I spend much of my time working on various Smart City programmes: anything from modelling need and opportunity to designing architectures for the fusion of large and diverse data sets with live sensor and device data (IoT) and the analytics needed to make the results coherent, timely and relevant. I also live in a very small community, where I was founder of a community company whose efforts have led to our little corner of the Scottish Highlands being in the top 1% of global broadband connectivity. We’re now starting to use that infrastructure to create opportunities for new services and means of service delivery, applying the principles of Smart City programmes to the needs of rural and remote communities, based on the tripod of providing the tools (in the form of the infrastructure), helping people acquire appropriate skills and then nurturing the ideas that then emerge.
The future is accelerating towards us – silently – as the age of the internal combustion engine comes to a close. That’s after 130 years of mobilising, democratising, suffocating and poisoning society (rearrange those to suit your personal priorities). And it looks as though, of the available technologies, battery storage electric vehicles (EVs) are going to win the day. I don’t want to get into a VHS/Betamax argument – in fact, I do, but I’ll be posting that separately – other than to note that the most viable alternative, the hydrogen fuel cell, is in the process of missing the boat.
This is aimed, in no small part, at my many friends in the US, who I see alternating between despair at their own ‘government’’s behaviour and angst-laden apology to the world for their current Liar-in-Chief. Please, folks, relax, a little at least.
Yes, the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement will do damage – indeed, it already has – but that damage is less to the mitigation of anthropogenic climate change than to US influence in the world.
I’ve spent most of the last few years consulting in the areas of dynamic and emergent knowledge systems, interaction and communication. That encompasses everything from arm-waving vision generation through strategy development to procurement, configuration and training. And, where I couldn’t badger someone else into doing it, the coding too. Much of the work has been based around the Ubiquity principles of trusted collaborative interaction mediated by the core tetrad of association, value, knowledge and identity. That’s a very useful model, but one that is oft easier to communicate when a specific example is used: starting with the original architecture and roadmap for h2g2, I’ve also been using a slightly hypothetical scenario of creating a collaborative knowledge-centred community around communicating a global issue, one which brought together organisations, communities and individuals of many different types around knowledge related to a need that had a universal context: in subject, location, time and intent. That’s generally worked well for me and my clients.
But now it’s time to put my money (what there is of it) where my mouth is: to create just such a service, in an area I feel passionately about – maintaining the richness and diversity of culture and life on our planet in the face of human activity driving fundamental changes to the world’s climate, at a rate which looks to exceed the ability of ourselves and other species to adapt. It’s also one which brings together my alternate lives as biologist, computer scientist and social entrepreneur: Full circle into the future.
So here’s BlueGlobe (http://www.blueglo.be/) – a placeholder for the start of an intelligent, emergent online service designed to bring together the core constituencies of Climate Change: Businesses, governments, scientists, the media, educators and individuals and communities. It’s very early days yet – I’ve managed to accumulate a wonderful team of thinker-doers and we’re getting stuff together as fast as resources permit. Although if I have to spend very much longer training a Bayesian RSS filter NOT to tag anything that mentions Al Gore as Irrelevant, I may live to regret it. So please take a wander over there and sign yourself up for news of developments as they happen – it won’t be long.