Axel Meisen (former President of Memorial University and now Chair of Foresight at the Alberta Research Council) challenged us to think about 3 issues “overnight”:
- What if we do move past fossil fuel – what are the implications for Alberta?
- Digital connectivity + infinite computer power available anywhere, anytime at low cost – global implications?
- Life Expectancy increasing – what if there are major extensions 120-150+ years?
Tuesday morning started with a discussion about these 3 high level issues.
Would Alberta leave oil in the ground?
- How do you evaluate the environmental costs?
- How do you look at alternative revenue?
- What about alternative sources: geothermal, solar?
- What about research investments in nanotech & genomics?
- Reference to a 1972 Harvard Business Review article on Marketing Myopia re: Amtrak.
- It’s all about how Alberta defines itself – what is a rational transition?
What about ubiquitous (more than now) digital connectivity and computer power?
- We are constrained by our ability to process the information—how do we train our brain to deal with this?
- Knowledge is a commodity of abundance – we are going to need to re-design how we are going to be at the leading edge of knowledge creation.
And, what about increasing life-expectancy…
- What are the implications?
- Is longevity the bi-product of our biotechnology revolution?
- What about the implications on our carbon footprints – for every person born we have to hand their footprint for twice as long.
- If we lead a longer life – are we healthier because of improved diet?
- We have to re-think our power relationships – what about the younger generation? What about the way research (medical) seems to be moving from children to the elderly?
- What about the financial infrastructure – fewer people working as needs for the elderly compete for resources.
Good discussion and good questions to ponder. Many of us are in the so-called sandwich generation — children and parents to look after. When you listen to David Baxter, our resident Vancouver demographer, you see quite a startling picture of the future. And he isn’t using Axel’s quite radical speculation on how long we will live.