Today's interview recorded on August 7, 2014 is with Jean Russell, Author of Thrivability. In it, we discuss what has changed with Alternative currencies the past 10 years, how we are currently scaling trust and shame we feel around money.
Today's interview recorded on June 25, 2014 is with Bradley Leimer. Bradley was Vice President of Digital Strategy at Mechanics Bank when we recorded this conversation. He’s now Head of Innovation at Santander Bank.(Congrats Bradley!) In it, we discuss crowdfunding and other changes in investing.
Please enjoy this fascinating conversation on the role of Banks, security and wearables.
Ferananda is co-founder of The Collective Intelligence Research Institute and team player of the Metacurrency project - which seeks to build a platform and protocol standards that will allow for multiple and interoperable currencies to exist on the Internet.
It's a fascinating conversation. I hope you enjoy it.
You can follow Ferananda on twitter.
In this Future of Money podcast, Ray and I go deep down the rabbit hole and discuss trust, resilience and our underlying assumptions about our economic paradigm. It's a conversation from a holistic systems perspective.
Systems thinking is an approach to understanding complex ecosystems. I consider deep understanding of systems a prerequisite to solving any big human problem. It's from this holistic perspective that we can gain fresh views to our economic "problems." I hope you enjoy this week's podcast.
Check out more of Ray's work
Tara Hunt and I met back in the early web 2.0 days through Barcamp, blogging and tech conferences. She's an old school internet marketing pioneer and was the author of the Wuffie Factor - one of the first books on social capital. We caught up a few months ago to talk about those early days of web 2.0 social capital, authentic brand, what's changed in the past 10 years and more.
If you're interested in online marketing, social capital or want to hear one of the smartest women talk, you won't want to miss this Future of Money episode with the talented Tara Hunt.
(Note: this is an idea I’ve been thinking about for months, it is hastily written, poorly researched and submitted to the internet as a provocative idea. I encourage respectful, constructive, non-judgemental dialog.)
Space exploration and climate crisis have more things in common than you might initially think. Common conclusions might say we've got to get off this planet before we destroy it.
Well, indeed that is one view, that feels to me irresponsible at best. (There are far better reasons for space exploration and it puts a huge burden on space exploration to include life support for initial journeys.)
Climate Change is a critical step towards positive space exploration/development - not because we’ve fucked shit up bad enough to dirty our home environment - but because we now know for certain that we puny humans can influence something as big as our home climate.
I think that’s pretty awesome.
I’ll repeat that - I think it’s awesome that humans can influence the global biosphere through our small, individual actions.
Ruth was one of the first LA Lyft drivers - experiencing first-hand the changes as Lyft grew and then when Uber started poaching Lyft drivers. (She broke this story to me months before it was covered in the mainstream news - which I included in my Reputation Currency brief.)
We talk about the early days of Lyft, general thoughts on the Sharing Economy and I have an epiphany -
Abundance is everywhere, it’s just not evenly distributed. -Heathervescent
Today’s world increasingly challenges us to think differently about value and money. How important is your reputation? Does it have an impact on your finances? What is the currency of reputation and is it transferable or exchangeable? Find out the past, present and possible futures.
Thanks to the Institute of Customer Experience for their generous sponsorship of this report.
As preparation for the Future of Money TV interviews, I began conducting conversations with provocative thinkers and experts in monetary topics. After several I realized the discussions were too good to keep to myself. So I kicked off production for this (my first) podcast series.
The first episode, about Money and Relationships, is with the fantastic Epiphany Jordan of Karuna Sessions. In it, we discuss how having more money doesn’t necessarily make you feel more financially stable and why more women want a different kind relationship as they increase their economic power. It's a fascinating conversation and Epiphany inspired me to consider the impact of money on relationships and vice versa. Special shout-outs to the first 15 Kickstarter backers.
If you are interested in hearing more about Epiphany's work, please vote for the her SxSW panel exploring The Future of Touch: You Can't Hug a Status Update.
You can subscribe to the podcast
Listen to the podcast below.
What is the future of money, identity, banking, transactions, relationships and intimacy when you have a direct connection to the technology?
For your consideration, I'm delighted to announce a SxSW panel submission for 2015 . Building upon past topics (The New Age of Money & The New Age of Technology Enhanced Intimacy), I've teamed up with IEEE for Biometrics & Identity: Beyond Wearables.
Wearables are a hot topic. I've recently become obsessed with the W3C EmotionML spec which is driving my passion in the topic of emotion/computer interfaces. I'll touch on that and build upon my previous work on the Future of Money.
What is the ultimate human computer interface? The body? Emotions? Bio-chemicals? How could we use these interfaces for better control over our data, identities and for financial wellbeing?
It's going to be a fascinating exploration. Please vote for the session to hear the possibilities!
* Photo creative commons by PhotonQuantique
**cross posted from the Future of Money Kickstarter Backer update**
The Sharing Economy gets Political in Twentynine Palms
In my local community of 25,000 people, AirBnB is illegal. This is being revisited with a new proposal for review by the City Council. Last week I spoke at the City Planning Commission Meeting - it was a heated discussion with local hotels bringing out every fear based story they could to build a case against allowing AirBnB rentals. (They see it as competition and are doing everything they can to block it.)
This has been my call to get involved in local politics. The Sharing Economy is critical to our future economic success - whether you live in a big city or small area. It brings money into the local community and economically strengthens it - encouraging local entrepreneurs to start businesses. Businesses people have pride in, get paid a wage where they can live a decent life. Not to mention connect you with passionate locals in unique lodgings.
In a city like Twentynine Palms - which has been economically dependent on the local Marines base (Where will Military spending go in the coming years? Not to ground war resources I can guarantee you.) - economic diversity is critical to our longevity. I want this crazy (in a good way) little desert town thrive - and that takes a diverse ecosystem. When you come visit the gorgeous Joshua Tree National Park, I want you to experience unique locally owned restaurants, visit cool locally created retail shops, drink artisan beer, take home locally produced honey and return home with memories of the gorgeous desert sunsets.
The way local politics works in Twentynine Palms in this situation - the Planning Commission hears community concerns, makes a recommendation to the City Council and then the City Council votes. Last time they considered the idea (5 years ago), they voted against it, despite a positive recommendation from the Planning Commission. I'm working to ensure we allow AirBnB style rentals in this community this time around.
Last Tuesday, after three hours of discussion we had only gotten through 5 of the 15 sticking points. The planning commission saw the community benefits - but had many regulatory concerns to discuss. We're reconvening on August 5th to go through the remaining 10 points. I'll be there again to be part of the discussion.
This is my first foray into local politics and wow, is it a lot of time and energy! Worth it on so many levels - not least of which it's material for the series!
I'd love to hear (and share with the commission) your comments about the Sharing Economy and AirBnB. And if you by chance want to join me August 5th, there's always crash space in the dome.
AirBnB has more than an economic impact - it facilitates human connections making the world more friendlier.
I queried my Facebook Community for their experiences on AirBnB. Here's what they had to say....
I don't usually jump on the bandwagon and review a new mobile wallet - but Amazon is a company I watch closely regarding the Future of Money and Transactions. Today they launched their mobile wallet. I was really excited because - it's Amazon - they've got their new phone (which I am considering switching from my beloved Samsung) and well, Amazon has huge assets and generally does innovative things.
I immediately installed it on my Android Phone.
It's clear, this is a very basic 1.0 release. I guess the idea is that I will manually enter the cards I have in my wallet into this app - take a picture of it, sync the barcode.
(I tried to take a phone screenshot of this entry screen, but was DRM protected from taking a screenshot!)
Here's what it looks like from the Google Play Store Images (covering a bunch of the fields with dropdowns and keyboards.)
What a PITA - who is really going to manually enter the card information from their wallet? Does anyone actually use the physical card for rewards points? (I never do.)
After adding a card or three, I went over to the amazon.com/wallet page. I wanted to see what functionality I could do there. I'd much prefer to input information on my computer than my mobile phone.
At my Amazon.com/walllet it had all my basic payment information (which Amazon has because I've been buying things from them since 1996!) and a section entitled: Merchant Cards - which syncs up with the UI/Information shown in the wallet app. The cards I just entered on my phone immediately synced with the site - which was expected. My Amazon saved payment methods did not show up in the wallet app and are not (as far as I can tell) accessible from it.
My immediate reaction to this 3 minute interaction: BO-RING.
Part of that is because I live in the future. I also have high expectations from Amazon (as part of their reputation currency) - but I'm also human and understand software development and launching innovative products - so I reasonably see this release as a baby step. It's a Google move. The app has basic (unusable to me) functionality - but I can see where it could lead to functionality that would interest me (although it's likely 1-3 years out).
There's a lot of integration that could occur in the future. And this baby 1.0 release is the first step.
So while I am less than impressed with this release, I see the potential for Amazon Wallet to go in a direction that DOES interest me and is TRULY innovative around money and payments. So I won't stop watching Amazon with my hawk's eye.
Dear Los Angeles,
I love the story of how we re-met. Do you remember? I moved down here, in a one month sublet, with no friends, no job, some money in the bank and no plans. You said you wanted me here. I followed your voice and I came. I jumped into your unknown.
In this past decade, I've had the best times of my life. I've written about them on this blog. That love put me on the cover of the LA times. Remember that? Your inspirational swirling vanilla sky? The moistness of your breath in the morning. Hollywood Boulevard. The Imperial March?
My love is obvious to all. I've piqued the curiosity of harden San Franciscans and shown them your unusual ways. I know you're more than that Hollywood image.
Without question, I have done everything I've dreamed here... and yet... there are more dreams. We dream together. Extracting possibilities and making them real.
I don't know if it's fitting or not, but on Friday, the date of our anniversary, I will be in Madrid. You'll be there too. Because you are part of me. Where I go, you go. Can a city be like that? You're much more than a city to me.
I love you so much. I'm so grateful you exist. That you're such a huge part of my life. That I found you. That I took the leap to come here to live and become the most amazing heathervescent possible. You've made me a better person.
I can't wait to see what we become in the next decade.
Your beloved Angelino,
I love thinking about unintended consequences. One side-effects of thinking radically different, is my ability to see through exponential growth predictions and around the corners of typical future visions. I've had women, science and relationships on my mind.
Increasing Women in STEAM. How will this change the world?
The typical thinking is that we need more women in these areas for equality and job growth. But it's not just about job growth or equality. There will be results we have not considered, that will ripple through the sciences and society.
Women think and work in a fundamentally different way.
I had a fascinating conversation with Epiphany Jordan a few weeks ago. She has some interesting perspectives on money and relationships. I'll post our interview soon. What struck me was this comment on relationships.
"Women used to need men for financial support. Now that women are financially independent, they want male relationships that give emotional support. Women want a partner. Men want a girlfriend or wife. But many men do not have the emotional capacity to give that emotional support."
What does this have to do with women in STEAM?
As women increase in population in STEAM careers, I believe we'll see an increase in collaboration and cooperation. We haven't even seen the tip of the iceberg on this.
Additionally, we'll see an increasing demand for male emotional maturity and emotional availability - and women in STEAM will build technology to facilitate this.
Emily is now 48 years old and CEO of Empathech, a technology company that creates implants for the male gender. Created as a start-up at the beginning of the last decade, Empathech is the leading supplier of the empathy device that is commonly implanted in boys when they reach puberty. It has become a right of passage—a ceremonial practice—that all families of stature recognize. At 9 years old, Emily’s son will soon have the privilege of getting his empathy device. There will be celebration in the community as is customary. It’s an important stage in his life that will ensure he finds a good wife to provide for him in the future.
It's simplistic to say gender roles are reversing. They aren't.
Inside ourselves are male and female characteristics. Women have come a long way in the recent past - gaining "equality" - which I interpret as understanding, owning and being recogonized for traditionally male characteristics. Basically, women are mostly able to express both female and male characteristics in society.
Men, however, can not. Part of this challenge is that society generally judges male characteristics as strong and female characteristics as weak. This creates friction for men, being judged as weak for emotional strength and maturity - what you could define as emotional strength. To be competitive, men must appear strong. Society makes it hard for men to be sensitive and masculine. Quite a catch-22.
A consequence of women in STEAM?
And an unintended consequence of women in STEAM?
Dazed has a nice piece on ten neurological advances - they close out their list with my concept of The Global Now.
THE RISE OF THE GLOBAL NOW
Futurist Heather Schlegel put forth the idea that technology is actually deepening the social and emotional ties between us, thanks to a sense of “geo-temporal awareness” that she calls “The Global Now.” Technology, she argues, has presented us with tools with which to curate and deepen specific parts of our lives with certain friends, thereby adding a “custom enhancement” feature to our relationships. This is a view we’d like to get behind, because it retains a healthy distance from the danger of fetishizing technology, and still places full responsibility on flesh-and-blood humans for how they choose to use said technology. The bottom line is, data-mining and spying and insidious surveillance aside, technology remains, at its very core, a tool – a tool that we can actively choose to learn, understand, and apply to our social interactions. It doesn’t have to diminish what it means to be human, unless we allow it to. Right?
Even fleeting glances can make a difference. Many of us have had the experience of what the Germans call “wie Luft behandeln” (“to be looked at as though air”). The social norm of avoiding eye contact seems harmless, but it might not be. In an experiment conducted at a large Midwestern university, a college-age woman walked by people on campus and either made eye contact, smiled at them while making eye contact, or directed her gaze “beyond the ear of the passer-by,” deliberately avoiding eye contact. She was trailed by another researcher, who surveyed people in her wake. Those who were looked at as though they weren’t there reported feeling more disconnected from others.
Simply acknowledging strangers on the street may alleviate their existential angst; and being acknowledged by others might do the same for us.
It reminded me of a practice I started several years ago when I walked my dog. My neighborhood is populated with many retired Russian/Ukrainian ex-pats who came to LA in the 80s. I often seen couples, or groups of women taking a morning or evening stroll. I noticed that many appeared afraid of my dog. I started out by smiling at them when we passed each other on the sidewalk, and now I often say hello to them when I pass. Today, sometimes I see grandmothers pushing strollers or sitting and waiting for a ride, I will stop and say hello. Sometimes they say hello and pet Mr Dog. And I have even noticed a few now have little dogs of their own on the evening walk.
This makes me so happy.
When I go out and say hello to these constant neighborhood strangers, I always feel better. I might walk out the door feeling sad or frustrated - and this evaporates with these interactions. It's nice to see some science behind it.
We have reached peak Fuck You Money.
Chart by Miko Matsumura
Fuck You Money: the chunk of money you believe you need in the bank before you say Fuck You to your day job.
It's a math equation a lot of people believe/work towards that goes like....
Make lots of money (in a lucrative, high risk day job, put up with BS, do what it takes to make the cash money cash money)
Say FUCK YOU (quit your day job, retire (early), develop a passion/hobby a job, follow your dreams, read lots of greek philosophy (preferably of the stoic variety) _______, etc.)
Reinforcing feedback loop to do whatever it takes to make money in the rat race, then get out.
This equation might have worked in the past, but it doesn't work anymore. There are many people using this model, going for bigger pieces of the monetary equation, and there's less money available in circulation. The amount of money needed for Fuck You Money has also increased - you need to have acquired more Fuck You Money today than you did, say 10 or 20 years ago.
When I hear about people following this model: doing something tedious to make money and putting off following their dreams, I ask them why. What is stopping them from working on their dream (which is, inevitably a more satisfying line of work, or working for themselves, or other way of making money)?
It comes down to fear.
The Fuck You Money is a hedge against fear. But really, Fuck You Money puts fear off. It hides fear - which is going to be IN YOUR FACE anytime you do something you really want. That's how you know you want it.
So stop wasting time making Fuck You Money. Face your fear (I'm not saying you have to overcome it) and take the leap anyway. You'll be closer to your dreams muy rapido. It's also more sustainable for the economy/environment.
George Dvorsky at io9 has a great interview with me on How Tech Will Actually Change your Love Life. Check it out!
Our technologies are rapidly evolving, and with it, the very nature of our personal lives. Here's how the era of tech-enabled intimacy will forever change the way we go about forming and maintaining relationships.
One person who's given this topic considerable thought is Heather Schlegel. She's an award winning futurist and social scientist who investigates changes in technology, culture,transactions and money, relationships, and intimacy. I contacted Schlegel to get her take on the future of human intimacy and the role that technology will play.
Making a TV series about the Future of Money is more work than one person (even a superhero) can manage. I’m looking for a few great people to join my core posse. The first person I'm looking to add is a Currency Designer to help me with the NEUX.
Future of Money Currency Designer
You will be responsible for driving and creating the visual (or maybe the crypto-visual) design of the currency. The Neux is envisioned as part physical currency with a technology (RFID or possible crypto) part. We will work closely together - you will be my brain-partner.
Shout out to Scott Berkun, whom I totally cribbed this process from. *High-five*
And more on the future of intimacy. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by! Here's a quick guide.
Want to go further down the rabbit hole?
And please, feel free to contact me!
Recently co-created internet spaces have taken on the quality of physical spaces in my mind.
I communicate with people through video chat. When I skype with someone, I often "feel" three distinct "spaces."
During one call, I was reminded of Alice, through the Looking Glass. I love the opening scene in this Mickey Mouse spoof. My computer screen feels a little like this. Opening to a non-real space where both participants exist.
A Third Space?
It's as if, for the duration of the call, we create this "third space" between us. What is this third space created between us? Composed of material stuff as well as our minds? I know where the material stuff resides, but where does the "space" where our minds connect reside? My imagination? Your imagination? A Hofstadter Strange Loop? Some quantum world?
Are these worlds much different from the ones writers have with their characters? stories? Some kind of Cool World?
My Own, Personal, Portal
More and more, I feel my mobile phone - I anthropomorphize it to the screen on my mobile phone - is a portal, my portal to interacting in alternate, real, but also virtual world. It "feels" like Second Life, but it's not some place - it's every place. It's made up of real people, not avatars.
I didn't always think of this "third space" as an actual space. It's been emerging slowly, beginning with my awareness of The Global Now: a phrase I use to describe geo-temporal awareness through shared friend-node experiences (sms's, status updates, tweets, instagrams).
It's something that seems obvious to me now. Especially after exploring the ways technology is increasing intimacy. With the internet, mobile phones, SMS, instagram and other apps, we have a direct tunnel into each others minds. I have a connection that is more emotional, stronger, deeper. I connect with the part of you that you share. I experience what you experience - in a way.
I don't know where this leads, but I know the world has distinctly changed.
My interview with the Institute of Customer Experience in Mumbai, is now live. In it I talk about some of my favorite science fictions authors, scenarios of the future of money and I wax philosophical about the movie Inception and dreams.
You are Invited to Participate in the Fourth Annual Future of Transactions Survey
As our economy and technology continues to evolve, the Annual Future of Transactions Survey tracks the way we transact and the types of money we spend, including questions about Bitcoin, Mobile Payments, virtual and alternative currencies.
I'm running the survey again this year for the 3rd time and I'd be eternally grateful for your participation.
Past results (2010, 2011, 2013) were analyzed and translated into three videos scenarios depicting how we will buy and sell in the future. Data from the surveys has been presented to audiences at SXSW, Web 2.0, Future of Money Summit, and the Digital Money Forum. And they were the basis for the the Future of Money TV Series concept developed last year (which I am diligently working to produce).
This year’s results will be combined with the data from the 2010, 2011, 2013 and the Bitcoin surveys from 2011 and 2013 to track emerging trends in our transaction behaviors. The results will be used in the Future of Money TV series and I hope to make available as a report later this year.
[Note] This phenomenal project has been a vulcan mind-meld with my colleagues Zahra, Carl and Karen. We met in June over the internet through a joint course at University of Houston and OCAD exploring Future Design Fictions.
I was interested in the Future of Relationships and how they were evolving. I disagreed with the idea, going around the web at the time, that technology was decreasing positive human interactions. I had a different experience. Technology enabled me to be more intimate with people regardless of physical proximity. I expressed an interest in exploring this topic; Carl, Karen and Zahra were equally interested and we quickly formed a research team.
The results of our collaboration, a corporation that creates embedded emotion communication devices, was presented our session at SXSW: The New Age of Technology Enhanced Intimacy. Where we had a provocative conversation with our audience (tweet archive #techimacy). (Voice recording will be posted shortly.)
We're comfortable expressing ourselves on blogs, twitter and facebook. Some people think there is a problem with oversharing. (In the early blogging days, this was called naked blogging.) We're equally comfortable consuming, commenting and conversing with other people.
There's an awareness that people process emotions differently. But it's often hard for people to really understand the difference in emotional expression/understanding. I particularly like autism reframed as neurodiversity, rather than a disease. (Perhaps this is a way of the human being responding in evolution to environmental changes. We don't know.)
In the future, I envision a language of emotions and a further language of intimacy. Take this heat map of emotions. From a body perspective we can see where we "feel" these emotions. But in what intensity? And who is to say that I feel happiness the same way you do. Or love. Or fear. Or anger? We don't have a baseline emotional alphabet - yet. We're just starting to have the technology available to construct this alphabet. This baseline emotional alphabet is critical for a variety of reasons.
It's a pre-requisite for emotion to emotion communication - to have a syntax of emotion. And it's absolutely critical for the development of AI systems. We've got a great understanding of logic - but emotions? To messy. However at some point, for AI to evolve - it will have to have an emotional understanding. And not just a programmed emotional understanding.
I like analogies. I'm a writer. I communicate emotional states through words. Poetry does this. Putting together combinations of words to map to the complex emotional state I am experiencing, that I want to share with you. A good poem does that. But imagine being able to really feel what I am feeling.
We're entering a new frontier.
Twitter for Emotions.
I describe EMP-Connect as Twitter/Instagram for emotions. Like both Twitter and Instagram, you curate what you put out and at what level of vulnerability: publicly, selectively or privately.
Imagine you are walking on a beach, feeling calm and peaceful and connected to the world. You want to take a snapshot of that experience and share it with a friend, or you mom, or maybe you want to keep it to revisit it later (for example, during Zahra's 14 hour work day). Maybe you want to take a snapshot when you're in a deep meditative space to share with others what it feels like to have a deep sense of calm and peace. Maybe you want to take a snapshot at the protest rally, when a cop beats you. Or you are sexually harassed. So that others can feel what it feels like.
It's not about Sex
“If there is increased empathy, compassion and tolerance, and you are able to deeply, intimately connect, then you can choose to have down and dirty sex or you can choose to have really soul connecting sex,” Schlegel says.
By 2027, adult performers could be sharing their orgasms with viewers, according to the UME Corporation website. Sex workers could also sell their emotional experiences recorded during sex to many customers, without having sex with them.
People intrigued by sex acts they aren’t ready to try might also be able to buy the experiences, Schlegel adds.
Sex can have intimacy. But sex doesn't always have or need intimacy. While sex, intimacy and technology is titillating, I find it obvious and thus, not very intellectually challenging. There are many applications outside the realm of sex (many headlines are in the presentation above and were discussed in the session). Check out UME's guidance modules for the tip of the iceberg.
I find it exciting to envision a technology that increases a literacy of intimacy. What would a world with increased intimacy literacy be like? I imagine it to have more tolerance, compassion and empathy - both for others and ourselves. An increased sense of awareness of other perspectives - and respect that goes with a deep visceral understanding that these other views, perspectives do not threaten yours.
My mind was blow when one of the audience members asked, "How do you scale intimacy?" Since the panel, I've been thinking not just the infrastructure necessary for this (this seems fairly obvious following the network and wearables trends) - but the implications! What are the implications of a world with scaled intimacy? That's what really excited me.
Update: Carl just sent this article that shows how a combination of facial recognition and computer algorithms can read your emotions better than people! This video reads straight out of early UME Corporation marketing!
Update 2: I just found this fantastic Talk by TJ Dawe on Collective Intelligence, Empathy and the Dualistic Brain. It's really great! h/t @goonth
The Money Matter Section of the Vandejong blog posted a great profile about my work as a Futurist.
“Many people believe there is one future that will happen to them. I’d like people to understand there are many possibilities.” – American futurist and filmmaker Heather Schlegel
Find out why I think American Express, Nike, Virgin and Burning Man are really interesting future facing companies to watch.
In case you haven't noticed, I have an ambitious streak.
In 2012, I wrote a seminal paper. (Well, I think in retrospect it will be seen as seminal. It seminal to me.) I had been asked to write a paper exploring one of the world's biggest "wicked" problems. Typical problems of this genre are climate change, economic crisis, water crisis, peak oil, etc. Big disasters that threaten the END OF HUMANITY!!!!!1!!!1!!!1
While these are truly big problems, I do not get particularly worked up by them. Part of this has to do with my galactic timeline view of the human species. Sure, from our perspective, these are big deal problems, but in the scheme of the universe, I don't think these things will destroy the earth, or the solar system. These problems _will_ make it difficult to continue as a species. Anyway, with this nonchalant perspective and because I like a challenge; I decided how boring to address only ONE problem. Instead, I tackled ALL the problems. And by looking at ALL THE PROBLEMS, I found a brand new perspective.
If you know me, you know I don't think like most people.
My paper, The Human Problem, explored the results of this inquiry. The Association of Professional Futurist awarded me first place for it. (This was the third year in a row I had been awarded by the APF - I'm abstaining submitting anything this year - I think it's only fair.)
I presented an in-depth talk about the paper at Iowa Wesleyan last October. I had forgotten they filmed it, but found it online this morning. It's a pretty fantastic talk, if I do say so myself. I am fairly happy with the presentation.
If you are interested in learning HOW TO SOLVE ALL THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS (and I can't help but type this with a snark in my eye), then check it out. Enjoy!
It seems like not long ago I was writing my 2012 review in a hotel room in Southern Utah.
When I reflect on where I was a year ago, it's like a different world. I was in Portland. I had just packed up my mom's house and condo. We had held her funeral and I gave an Eulogy. I had just got into her car and drove to Montana. I had no idea where my life was going. It seemed like everything had or was breaking down. You only live once, so I surrendered to my unfolding life.
2013 was a year a shifts and changes.
The elephant in the room was grieving for my mother, the closure of her estate and the reintegration of myself after her death, which included a priority shift from my career uber alles into healthy consciously created relationships. There was also the case of my broken heart. 2013 was the birth of my most ambitious project to date: The Future of Money TV Series.
Not too shabby of a year, especially considering the circumstances.
I'm leaving 2013 a healthier person, physically and emotionally. I have amazing friends I love, who love me. Great collaborators. And great projects that I believe will culturally change the world and make it a better place. I've successfully recovered/reintegrated the shocks from 2012 and 2013. I'm a different person, but I'm also still the same heathervescent!
I'm exiting 2013 in the best shape of my life - personally, professionally, physically.
So 2014... the newly evolved heathervescent is finally ready to start my life's work...
I've got a new article up on Medium about Bitcoin. Please check it out and hit their Recommend button! Thanks!
The past couple weeks has seen a media saturation on Bitcoin reminiscent of a similar hype peaking in June 2011. Change a few numbers in this MIT Tech Review article reporting about the 2011 bubble and it’s déjà vu. Here’s what causing the boom in Bitcoin from the perspective of a financial futurist.
Paradigm shifts take time. Often we don’t realize one is happening when we’re in the middle of it. This is because the full shift can only be seen clearly in hindsight. It takes system thinking, which trained futurists deploy to connect seemingly unconnected subjects, to call out a paradigm shift in real time. Topics and trends are mostly explored and understood in their own context — but for futurists, they become exponentially more powerful when seen through a broader lens.
Bitcoin bridges two paradigms: the traditional financial paradigm, focused on clearly defined 1:1 financial transactions, and a new paradigm, in which non-financial data is layered on top of financial transactions. Bitcoin transactions include shared social values layered on top of the financial transaction mechanism. The social values encoded in the DNA of Bitcoin are DIY, peer-to-peer, distrust in government and central banking systems, technology elitism, and anonymity. Buying something with Bitcoin can be construed as an act of financial activism —not just a purchase.
Bitcoin early adopters are rewarded today for holding the currency long term. You might call some people lucky because they bought Bitcoin and then forgot about it. But they bought it for a reason, and based on my Bitcoin research survey in 2011, most early Bitcoin purchasers were believers in the social values the currency represents.
The use of Bitcoin for speculation and market manipulation is an unfortunate side effect of its capabilities for real-time beta testing. Because Bitcoin is a smaller system, those with the resources to purchase large amounts can manipulate it. This has attracted speculators looking for short-term gain, which resulted in the 2011 Bitcoin bubble and crash. Consider this part of Bitcoin’s growing pains.
Despite the rising bar in the stock market; inequality between the rich and the poor has never been greater in the history of human civilization. This is why people are willing to experiment making money in new ways. Retailers can now accept Bitcoin because the transactions are easier to process than in the history of the currency, more people are using it, and its gained mainstream credibility, especially through the positive reception at the Senate Congressional hearings. In addition to increased sales, Bitcoin-friendly retailers garner media attention as well as community goodwill as reported by Kasmir Hill in this Forbes article.
“[T]he real worth of taking [Bitcoin] may be the publicity Cups and Cakes has gotten as one of the first stores to accept the currency. Her little shop has been featured in international news: on the BBC, in the Financial Times, on NPR Marketplace, and beyond.”
From a financial futurist’s perspective it appears as if Bitcoin is going to keep increasing in value, so there’s little downside if you have steady regular currency sales. The Bitcoin sales are gravy.
The future looks like this: a diversification of currencies. I don’t believe we will see our traditional economic system disappear. Most people will need dollars for daily needs. But you’ll be able to use other currencies for certain things. You might need dollars to pay your rent or car payment or internet bill, For your local farmer’s market or coffee shop, you might use a community currency like Bernal Bucks or Brixton Pounds. And you might use Bitcoins to transact online or when traveling to regions like Berlin with robust Bitcoin economies.
You might ask, is it too late to get in on Bitcoin? It depends on your reasons. If you wanted to get in at the beginning, well, you’re four years late. However, if you believe in DIY and peer-to-peer sharing, distrust government and central banking systems, consider yourself a technology elitist and prefer anonymity, what other currency options align with those values? Are you willing to put your money where your values are? No one can predict whether you will make money, but with each Bitcoin transaction, you are actively creating the future. For many, this ability to influence the future is a worthwhile investment.
Announcing my 2013 Bitcoin Survey. Your participation helps me build on past research and will be used in the Future of Money Television Series as well as shared with participants. Please consider taking and sharing the survey. You can take it via the embedded blox below or go directly to it via this link.
I had a lovely conversation with the witty Andrew Keen of TechCrunch TV. Watch!
This month I lauched two new blogs.
As part of my warm-up writing and increasing my attention on things I love, I started daily blogging: Love Letters from Vescent.
Update: I launced a new site for my Mojave Desert Geodesic Dome. Coming to Southern California? Want to experience the magic of the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park? Experience the Sharing Economy and stay in the Dome!
If you like this kind of writing, go check them out.
You know those stories people tell, those who were there in the beginning of something that became a revolutionary change in the world. They love to look back and tell about the struggles of the early days, how it almost didn't happen. Then there are those people who were on the fence, but later secretly wished they had joined.
Those changes rarely happened overnight. They usually take years, sometimes decades. Apple Design, Burning Man, how many startups with 3 or 7 or 14 employees that went on to become household names. You know these stories. The Media loves to write about these people years after their hard work and make it seem like it happened overnight.
I know The Future of Money TV Series will shift our culture and understanding around money. I've put in almost 4 years of my life researching the changes - most of this unpaid - driven by my passion and fascination of what is emerging. I put everything in my life on hold (my Master's degree, my personal life, even my relationship at the time which crumbled under the pressure) when I went to work for Innotribe, the innovation division of Swift, as an attempt to directly make change in the industry.
Now, I am taking the story to the public. That's what the Future of Money TV Series is all about. A positive vision of the future - but not just the philosophy and economics - the practical ways you can act every day to create the world you want to live in - through each transaction.
I am driven and this is going to happen one way or another. I am tenacious and do not give up. I am ambitious and I can't help but think big. I want to make this series. I want to share this information with the world so we are informed and empowered to act in a way that creates the world you want to live in.
This is going to happen. The only question I have for you is: Will you be there?
I've talked about using Kickstarter as an experiment in crowd-funding The Future of Money TV Series. But there's another experiment hidden inside the Kickstarter...
Back in 2010 I created my first set of future scenarios about the Future of Transactions. Briefly they were:
I conceived of the Neux three years ago. While launching the Kickstarter, I was not content to merely experiment with what exists today, but with what I believe will be possible in the future.
Novenify has a innovative payment philosophy. While we accept standard currency for our Analysis and Pro-Active Extension Program, our other programs accept payment only in Neux dollars.
Neux dollars are our own currency, developed and created by our Founder, Ms Hill. Ms Hill crowd-sourced the funding for her ground-breaking research, with all early investors having the option to receive their investment returns in our currency. At that time, Novenify was the only company who accepted this payment. In the past decade, Neux dollars have been approved for transactional currency status by the Alternative Currency Consortium. Neux dollars have subsequently gone into regular circulation.
Neux dollars can be currently be earned by highly conscious and humanity contributing individuals. Please contact us to apply. (source)
I saw this experiment for real when I met the Amsterdam Artist, Dadara, in March of this year. He showed me his Love Currency. This was more than just a voucher... it was a currency with a non-financial value encoded into it. Much like I had envisioned with Janet Hill's Neux currency.
When I went to create the Kickstarter, I decided to make NEUX for real and encode certain values in it.
I'd like to introduce you to the NEUX.
The values encoded in NEUX are not financial. It is a belief in a positive, inclusive, systematic view of the financial system that abundantly offers/creates the ability for currency to circulate in the market system, for the co-existence of diverse, complimentary and even adversarial currencies, products, systems and infrastructures to co-exist.
You can get your own NEUX by financially backing the Kickstarter. You're exchanging a financial value into a non-financial valued currency. The ratio is 1 to 1 at the $100 level. Want some NEUX? Choose from one of these two levels with a bonus round:
What may become of NEUX currency? I have some ideas I will share in time. Like in the Novenify scenario, there may be a time when NEUX currency is the only form of payment for certain products, services or information.
This is an experiment in layers. Like my films show layers of the future.
Don't be left out of the NEUX experiment. Come play with us and together we will create the future.
It's been a wild ride, this Kickstarter experiment for the Future of Money TV Series. Yesterday marked the beginnig of our two week count down. Two weeks to raise the remaining amount or ....
I have been joined by 137 amazing people. People including Bank Executives, Burning Man founders, Bitcoin enthusiasts, Community Currency Creators, Bank Startup Founders, Futurists, Startup Veterans, Science Fiction Authors, Scientists, Marketers, Journalists, long time friends, brand new ones and many people I haven't met… yet!
I'm amazed to bring this diverse group of people together who believe in a positive vision of the future of money. I know this series will transform lives, will transform minds, will transform the world.
Fast or slow, this is going to happen. You can be here at the beginning. Any amount helps! Join us!
Photo by infomatique
I'm catching up on my Science reading this morning, reading a beautiful article about Predators in Urban areas. It's a review of research and stories of large predators living in urban areas and expanding their natural ranges - Coyotes, Cougars, Wolves, Bears in the Western States.
This is a trend I am happy to see play out and I had a gut intuition of it several years when I started seeing Coyotes at midnight on my Hollywood streets. A few years ago, I heard coyotes howling in Griffith Park, once I saw a pack of 5 juvenile coyotes in broad daylight!! More recently, there's a cougar living in the Hollywood Hills.
Much of this article reviews methods to deal with wild animal population and ranchers/livestock. It's a typical systems perspective. I was especially interested to read how a rise in cougar related complaints occurred after a rise in hunting cougars (net death increase). This is a typical output of a problem we try to solve in a system we do not understand. What happened was the deaths were of mature/adult cougars which increased the adolescent male cougar population to fill their places. These adolescent male cougars were more likely to kill livestock and female cougar's kittens (to replace w/ their own offspring) which caused the females to move into areas they did not usually populate.
We wouldn't know the systems view without this experience. I think we can have more foresight and understanding from a systems perspective - which will help us stabilize systems like this more effectively and sustainably. To do this, one must not take one perspective as the "correct" one. It is dangerous to make decisions from one view in a system - this often has drastic unintended consequences.
This is why it is important to understand and take into consideration all perspectives at the table - even if one disagrees and judges one view to be "wrong."
This kind of thinking is something I have trained myself in for 3+ years. It has exponentially expanded my ability to hold space for possibilities in my mind. The methods I use are Spiral Dynamics (as a development level thinking) and Systems Thinking (Draper Kauffman was my amazing systems teacher). This view has also evolved from my own personal ideology - a taoist view shifting from one polar view along the spectrum to another. As much as I can, I hold the space to believe "there is no wrong perspective."
This is where I am coming from when I say things like, The Future of Money is abundant for bankers and others with the explicit goal of making money and/or having power and equally as well as people striving for a more sustainable, triple bottom line life experience. Neither of these worldviews are wrong. They co-exist. While it may be the goal of one worldview to eradicate or convert another worldview, that is not at all what I am trying to do.
My goal is to create/assist in creating/improve the abundance for groups/individuals/communities - regardless of their measurement stick (getting out of poverty, entrepreneurship, gaining power and wealth, living sustainably and in harmony).
And this is what I will show in The Future of Money TV Series. How, regardless of what you use to measure success, you will find more of it in the future. But don't expect the world to stay the same. There's no reason to be afraid, it's changing in amazing and wonderful ways.
I drive Mom's Jag North though the San Joaquin. It rides like a dream and I feel like I am on the Disneyland Monorail. Mr Dog is my co-pilot. We slide into Alameda as the sun sets across the bay. The dark hills are silhouetted against the fiery orange sky. I remember so many of these sunsets from my Berkeley porch. Previous chapters of my life.
Alameda is beautiful place. Tree lined streets. Gorgeous houses. It reminds me of days past. There are no new shiny metal condos. I walk my dog in the cool mornings and dream of living here. Dream of what life could be like living here. I indulge in this fantasy. I indulge in returning to this metropolitan area.
I'm up here for the wedding of one of my best friends. Someone who had a profound impact on my life, many times. We met through work, we became friends through divorce, health and work challenges and celebrated good times with lots of sushi. I think of all these things as I see her, Rosie, beautiful in her white dress, hair pin curled with pearls. They have been such a comfort, such a friend to me. It's an honor to be here with them, to celebrate and witness their marriage. The ceremony and vows are perfect.
I can't help but be a little sad. My heart is still broken. I have dreams of my own romance. My awesome partner. Visions of a life. I try to enjoy these times alone. Doing whatever I want. Reinventing myself. But I miss the companionship. I feel this absence even as I joyously witness the union of two great friends. I hold space for their dreams and wish them everything they desire.
These circle of friends. Many know me pre-Heathervescent. People who made such an impact in my life. Taking chances on me. Believing in me. Mentoring me. Befriending me. These people I have known for more than 15 years.... connected by the core values we share.
It feels great to have these longtime friendships. To revisit our antics of the past. To catch up on current projects. Under it all, friendship and love.
That's what I'm learning this year, love really is the only thing that matters. The tender thread weaving us together. I strengthen my thread and weave it widely in the world.
Quick update: WE DID IT! Last night we hit the goal and raised the $35k needed to move to the next step on the project. Thank you so much! I could not have done this without each and every one of you! More updates as they happen...
I'm really excited to share my latest project. Allow me to introduce you to (drum roll please).....
Since 2010, I have researched the Future of Transactions. My scenario work from my research caught the eyes of Peter Vander Auwera and Kosta Peric of Innotribe, the Innovation division of Swift. With their financial support, I made 3 short scenario films and 2 documentaries. I even joined the Innotribe team for a year to help make these visions a reality.
While working for Innotribe, I was struck by the impact my films had on people. When I showed them at SXSW and other conferences, people would come up to me afterwards and tell me how the visions in my films changed their perspective. Over and over I saw people's ideas about the future change after watching my films. They were positive and excited about coming innovations.
It's this change that inspired me to develop the idea into a TV Series for a general audience. I know from a research expert perspective that finanical innovations are exciting. The past 3 years have been filled with many new technology innovations. I know as a futurist, that the future is full of possibilities - but most people don't see how things can work out positively for them. And it doesn't help that we have a lot of negative baggage and fear around the topic of money and finance. I want to change that. I want to put a spotlight on the amazing financial innovations that will improve our lives.
We are living in a fantastic and most abundant time. (Yes, I know there are still problems... my 1st place Award winning paper, The Human Problem addresses this.) I truly believe the future will be even more abundant - if we allow it to be. It is fully within our choice.
With this backstory, I've developed the Future of Money TV Series since February. An international distributor came on board in May and has agreed to distribute the series internationally with your help. I need your support to greenlight the project.
To date, I have self funded all of my research and the development of the series. Innotribe graciously funded the production of the scenario films and documentaries - which were part of the inspiration. Now is when I need to hear your voice.
Want to hear about the Future of Money from a positive, balanced and honest perspective?
I'm taking my research of the past 3 years to the next level. But I can't do this alone. Please co-create the future - a future we can look forward to.
I've spoken on Identity and participated in the Identity community for a long time, going back to my work at AOL on Account Linking for Instant Messenger (circa 2002). With that background, I'm speaking at Privacy, Identity, Innovation in Seattle on Tuesday, September 17th at 5pm.
The Future of Identity
Like privacy, the term “identity” means different things to different people. In this conversation with Mozilla privacy engineer Monica Chew and futurist Heather Schlegel, we’ll discuss those nuances and consider what the future of identity might look like. What role does contextual identity play in protecting privacy and how can companies like Mozilla enable individuals to manage their various personas? How is use of a real-name identity changing the digital experience? Will pseudonymity and anonymity as we know them exist in the future? Or, as Seinfeld’s George Costanaza might say, are our worlds colliding as our online and offline personas merge?
If you're interested in attending, you can register for the event with at 15% discount using this link.
Think technology is tearing us apart? WRONG.
[W]hat I discovered in the course of my reporting was something quite different. As traditional family structures are falling apart for working-class men, many of them are forging new kinds of relationships: two old high-school friends who chat so many times a day that they need to buy themselves walkie-talkies; a father who texts his almost-grown sons as he goes to bed at night and as he wakes up in the morning.
Christians often talk about a “God-shaped hole,” a need inside us that can be filled only by faith. But perhaps we share a “family-shaped hole.” When the old structures recede for men, they find ways to replace them with alternative attachments, bonds with one or two people that offer the warmth and intimacy typically provided by a wife or significant other. If anything, these improvised families can prove more intense because they are formed under duress and, lacking a conventional domestic routine or a recognized status, they must be constantly tended and reinforced.
From this Atlantic article: Murder by Craigslist
What's interesting about this, is the technology that facilitates these intimate familiar relationships. Based on my recent research on the Future of Intimacy, this is going to happen more and more. I think this is a GREAT thing, so my team and I have submitted a panel to SXSW to share our findings.
As the technology becomes a natural augmentation of our physical relationships, virtual interactions are becoming less of a substitute for physical proximity and rather a mechanism to extend and augment intimacy (play/engagement/closeness) between humans and machines.
Humans are drawn to create and sustain intimate connections with each other. This goes beyond a partner sex bond and includes close friends, family and work colleagues. Technology will increasingly facilitate and strengthen these deep human emotional bonds.
These deep intimate connections are not limited to human to human subjects. Technology will also facilitate deep connection with machines, computers, devices and sensors embedded in our world.
Our all-star team includes
As the virtual becomes a natural augmentation of our physical relationships, how will virtual interactions become less of a substitute for physical proximity and rather a mechanism to extend and augment intimacy (play/engagement/closeness) in 2050?
UME is the leading company in emotion extension technology. At UME, we connect how you feel with your loved ones.
The Self-Actualized Currency was really popular. Here are some tweets from/about the session:
I'll be in Chicago this weekend speaking at the World Future Conference 2013. It's going to be another marathon conference for me, as I am speaking twice at WFS in addition to organizing the APF ProDev day and running a workshop there. Here's the rundown of where I will be. Come by and say hi!
I'll be around Chicago all weekend, so be sure to grab me and say hi. If you don't see my purple hair, find me on twitter at @heathervescent.