The mobile, networked self: two visions

How will we live when immersed in wireless, mobile connectivity?  Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman offer two very useful scenarios.

“Collaborative Agents In Augmented Reality” and “A Walled and Surveilled World” draw on a mix of drivers, from social media’s triumph to platform controls.

Congressional Budget Office futures

The United States Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its annual projections about this nation’s fiscal health.  As before, the CBO offered a scenario set, which draws heavily on extrapolations.

That’s two (2) scenarios, one being the “if things go on and people are sane”, the other where things are kinda worse (“much bleaker”).

Interestingly, “extended alternative” is not the worst CBO could come up with.  The end of the report mentions negative factors which could appear, including bad interest rates and a decline in gross national product (GDP).

Population movements

More refugees will appear in the next decade, claims the relevant United Nations agency.  A fascinating yet sad prediction, in part because it identifies major drivers in classic futurist style:

human displacement caused by conflict is becoming compounded by several factors.  They include climate change, population growth, urbanization, food insecurity, water scarcity and resource competition.  All of these causes, says the UN agency, interact with each other, increasing instability and conflict, and forcing people to move. [emphases added]

The forecast also relies on demographics to an extent, a field often considered one of the most reliable predictors.