Modern Day Grandstanding and the Future of Getting Noticed

Posted by FuturistSpeaker on November 17th, 2014

 

On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I had a conversation with Axel Rüger, Director of the renowned Van Gogh Museum about what it was that made Van Gogh so famous. Was it his talent, the fact that he cut off his own ear, or a combination of both?

As we continued the discussion, perhaps an even bigger question that we debated was whether Van Gogh and his artwork would be more famous or less famous 100 years from now?

Naturally, this line of thinking raises many other questions. Is there any kind of formula that can guarantee fame? Does grandstanding, plus talent, equal fame?

If a talented artist today engaged in a similar form of grandstanding by cutting off their ear, or some other part of their body, would it have the same effect today?

Probably not, because it has already been done before, and we rarely remember those who come in second.

As a professional speaker, I find this line of questioning very intriguing because I find myself rubbing elbows with some of the most recognizable personalities in the world.

So what kind of grandstanding has worked in the past, and how will it change in the future?

Radio stars of the 1920s were very different than TV and movie stars of the 1980s. And those celebrities took a far different route to fame than many of our well-known personalities today.

After Justin Bieber used a few homemade YouTube videos to carve a path to superstardom, thousands of other talented young kids began posting similar videos with hopes that lightening would strike again.

Similarly, Mark Zuckerberg and his team of rule-breaking Harvard-dropouts inspired thousands of other young startup pioneers to jump on the fast track to becoming the next Internet billionaire. 

Is there a limit to the number of famous people the world can have at any given time? Does a famous person have to die to make room for someone new? Will everyone have their 15 minutes of fame like Andy Warhol famously suggested?

Here’s why all these question are so important and how the path to fame will continue to change in the future. 

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Tapping into the Waterways in the Sky

Posted by FuturistSpeaker on September 8th, 2013

With all of the water we have in the world, only 2% of it is fresh water. To make matters worse, only one-forth of all fresh water is accessible to humans. 

Until now, the entire human race has survived on 0.5% of the available water on earth. But that’s about to change. 

We are seeing a fast growing trend towards harvesting water from the atmosphere, something our ancestors first began working on centuries ago. People in the Middle East and Europe devised the original air-well systems over 2,000 years ago. Later the Incas were able to sustain their culture above rain line by collecting dew and channeling it into cisterns for later use.

Even though these techniques have been around for a long time, technology in this area has recently taken a quantum leap forward, and many are beginning to think in terms of houses that generate their own water supply, self-irrigating crops, and even “waterless” cities.

The earth’s atmosphere is a far more elegant water distribution system than rivers, reservoirs, and underground waterways. Our current systems involve pipes and pumping stations that are expensive to operate and maintain, and easily contaminated. 

Since we all depend on the rains to provide the water we need, what if we could extract this rain at the very time and place we need it? On-demand water extractors. 

A new breed of inventors has emerged to tackle this exact problem. Using solar, wind, and other forms of passive energy, our future water networks will be operate with far more efficiency and convenience than anything imaginable today. 

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Inspiring a Better World Ahead, the Museum of Future Inventions

Posted by FuturistSpeaker on August 4th, 2013

What images come to mind when you think about the future? Do you think about near-term futures with 3D printers, driverless cars, and robotics, or do you think about more distant futures of space travel, human cloning, and teleportation devices?

People make decisions today based on their understanding of what the future holds. In fact, your vision of the future permeates virtually every decision you make in your life. So if you change your vision of the future, you actually change the way you make decisions, today.

With this brief intro, I’ve tried to capture the true potential for creating a Museum of Future Inventions. It’s all about changing your vision of the future.

Simply hearing about future technologies will create a small level of engagement. However, becoming fully immersed in a future experience, where you see images, videos, and animations; listen to thought leaders, deep thinkers, and futurists; with interactive models you can touch and manipulate; all of these together have the potential of becoming a truly transformative, life-changing experience.

Realism creates viability. So adding elements of realism to our visions of the future makes them increasingly viable. Inevitably this kind of influence will translate into massive new innovations, the kind of innovations we’ll need to drive our economies forward.

But unlike traditional museums focused on the past, this one will function as a working laboratory of the future, one where visions are constantly being built, rebuilt, and rebuilt again. The future is not a destination. Rather it’s a journey built on the backs of crazy, passionate people, with brilliant minds, dogged determination, and obsessed with making a difference. We see them as crazy, but history will view them as genius. 

At the DaVinci Institute we started thinking about the Museum of Future Inventions 10 years ago and it’s still not a reality. However, with jobs disappearing at a record pace, we’ll need a whole new engine driving innovation. And the Museum of Future Inventions may just be the missing “flux capacitor” to drive this new engine.

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Inventing the Future

Posted by FuturistSpeaker on October 15th, 2012

When Charles Corry walked onto the stage of the Shark Tank-like Piranha Pit at Saturday’s DaVinci Inventor Showcase, his iExpander product was still $6,000 away from making the goal of $125,000 on Kickstarter. As of this morning, he has not only passed his goal, now exceeding $140,000, but still has 6 more days to go.

The iExpander is a brilliantly designed case for the iPhone that dramatically improves photo quality and battery life, and adds an expandable SD memory slot for virtually unlimited storage capability.

As the Piranha Pit investors listened to the pitch they started scratching their heads, asking the simple question, “Why do you need us?”

Charles was quick to respond, saying that his product fits into a very competitive marketplace and having a great product and money is simply not enough. He was looking for a smart-money partner.

The story of the iExpander was only one of hundreds of stories unfolding at this event. With influential people, mixed with powerful innovation, and extra large doses of passion, drive, creativity, and determination, it is one of those rare occurrences where people can literally see the future taking shape right in front of them.

As a futurist, it is the brilliance of these visionaries that breathes inspiration into the work that I do. But this is only scratching the surface. Here’s what you really missed.

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Teacherless Education and the Competition that will Change Everything

Posted by FuturistSpeaker on April 20th, 2012

Teacherless-Education-2

Over the past couple months I’ve become enamored with watching my two-year-old nephew Mikaia learn the letters of the alphabet, colors, and numbers. Even though he doesn’t have them all perfect, he’s scoring in the high 90% when we quiz him verbally.

Next up, the periodic table of elements?

What’s most interesting is that his mother says she never set out to teach him this information. Rather, he picked it up on his own from watching “little guy” television shows.

Admittedly, the repeated quizzing by mom, dad, and others has helped, but this is a very young child who blasted through the most rudimentary pieces of learning without having any formal teaching, classrooms, or lesson plans involved.

If young kids can learn efficiently through television, what would happen if we moved up the food chain to college courses, and handed them off to television producers, game designers, and app developers to see how they would go about rewriting the material in fun and interesting ways?

For this reason, I’d like to take you on a journey to reimagine the way we learn through a competition, a competition that I believe will change everything.

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25 Technologies I Didn’t See at CES

Posted by FuturistSpeaker on January 13th, 2012

CES What's Missing 3

After spending the past three days scouring the showroom floors at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, watching people become overwhelmed by what they saw, I tended to be more underwhelmed by what I didn’t see.

Smartphones, tablets, 3D televisions, and supporting peripherals were everywhere. But as the industry was getting sucked towards the gravitational allure of these technologies, many others, with harder problems to solve, haven’t been getting enough attention.

It’s very easy for the digital world to spot an opportunity, write a few lines of code, and have a new product ready to launch. But going beyond the current capabilities of existing hardware, blazing entirely new trails of thinking, is where the real opportunities lie.

For this reason I thought it would be interesting to talk about “what’s missing.” For those of you are up to the challenge, here are 25 technologies I’d love to see at future CES events.

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Year in Review: Top 10 Articles on FuturistSpeaker.com

Posted by FuturistSpeaker on December 31st, 2011

2011 in Review

The sixth law of the future states, “The “unknowability” of the future is what gives us our drive and motivation.”

The fact that the future is unknowable is a good thing. Our involvement in the game of life is based on our notion that we as individuals can make a difference. If we somehow remove the mystery of what results our actions will have, we also dismantle our individual drives and motivations for moving forward.

There is a whole lot that we don’t know about the year ahead. Yes, it will be messy. Important people will die. We will not cure cancer, just yet. And we won’t find a solution for war. But there is great value in the struggle. Our greatest achievements will come from these struggles.

We can learn much about where we’ve come from, and for this reason I’d like to give you a quick overview of the top articles in 2011 on FuturistSpeaker.com, based on popularity. They touch on jobs, education, crime, food supplies, and most importantly, the future. Join me as we take a look at the future through the eyes of the past.

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Introducing: Eight Grand Challenges for Humanity

Posted by FuturistSpeaker on July 15th, 2011

Eight Grand Challenges
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On Sunday I gave the closing keynote at the World Future Society’s “WorldFuture 2011″ event in Vancouver, BC. It was an energized crowd of inspired thinkers from around the globe, and I felt quite honored to be part of this event.

As I took the stage, my goal was to introduce the crowd to a series of Eight Grand Challenges, incentivized competitions designed to push humanity to another level.

But as with many crowds, there was a formidable issue in the minds of attendees, a hurdle of acceptance before these challenges would be deemed cause-worthy.

At issue was our obsession with solving all of today’s problems before we dare think about advancing humanity. How can we possibly justify advancing humanity when the money would be far better spent solving today’s massive problems?

Answering this objection first, was critically important, so here is the way I presented it.

If we only focus on solving today’s problems, we become trapped in the past. Every solution leads to another set of problems. Much like the whack-a-mole game at video arcades, as one problem gets pounded down, another pokes its ugly head out.

The only real way out is to advance civilization. By advancing civilization we change the nature of the problems we’re dealing with, and that is exactly what the Eight Grand Challenges have been designed to do.

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Prize Competition #2: Viewing the Past

Posted by FuturistSpeaker on April 27th, 2011

Viewing the Past 283

Prize Competition #2: Viewing the Past
When it comes to the topic of time travel, color me skeptical.
Do we even know what time is? Yes, we see the seconds clicking away on clocks, sunrise followed by sunset, tides coming in and going out, seasons changing from one to another, and little trees growing into big trees.
These are all things we associate with the movement of time, yet it is a topic we know very little about. From the standpoint of science, our understanding of time exists as a thimble full of wisdom in an ocean full of ignorance.
Because of this, Hollywood uses time travel as a magical tool for storytelling. With fanciful theories and scant attention to detail, time travel on the big screen is as easily demonstrated as hitting a switch and watching people fly into the future.
But things are never that easy. When NASA set out to put a man on the moon, they didn’t start by loading a team of people onto their first rocket and launching it into space. Instead, they tested each piece of the technology through hundreds of incremental steps.
When dealing with “time,” there are two fundamental proofs that must be demonstrated before we can reasonably think time travel is ever possible. These proofs include viewing things across time and communicating across time. Sending people across time will come much later.
It is this second proof of viewing things across time that I will to focus on here, and more specifically, viewing the past.
With this in mind, I would like to formally announce the second challenge of the Octagonist, a challenge to demonstrate holographically a fully viewable event from the past.
“All information, ever created, is still in existence” – - Futurist Thomas Frey
Fundamental Questions
Let me begin by asking three fundamental questions:
1. Is it not conceivable that people in the future will have a technology to view the past? And if so, do you think they are using this technology to watch us today?
2. If it is possible to communicate across time, why then haven’t we received any form of communication from people in the future?
3. Are there rules and governing principles that define the operating system for our universe? And do these governing principles define how we are permitted to affect our own linear existence?
For hard-to-fathom topics like this, simply asking the questions will cause our minds to move far beyond the safety net of present thinking and drive us to search for possible answers.
Looking Back in Time
When we look into space we are actually looking back in time. This is because of the speed of light which travels at 186,000 miles/second. At a short distance, the time it takes light to travel from point A to point B can be measured in a fraction of a second. But more distant points take far longer.
As an example, it takes a full 8 minutes for light to travel from the sun to earth, and 72 minutes for light to travel from Saturn to earth. So when we look at Saturn, we are seeing how it appeared 72 minutes earlier.
As distances get larger so does our “looking-backwards in time.” The closest star, Alpha Centauri, is so far away that its light takes 4.3 years to reach us. When we look at the closest spiral galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy, we see it as it was 2 million years earlier.
The speed of light is a concept we’re all familiar with. When an event happens on earth, the light and energy trailings reflect off into space. So the earth is not just radiating light, its radiating information.
Information about the past already exists. The key question remains, can it be reassembled?
Communicating Across Time
Going back to the question I posed earlier, “If it is possible to communicate across time, why then haven’t we received any form of communication from people in the future?”
One possible explanation is that we haven’t yet invented a device for receiving these communications.
Communicating with the future is relatively easy. We simply make a recording and store it until it can be revealed at some designated time and place in the future.
But communicating with the past is more difficult. Will it require some kind of device to receive it? And what form will it take?
People in the 16th century had no technology that would allow them to think that any type of sound could be transmitted digitally or electronically. If they suddenly heard voices, even if they came from a device, they would most likely think it was the voice of God or some demon talking to them.
If voices appear in someone’s head, most people today would probably have similar thoughts.
Cross-time communications will require careful planning. Early experiments in this area will likely center around a scientist receiving their own communications prior to them being sent, only minutes earlier.
The Powers and Dangers of Viewing the Past
Would you rob a bank if you knew somebody could go back and find out exactly who you were? Would you start someone’s house on fire if you knew it was possible for someone in the future to see who lit the match?
When it comes to criminal justice, there will be few tools more powerful than this. In fact, it may work too well. In addition to halting crime, it has the potential for putting a massive number of people out of work in the criminal justice system – cops, lawyers, judges, security guards, security equipment manufacturers, and many more.
However, the biggest driver behind this technology will be whether or not people can make money from it. And the answer will be a resounding yes.
Viewing the past will be used for determining historical accuracy, mapping human genealogy, creating documentaries, doing biblical research, and a thousand other things that people will invent along the way.
At the same time, this is a technology with massive potential for unintended consequences.
Being able to view the past brings with it an awesome responsibility for us to both preserve the integrity of the generations who have gone before us, and not denigrate our contemporaries. We all have the frailties of being human and good judgment is everybody’s shortcoming at one time or another.
In the wrong hands, it should be considered as a treacherous weapon. It is for this reason that “viewing the past” was chosen for this type of competition, where country-sponsored teams are continuously monitored by a check-and-balance system of governing bodies.
Is it even Possible?
When it comes to answering the question of whether or not this technology is even possible, truthfully, we don’t know.
Events leave an imprint. Information emanating from an event travels in many different directions that may or may not be retrievable.
But we do believe that people will attempt to discover it. And if this technology is possible, that it needs to be monitored closely in full view of the public. Otherwise, the potential for abuse is far too great.
Requirements
The challenge, as we have defined it, will be to replay an event from no less than 20 years earlier in actual-size, full-holographic visualization. The viewing of this event must involve no less than 5 minutes of fully animated continuous viewing with sufficient clarity to allow handwriting on paper to be viewable.
Our thinking is that the technology will be set up around a room or specific location, and once in place, images of the past will come to life, filling the current void in much the same fashion as actually witnessing it in person.
Naturally, we would like to hear the audio along with seeing the visuals, but we realize that may not be possible with audio waves resonating differently than anything visual. So for this competition, the requirement will strictly be for re-creation of visual images of the past holographically.
Teams
As with all eight of these competitions, only countries will be allowed to enter teams, and each country will be limited to no more than two teams.
All teams will be required to maintain accurate records of their personnel, research data, and stages of progress.
The Prize
Similar to the Olympics, the winners will each receive a gold medal. However, the true value will come from the accomplishment.
This is a technology with the potential to unlock vast new industries oriented around rediscovering the past. Virtually every story throughout history can be retold with unparalleled accuracy.
More importantly, the team that wins will have carved out their own legacy with a permanent place in the next generation of history books, books that have to be rewritten using this technology.
Entrance Fee
The cost of managing a competition of this nature will be significant. For this reason the entrance fee for each team has been set at $1 million USD per team. The money will be used to fund an endowment to insure the long-term viability of this competition.
As the competition ramps up, an entirely new organization will be created. The resulting organization will require a highly skilled management team and staffing with extraordinary technical expertise. This team will need to be in place for many years, perhaps even decades.
The entrance fee represents a tiny fraction of one percent of the amount each team will need to budget for their efforts. Team budgets will likely be in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Governing Body
The competition will also require its own governing body. Since it will be a venture into the unknown, pushing the limits of science and technology, there will need to be an international governing body responsible for oversight and dealing with unforeseeable circumstances.
The exact makeup and responsibilities of this governing body will be determined over the coming months. But minimally it will include one representative per team from the countries they represent.
Final Thoughts
In July, I will be formally announcing all eight of these competitions at the closing plenary for the World Future Society’s “WorldFuture 2011” event on Sunday, July 10, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The first, the Race to the Core was announced last year. More will be coming soon.
Behind these announcement is our team at the DaVinci Institute. Our hope is that we may somehow stir the imagination of people around the world and, bare minimum, incite a global conversation.
At stake will be a combination of national pride, personal legacies, and laying claim to unprecedented achievements in science and industry.
The reason we have chosen eight competitions is because of the eight dimensions of the Octagonist, a competition framework that I will explain at a later date. Each of these competitions will be the most challenging ever imagined. Some may not be completed in our lifetime. They are designed to stretch human thinking and push the envelope of understanding.
More than just a series of competition, we view them as a turning point in world history.
By Futurist Thomas Frey

When it comes to the topic of time travel, color me skeptical.

Do we even know what time is? Yes, we see the seconds clicking away on clocks, sunrise followed by sunset, tides coming in and going out, seasons changing from one to another, and little trees growing into big trees.

These are all things we associate with the movement of time, yet it is a topic we know very little about. From the standpoint of science, our understanding of time exists as a thimble full of wisdom in an ocean full of ignorance.

Because of this, Hollywood uses time travel as a magical tool for storytelling. With fanciful theories and scant attention to detail, time travel on the big screen is as easily demonstrated as hitting a switch and watching people fly into the future.

But things are never that easy. When NASA set out to put a man on the moon, they didn’t start by loading a team of people onto their first rocket and launching it into space. Instead, they tested each piece of the technology through hundreds of incremental steps.

When dealing with “time,” there are two fundamental proofs that must be demonstrated before we can reasonably think time travel is ever possible. These proofs include viewing things across time and communicating across time. Sending people across time will come much later.

It is this second proof of viewing things across time that I will to focus on here, and more specifically, viewing the past.

With this in mind, I would like to formally announce the second challenge of the Octagonist, a challenge to demonstrate holographically a fully viewable event from the past.

Read the rest of this entry »

Reinventing Humanity by Reinventing Time

Posted by FuturistSpeaker on November 10th, 2010
Reinventing Humanity by Reinventing Time
Humans think about our time system the same way that fish think about water. We simply don’t.
The numbers on the clock are a constant reminder of our daily schedule, where we should be, and what happens next. We eat, sleep, and breathe according to a framework of time established by ancient humans.
Without ever stopping to ask “why,” we have built our entire social structure for planet earth around some guy saying, “Hey, let’s do it this way.”
We now have the ability to shift from a system-centric approach to something with a far better human interface. The convergence of atomic clock technology, GPS, and an increasingly pervasive Internet will give us the tools we need to reinvent our core systems thinking about time.
In the following narrative, I will introduce you to a series of new concepts including Circadian Time, Continuous Daybreak, Micro-Banding Time Zones, and Virtual Moments.
This is far more than a Mensa exercise. As we explore these options we can begin to uncover some of the true imperatives for our human-to-time relationship.
A Clock-Centric World
Why do we hold meetings at 3:15 pm in the afternoon? The short answer is “because we can.”
Time, as we know it today, was invented by ancient humanity as a way of organizing the day. What began as tools for charting months, days, and years eventually turned into devices for mapping hours, minutes, and seconds.
The first mechanical clock movements began showing up in 13th century Europe, predating other key inventions such as the piano and the printing press. Spring powered clocks showed up in the 15th century and over time evolved into pocket watches a couple hundred years later.
Patek Phillipe created the first wristwatch in 1868, but it wouldn’t be until the 1920s when they became popular, setting the stage for a far more time-centric lifestyle.
In 1959 Seiko started developing their first quartz wristwatch and by the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics, they had a working prototype.
The first atomic clock was built in 1949 at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards. It was less accurate than quartz clocks, but served to demonstrate the concept.
Today, atomic clocks and wrist watches have become very affordable, and by extension, quite ubiquitous. This technology has set the stage for new innovations which will push our notion of time far beyond anything we’ve considered so far.
History of Daylight Savings Time
In 1784 when he was working as an American diplomat in France, Ben Franklin published a letter suggesting that people in Paris could save money on candles by waking earlier to use morning sunlight. He went on to propose taxing shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public by ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise. The idea didn’t go very far.
In 1895, New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson proposed the idea of a 2-hour daylight shift to the Wellington Philosophical Society so he could have more time to collect and study insects during the evening hours. This was followed up 3 years later with a paper describing the benefits.
Most people, however, attribute the invention of daylight savings time to William Willett, a prominent British outdoorsman who noticed that many Londoners slept through a large part of their summer days. As an avid golfer, Willett was frustrated when he couldn’t complete a game simply because of the shortened evening hours. His solution was to advance the clock during the summer months, written up in a paper which he published in 1905.
But the idea went nowhere until war broke out. Starting on April 30, 1916, Germany and its World War I allies were the first to use daylight savings time as a way to save on coal during wartime. In short order, Britain, most of its allies, and other European countries soon followed suit. Russia and a few others waited until the next year and the United States formally adopted it in 1918. Since then, the world has seen it evolve with multiple changes and repeals along the way.
History of Time Zones
Time zones, as we know them today, are all oriented around Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). GMT starts at 0 degree longitude – the Prime Meridian.
Greenwich Mean Time was established in 1675 when the Royal Observatory was constructed to help English ship captains determine longitude at sea. During that time, each town’s local clock was calibrated so 12:00 noon would coincide with the sun at its peak – high noon. As a result, every village had a slightly different time.
The first time zone in the world was established by British railway companies in 1847, with GMT certified by portable chronometers. This quickly became known as Railway Time. Later, other railroads around the world began using their own brand of time zones to better manage their own operations..
In 1879, a Canadian, Sir Sandford Fleming, first proposed a worldwide system for time zones. He promoted this concept at several international conferences including the International Meridian Conference held in 1884.
The International Meridian Conference was put together at the request of U.S. President Chester A. Arthur in October 1884 in Washington, D.C. The primary objective was to officially determine the Prime Meridian of the world.
The conference did not adopt Fleming’s time zones because they felt it was an issue outside of their mandate. However, they did adopt a universal day of 24 hours beginning at Greenwich midnight. Beyond that, however, they were reluctant to interfere with other time-related issues they felt were better decided by local people in local communities.
The notion of a 24-hour day had been understood and heavily used for many centuries, but it didn’t become a global standard until 1884.
Motivations behind Daylight Savings Time
When clocks became widely used during the industrial age, people were forced to orient their lives around the specific start and stop times of their jobs. Regardless of how sunny or dark it was, the workday demanded people comply with the numbers on the clock.
As in the tradition of sundials, clocks today are oriented around 12:00 noon, the median point of daylight hours, when the sun is highest in the sky. With time zones, this varies a bit from one side of a time zone to the other, but life on planet earth has been oriented around the “center point of daylight.”
With 12:00 noon occurring when the sun is at its highest, the times for sunrise and sunset are constantly moving.
As soon as clocks became a permanent fixture in human life, the 12-noon orientation became problematic because valuable daylight hours would be lost on the front and back end of work schedules based on the seasonal length of days.
Circadian Time
The idea of Circadian Time started with me asking the question, “What if our clocks were oriented around sunrise instead of 12:00 noon?”
What if we started every day with sunrise occurring at exactly 6:00 am?
Virtually everything on earth works according to our natural circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms involve the patterns, movements, and cycles stemming from the light and dark cycles of the earth’s rotation.
Circadian Time is based on the notion that our system for timekeeping no longer has to be the rigidly pulsing overlord of humanity that constantly demands compliance. Rather, our time systems need to be oriented around people, molded to the natural flow of humanity, creating fluid structures rather than our current, abrasively rigid ones.
As I explain the following three concepts – continuous daybreak, micro-banding time zones, and virtual moments – some of the opportunities will become clearer.
Continuous Daybreak
Working with self-correcting atomic clocks, having sunrise being recalibrated on a daily basis, how would society change if we reoriented life around daybreak, with the end of day doing all the fluctuating?
In Colorado, where I live, sunrise fluctuates by nearly 3 hours between the longest days of summer and the shortest days of winter. If we were to reorient our days so sunrise would happened consistently at 6:00 am every day, then sunset would fluctuate twice as much as normal, close to 6 hours between seasons.
Admittedly, it would also be possible to orient all of our days around a 9:00 pm sunset, and push all of the daylight variations onto the beginning of each day, and I’m sure some people would prefer that option. However, there is something critically important about beginning each day with the rising sun.
Perhaps a better way to orient our time structure would be to make the moment of sunrise “zero time” with our days building through a natural progression of our current 24-hour day. As an example, since people wake most naturally when the sun rises, work would start 1-hour later at 1:00, ending at 9:00 or 10:00.
Since I’m already introducing several new concepts, I won’t get into the lunacy of using 12-hour clocks to manage our 24-hour days. Nor will I attempt to think through the merits of metric time where we convert to 10-hour days.
Instead, my goal is to focus on using sunrise as the starting point for every day, and this concept is strengthened when we consider moving towards Micro-Banding Time Zones.
Micro-Banding Time Zones
Currently our time zones are structured around a 1-hour wide geographical bands that runs from the North to the South Pole.
So what if our current 1-hour time zones were reduced from broad well-defined pieces of geography with exacting borders, to 1-second time zones based on virtual latitudinal lines.
If we add GPS technology to our existing atomic clocks, then wherever we travel, our clocks will automatically adjust to the local time.
At first blush, this sounds very confusing. With 60 seconds in a minute, and 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day, that would mean we would have a total of 86,400 time zones. Yes, a crazy big number to work with.
But keep in mind that this is a system oriented around humans, not clocks and time zones.
Today if we schedule a call between someone in New York and San Francisco, we have to work through the mental calculation of compensating for the time zone differential between these two cities. When talking to people on the other side of the earth it becomes even more problematic with some time zones being 30 minutes of even 15 minutes out of sync with the rest of the world.
Technology could easily be developed to work with a system of 86,400 time zones, and that is where the concept of Virtual Moments comes into play.
Virtual Moments
People to people interactions are only important to the parties involved. The timing of a phone call, web conference, or virtual meeting can easily be oriented around the time that works best for the person instigating the call.
Any link between two people can instantly compensate for the time differential.
Scheduling physical meetings and conferences will always take place in local time, with planning and preparation leading up to the event automatically calculated into the planning cycle.
All timing will still be based on some derivative of GMT, but with far more gradients to consider and far more dependency on technological assistance. But what appears on the surface to be a massively confusing system will suddenly seem totally natural to everyone immersed in it.
We suddenly become far less reliant on clocks and far more reliant on the natural order of the day.
Closing Thoughts
I have no naive expectations that people will want to quickly throw in the towel on our current system for time, clocks, and time zones. We can’t even decide what to do with daylight savings time, let alone invoke some massive new global change to rewrite the course of history.
That said, every avalanche begins with the movement of a single snowflake, and my hope in writing this is to move a snowflake.
For people on ships, the context of time zones becomes meaningless, with an orientation of “ship time” having far more relevance to those onboard. As a way to experiment with the idea of Circadian Time, it may work well to use a floating community onboard a ship to test the theories of new social structures that will result from reinventing time.
My hope is that others will find inspiration from these ideas and add to the thinking. I’m sure many of my ideas are wrong and, at best, very primitive. But our current system for timekeeping is also very primitive.
My sense is that our current clock-centric systems are a major contributor to human health problems. We live shorter lives, produce less, and are involved in more high-stress and high-anxiety situations simply because of our rigid dedication to a time system that governs every single moment of our lives.
As a species, we can never know where our true potential lies until we confront the systems that keep us tied to the past. And that is where the true adventure will begin.
By Futurist Thomas Frey

Circadian Time 546

Humans think about the underlying systems we use for keeping time in much the same way that fish think about water. We simply don’t.

The numbers on the clock are a constant reminder of our daily schedule, where we should be, and what happens next. We eat, sleep, and breathe according to a framework of time established by ancient humans.

Without ever stopping to ask “why,” we have built our entire social structure for planet earth around some guy saying, “Hey, let’s do it this way.”

We now have the ability to shift from a system-centric approach to something with a far better human interface. The convergence of atomic clock technology, GPS, and an increasingly pervasive Internet will give us the tools we need to reinvent our core systems thinking about time.

In the following narrative, I will introduce you to a series of new concepts including Circadian Time, Continuous Daybreak, Micro-Banding Time Zones, and Virtual Moments.

This is far more than a Mensa exercise. As we explore these options we can begin to uncover some of the true imperatives for our human-to-time relationship.

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