Welcome to the Los Alamos World Futures Institute Web Site

 

Our mission is to explore the needs of earth and humanity in the future, both mid and long term.  For now, LAWFI is an embryonic, web-based institute headquartered in Los Alamos, New Mexico – “Where Discoveries are Made.”

 

The drop down sections that follow provide information about LAWFI, the menus at the top of each page, and background information about the World Futures.

 

LAWFI Mission

The LAWFI mission is to explore the needs of earth and humanity in the future, both mid and long term. These needs become requirements in the process of matching entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and grantors in the pursuit of useful and perhaps profitable products.

The Navigation Menu at the Top of Each Page

Journal

      The Blog

As the name implies, articles related to world futures posted in chronological.  The Blog is open to all visitors, but commenting is restricted to World Futures Members (WFM) only.  Click Here to register as a member – it’s free.  In addition to commenting, members will receive a newsletter, but NO SPAM.

 

      News

Similar to The Blog, but listing articles in the news pertinent to the LAWFI mission and containing links to external sources.

Knowledge

Restricted to World Future Members (FREE), there are links to the List of 18 (see below) that sort blog posts by categories.  You can become a WFM by clicking here.

Join

This is a link to the registration page.  By becoming a WFM, you can comment on blog posts, can access privileged sections and will receive the LAWFI newsletter.  Membership is free, but we hope you will help us by donating.  See donation below.

Donations

There are several categories of donations possible including Earth, Wind, Fire and Water.  Click here to go to the donations page for more information.

Donors

Under this tab are links to pages for the following donors:

Earth

Wind

Fire

Water

Academic Individuals

Academic Institutions

Affiliates

Businesses

Entrepreneurs – Technologists

Investors

Please note that LAWFI does not endorse these donors or their services, but provides these listings as a service to both you and them.

About

Introducing the List of 18

Often men and women collectively have attempted to project requirements for something many, many years into the future.  In doing this, it is often unclear the purpose of the projections, why they are being made, and what value they have.  In my probably superficial examination of these efforts, it appears as an attempt to identify what needs to be explored in scientific domains and establish justification for supporting scientific exploration.  While such efforts are laudable in identifying what needs to be known, initiation of the journey is usually lacking because the time horizon of the effort is too long for the penchant of human consideration.

 

Consider a need two hundred years in the future and a typical human being:  average life expectancy 80 years; development time to reasonable productivity 25 years; pasture time 10 years; “productive” time 45 years.  And during this time span the individual must climb Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, with survival at the first level of the hierarchy.  The individual is forced to focus on the nanocosm of its existence.

 

This is the situation the modern entrepreneur is facing; satisfying basic human needs while tending to the longer term needs of potential customers.  Moreover, the customer is identifying needs within the customer’s nanocosm.  In 1908, Henry Ford’s Model T made its debut.  By 1914, Ford could claim a 48 percent share of the automobile market.  Customers bought the Model T because it was affordable and it satisfied a perceived need.  Did the customers have a concern about global warming?  No!  While one can argue that global warming was not understood at the time, the perceived short-term benefits, those within the customers’ needs horizons, overshadowed any perception of long(er) term consequences.  Yet the introduction of affordable transportation that fundamentally changed the time envelope also altered the fundamental envelope of human existence.

 

Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, but he did create a method or technique to reduce the manufacturing costs.  Thus the satisfaction of a need by the consumer became more widely attainable.  As an entrepreneur, Henry Ford saw an obvious need and found a way to satisfy that need affordably.  Working in his own nanocosm, Ford observed the greater societal need and developed a method for near term satisfaction.  As an alternate approach, Ford could have waited for the 2008 Model T to be ready for market.  Obviously, such a decision would have been foolish.

 

Entrepreneurs must produce a product (or service) needed now that also contributes to satisfying long term human needs or requirements if the entrepreneur is going to create an opportunity for continued need satisfaction.  As an example, the Pet Rock satisfied (maybe) a short term emotional need of some people and then faded.  Also, computer apps today focus (for the most part) on a single task or function based on replication of an old tool in new form or some perceived short term need.  Ford’s innovation was in a long term need domain (individual transportation) with a sustainable solution (an affordable motor vehicle).

 

In essence, long term successful entrepreneurship is a process that generates continuing income and personal rewards for the entrepreneur by satisfying human needs of the consumer.  At the very highest level of amalgamation, this might be defined as sustaining human life and the human species forever (and that’s a very, very long time) while addressing short term (a very vague time period) essentials.  Clearly, this does not mean the successful entrepreneur must visualize to the end of time, but it does help define domains for creativity with a greater probability of success.  Here is a list of eighteen.  You may have others.  If so, please extend the list.

The List of 18

Stuff

  1. Energy Storage (especially long term)/Energy Conversion/Energy System Efficiency/Energy Distribution.
  2. Product distribution efficiency.
  3. Distributed manufacturing – volume/density/mass.
  4. Infinite recycling.

People

  1. Medicine (non-Malthusian)– dna manipulation, invasive/non-invasive techniques, distribution, and how far do we go?
  2. Non-invasive observation technology (e.g., terahertz and overcoming the observer effect).
  3. Food production and dietary requirements.
  4. The Human/Machine Interface – who or what controls what or whom.
  5. Sustainable long term encapsulation for humans – including mental stimulation.

Information

  1. Personal Information Filtering/Fact Checking to avoid information overload and enhance noise reduction.
  2. Computing – what is really needed?
  3. What and how do we teach people?
  4. Communication, both near and long distances and what does it really mean, what is needed.
  5. Data vs Information vs knowledge.

Society

  1. Tools – simplified – to help the human existence and reduce production overhead. Greatly affects philosophy of government and must contribute to unity of effort.
  2. In transformation, how do we maintain integrity?
  3. Commerce and financial – how do we do business, individually and collectively.
  4. Governance

Technology Readiness Level – What it Means

Technology Readiness Level was conceived by NASA in 1974 and formally define in 1989. The scale provides an indication of the maturity of a technology and implies an unspecific estimate of how long one might have to wait for it to be useful. TRL is important in assessing needs because a fully mature Level 9) technology tends to negate the need if it is the solution.

The table below is from https://esto.nasa.gov/files/TRL_definitions.pdf, a NASA pdf file. Other TRL references follow the definition.

Definition Of Technology Readiness Levels

TRL 1 Basic principles observed and reported: Transition from scientific research to applied research. Essential characteristics and behaviors of systems and architectures. Descriptive tools are mathematical formulations or algorithms.

TRL 2 Technology concept and/or application formulated: Applied research. Theory and scientific principles are focused on specific application area to define the concept. Characteristics of the application are described. Analytical tools are developed for simulation or analysis of the application.

TRL 3 Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof-ofconcept: Proof of concept validation. Active Research and Development (R&D) is initiated with analytical and laboratory studies. Demonstration of technical feasibility using breadboard or brassboard implementations that are exercised with representative data.

TRL 4 Component/subsystem validation in laboratory environment: Standalone prototyping implementation and test. Integration of technology elements. Experiments with full-scale problems or data sets.

TRL 5 System/subsystem/component validation in relevant environment: Thorough testing of prototyping in representative environment. Basic technology elements integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements. Prototyping implementations conform to target environment and interfaces.

TRL 6 System/subsystem model or prototyping demonstration in a relevant end-to-end environment (ground or space): Prototyping implementations on full-scale realistic problems. Partially integrated with existing systems. Limited documentation available. Engineering feasibility fully demonstrated in actual system application.

TRL 7 System prototyping demonstration in an operational environment (ground or space): System prototyping demonstration in operational environment. System is at or near scale of the operational system, with most functions available for demonstration and test. Well integrated with collateral and ancillary systems. Limited documentation available.

TRL 8 Actual system completed and “mission qualified” through test and demonstration in an operational environment (ground or space): End of system development. Fully integrated with operational hardware and software systems. Most user documentation, training documentation, and maintenance documentation completed. All functionality tested in simulated and operational scenarios. Verification and Validation (V&V) completed.

TRL 9 Actual system “mission proven” through successful mission operations (ground or space): Fully integrated with operational hardware/software systems. Actual system has been thoroughly demonstrated and tested in its operational environment. All documentation completed. Successful operational experience. Sustaining engineering support in place.

Other references:

https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/scan/engineering/technology/txt_accordion1.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_readiness_level

Participating Beyond Donating or Commenting

The Los Alamos World Futures Institute is looking for people interested in its mission and willing to participate in one or more active ways.  We are soliciting individuals for members of the board of directors, study leaders to head up a section of the list of eighteen, authors, editors, bloggers, and content contributors.  If you want to know more, please send your contact information to participate@laworldfutures.org .

 

 

(c)2017 LAWFI

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