Thursday, December 22, 2011

...scanning for tomorrow

By kay.e.strong

I’m an avid scanner, a skill honed while attending the futures program at the U of Houston.  Scanning is not a duplication task but rather an exploratory one. One designed to provide clues about the potential shape of the more distant tomorrow.  In the spirit of sharing, I offer a glance into how our tomorrow is shaping up.

Launched in 2009 as a nonprofit organization by Shai Reshef, University of the People (UoPeople) is the world’s first tuition-free online academic institution dedicated to the global advancement and democratization of higher education. The high-quality low-cost global educational model embraces the worldwide presence of the Internet and dropping technology costs to bring university-level studies within reach of millions of people across the world. With the support of respected academics, humanitarians and other visionaries, the UoPeople student body represents a new wave in global education. < >

Can you image the impact of engaging the creative potential of 7 billion minds!


Lumus is showing off a pair of light, wearable HD video glasses that will allow you to interact with the world via augmented reality. It is forecast that wearable displays will replace hand-held screens like iPads or laptops.  < >

With data chips embedded in products, animals and surfaces, imagine information overload on steroids bombarding your eyeballs!

And if you can't afford the video glasses, no problem!  The cell phone hologram is on IBM’s list of the Next Five in Five years. Merging 3D technology into the cell phones will enable projection of life size holograms of friends talking and moving in real time on any surface.  < >

If I send my hologram, do you think students will know the difference in my 8 AM class?


The U.S. Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) plans to put 1,000 3-D printers (rapid fabrication devices) into high schools across the United States as a way to encourage American young people to go into engineering and particularly manufacturing.
The project is one of many investments that the agency will make over the next five years to help high schoolers build STEM skills. These investments are critical to grow an educated twenty-first century workforce, says DARPA director Regina Dugan. >

The twenty-first century upgrade to shop class!  I hope they have a backup plan for containing projects gone wrong!


Why not take a bad-news break as we wind down the year. Try some exploratory scanning of your own.  Follow up with the question “What if?” and consider the rich possibilities that tomorrow could bring. It's great calistetics for the mind and spirit.

Kay Strong, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University, M.T., University of Houston, M.A., Ohio University; Associate Professor at Baldwin-Wallace College; Areas of expertise: international economics, contemporary social-economic issues, complexity and futures-based perspectives in economics. E-mail:

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This blog lives under the auspices of the Department of Economics whose mission has been to hold high the lantern beaming an "economic way of thinking" onto the world. Selfishness, rationality and equilibrium have been central to the teaching of an economic way of thinking rooted in the Renaissance. And, in this regard, the department has faithfully stayed the course. The intent of this blog, thinking out loud..., however, is to entertain exchanges which may challenge the centrality of economics as we teach it.