Futures Past

Columbus Futurists Events through 2018

The Columbus Futurists monthly forum meets from 6:30-8:00 pm at the Panera Bread Co. community room (875 Bethel Road).  Also be sure to check out – and like –  “Columbus Futurists” on Facebook!

Forum meeting dates for 2018:
  • February 22, 2018 – Topic: The Future without Net Neutrality (Guest speaker)
  • March 22, 2018 – Topic: Ethics and Future Generations (Guest speaker)
  • April 26, 2018 – Topic: tbd
  • May 24, 2018 – Topic: tbd
  • June 21, 2018 – Topic: tbd

Past discussion Forum events

Meeting Notes, 2017 – 2018

January 18, 2018 – Topic: On the Future of the Humanities (Recap)

December 7, 2017 – Topic: Future of Design – Special meeting date / special presentation

November 16, 2017 – Topic: Big History – techniques for analyzing possible futures?  (Recap)

October 19, 2017 – Topic: Hyperloop:  It’s Impact on Central Ohio (Recap)

September 21, 2017 – Topic: Will Petrik, “Vision for the Future of Columbus”

August 17, 2017 – Topic: The Future of Commerce (Recap)

July 20, 2017 – Topic: The Future of Truth, a Huge Issue (Recap)

June 22, 2017 – Topic:  Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Higher Education (Recap)

May 25, 2017 – Topic: The Future of Multimedia: Visual, News, Music & Social (Cbus Futurist member Onyemobi Anyiwo) (Recap)

April 27, 2017 – Topic: Future of the Evolving Worker (Recap)

March 23, 2017 – Topic:  The Changing Future of Jobs (Recap)

February 23, 2017 – Topic: The BlockChain – the future technology we’ve been looking for – Guest expert, Dave Baldwin

January 19, 2017 – Topic: Gene editing and the future of CRISPR (see the link for the announcement and topic resources)

Meeting Notes, 2016

November 17, 2016 – Topic: GeoEngineering.  Brief article by David Staley that started the conversation:  NEXT: Can we “Hack the Planet” to Counter Climate Change? For more, check out this post.

October 20, 2016 – Topic: James Bach: Predicting the Presidential Election. James Bach returned to share the results of the model some political scientists have used to predict the outcome of the election.  His conclusion:  traditional models are in some jeopardy.

September 22, 2016 – Topic: Steve Millett, on American Ways: A Behavioral History of the United States with Expectations for the Future –Local Futurist and expert Steve Millett will discuss his book, published earlier this spring.

August 18, 2016 – Topic: The Future of the Circular Economy. Reading – David Staley’s  recent “Next” column provides more description of the concept of a circular economy.  Thanks to Zach Friedman and Launch Labs for hosting the meeting and the discussion!

July 21, 2016 – Topic:  The Future of Europe – After Brexit  – Reading: David Staley’s recent column, What is the Future of Europe?

June 23, 2016 – Topic – The Future of Democracy – For background – here’s an interesting investigation into the status of democracy from The Economist.

May 19, 2016 – Topic – The Future of VR (Virtual Reality) – Reality – as we have all come to realize – is no longer enough.  Virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality – all are ideas that have been pursued over the past several decades – using computers to create an experience that either mimics or enhances the perceived world around us.  Broadly covering the domains of entertainment, gaming, medicine, education, and – well, just about everything else – today’s VR technology is now promising some impact in the large market of the basic consumer.  New devices with multi-sensory reach are about to become available at the cost of a high-end game system.  Will VR find a place in our collection of basic tools for surviving in society?  This discussion referenced a recent Wired article – “The Untold Story of Magic Leap, the World’s Most Secretive Startup.”

April 21, 2016 – Topic – The Future of Privacy – Bruce Schneier is a highly regarded security expert who has recommended two thoughtful essays (one by Paul Krugman, the other co-authored by Daniel Dennett & Deb Roy) addressing different aspects of the futures possible as events continue to unroll.    (If you have difficulty, here is an alternate link to the McAfee article, referred to by both Schnier and Krugman re the “Varian rule.”) An organization has formed to deal with many dimensions of the issue, the Future of Privacy Forum.

March 24, 2016 – Topic – The Future of Oil.  Peak oil, unlimited oil, up, down, cheap oil – what does it all mean?  Can conservation, slower growth, alternative fuels and other factors make a difference in the role oil plays in our economy and in our culture?  Is There Oil In Our Future?

February 18, 2016 – Topic – The Future of Fusion: Are we finally getting it together?  Including these readings: Inside the Quest for Fusion – Clean Energy’s Holy Grail (Time Magazine cover story – 11/2/2015), The Front-Runners in Fusion EnergyWhy it’s taking the US So Long to Make Fusion Energy WorkFusion as a Future Power Source: Recent Achievements and Prospects (helpful graphics)

January 21, 2016 – Topic – 2016 Forecasts.  See the original posting and participation instructions, and the update following the initial meeting

Meeting Notes, 2015

Nov 19, 2015 – Topic: Columbus Futurists founding member Steve Millett introduces his new book, American Ways A Behavioral History of the United States with Expectations for the Future

Oct 22, 2015 – SPECIAL MEETING: Topic: Devouring the Earth: How British Food Changed the World, by OSU Prof. Chris Otter – meeting in conjunction with the CLIO Society

Sep 17, 2015 – Topic: Science Fiction – Where is my flying car? (link t0 Futurists presentation_9-17-15 – pdf)

Aug 27, 2015 – Topic: Demographics: The Baby Boomers Aren’t Done Yet

Jul 23, 2015 – Topic: The Future of Wikipedia –  An article in the New York Times breaks down the current status of the Wikipedia Foundation, and the status of the volunteer corps.

Jun 18, 2015 – Topic: Columbus 2044 – The futures discussed in the reading (Columbus 2044, Columbus Business First, Sept 19, 2014) flow from perfectly logical thought processes. What do you think? David Staley (Columbus Futurists’ president) published a provocative column in the Columbus Underground (June 12, 2015), Next: What will Columbus look like in 2044?

May 21, 2015 – Topic: The Arts in American Society – Reading:  A new book on the subject is  now available, Culture Crash: The killing of the creative class by Scott Timberg.  A review in the New York Time Review of Books

Apr 23, 2015 – Topic: Education:  A review of 21st Century Skills.  Are these adequate?  What should be added or taken away?  Are skills enough?  Is there a content for the 21st century?  Discussion resource

Mar 26, 2015 – Topic: Future of Terrorism, speaker:  Jeffrey Lewis, author of The Business of Martyrdom

Feb, 2015 – Meeting cancelled, casualty of bad weather

Jan 22, 2015 – Topic: Personal Futures –  There have been many discussions about changes in the world around us – but how will all that external change affect us personally, and our family unit?  Watch this space for a possible announcement about a guest speaker, and for a list of readings to help lay the foundation for conversation on this intimate topic. The seed of our conversation, was this article “Too Young to Die, To Young to Worry.”

Meeting notes, 2014

Nov 20, 2014 – Topic: The Future of the Home – We know that many social changes are radically changing traditional definitions of family and other social units.  But is technology changing the nature of the physical space we call “home” as well?  Here are a handful of resources that served as the foundation of this discussion.

Oct 23, 2014 – Topic: The Future of Television –   The series of articles linked here are from Wired magazine.  Does TV have a future?  Beyond the content, and the technology, what business model can emerge to support the continued creation of the products that we anticipate and strive for?  The medium has experienced many changes over the years – and more changes are inevitable.

Sept 25, 2014 – Topic: Columbus Futurists’ friend Bill Lafayette to discuss local trends, focusing on improving the amount and support for entrepreneurial activity to enhance our economic position.

August 21, 2014 – Topic: The Future of Food

July 24, 2014 – Topic: The New Dynamics of Data and the book Big Data

June 19, 2014 – Topic: The Future of Consumerism

May 22, 2014 – Topic: Convener David Staley on a new curriculum for the college level – Note new piece on changes in Higher Education from The Economist, June 28, 2014.

April 17, 2014 – Topic: Member Chuck Crawford on a model for Critical Thinking

March 20, 2014 – Topic:  Social Entrepreneurism – see the blog post

Feb 20, 2014 – Topic: Future of Jobs: Check this excellent piece from the Economist, “The Onrushing Wave” (1-18-2014).  What is a “job” going forward?  For whom does an employee actually work? Who pays?  How is productivity or contribution measured and compensated? Does the idea of “breadwinner” still exist?  Is there such a thing as a career, in a world where required skills and fluid producers and markets are the rule?

Jan 23, 2014 – Topic:  Future of Medicine: As fast as changes occur in bio research, the implementation of that new information in medical applications is changing at an equally fast pace.  For purposes of background, this excerpt of Kaku’s The Future of Physics provides a good mix of real trends and speculation.

Meeting Notes 2013

Dec 5, 2013 – Topic:  “Forecast 3.0: Recombinant Education: Regenerating the Learning Ecosystem”  – Katherine Prince, senior director of strategic foresight at the Knowledge Works Foundation, will share the latest forecast on the future of learning.  See the complete report, and an info-graphic that summarizes key points.

Oct 17, 2013 —  Discussion – Average Is Over, interview about a new book by Tyler Cowan. For discussion: Read the article and listen to the NPR interview. Cowan is the author of The Great Stagnation.

Sept 19, 2013 —  Re-position Columbus: How the City Can Find Its Place Amongst Global Cities.  Guest speaker: JM Rayburn, an urban planner and graphic designer. His areas of expertise fall within housing, real estate, neighborhood development, transportation planning, and tourism. JM works for the Ohio Rail Development Commission, the agency that plans and promotes rail infrastructure statewide. He serves as a project leader on Growth & Development working group for the City of Columbus Green Team.

Aug 22, 2013 —  The implications of driverless cars, especially for the design of cities.

July 25, 2013 —  The future of  creativity – a consideration in 3 episodes, presented by Columbus Futurist member, Rich Bowers

June  20, 2013  – –  Book Circle:  Makers: The new industrial revolution, by Chris Anderson.  The “maker” culture is becoming an increasingly popular topic of discussion.  Consider two articles from the December 2012 The Atlantic Magazine:  The Insourcing Boom by Charles Fishman, and Mr. China Comes To America, by James Fallows.   And the possible dark side of personalized fabrication: the Defense Distributed website, which has been at the point of controversy about 3D printing, of magazines, even guns, and other weapon-related products.

May 23 , 2013- –  : Drones. Presentation by OSU student Christopher Inglin, who has completed a recent study of drones, and their uses and implications. Background article Drone Home, by Lev Grossman, Time Magazine, 2/11/2013.

April 18, 2013  – – The Growing Reality of Robots The Growing Reality of Robots, and their impact on the economy, productivity, jobs and the future of our culture.

March 21, 2013 — Book Circle:  The Signal and the Noise: Why so many predictions fail – but some don’t by Nate Silver

February 28, 2013 – – Topic:  Big Data, with a presentation by Columbus Futurist member Jamie Bisker

Meeting Notes, 2012

November 29, 2012  – For discussion:   The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future by Laurence C.  Smith.

October 18, 2012 – Predicting Presidential Elections – lead by James Bach, who returned after a similar session four years ago

September 20, 2012 – Automated Reporting – Better than human-mediated reporting?

August 23, 2012 – “Let’s Return to Athenian-style Democracy”

July 19, 2012 – Why Nations Fail

June 21, 2012 – Threats and Opportunities in K-12 Education

May 24 2012 “How will we know / describe the ‘Renaissance person’ of 2020?”  For a little context – read the Wikipedia overview of the concept of “polymath” – or Renaissance person. Is Nathan Myhrvold a “Renaissance man?”  Will he be considered a Renaissance man in the future?  Where are the Renaissance individuals of today – do they stand out, can they be emulated, should they be emulated or is there another path?

April 26 2012: Topic “Well-being in Ohio” Public and private sector leaders use data on life evaluation, physical health, emotional health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access to develop and prioritize strategies to help their communities thrive and grow. What does the survey reveal about Ohio? What are the implications for residents? What can a survey of well-being tell us about future trends? Read the attached pdf …

March 22 2012: “Real-life Jedi: Pushing the limits of mind control” It is no longer science fiction: researchers have developed working prototypes of brain-computer interfaces that allow users to control what they see on the screen simply with their thoughts. What are the implications of this emerging technology? Read the related article.

February 23 2012: “Are freeways doomed?” Several cities are tearing down highways, creating bold new public spaces, and building a future without cars. This discussion will be based on this article that appeared in Slate.

January 26 2012: “What are you reading right now?” Blog post

Meeting Notes, 2011

November 17, 2011:Synthesis: An Interdisciplinary Discipline. Article link

October 20, 2011: The Future of Business Education

September 22, 2011: David Staley on his “Universitas” presentation at Columbus TEDx, 2010 (link to video) –

August 25, 2011: Re-Imagining Capitalism

July 28, 2011: The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science link to article

June 23, 2011: Can Financial Terrorism Permanently Impact the Path to Economic Recovery? link to article

May 26, 2011: “The Future of Nuclear Power after Fukushima Dai-ichi” – presented by Gordon Aubrecht, the Ohio State University

April 28, 2011: Are America’s Best Days Behind Us? link to article by Fareed Zakaria

March 24, 2011: New Industry Prospects for Ohio

February 24, 2011: Machine Ethics

January 27, 2011: Scenarios on Vulnerability in the US 2030

Meeting Notes, 2010

November 18, 2010: Predicting Future Behavior article
October 28, 2010: Retroforesight

September 23, 2010: “Disaster Preparation in Columbus”

August 26, 2010: review of Matt Ridley’s TED talk “When ideas have sex”

July 22, 2010: “The Future of Transportation”

June 17, 2010: “Narcotrafficing: Implications for US Security”

May 27, 2010: “Future Opportunities for the State of Ohio”

Past Book Circle topics:

March 8, 2012: Albert Brooks: 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America (a novel)

November 9, 2011: Michio Kaku: Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

August 11, 2011: This Will Change Everything: Ideas that will shape the future, by John Brockman.

June 16, 2011: Alvin Toffler: Future Shock

May 19, 2011: Stephen Millett: Managing the Future

April 7, 2011: Steven Johnson: Where Good Ideas Come From

February 10, 2011: Stephen Millett: Managing the Future

January 13, 2011: Richard Florida: The Great Reset

December 9, 2010: John Casti: Mood Matters

November 11, 2010: Derek Bok: Our Underachieving Colleges

October 14, 2010: Albert Laszlo Barabasi: Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do

September 9, 2010: Clay Shirky: Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age

August 12, 2010: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita: The Predictioneer’s Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future

July, 2010: The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future by Laurence C. Smith.

June 21, 2010: Threats and Opportunities in K – 12 Education

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