NEXT: The Future of Data Privacy

The Me.Ring is just a concept design at the moment. But if it were to be actually built and widely marketed, its impact would be dramatic. The ring consists of a switch: when you are open to having your data shared, you flip the switch to the “on” position. To remain anonymous, a user would switch […]

-David Staley

April 13, 2021

Read the full article on the Columbus Underground site.

NEXT: Baby Bust…or Baby Boom?

Demographers have observed that, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent downturn in economic activity, birth rates in the U.S. have declined. Research from Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip B. Levine observes that “that the Covid pandemic would lead to a decline in U.S. births of about 8%, as compared with the number of expected […]

-David Staley

March 15, 2021

Read the full article on the Columbus Underground site.

NEXT: Jack-of-All-Trades, Bachelor of Polymathy

For the last two weeks, I’ve been an avid participant at the (virtual) Polymath Festival, organized by the Da Vinci Network, and specifically by Waqas Ahmed, author of The Polymath. It has been a pleasure meeting like-minded practitioners because, I fear, there are very few such venues or opportunities to do so. A polymath is […]

-David Staley

February 18, 2021

Read the full article on the Columbus Underground site.

NEXT: The Future of (Bio)Coding

We wait with impatience for the widespread vaccination of the population. The news about COVID-19 has lately been focused on the relatively rapid speed with which the vaccines were produced. In what is usually a years-long process, the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are now being injected—albeit slowly—in American arms. What has been notable about the rollout […]

-David Staley

January 18, 2021

Read the full article on the Columbus Underground site.

NEXT: Neo-Essentialism and Post-COVID Philosophy

I anticipate that one of the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be the emergence of a new philosophical movement. Like existentialism in the 1950s or transcendentalism in the early nineteenth century, this movement will be sparked by the thoughts of philosophers and intellectuals, but the ideas will soon extend out into broader public discussion, […]

-David Staley

December 17, 2020

Read the full article on the Columbus Underground site.

NEXT: The Future of American Global Scientific Leadership

I caught myself before I “got it wrong.” I have written before that, because futurists think in terms of scenarios and probabilities rather than predictions and certainties, we really do not consider being right or wrong the true metric of our value. Getting the future “right” means only that a scenario we posited—one, perhaps, with a […]

-David Staley

November 22, 2020

Read the full article on the Columbus Underground site.

Futures Salon: “The Privacy Ring”

Our topic will be “The Privacy Ring.”  We will be considering the future effects and implications of the concept design for the Me.Ring.

Me.Ring is basically a connected switch that you wear on your finger. When you’re open to your data being collected (from your face, your location, or just about anything else you can imagine), you switch it on. When you want to stay anonymous, you switch it off. The ring is essentially an Incognito Mode for real life, a means to opt out of your actions being recorded and analyzed forever.

Tonight we will be using a futures wheel, a framework for thinking through the potential consequences and effects of a change. We will frame how a change will produce first order consequences, the second order consequences based on those, and the third order consequences based on those.

We open with the observation that the world seems to be moving towards a surveillance state, where facial detection and tracking are becoming more and more the norm. Will law enforcement or legal environments allow this technology to exist? For our discussion tonight, we will focus on if the Me.Ring technology does exist in the future, what implications would we see?

Change: The Me.Ring technology is adopted in the future.

First order consequences: An active relationship with our data, forces us to understand our digital footprint, allows you to be nowhere at once, ability to hide/disappear, illegal to own from a law perspective, Big Five limits services to those with Me.Ring/terms of service excludes Me.Ring, only “haves” have access

Second order consequences will build below off of the first order consequences.

Illegal to own from a law perspective : Goes underground/dark web, tool of dissent/protest/crime, goes subcutaneous/implant

Active relationship with our data: Changes how we think about our digital footprint/relationship with tech companies, power of the “Big Five” firms diminishes

Big Five limits services to those with Me.Ring/terms of service excludes Me.Ring: reveals the “hypocrisy” of the “Big Five”

Ability to hide/disappear: “the right to be forgotten”, ability to receive unfiltered/unbiased information, inadvertent “vanishing” oneself (forget to turn off)

Forces us to understand our digital footprint: More data literacy of the traces we leave, understand how our data is used, demand placed on clear communication of data footprint

Third order consequences will build below off of the second order consequences.

More data literacy of the traces we leave: Data literacy in school curriculum

Tool of dissent/protest/crime: Digitally mediated silent protest (“data boycott”), “data kidnapping”/blackmail, criminals easier to “hide”, “Randomized You” (makes one undetected), society of “invisible people”

Goes subcutaneous/implant: black market surgery, becomes cultural sign

Power of the “Big Five” firms diminishes: “Big Five” business model under threat

Changes how we think about our digital footprint/relationship with tech companies: access/control over our data as a human right, society of “invisible people, like a passport/SS card

Understand how our data is used: Society of “visible people”/traffic in their data/data donators, “data surrogates”/having someone else’s data in place of my own

A few common things began to emerge: The State oversees these discussions and takes action vs. The “Big Five” imposing regulations and fighting this technology vs. The “Data Free Men” – a whole society of people “invisible people” vs. “Data surrogates”

“This was incredibly intellectually stimulating. What a hoot!” -Peter. And I fully agree. Thank you all for joining us this week. We will see you all next month!

Salon notice: “The Privacy Ring”

The next Columbus Futurists monthly forum will be Tuesday April 6 at 6:30 PM over Zoom.


Our topic for the evening will be “The Privacy Ring.”  We will be considering the future effects and implications of the concept design for the Me.Ring.  


Me.Ring is basically a connected switch that you wear on your finger. When you’re open to your data being collected (from your face, your location, or just about anything else you can imagine), you switch it on. When you want to stay anonymous, you switch it off. The ring is essentially an Incognito Mode for real life, a means to opt out of your actions being recorded and analyzed forever.


We will engage in a “futures wheel” process that will uncover future scenarios for the Me.Ring.  For background, please read this article before the meeting: https://www.fastcompany.com/90606006/this-privacy-ring-is-like-an-incognito-mode-for-real-life 


Please join us for what will certainly be an engaging workshop.

Futures Salon: “Trends in Architecture”

Our topic for the evening will be “Trends in Architecture,” a presentation led by Mark Bryan of M+A Architects.  In the wake of the pandemic, M+A Architects took a look at the future of their industry and profession. They looked at what changes they will potentially see in the next 10 years and what that means for space and their practice. We look forward to hearing more!

Mark Bryan joins us from his position incorporating foresight at M+A Architects. They are a certified futurist, working to address the future needs of clients and architecture, particularity within their adaptation to their predictions for the future of architecture and foresight related to COVID-19.

M+A Architects currently offers foresight opportunities, whitepapers, trend forecasting, multi-generational charrettes (brainstorming ideas that are outside of the box that resolve solutions), and a workplace stressors survey. This trending and forecasting prediction allows for them to predict what 2030 looks like the future of architecture and design.

When forecasting, you have to be careful of the Zeitgiest Bias Syndrome. While these predictions do not necessary relate to this, care must be placed in how these insights are come to. Signals and drivers define this approach. Drivers such as climate change can impact symbols such as the younger generation adapting to more climate friendly practices.

One of the layers that is incorporated into these forecasts is the “new neutrals” where colors previously assigned to gender norms such as pink and blue may become the new neutral palette.

Salon notice: Trends in Architecture

The next Columbus Futurists monthly forum will be Tuesday March 9 at 6:30 PM.

Our topic for the evening will be “Trends in Architecture,” a presentation led by Mark Bryan of M+A Architects.  In the wake of the pandemic, M+A Architects took a look at the future of their industry and profession. They looked at what changes they will potentially see in the next 10 years and what that means for space and their practice. We will also consider the implications of this environment scan for other professions.

Please plan on joining us on the 9th. Email columbus.futurists@gmail.com for Zoom link.