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Tracking the Future
Explore the most important technology and science trends! News, Analysis, Interviews, Presentations, Documentaries. All in one place at Tracking the future magazine
Curated by Szabolcs Kósa
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The future of food

The future of food | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

When three continents witnessed food riots in 2007 and 2008, we saw the international food system is not as stable as it looks. There’s unprecedented competition for food due to population growth and changing diets. Experts predict that by 2050, if things don't change, we will see mass starvation across the world.

In this documentary, George Alagiah travelled the world to unravel the complicated web of links that binds the world's food together, bringing it from farm to table. It reveals a growing global food crisis that could affect the planet in the years ahead. What can we do to avert this?

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Austin R Stillwell's comment, March 15, 11:44 PM
{title}-The future of food.{author}- BBC.{summary}-experts predict that by 2050, if things don't change, we will see mass starvation across the world.- a growing global food crisis could affect the planet in the years ahead.-the international food system is not as stable as it looks.{opinion?}-no, this is factual.{important?}yes, if we don't change our habits we could run out.{source}-http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140206-the-future-of-food
Mason Mclaughlin's comment, March 23, 9:26 PM
<br>Title: The future of food Author: BBC Date: 2-7-14 Main Idea: We might be heading to a food crisis. Summary: There is competition for food. In the last few years there has been a food crisis. Lots of food in rich countries. Questions: Why is there not enough food? Opinions: We need to change food Importance: important we might be running out of food Sources:http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140206-the-future-of-food
Celest Ybarra's curator insight, March 29, 9:25 PM

Title: The Future of Food

Author: BBC

Main Idea: Prediction that if eating habits don't change now, there will be a mass food scarce in the future

Summary:

1) The world is constantly changing and evolving over time, and if things don't change soon then we could be in serious trouble

2) A growing global crisis means that's there's competition for food and could affect the planet years ahead

3) Since food has become a commodity in other countries it makes it hard to believe that we could possibly run out in the future

Opinion: No, its factual.

Question: Why do researchers believe this theory? How can we help change this idea?

Is this article important to science?: Yes, because it can help us figure out how to not make this come true since food is such an important factor, and key, to our survival.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140206-the-future-of-food

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A New Scorecard Explains How the World Is Getting Better. Really.

A New Scorecard Explains How the World Is Getting Better. Really. | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
For centuries, optimists and pessimists have argued over the state of the world.

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For centuries, optimists and pessimists have argued over the state of the world. Pessimists see a world where more people means less food, where rising demand for resources means depletion and war, and, in recent decades, where boosting production capacity means more pollution and global warming. One of the current generation of pessimists’ sacred texts, The Limits to Growth, influences the environmental movement to this day.

 

The optimists, by contrast, cheerfully claim that everything—human health, living standards, environmental quality, and so on—is getting better. Their opponents think of them as  “cornucopian” economists, placing their faith in the market to fix any and all problems.

But, rather than picking facts and stories to fit some grand narrative of decline or progress, we should try to compare across all areas of human existence to see if the world really is doing better or worse. Together with 21 of the world’s top economists, I have tried to do just that, developing a scorecard spanning 150 years. Across 10 areas—including health, education, war, gender, air pollution, climate change, and biodiversity—the economists all answered the same question: What was the relative cost of this problem in every year since 1900, all the way to 2013, with predictions to 2050.


Via Wildcat2030
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Mathematicians Predict the Future With Data From the Past

Mathematicians Predict the Future With Data From the Past | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

In Issac Asimov's classic science fiction saga Foundation, mathematics professor Hari Seldon predicts the future using what he calls psychohistory.

Drawing on mathematical models that describe what happened in the past, he anticipates what will happen next, including the fall of the Galactic Empire.

That may seem like fanciful stuff. But Peter Turchin is turning himself into a real-life Hari Seldon — and he’s not alone.

Turchin — a professor at the University of Connecticut — is the driving force behind a field called “cliodynamics,” where scientists and mathematicians analyze history in the hopes of finding patterns they can then use to predict the future. It’s named after Clio, the Greek muse of history.

These academics have the same goals as other historians — “We start with questions that historians have asked for all of history,” Turchin says. “For example: Why do civilizations collapse?” — but they seek to answer these questions quite differently. They use math rather than mere language, and according to Turchin, the prognosis isn’t that far removed from the empire-crushing predictions laid down by Hari Seldon in the Foundation saga. Unless something changes, he says, we’re due for a wave of widespread violence in about 2020, including riots and terrorism.


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Christophe CESETTI's curator insight, April 11, 2013 5:34 AM

it's said...but not expected "Unless something changes, we’re due for a wave of widespread violence in about 2020, including riots and terrorism"

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Has Humanity's Explosion Become a Population Bomb?

Has Humanity's Explosion Become a Population Bomb? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The world's population has exploded over the past century, growing from less than 2 billion to 7 billion people. And it's not stopping. The U.N.'s current projection is that humanity will number 9.3 billion individuals in 2050, and then hit 10.1 billion by 2100. Meanwhile, our energy resources are dwindling and droughts threaten our food supplies.
Have we reached a population crisis that will eventually destroy Homo sapiens entirely? How will we ever maintain our numbers at a sustainable size? The solutions to our population problem may be even more dangerous than the problem itself.

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The Trouble of Discounting Tomorrow

The Trouble of Discounting Tomorrow | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

No challenge facing humanity is broader in scope and importance than achieving a sustainable future. Every dimension of our lives is affected, and every discipline and sector of society must be involved in meeting the challenge. Yet we consistently place less importance on distant events than on those close to us in time (as well as in other dimensions). This so-called discounting of our future makes more difficult our ability to achieve sustainability. Although arguments over the correct “social discount rate” have long occupied a central place in economic thinking, too little has been done to confront the issues of equity that discounting implies.

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The future of human lifespans, a demographic perspective

The future of human life spans, a demographic perspective by Caleb E Finch, Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California

 

© SENS Foundation 2011 - http://www.sens.org 

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The future of food

The future of food | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

How can we feed the 2.5 billion more people – an extra China and India – likely to be alive in 2050? The UN says we will have to nearly double our food production and governments say we should adopt new technologies and avoid waste, but however you cut it, there are already one billion chronically hungry people, there's little more virgin land to open up, climate change will only make farming harder to grow food in most places, the oceans are overfished, and much of the world faces growing water shortages.

Fifty years ago, when the world's population was around half what it is now, the answer to looming famines was "the green revolution" – a massive increase in the use of hybrid seeds and chemical fertilisers. It worked, but at a great ecological price. We grow nearly twice as much food as we did just a generation ago, but we use three times as much water from rivers and underground supplies.

Food, farm and water technologists will have to find new ways to grow more crops in places that until now were hard or impossible to farm. It may need a total rethink over how we use land and water. So enter a new generation of radical farmers, novel foods and bright ideas.

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World building 301: some projections

What is the world going to look like in 2032? And in 2092?

- by Charles Stross

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What are the environmental consequences of growing the food supply to feed the world in 2050?

What are the environmental consequences of growing the food supply to feed the world in 2050? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The most recent UN estimates show global population stabilizing at 9-10 billion sometime after 2050. What will it take to feed these additional 2-3 billion people?

While forecasting anything 40 years in the future is a treacherous task, estimates typically place the required expansion of the food at double current production levels in 2050.


Via PIRatE Lab, SustainOurEarth
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usman's curator insight, November 23, 2013 6:07 AM

add your insight...

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Robots: The future of elder care?

Robots: The future of elder care? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Would you let a robot take over as a live-in nurse for your aging parent or grandparent?

In 2050, the elderly will account for 16 percent of the global population. That's 1.5 billion people over the age of 65, according to the Population Reference Bureau. Caring for those seniors - physically, emotionally and mentally - will be an enormous undertaking, and experts say there will be a shortage of professionals trained and willing to take on the job.

"We have to find more resources and have to get new ways of delivering those resources and delivering the quality of care," says Antonio Espingardeiro, an expert in robotics and automation at the University of Salford in Manchester, England.

Enter the elder-care robot.

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Will Old People Take Over the World?

Will Old People Take Over the World? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

One of the consequences of radical life extension is the potential for a gerontocracy to set in — the entrenchment of a senior elite who will hold on to their power and wealth, while dominating politics, finance, and academia. Some critics worry that society will start to stagnate as the younger generations become increasingly frustrated and marginalized. But while these concerns need to be considered, a future filled with undying seniors will not be as bad as some might think, and here’s why.

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The World in 2050

This talk draws on the latest global modeling research to construct a sweeping thought experiment on what our world will be like in 2050. The World in 2050 combines the lessons of geography and history with state-of-the-art model projections and analytical data-everything from climate dynamics and resource stocks to age distributions and economic growth projections.

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Hans Rosling: Religions and babies

Hans Rosling had a question: Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others -- and how does this affect global population growth? Speaking at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Qatar, he graphs data over time and across religions. With his trademark humor and sharp insight, Hans reaches a surprising conclusion on world fertility rates.

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The Next 50 Years: Will Tech Solve Humanity’s Problems?

Experts from Intel Corporation discuss major problems facing humanity, including global warming, an aging world population and the relentless pace of technology. Will better technology solve these problems or are humans hitting a fundamental physical barrier to progress?

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World building 302: Psychology, beliefs, and other times

"The past is a different country; they do things differently there."

In my last essay I discussed the likely and predictable environmental and technical constraints on writing fiction set in the 21st century, specifically looking at 2032 and 2092 as yardsticks. But I said virtually nothing about probably the most important factor in defining what our world might look like in the near future — namely, how we perceive it, and how our perception of our world feeds back into the way we behave (and how this in turn determines its shape).

This is of necessity a much fuzzier and more incoherent, flexible view of the future. But let's start with the predictive element that looks most likely — that the future will be about cities full of elderly people who are afraid of the sky — and then ask what this means.

- by Charles Stross

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The limits of farming

The limits of farming | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

BY THE year 2050, Earth will be home to another 2 or 3 billion more people. The most vexing question is: How will we feed them all? Not only will there be more people, but everyone will have more money to spend on food. Where, on this ever more crowded planet, will we grow all of it?

By 2050, the world’s farmers will need to supply almost twice as much food as they do today, according to an analysis by the World Wildlife Fund. Put another way, we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as have in the last 8,000.

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