Green Futures Tuesday: The Next 20 Years: A Time of Nice Surprises? #gfstu

This event in the Green Futures Tuesday series was arranged on January 31st 2012, at 6pm GMT, by the Department of Green Innovations and Solutions.


Martin Wright



Evening everyone! Welcome to the latest @SvTwuni @greenfutures twitter lecture! About to start uploading 15 Tweets now! #gfstu
6:03 PM
Remember the days before internet and mobiles? In 20 years, they’ve transformed society – mainly, most would say, for the better. #gfstu
6:04 PM
RT @SvTwuni: Evening everyone! Welcome to the latest @SvTwuni @greenfutures twitter lecture! About to start uploading 15 Tweets now! #gfstu
6:04 PM
Yet few saw them coming. So what are the surprises in store for the next two decades? @greenfutures polled some futurists… #gfstu
6:05 PM
First up, nanotech. We’ve barely scratched the surface of its potential. Nano-desalination could make the sea safe to drink… #gfstu
6:05 PM
…at a fraction of the cost of today’s methods. That could quell the fear of water wars – and turn deserts into bread baskets. #gfstu
6:06 PM
Cheap nano-fibre, teabag-like filters could turn polluted rivers into clean, safe water too – for less than a penny a litre. #gfstu
6:06 PM
And new nano-solar techniques, using carbon not silicon, capture infrared as well as solar rays: cheap energy indoors or out. #gfstu
6:07 PM
@Optimistontour even suggests we’ll have carbon neutral petrol stations – turning CO2 from the surrounding air into fuel. #gfstu
6:07 PM
Remember – if you can! – how hard / costly it was to phone India, say? And how London worried about ‘running out’ of phone lines? #gfstu
6:08 PM
Now such worries seem absurd. So will techniques like those above make today’s fears about energy and water seem equally groundless? #gfstu
6:08 PM
Just as the internet and mobiles ‘solved’ the communications crunch, will comparably revolutionary techs tackle the resources one? #gfstu
6:09 PM
And what about medicine? We might soon be able to sequence any given person’s genome for $1 – compared to millions a few years back. #gfstu
6:09 PM
That could unleash an age of personalised medicine – drugs designed to work with your genetic code. Even ones to instil empathy! #gfstu
6:10 PM
And if this all seems too much like dodgy sci-fi, what about collaborative consumption and peer-to-peer trading / lending? #gfstu
6:11 PM
Enabled by the internet, we’ve only begun to explore possibilities of new wave of co-operation. Living better, together, with less. #gfstu
6:12 PM
#gfstu @gfstu tech solutions of the past often involved throwing resource at the problem. how will this work in a resource crunch?
6:12 PM
@SvTwuni I suggest you add tweet-numbering like in previous lectures. used to make it easier to keep track of things. #gfstu
6:13 PM
So, just some of the surprisingly pleasant surprises which might be around the corner. Read more here: #gfstu
6:13 PM
And what do you think? Is this realistic optimism? Or are we fooling ourselves that we can escape the resource/climate crunch? #gfstu
6:14 PM
@sustshipping: yes, but maybe the resource we need most now is ingenuity, not materials? #gfstu
6:16 PM
@SvTwuni I’d say a lot of this is technologically realistic if we as a species could avoid self-destruction for a few decades more. #gfstu
6:21 PM
Just finished ‘Twitter lecture’ for @SvTwuni: join in the debate by going to – or just search for #gfstu
6:20 PM
@stromsjo – agree! Do you think the search for solutions will drive us to be more collaborative,or (violently) competitive, I wonder? #gfstu
6:22 PM
@SvTwuni I guess the answer is both. fundamentally, history shows that we’re not exactly peaceful creatures. #gfstu
6:28 PM
@stromsjo. Indeed… I guess the question is whether technology can remove some causus belli – eg, water shortages. #gfstu
6:30 PM
@stromsjo Just as, arguably, the internet helped break the power of dictatorships – to some extent anyway. Facebook revolutions etc. #gfstu
6:32 PM
@SvTwuni that’s a good point. research in systemic #resilience could help predict future conflicts and limit the risk. #gfstu
6:33 PM
@stromsjo Identifying flashpoints and focusing innovative research on them could be a valuable new form of active diplomacy, perhaps? #gfstu
6:38 PM
.@SvTwuni not a bad future to be hoping for. working for. #gfstu
6:43 PM
@stromsjo A good note to sign off on! Hope you’ve all found this interesting. Follow us @martinfutures and @greenfutures for more. #gfstu
6:43 PM
@SvTwuni thanks, I’m enjoying this minimalistic learning format. @martinfutures @greenfutures
6:45 PM

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