Tim O'Reilly on The Endarkment

Tim O’Reilly is a very smart guy, and even though he is a dyed-in-the-wool technophile, he hasn’t let that blind him:

Tim O’Reilly, The Rise Of Anti-Intellectualism And The End Of Progress

For so many in the techno-elite, even those who don’t entirely subscribe to the unlimited optimism of the Singularity, the notion of perpetual progress and economic growth is somehow taken for granted. As a former classicist turned technologist, I’ve always lived with the shadow of the fall of Rome, the failure of its intellectual culture, and the stasis that gripped the Western world for the better part of a thousand years. What I fear most is that we will lack the will and the foresight to face the world’s problems squarely, but will instead retreat from them into superstition and ignorance.

[…]

Yes, we may find technological solutions that propel us into a new golden age of robots, collective intelligence, and an economy built around “the creative class.” But it’s at least as probable that as we fail to find those solutions quickly enough, the world falls into apathy, disbelief in science and progress, and after a melancholy decline, a new dark age.

Civilizations do fail. We have never yet seen one that hasn’t. The difference is that the torch of progress has in the past always passed to another region of the world. But we’ve now, for the first time, got a single global civilization. If it fails, we all fail together. 

Yes, we’ve become entangled, and our fate will be shared. To avoid the endarkment will require a great deal of hard work, and the hardest part might be the necessary first step: realizing that we are at a pivotal moment, and that just about everything must change.

7 Billion: How Did We Get So Big So Fast? (by npr)

It was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agriculture resulted in higher life expectancy for children, dramatically increasing the world population, especially in the West.

As higher standards of living and better health care are reaching more parts of the world, the rates of fertility — and population growth — have started to slow down, though the population will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

U.N. forecasts suggest the world population could hit a peak of 10.1 billion by 2100 before beginning to decline. But exact numbers are hard to come by — just small variations in fertility rates could mean a population of 15 billion by the end of the century.

Produced by Adam Cole
Cinematography by Maggie Starbard

To solve the energy challenge, we will have to find a way to produce, every day, not just what we are producing right now, but at least twice that much. We will need to increase our energy output by a minimum factor of two, the generally agreed upon number, certainly by the middle of the century, but preferably well before that—despite the fact that oil and gas will have long since peaked. Considering that many people on the planet are not using much energy at all and that new energy sources have yet to be developed, billions of people would still be living without modern energy.

To give all 10 billion people on the planet the level of energy prosperity we in the developed world are used to, a couple of kilowatt-hours per person, we would need to generate 60 terawatts around the planet—the equivalent of 900 million barrels of oil per day.

Future Global Energy Prosperity: The Terawatt Challenge

In 2004, the late Nobel laureate, Richard Smalley, one of the pioneers of nanotechnology, shared this incisive report on the future of the world’s energy needs. With world population passing 7 billion, this assessment is even more salient seven years later.

More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not.

 Worldwide mobile data traffic exploding, nearly tripled in 2010

Source: Los Angeles Times
The air is almost as thick with data as it once was with the smoke of the Industrial Revolution, with increasingly dense billows of bits traveling between the world’s billions of mobile devices.
In 2010 alone, the amount of mobile data sent was 2.6 times what it was in 2009. And by 2015, people will send 26 times more mobile data than they do now, according to Cisco’s annual Global Mobile Traffic Forecast.
That will mean 6.3 exabytes per month, said Suraj Shetty, Cisco’s vice president of worldwide service provider marketing. “That’s the equivalent of every man, woman and child on Earth sending 1,000 text messages every second,” he said.

 Worldwide mobile data traffic exploding, nearly tripled in 2010

Source: Los Angeles Times

The air is almost as thick with data as it once was with the smoke of the Industrial Revolution, with increasingly dense billows of bits traveling between the world’s billions of mobile devices.

In 2010 alone, the amount of mobile data sent was 2.6 times what it was in 2009. And by 2015, people will send 26 times more mobile data than they do now, according to Cisco’s annual Global Mobile Traffic Forecast.

That will mean 6.3 exabytes per month, said Suraj Shetty, Cisco’s vice president of worldwide service provider marketing. “That’s the equivalent of every man, woman and child on Earth sending 1,000 text messages every second,” he said.



Growing Wealthier: Smart Growth, Climate Change and Prosperity, a new report by the Center for Clean Air Policy with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, reveals  how better land use planning and resulting reduced driving and are  strongly interconnected with economic growth and a higher quality of life. Read the report.

rockefellerfoundation:


Growing Wealthier: Smart Growth, Climate Change and Prosperity, a new report by the Center for Clean Air Policy with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, reveals how better land use planning and resulting reduced driving and are strongly interconnected with economic growth and a higher quality of life. Read the report.

rockefellerfoundation:

(via rockefellerfoundation-deactivat)

Ireland needs smarter cities to capture future FDI - Siliconrepublic.com
Ireland’s success in winning foreign direct investment (FDI) will over the coming decade depend heavily on key cities emerging as smart cities with the kind of transport and lifestyle infrastructure that would attract the type of talent companies need to locate there. 

Ireland needs smarter cities to capture future FDI - Siliconrepublic.com

Ireland’s success in winning foreign direct investment (FDI) will over the coming decade depend heavily on key cities emerging as smart cities with the kind of transport and lifestyle infrastructure that would attract the type of talent companies need to locate there. 

Urban farming: It’s a growth business

Urban farming may sound like an oxymoron, but judging from the 375-person sell-out crowd at the first Urban Farm Summit in Washington, D.C., the idea is catching on like organics at Walmart.

The recent one-day event called, Sowing Seeds Here and Now, was organized by Engaged Community Offshoots (ECO), a fledgling non-profit urban farm based just outside D.C. in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The summit agenda spotlighted the reasons why urban farms are sprouting up all over: They increase food security by growing food locally. They give under-served urban neighborhoods access to fresh foods. They strengthen  local economies by keeping dollars circulating within the community. They engage consumers, who learn how food is grown. They reduce ‘food miles’ and fossil fuel use. And they create jobs.

Urban farms are growing more than food. They are growing community.

Growth  and collaboration: Embracing new challenges facing China’s life  sciences market
The Chinese government continues to invest in reforming its healthcare ecosystem. A key element of these reforms is the essential drug list (EDL), intended to reduce drug costs. The new EDL environment will create challenges and opportunities for pharmaceutical companies, pharmaceutical distributors and hospitals, as well as trigger changes in how they operate and compete. Integration and collaboration supported by information sharing will be required across four areas: new differentiated services development, operational excellence, sales effectiveness and supply chain optimization.
To find out more, download the IBM Institute for Business Value report: “Growth and collaboration: Embracing new challenges facing China’s life sciences market.” 
 Download the complete IBM Institute for Business Value study: “Growth and collaboration: Embracing new challenges facing China’s life sciences market” (1.9MB)

Growth and collaboration: Embracing new challenges facing China’s life sciences market

The Chinese government continues to invest in reforming its healthcare ecosystem. A key element of these reforms is the essential drug list (EDL), intended to reduce drug costs. The new EDL environment will create challenges and opportunities for pharmaceutical companies, pharmaceutical distributors and hospitals, as well as trigger changes in how they operate and compete. Integration and collaboration supported by information sharing will be required across four areas: new differentiated services development, operational excellence, sales effectiveness and supply chain optimization.

To find out more, download the IBM Institute for Business Value report: “Growth and collaboration: Embracing new challenges facing China’s life sciences market.” 

The Tale of a Smarter City (via IBMSocialMedia)

"A city is more than just a collection of buildings, streets, parks, and people, and the many different entities engaged in many different trades.

Its a living environment of different cultures, peoples, ideas and systems that are interdependent yet all determine and shape the others identity.”

The story of smarter cities — told through simple narration, music and illustrations.

Words, voice, sound: Chris Luongo
Art: Jane Harris

Attaining Sustainable Growth through Corporate Social Responsibility - IBM Institute for Business Value studies