See the results of the Future Agenda programme on our new site

New Future Agenda Website

We have now launched the new futureagenda website on futureagenda.org – this highlights the results of the 12 month insight programme so that people, companies and governments can now use them to inform, challenge and identify new opportunities. All of the previous content from the global discussions will stay active so that you can access it but you may find that the 52 new insights provide a better starting point for you. The associated book and ebook include the same material.

Popularity: 5% [?]

Global Launch and New Website

We are now just 72 hours away from global launch event in Istanbul and the updating of this website with the new one. The new book and website both allow navigation from topic to topic as well as more conventional read through so hopefully people will find that useful as some of the linkages are quite revealing. As well as all the original content from the programme, the new website includes all of the synthesis from the new book, pdfs of each section / insight and reference material as well as links to supporting sites etc. This original wordpress site will continue to operate in the background so you can also still access the source insights from all the varied workshops and on-line comments. Lastly, the new website has been designed so that it can be embedded in other sites so we will ensure that coding for that etc is also made available.

Popularity: 41% [?]

Key Global Insights

The 52 key global insights from the Future Agenda programme have been summarised in a presentation and are now available for download. These will be detailed in the new website and book being launched in November.

As well as the 4 certainties for the world in 2020 (imbalanced population growth, key resource constraints, universal data access and Asian wealth shift), the presentation provides 6 clusters of additional insights with 8 topics in each. These clusters are health, wealth, happiness, mobility, security and locality.

Popularity: 8% [?]

Systemic Euthanasia

The escalating economic and social costs of supporting ageing beyond natural lifecycles leads to wider acceptance of assisted suicide for those who have had enough

Given the certainty of imbalanced population growth and the increasingly ageing population, some claim that there are people born today who, if they wish, could live for over 200 years. With the current record at 120 and a host of people already living past 115 , there is little doubt that, with technology advancing as quickly as it is, physically adding another 80 years or so is looking possible. Whether or not mental capacity can be sustained for that long may be a greater challenge, but the world will certainly get used to more and more centenarians; in the UK alone there are over 9000 of them today. Read more

Popularity: 11% [?]

Pharma Foods

Customised foods, tailored to provide specific therapeutic benefit, blur the line between pharmaceuticals and food as nutrigenomics allows individualised diets to fit genetic profiles

As awareness of advances in biotechnology is increasing, a growing area of interest is in the use of foods for medical purposes. While there there is a long standing tradition in many cultures of  using natural herbs and foods to treat ailments. In recent years, so called ‘superfoods’ ,such as blueberries and acai,  have received increasing attention, particularly in the media.  Interest is now rapidly switching to foods with clinically enhanced properties. Probiotics, prebiotics, functional foods, clinical foods and neutraceuticals are all talked about and promoted as being good for you either in generally or by specifically targeting a bodily function, such as improving digestion, bone density and so on. As technology evolves and more is understood about how to tailor food and drug combinations to better fit individual needs,  , the opportunities for tailored foods that use improved genetic profiling are burgeoning. By 2020, many in the pharmaceutical and food industries  predict  the biotechnical  advances  of foods grown in the field and drugs developed in the lab to combine. In the next decade we can expect to see a shift in some of our basics from traditional “farmer- foods” to more sophisticated “pharma foods.” Read more

Popularity: 6% [?]

Diabesity

With diabetes consuming 5% of GDP and 25% healthcare budgets, a combination of fat taxation, patient data mining and individual healthcare costs all play a role in stabilising the obesity epidemic

Diabetes is the world’s most costly epidemic. Over the next ten years there will be an increasing number of technical solutions to help manage the condition but few expect this to counter its  growth, particularly the escalation of Type 2 diabetes which is mostly caused by a high-calorie diet and sedentary lifestyle . If governments and public healthcare systems are to manage the direct and indirect costs, significant behaviour changing actions are critical. Read more

Popularity: 2% [?]

Dense Cities

As urban migration increases, efficient, densely populated cities are the blueprints for more sustainable places to live rather than distributed options like Houston and Mexico City

Historian Tristram Hunt commented early on via the Future Agenda programme blog that “we are currently living through one of the great eras of urbanisation with the great megalopolises of China, Africa, India and South America assuming the cultural and economic dominance which Berlin, Rome, Moscow and London used to enjoy in the 19th and 20th centuries.” He sees that “after a decade of unprecedented urbanisation and industrialisation, China’s cities now resemble the nightmare metropolises of mid-19th century Britain. Accounts of the pollution, ill-health, and overcrowding in Nanjing or Chengdu eerily recall the worst excesses of 1840s Manchester or Glasgow.” But at the same time, the same cities will offer the opportunity to meet the challenges of rapid urbanisation as “many of them also provide the seeds for solving our climate crisis. For the world’s developed cities are coming under increasing pressure from their informed, engaged citizenry to mitigate their environmental impact. And they also contain the technical and innovative capacity to address the problem. So, Berlin has managed to cuts its carbon emissions by 15% and Toronto by some 40% over the last fifteen years. In London, Ken Livingstone successfully developed a pioneering climate change strategy which led to a 19% drop in C02 emissions from traffic inside the congestion charge zone.” Read more

Popularity: 34% [?]

Clinical Enhancement

The shift of enhanced functionality from an external add on to an integrated capability through cognitive drugs, implants and bionic surgery provides the option for super-human performance

Another potentially controversial topic was raised when looking at the future relates to the advances being made in replacement organs and limbs. Different people have varied perspectives on where this is going and what the mass impacts will be: Some point to the high tech developments that have taken place in prosthetics over the past few years allowing people to regain near full limb movement. Some take this further in a military context and mix in the topic of exo-skeletons as a possible option for enhanced battlefield performance. Then there are also developments like those at UCLA where digital cameras have been hardwired into the back of the retina of visually impaired patients to provide first black and white and now colour image recognition. In the world of cosmetic surgery, some experts are talking about sight and hearing enhancement which will be offered in key clinics within the next decade: If we can replace vital organs and limbs by alternatives with embedded technologies, why can’t the performance be tweaked to a higher standard? Higher frequency hearing and infra-red vision are often mentioned in this context. While this may sound like science fiction to some, in the world of pharmaceuticals a number of recent developments are bringing enhanced performance closer to the market than you might think. Read more

Popularity: 1% [?]

Alternative Proteins

To cope with the increase and shift in global diet from rice to meat, alternative sources of protein arrive with a shift to lab-growth manufactured meats and high protein vegetable combinations

One of the common challenges with rising economic growth is that of increased resource consumption. As highlighted in the first section of this book, as GDP per capita increases so does food consumption: Once people have more money available, one of the first things they do is to seek to improve their diet. Whether this involves an incremental shift to higher quality or more tasty foods or a more fundamental shift from say a rice based diet to one with more meat, the well recognised global impact of increased wealth is a higher calorie and ideally higher protein lifestyle. Just as individuals climb what is seen as the energy ladder, so they also climb the calorie and protein ladders. The more money you have, the more or better foods you eat and this is a pretty well linear relationship until you get to a point where enough is enough. Wrap all this together with an increasing population and steadily rising economic growth worldwide and we face a significantly growing world protein demand. The big issue here is that complete protein commodities are becoming increasingly scarce and alternative sources will be required. Read more

Popularity: 1% [?]

Biosurveillance

The active gathering, analysis, and interpretation of data related to disease activity and threats to human and animal health delivers us faster early warning, detection, and situational awareness

In an era of increased globalization, public health and surveillance are playing an increased role in bio-security. Protecting us from the outbreak of disease has become an increasingly hot topic in the healthcare fraternity and one which is a focus for major investment. As part of global and national health security systems, public health surveillance is widely used for such activities as detecting new cases; estimating impact; modeling the spread of diseases; evaluating prevention and control measures and strategic prevention planning. To achieve these ambitious aims, it involves ongoing and systematic collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of a mass of health-related data of the population. An emerging field, known as bio-surveillance, has involved the expansion of the traditional public health surveillance into detected and predicting bioterrorist threats and disease outbreaks in animals and plants. Read more

Popularity: 5% [?]

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