Memia 2020.46: 2020 wrapup🎁// an underlying thesis?📖// top 10 themes from a year of tumultuous change🌊💥🤯 // quantum teleportation⚛️// a refreshing appointment👏
The robot made me do it🤖
Welcome to this year’s final Memia scan across emerging tech, global change and the unfolding future, viewed from Aotearoa New Zealand.
***To all in the UK, US and everywhere else suffering from the relentless onslaught of Covid-19 over Xmas: kia kaha from Aotearoa New Zealand, hang in there until the vaccines get widely deployed… hopefully we can look forward to infection rates gradually reducing and restrictions starting to lift in 2021.***
As 2020 hurtles towards its overdue conclusion, I’ve compiled a wrapup of the highlights and overarching themes from 46 ⚗️emoji-filled🌏 Memia newsletters this year. It’s a big post - longer than can be sent in an email - so I’ve summarised below and you can read the whole article online here.
An underlying thesis?📖
Writing the weekly Memia newsletter is mostly an exercise in continuous discovery, drinking from a firehose of change trying to figure out what’s actually going on…and what might happen next. If an underlying thesis has emerged for Memia’s writing over the course of 2020, it goes something like this:
Technology changes the world: Rapidly advancing technology is among the main drivers of modern global change - on individual, societal, political and economic levels.
Try to keep up: technology is moving so fast you need to run just to stay still.
New frameworks needed: Legacy conceptual frameworks of society, politics and economics struggle to accommodate the potential of new technologies to transform, or provide a working model of how technology effects change.
Techno-optimism warranted*: In many cases new technology itself provides opportunities to address myriad challenges facing humanity - but, for whatever reasons, most commentary generally lacks imagination as to what is possible…and instead tends to focus on negative outcomes/preserving the status quo.
(*…Yes obviously all new technology comes with risks and dangers…but these get enough airtime already *IMO*…so Memia’s “regular weekly scan of emerging tech and the unfolding future” mostly takes an optimistic spin, imagining the positive possible.)
2020: Top ten themes from a year of tumultuous change🌊💥🤯
That said, most of the top ten themes from 2020 don’t revolve around technology. Go figure.🤔
Below my roundup of the year:
🦠The pandemic and a new age of scientific enlightenment
🌊Climate change: the next tsunami
💸Financial system externalities finally visible
🗳️Fragile but resilient democracy
📦Clogged globalisation driving localised resilience
👓Work from (virtually) anywhere
💡Scientific discovery and technological innovation
🌌Humanity’s place in the cosmos
🌏Aotearoa’s changing place in the world
💎Hidden gems everywhere
Read the whole post here: Memia 2020 wrapup: Top 10 themes from a year of tumultuous change🌊💥🤯.
A few recent developments to finish the year:
Accenture’s Fjord Emerging Trends for Business 2021 is worth a read: the over-arching theme is mapping out the new territory:
Facebook is making noise about Apple’s moves to switch off App tracking by default in the name of privacy: Apple are wielding their platform power here…not sure there’s much FB can do about it?We believe users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it’s used. Facebook can continue to track users across apps and websites as before, App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 will just require that they ask for your permission first.
Who said space travel was going to be easy? The ISS is leaking atmosphere…
⚛️Sustained, high quality quantum teleportation - which would enable a high speed “quantum internet” - has been achieved for the first time.
Informative summary article on Synbio in Nature: Synthetic biology 2020–2030: six commercially-available products that are changing our world.
Tasmania hits 100% renewable energy:
… while South Australia reached 60%.
And “The Robot Made Me Do It”🤖:
In advance of the postponed 2021 release of Denis Villeneuve’s new Dune movie, fans of Frank Herbert’s 50-years-old sci-fi saga may be interested in this new Dune graphic novel:
Still trying to get my head around this story in NewScientist ($paywalled):
And perhaps fittingly, if you’re enjoying Memia then you may also like to try the new beta of Substack Reader - manage all your favouring Substack feeds in one view and discover new feeds. Kiwi co-founder of Substack Hamish McKenzie is currently building this working from AoNZ cafes☕.
Also, Substack CEO Chris Best is interviewed in depth by The Verge’s Nilay Patel on How the newsletter startup could build a new model for journalism and disrupt the media industry. Good, long read.
Congratulations to veteran economist Dr Ganesh Nana who is leaving BERL after 20 years to take up the Chairman role at the AoNZ Productivity Commission. A refreshing appointment.👏
He says in a personal statement on leaving BERL:
“Contributing to a transformation of the economic model and narrative towards one that values people and prioritises our role as kaitiaki o taonga is my kaupapa.”
Two final gems before year end:
This popped up in my Youtube feed from 1979: trying out an early mobile phone prototype 41 years ago!
And perhaps the most entertaining deepfake clip in a while:
…It’s a wrap!
🙏🙏🙏 Thank you for subscribing to Memia during 2020. I’m looking forward to another year of weekly newsletters in 2021, together with some new community development initiatives (more on this in the New Year). As flagged last week, the newsletter will continue to be free-to-air in 2021 - but if you’ve valued Memia posts in 2020, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription, it does help me to put more time in to research and writing:
I’m taking a few weeks off with family to recharge my batteries over the Aotearoa summer after an intense year. I will be visiting my happy place, Marahau in Abel Tasman national park enjoying some long windy walks along the beach at low tide:
Wishing you a relaxing and restorative holiday break wherever you are and Memia will be back in January!