Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

September 30, 2012

Vasicek: Meandering about the future

My fictitious friend, Emil, and his wife, Edna, had enjoyed an amazing Italian meal prepared by my amazing wife, Marylu. The gals were talking about artwork while Emil and I chatted over a cup of coffee.

Emil loves to read futurist blogs – columns written by folks who specialize in projecting the future.

“Yep,” he began, “Just read today about a new invention that could save lots of lives. You know lots of people in the impoverished nations die or nearly die because of bad water. It’s a real problem.”

“I’ve read about that,” I responded. “I know Bill Gates was giving out cash prizes to folks who were designing waterless toilets for the third world. Some amazing innovations came out of that. But what was this new invention?” Emil pulled out a clipping from conbug.com and began reading:

“Recently a UK design student won the James Dyson Award by creating a working prototype of a water bottle that can filter out 99.9% of bacteria, leaving the water sterilized in just a couple minutes … Using unique technology, the water bottle uses a wind-up ultra violet bulb to sterilize the water that is collected. The water then passes through a series of filters until it is bacteria and virus free … The water bottle could potentially save millions of lives. …”

“That’s amazing. What are some other things the futurists are talking about?”

“Well,” Emil continued, “I read something really strange. This one futurist, Thomas Frey – he seems to specialize in geeky stuff – anyhow, he says computers are going to become more emotional and anticipate what we want to watch or do. I think that’s kind of weird. He seems to think it will ‘amplify’ our humanity. I think it could endanger it.”

Emil keeps these articles folded up in his pockets. This one was stuck to a cough drop in a sticky wrapper. I finally opened the page from wfs.org and read it:

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