"Not only is the universe stranger than what we imagine,
it is stranger than what we can imagine."
Sir Arthur Eddington

The Futurist

I never thought to be a futurist when I was growing up. Engineer, weatherman, beach comber were some of my interests but futurist was not one of them. Didn't even think of that, although tangentially did look into magicians, mentalists and the black arts of stage craft. But I just read an article in the New York Times (failing?) written by Amy Webb who is not only a futurist but a quantitative futurist. She is the founder of Future Today Institute. Apparently, she is a lot younger than I, so maybe I was just born to early. She is also a professor of strategic foresight. I assume she shouldn't be confused with a fortune teller. By the way, don't confuse this Ms. Webb with one of the Webb sisters that sang back up for Leonard Cohen. Although his song "Everybody Knows" is sort of a song a futurist might enjoy. But I digress.

Could the residents of St Pierre could have used a Futurist to warn of the eruption of Mt. Pelee, Martinique?
Could the residents of St Pierre could have used a Futurist to warn of the eruption of Mt. Pelee, Martinique?

Futurist Webb wrote about how in the future we will be either Apple, Google or Amazon people. Artificial intelligent machines, appliances, homes, communications, travel etc. will so intensively infiltrate our lives that we will fall into one of these business's universe. You can see this now when you hear people say: "I'm an Iphone person or Android or Google phone person". Each company is rapidly expanding into all sorts of AI devices linked to their platform. Amy sees these companies appealing to different classes (although that might be too strong a word) of consumers. But it will be another way we can categorize and differentiate ourselves!

So what is this all about? Sure, my 71st birthday was yesterday and thinking about the future always pops up prompted by wishes of "and many more." But the idea that singular companies can infiltrate our lives with the integration of clever machines that provide a very wide range of services, from communications, entertainment and utilities to food distribution, health care and education, gives one pause to how that will affect our society. Never underestimate the effects of technology on society.

Closer to home, or in our case, boat, single suppliers of divergent machines are evident in the integration of boat navigation instruments. Are you a Raymarine, Garmin or B&G guy? A futurist would forecast that these companies will integrate water making, waste management, cooking, air conditioning, power management, propulsion, sail control and other vessel systems into single platform operations.

These instruments don't talk to each other. It ensures that I keep the upper hand.
These instruments don't talk to each other. It ensures that I keep the upper hand.

Disclaimer: Kalunamoo is a non-integrated boat. Our navigation table hosts independent instruments from Furuno, Icom, Si-Tex, Raymarine, Xantrex, JVC, and Weems & Plath. We are an Android family and the only iThing we have are I-Glasses. Here in St. Lucia, we are maintaining old school power management with the installation of a new 6K Northern Lights generator to replace a 30 year old generator.

The trend toward consolidation, integration and expanding control seem inevitable. Ironically, individually we all proclaim our independent persona. Is this trend good or bad? I'm not a quantitative futurist so I can't foretell the future. However, Amy Webb's latest book is titled "The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans & Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity". I guess you have to read the book to see which way the warp goes.

This vessel does not transit at warp speed
This vessel does not transit at warp speed



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