Lifestyles and Values

The Futurist, November-December 2011 | Go to article overview

Lifestyles and Values


* We will increasingly treat free time as a general social asset. This free time, or "cognitive surplus" of creativity, insight, and knowledge, could be harnessed for large, communally created projects, thanks to the spread of information technology. We've gone from a world with two models of media--public broadcasts by professionals and private conversations between pairs of people--to a world where public and private media blend together and where voluntary public participation has moved from nonexistent to fundamental.

--Clay Shirky, "Tapping the Cognitive Surplus," Nov-Dec 2010, p. 21

* Accelerating change may accelerate resistance to change. The uncertainties and discomfort that accompany rapid changes (such as in new technologies and social structures) often provoke individuals to retreat into rigid belief systems and even aggressive, dysfunctional behavior. People may become more apathetic about the future at a time when they need to be more aware and engaged, warn the authors of The Techno-Human Condition. --Braden R. Allenby and Daniel Sareioitz, "The Accelerating Techno-Human Future," Sep-Oct 2011, p. 32

* New data on the neuroscience of human attraction and bonding will change the way people partner and fall in love. The feeling of romantic love is associated with the brain's dopamine system for wanting. One company has begun to bottle a perfume that contains oxytocin, the natural brain chemical that, when sniffed, triggers feelings of trust and attachment. --Helen Fisher, "The New Monogamy, Forward to the Past," Nov-Dec 2010, p. 28

* Human relationships won't die, but they will change shape. As more people conduct more social interaction in virtual space, their relations to each other in physical space will change profoundly. "Nuclear" families will morph into other arrangements. Communities could see more construction of single-person housing units due to more homeowners having virtual partners instead of live, in-person partners. Virtual marriages might become normal, and the spouses will claim real benefits and legal ties. …

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