will someday serve as our clothing, flying into “clothing formation” on command, reconfiguring themselves according to our fashion moods, changing color on a whim. Once we step out of the shower in the morning, the SwarmBots will dry our skin, fix our hair, and take their place as part of our ever-changing wardrobe.
It’s easy to look around us and see what exists today, but the true visionaries are looking for what’s missing.
The voids and empty spaces around us will have people stampeding to fill these vacuums once they can be defined and understood.
People who go first are the ones who create entire new industries, and the job-generating opportunities that go along with it.
With the automations of today’s technologies, jobs are disappearing faster than ever before in history. The only way to compensate for this is to build new industries from scratch.
For this reason, the people who are willing to take the risks and blaze new trails need to be encouraged, empowered, and revitalized.
I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs and the marketing geniuses behind Apple’s “Think Different” campaign said it best:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
On this note, I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas. What other “firsts” do we need to be focusing on? What are the “crazy people” in your circles working on?