Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 And Beyond - Knowing What Will Happen - The Global Futurist Blog

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2012 - The Beginning Of The Future

The Futurism business is a tricky, controversial but necessary one. It poses multiple challenges. There are futurists who are primarily in the business of trend-spotting and intelligence reporting -- they provide a crucial real-time as well as "anticipatory" service... and then there are the predictors. In The Global Futurist Blog, I do a bit of both for my readers.

The near-term predictors tend to be judged much more harshly because their predictions will be early-on proved either accurate or inaccurate. Many a predictive guru has back-pedaled to explain (rather like an errant child, a central bank economist, or a politician) what unforeseeable circumstances or "wild cards" caused him to be off the mark. Yet, as a predictor of things, you are not truly permitted the latitude of explanation unless you have prefaced your prediction with a list of assumptions and 'ifs."

The more preconditioned your forecast upon qualifying assumptions, the less useful it will be. Near-term (i.e., within a one- to three-year time horizon) predictions are very difficult.

Those longer-term extrapolators of trends who paint brilliant futurescapes which can be expected to materialize 15 to 50 years from now have much more latitude than their more closely scrutinized and accountable shorter-run colleagues in the prediction arena.  They will not be held to account with as much severity.

And let's not forget that an influential futurist can actually make a prediction turn into a self-fulfilling prophesy by his or her own hints and the series of interrelated events which follow - almost like (in investment terms) making the market instead of calling the market.

In the coming days, weeks and months, I intend to enrich my content and your experience as my guests to include serious looks into not only my views of current intel, emerging trends, short-term predictions and far ahead futurescapes -- I will be adding much more of my colleagues' respective views on these aspects of Global Futurism to give you are better perspective of what my colleagues are thinking to compare and contrast with my individual views on the future.

My objectives are nothing short of making this particular destination the best resource for information regarding all aspects of trending, analysis and prediction available on the internet, and to make the related Twitter accounts a source of deeper, richer, more diversified content from the best sources.

It is my wish that you invest some of your future with me, and I thank you in advance.

Douglas E. Castle for The Global Futurist

For a list of interesting Twitter Feeds to follow, please visit The TwitterLinks Hubspot Blog and choose any or all of the feeds that suit your taste. Welcome.

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by Douglas E Castle

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Identity Randomization - Surveillance Camouflague/ Obfuscation

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Left-Click On The Pic For Full- Size Version

It is apparent that our actions (including our searches and surfing on the internet, our frequent GPS-trackable trips, our supermarket purchasing patterns, our medical treatments and prescription pick-ups, or credit purchases, our loan and utilities consumption and payments and countless other "data points", which if properly connected over a period of time could provide a powerful personal, emotional, physical and psychographic profile of every single one of us) while doing the ordinary dance of of our lives on the proverbial grid are being carefully surveilled and accumulated -- ostensibly for providing us with a "more personalized customer experience," or for making it easier to categorize us into the most likely purchasers of goods or services, or for [frighteningly] manipulating us through the manipulation of our environment at the most intimate levels.

Yes -- this is surveillance, a systematic intrusion of privacy, the accumulation of a "dossier" on each of us for use by anyone willing to pay for it. So long as we interface and engage with electronic commerce, we can count on being placed on lists, categorized, 'selected' for various 'responsibilities,' photographed, metered and observed. We have no privacy while we live in this civilization.

Various computer hacking attacks, bulk thefts of data, internet and social media harassment and worse are on the rise and cannot be abated as technology is further interwoven into the very fabric of the grid.

We either need camouflage, or tools for randomizing the data collected about us to render it unclear, if not totally useless. I call this defense strategy "Randomization," and it entails obscuring real patterns by a constant intrusion of "wild card" variables which conflict with what we are actually doing or wher we are really going; what we like and what we do not like; what are weaknesses are and what our strengths are.

I view this deliberate smokescreen as a necessary pre-emptive defense. A way to befoul (and render unreliable) dangerous statistical and probablistic patterns, confound data miners, paralyze blackmailers (or whatever Politically Correct euphemisms they may choose to call themselves by) and give us simple civilians living on the grid and engaging in peaceful, harmless activities a chance to be free of intrusion and harrassment.

Randomization produces obscurity.

Obscurity produces camouflage.

And camouflage is the next best thing to privacy.

Given more and more abuses of our privacy and privilege, and more intrusions interfering with our right to true life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness you could be looking at technologies developed to provide us with identity randomization.

And yes, I believe that identity randomization is going to be very much in demand -- just as I believe some very technologically sophisticated, intelligence-trained, evasive maneuver tacticians are going to get together with some very intelligent defectors from the other side, and develop these technologies for consumers and businesses to use as a veil of protection. Privacy and anonymity in certain circumstances (most of them quite simple and legal) are becoming increasingly valuable, and some futuristic entrepreneurs will develop the tools to enable us ordinary pedestrians to hide in plain sight. I sense a new era and some interesting investment opportunities in a growth industry, as well.

Maybe we can stay one step of The Adjustment Bureau. This could be wonderful for a restoration of purloined freedoms, and a boon to clever entrepreneurial leaders who believe that our individuality is sacred, and that a desire for privacy doesn't mean we have something to hide  -- but simply that we don't need voyeurs peeking in through our glass walled dwellings.

Douglas E. Castle for The Global Futurist Blog.

p.s. Please visit Twitterlinks Hubspot.

Once there, you will find in excess of 35 different and fascinating Twitter accounts about a wide variety of topics. Choose as many as you'd like and follow them. If they don't prove interesting, informative, and occasionally funny, you can unfollow any of them. But I have a feeling you'll stay with us. -DC

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Merger, Acquisition And Joint Venture Activity For the Next 5 - 10 Years

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For those of you who either enjoy a mystery or an opportunity to laugh at the expense of others, look closely at the spelling of the words on the embedded image which follows underneath. Braintenance button was switched off. Obviously. -DC

During the next 5 to 10 years, merger, acquisition and co-venture activity is going to be fascinating to watch, and an interesting field for gamblers to play in. To gain some insight into the effects of some of these potential multinational mega-mergers, you might wish to briefly review the following post from the Internationalist Page Blog, and then hit your browser's "BACK" button to return here:


Here's what I am expecting:

1) Large amount of domestic and multinational mergers and joint ventures between small to medium-sized businesses in developing technologies, emerging consumer goods manufacturing and distribution, and others, founded upon synergistic vertical or horizontal integration and obvious synergy.

2) Joint ventures (non-mergers) between companies internationally which run along the lines of outsourcing, distribution and an evolving form of tariff-reducing "triangular trade:"

3) Acquisitions by publicly-traded companies in mature and non-tech or middle tech industries of smaller, emerging enterprises to create better utilization of resources and higher stock prices based upon social media buzz;

4) Mergers of publicly-traded companies which are currently multinational or international with others of the same status, but fewer mergers of publicly traded companies across sovereign boundaries;

5) Acquisitions of strategic and controlling blocks of shares of public companies in the United States and the EU by substantial and cash-rich Asian Investors;

6) Very few mergers of governmental, governmentally-controlled or quasi-governmental entities across national borders;

7) Mergers of mature companies whose technologies or captive consumer bases are perceived as possibly being in jeopardy -- expect some oil and gas company mergers, both domestically and internationally.

Please do stay tuned -- they'll be much more in the way of specific industry-focused predictions to come soon. Thank you for visiting with THE GLOBAL FUTURIST.

Douglas E. Castle [http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/DouglasCastle]

p.s. Please begin to follow The Internationalist Page at http://TheInternationalistPage.blogspot.com. No Futurist can limit his or her vision to any single domestic economy or society any more.

p.p.s. You might find one or more of our many Twitter streams  to be of great interest. For a comprehensive list of Twitter Feeds worth following, you are cordially invited to visit the newly-modernized TwitterLinks Hubspot Blog.

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by Douglas E Castle

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