Club of Amsterdam, Future, Think Tank ..

Club of Amsterdam Journal
Free Subscription
click here

Club of Amsterdam Journal

























































































































keyword search
Club of Amsterdam Journal, October 2009, Issue 121

October 2009, Issue 121

Welcome to our bi-weekly Club of Amsterdam Journal.

"The recession itself is accelerating the trend to digital as consumers are seeking better value in the content that they are willing to pay for. Once this has happened we do not believe that the consumer and by definition related advertising dollars will return from whence they had come. As such we do not believe this to be a cyclical recession but one that is going to result in fundamental structural change." - Marcel Fenez, Global entertainment & media leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers

In case you would like to hear more and also share your thoughts, visit our next event about the future of Advertising - October 29!

Felix Bopp, editor-in-chief


GDP Fetishism

Next Event

Healthcare Revolution for Community Development

Club of Amsterdam blog

News about the Future

Just as Beauty lies in the Eyes of the Beholder …
… is Wisdom found in the Mind of the Receiver

Recommended Book

New Personal Mobility Device

Futurist Portrait: Vint Cerf


Submit your article







































































































































































































































































































































































































































.GDP Fetishism

By Prof. Joseph E. Stiglitz

Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia University and winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize, served as Chairman of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress

Striving to revive the world economy while simultaneously responding to the global climate crisis has raised a knotty question: are statistics giving us the right “signals” about what to do? In our performance-oriented world, measurement issues have taken on increased importance: what we measure affects what we do.

If we have poor measures, what we strive to do (say, increase GDP) may actually contribute to a worsening of living standards. We may also be confronted with false choices, seeing trade-offs between output and environmental protection that don’t exist. By contrast, a better measure of economic performance might show that steps taken to improve the environment are good for the economy.

Eighteen months ago, French President Nicolas Sarkozy established an international Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, owing to his dissatisfaction – and that of many others – with the current state of statistical information about the economy and society. On September 14, the Commission will issue its long-awaited report.

The big question concerns whether GDP provides a good measure of living standards. In many cases, GDP statistics seem to suggest that the economy is doing far better than most citizens’ own perceptions. Moreover, the focus on GDP creates conflicts: political leaders are told to maximize it, but citizens also demand that attention be paid to enhancing security, reducing air, water, and noise pollution, and so forth – all of which might lower GDP growth.

The fact that GDP may be a poor measure of well-being, or even of market activity, has, of course, long been recognized. But changes in society and the economy may have heightened the problems, at the same time that advances in economics and statistical techniques may have provided opportunities to improve our metrics.

For example, while GDP is supposed to measure the value of output of goods and services, in one key sector – government – we typically have no way of doing it, so we often measure the output simply by the inputs. If government spends more – even if inefficiently – output goes up. In the last 60 y ears, the share of government output in GDP has increased from 21.4% to 38.6% in the US, from 27.6% to 52.7% in France, from 34.2% to 47.6% in the United Kingdom, and from 30.4% to 44.0% in Germany. So what was a relatively minor problem has now become a major one.

Likewise, quality improvements – say, better cars rather than just more cars – account for much of the increase in GDP nowadays. But assessing quality improvements is difficult. Health care exemplifies this problem: much of medicine is publicly provided, and much of the advances are in quality.

The same problems in making comparisons over time apply to comparisons across countries. The United States spends more on health care than any other country (both per capita and as a percentage of income), but gets poorer outcomes. Part of the difference between GDP per capita in the US and some European countries may thus be a result of the way we measure things.

Another marked change in most societies is an increase in inequality. This means that there is increasing disparity between average (mean) income and the median income (that of the “typical” person, whose income lies in the middle of the distribution of all incomes). If a few bankers get much richer, average income can go up, even as most individuals’ incomes are declining. So GDP per capita statistics may not reflect what is happening to most citizens.

We use market prices to value goods and services. But now, even those with the most faith in markets question reliance on market prices, as they argue against mark-to-market valuations. The pre-crisis profits of banks – one-third of all corporate profits – appear to have been a mirage.

This realization casts a new light not only on our measures of performance, but also on the inferences we make. Before the crisis, when US growth (using standard GDP measures) seemed so much stronger than that of Europe, many Europeans argued that Europe should adopt US-style capitalism. Of course, anyone who wanted to could have seen American households’ growing indebtedness, which would have gone a long way toward correcting the false impression of success given by the GDP statistic.

Recent methodological advances have enabled us to assess better what contributes to citizens’ sense of well-being, and to gather the data needed to make such assessments on a regular basis. These studies, for instance, verify and quantify what should be obvious: the loss of a job has a greater impact than can be accounted for just by the loss of income. They also demonstrate the importance of social connectedness.

Any good measure of how well we are doing must also take account of sustainability. Just as a firm needs to measure the depreciation of its capital, so, too, our national accounts need to reflect the depletion of natural resources and the degradation of our environment.

Statistical frameworks are intended to summarize what is going on in our complex society in a few easily interpretable numbers. It should have been obvious that one couldn’t reduce everything to a single number, GDP. The report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress will, one hopes, lead to a better understanding of the uses, and abuses, of that statistic.

The report should also provide guidance for creating a broader set of indicators that more accurately capture both well-being and sustainability; and it should provide impetus for improving the ability of GDP and related statistics to assess the performance of the economy and society. Such reforms will help us direct our efforts (and resources) in ways that lead to improvement in both.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2009.

See also report of the
Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress

.Next Event

the future of Advertising

Thursday, October 29, 2009
, 2009
Registration: 18:30-19:00, Conference: 19:00-21:15

Location: Pakhuis de Zwijger, Expo Zaal, Piet Heinkade 179, first floor, 1019 HC Amsterdam


more information


.Future Connectivity:
.Healthcare Revolution for Community Development

y Hardy F. Schloer; SCG, Schloer Consulting Group, Spain, Advisory Board, Club of Amsterdam

Speech at the International Conference on China’s Urbanization and Community Development under Globalization

Good Afternoon, ladies and gentlemen

First of all, let me thank the organizers of this event that invited me here today, to give me the opportunity to speak to you.

I am the last speaker for the day, and I am sure you are all a little tired by now, so therefore I will try to be quick, and hopefully I shall keep your interest focused on this presentation.

I prepared on the subject of “Healthcare revolution for Community Development in China”, and indeed; this is a most fashionable topic these days, as now nearly every nation has began to recognize the importance of managing healthcare more efficiently and more economically.

Clearly; healthcare is a basic need within society, just as clean water, pollution free air or the need of basic security. It is a none-negotiable provision that our community leaders should provide in an un-politicized fashion for the common good of all.

Unlike common believe, it is healthcare that is the oldest profession on earth. In fact, in agent societies it was a duty of the spiritual leaders to practice healthcare. The druids of the Celtic villages 2000 years ago are an example that comes readily to mind. Even today the so-called medicine man of African natives is still a leftover of this agent practice. So, we can safely say, that healthcare is a central and important aspect of our lives for many millenniums.

In the beginning of my presentation I will now talk about the current healthcare conditions in the west, and I will explain some important facts about them. Naturally, you expect relative information pertaining to China, so please bare with me, I will get to China in due time during my talk.

The current practice of healthcare in the west offers just such perfect example of “how NOT to do it”, that I simply cannot resist using it also here today.

Some say, that we must improve Healthcare substantially, so that the pace of improving healthcare matches that of advancements in, lets say modern biology.
In past years technology and science have made significant progress in nearly all areas. Nevertheless, only little has translated into the day-to-day practice of building sustainable, safe and well managed healthcare communities around the globe.

In fact, the situation in healthcare is so dire, especially in the west, that it threatens the very existence of commercial businesses, communities and even the economies of whole countries.

For example, the US currently spends nearly 3 trillion dollars on healthcare with very little to be proud of, considering the enormous problems that exist in their healthcare system in spite of enormous spending; yet it still claims to be one of the best in terms of results…..

So I guess one can only begin to wonder how bad it is elsewhere.
Lets talk about some current examples:

General Motors is spending currently more money on healthcare then it spends on steel; but making cars from steel is their primary business; not healthcare.

Clearly, looking at such numbers, it is no wonder that this company got into great financial difficulties in past years.

Additionally we can notice, in spite of the horrendous expenditures, that the healthcare, which General Motors employees are receiving, is consistent with that of any other healthcare community:

It is ineffective, expensive, full of medical errors, plagued by corruption due to the strong influence of special interest groups, and most of all badly managed from bottom up, and also from top down.

Naturally, we don’t have to look only west, to see fundamental problems in healthcare. South America, Asia, Africa are plagued equally or worse with just very few exceptions in between.

One of the premier problems in today’s healthcare is, that we practice it exactly as we did some 50 or 100 years ago.

For example, there is no centralized and coherent flow of patient data management that supports the entire healthcare management of any community such as, lets say, a company, a village, a city, a country or maybe even the human community of whole planet.

Think about this:

Every single time, that there is an interaction between a doctor and a patient, anywhere in the world, there is some extremely valuable knowledge created that should be preserved, compared and analyzed.

This information is not just valuable for the patient, and important enough to be preserved for her or him; but more importantly, for the whole field of medicine, because we can statistically track important conditional correlations between drugs, illnesses, environmental and sociological conditions, genetics, and many other such vital factors.

Yet, in spite of this empirical fact, doctors treat patients, and store the results of treatments in outdated record systems mostly on paper, or if electronic, then at places where they are inaccessible by the general healthcare process; and often on incompatible standards, and worse of all, never re-analyzed after the patient has left the office.

And why should he? The case is closed, the bill is paid; and after all….. the patient is in our modern healthcare process simply just a profit-center! Nothing more! Nothing less!

Beyond the problems this process creates for the individual patient, this is also the single most amazing case of wasted knowledge imaginable.

Envision, what all this information could produce in terms of identifying epidemics, drug deficiencies; or on a more complex scenario, the hidden combinations of drug and health conditions that escalate into new illnesses undetected, just because we don’t have coherent and broadly machine analyzed access to the collective information of all healthcare records.

But there are other additional problems with current systems in ambulant applications!

Preventable errors and inconsistent quality of care are some of the main areas of concern in how we practice medicine in our communities.

A recent 2008 “Institute of Medicine” report states the following:

“Between 44.000 and 98.000 Americans die each year from medical errors. At least 90% of these are preventable. Many more die or have permanent disability because of inappropriate treatments, mistreatments, or missed treatments in ambulant settings."

“More people die each year in the United States alone from medical errors than from highway accidents, breast cancer or AIDS combined.”

If this is not shocking to you then lets try this:

In 2007 a multinational study was performed in 27 countries to evaluate the frequency and the possible causes of medical errors.

Altogether just 113 intensive care units with a total of 1328 patients.

The care units self-reported for one specific single day the frequency and the probable cause of the errors committed.

Remember! We are talking her about a very small sample on one single day!
The results are simply shocking:

A total of 861 errors occurred to 1.328 patients! 19% of these cases were exposed to multiple errors. This means, that 191 patients, that is 14%, experienced more then one error!

14 patients who experienced errors died or were permanently handicapped as a result.

The reported reasons for these errors lay clearly in the insufficient communication and information structure in today’s healthcare systems.

It is clear, there is a major opportunity here to bring about change, and this finally leads me to the subject of Healthcare as Community Development opportunity in China.

We begin by looking carefully at 2 interesting factors:

First of all, lets talk about the development of data processing technology and its current levels of readiness:

Today we have powerful networks, computer systems and databases that are capable to handle in real time the complete health care history of every human living on this planet… and still would not show any signs of computational overload.

We could without any problems give every patient and every health practitioner on this planet a convenient and secure web interface that would allow everybody to enter and store every single health record update in a central data processing system, without compromising any privacy issues. To the contrary, such system would enforce privacy better then anything we got today.

Such systems and the their current and emerging network technologies could be configured powerful enough to let every doctor practicing on this planet; every pharmacist; every medical researcher use this system in real time; in parallel, and still, such system would easily manage to real-time process all data, store every record, and background-analyze all records every 24 hours against all new medical knowledge gained in every previous 24-hour period.

We could easily automate all clinical research in the view of billions of doctor-patient interaction records, and very quickly find out, what treatment would work, under what conditions; however complex; and what would not!

We could build such system completely patient-centered and give the patient the right and responsibility to check and update his own record whenever needed, become a active and responsible part in his or her healthcare process, rather then just be an uninformed spectator of current systems.

When we talk to visionary healthcare practitioners all over the world and present them with this idea, they seem to all agree: this is the ONLY way, how we can solve the cost and quality problems in modern healthcare. Without exception; all agree!

So; why are we not using it? Well, this leads me to my second point:

Nearly all countries in this world manage community development as a decentralized task. In fact it became a real trend in the 1980s under Ronald Regan in the US to abandon all centralized governmental procedures and let communities figure out themselves, how to solve the problems of such community development.

Nearly all bought into this analogy, and today most countries suffer extensively from those effects…..

except one: CHINA

China has more then 1000 years of solid experience in how to develop communities from a completely centralized perspective.

At no other time in history could this pay more dividends then now, when finally modern communication technologies will allow China to implement efficient and centralized healthcare systems similar to those described just a moment ago.

China will be able to do this natively, because its system is ready for it; for 1000 years.

And in such way, China will be able to take fully advantage of globalized knowledge, and reuse it through centralized processing and communication systems in real-time, to thrive community development, whereby every community can take advantage of new knowledge developed in any other community, even communities outside of China, in a intercultural and interdisciplinary way.

Not only would this usher in a true revolution in healthcare for China, but moreover, it would give China the tools today to leapfrog the entire global community in healthcare, setting so a new standard and leadership in this area.

What are the chances, that such revolution could take place here in China in the near future? They are very high! All conditions are present in this moment.

No country has adapted in the last 2 or 3 decades to global technological developments as radically and as uncompromising as China.

If you have missed this fact about China, you have not been looking very carefully. If the potential of the healthcare revolution will be realized by China, it will become a most successful prove of concept, in how to use the power of technology within the framework of a centralized framework to foster high-quality community development in most efficient manner.

There is no doubt in my mind, that a Chinese technology driven centralized community development strategy, if realized vigorously, will result in global leadership in many areas in the shortest time, and set so new global standards.

The magic formula is:

Centralization + Technology = Winning Strategy

The question is: will the rest of the world adapt?

As we all well know from the laws of evolution:

It is not the strongest that survives…. It is the one that is most adaptable to change!

Time will tell!

Thank you, and good evening!

See also
our blog

.Club of Amsterdam blog

Club of Amsterdam blog

October 6: ... Just as Beauty lies in the Eyes of the Beholder … is Wisdom found in the Mind of the Receiver
September 21:
Future Connectivity: Healthcare Revolution for Community Development

August 5: Music 3.0 and the rocky pre-media past
April 5: Visions for a Sustainable Future
February 10:
How China, A Rising World Power Deals with the Current Crisis and Challenges Facing the World

.News about the Future


Power Assisted Suitcase
Live luggage, power assisted luxury travel suitcase, first class business & luxury holiday travel, luggage for luxury cruise and train travel.
Multi bag design allowing owner to check in whole bag or the flexibility to remove two pieces and treat as hand luggage.

4Anti-gravity handle putting 85% of the weight over the wheels
4Flat motor technology built into the wheels to assist when going up gradients, curbs, steps
4Live Locator ID - a unique ID to help locate your suitcase in the event of loss
4TSA recognised combination locks
4Unique umbrella storage (umbrella included)
4100% recyclable luggage
4Soft ballistic nylon case with removable lap top and weekend luggage bags



Nike Trash Talk

This performance basketball shoe is made from manufacturing waste. It incorporates leftover materials - leather and synthetic leather, foam and rubber - into new shoes without sacrificing any of the performance aspects that come from shoes made from virgin materials.

"The Trash Talk shoe is the hero of Nike's hyper-progressive and innovative sustainability program. High concept, aesthetics and performance--in combination with a smart and comprehensive eco-manufacturing methodology--make this shoe the holy grail of conscious consumption. Karmic debt still outstanding, but this is a huge down payment." - Valerie Casey, IDSA


.Just as Beauty lies in the Eyes of the Beholder …

… is Wisdom found in the Mind of the Receivers.

by Leif Thomas Olsen, Associate Professor, International Relations, Rushmore University

Many futurists and thinkers are today engaged in the revival of the concept of Wisdom. For generations, this concept has been second to more scientific exploits, where evidence rather than reflection is at the core. Although Wisdom still is, if and when inquired, typically ranked as the highest level of knowledge, it at the same time is - due to the vagueness associated with it - often overlooked when more important decisions are to be made. Here will - at least in the West - facts and evidence be considered the only reliable source of guidance.

Since the strength of Wisdom is often argued in terms of quotes of statements made throughout history of man, that are considered 'universal' in time as well as in place, it could be worth looking at Wisdom from a cultural horizon. What will happen to the concept of Wisdom if/when it is fully exposed to cultural 'globalization'? Just as the concept of Beauty has suffered immensely - when seen from a multicultural horizon - from the heavy influx of sponsored beauty-contests and promoted design-trends that by default reduce the chances for any local preferences to at all survive, will the concept of Wisdom run a similar risk of being culturally streamlined into hard-hitting one-liners, once our 'know-all' international media joins the trend.

To explain my concern, and point to a way to protect Wisdom as the valuable source of inspiration it is, I need to argue both in favor of Wisdom and in favor of Culture.

Wisdom must - because of its interactive nature - be seen from two angles. The first one is the process of establishing it; the second one the process of absorbing it. The person establishing it is indeed the wise person, i.e. the source of Wisdom (below re-ferred to as the message-sender). But a wise statement is not wise enough if it cannot be absorbed by those receiving it. If the one reading or hearing the quote (below refer-red to as the message-receiver) cannot make proper sense of it, the Wisdom is hidden, and therefore either neutral to the world or, in worst case, counter-productive (if it is misunderstood, that is).

Although I do share the view that Wisdom as a concept is 'global', any particular piece of Wisdom is, at best, only 'global to a certain degree'. Not even Wisdom can actually become altogether global, since it is based on induction (inductive reasoning), which - although this allows far greater flexibility than does deductive reasoning, both in its creation (i.e. for the message-sender) and in its application (i.e. for the message receiver) - means that 'interpretation' becomes a very important part of Wisdom, just as is the case with anything of 'interactive' nature.

No doubt is Wisdom, because of its inductive base, very different from more specific 'claims' - typically based on deduction - which, even if they are true, still suffer from the fact that their truth-factors boil down to very specific premises, i.e. if these premises are in place, the claims are true, but if they are not, the claims are false.

As far as the concept of 'global' goes, my concern is that it is only when all related premises actually are accepted as valid that anything at all can become truly 'global'. Everything else can only, at best, become 'global to a certain degree'. However, even in favorable cases, the majority (which in a worst case scenario will translate as 'stronger') will enforce the 'global' aspect of whatever is at stake, at the expense of the minority (which in these worst case scenarios will translate as 'weaker').

As one may understand from this, I do not see 'global' as anything we need to strive for, since the abuse of this term has been immense, often allowing the stronger to oppress the weaker in the name of 'equal opportunity' - an opportunity that no matter its basic equality will always depend on available resources. I rather think 'glocal' is the way forward, where local conditions and local interpretations are encouraged.

In my mind this means that although it may be hard to guess when or where any given 'wise' statement was first minted - in that respect making them 'universal' - they will still induce different behavior among those who try to apply the Wisdom the statement expresses. Such differences in application are typically instructed by cultural patterns. This should be encouraged rather than discouraged, or we risk ending up in an ethno-centric world where dominant cultures steamroll everything standing in its way.

Let me come back to the 'premise' component, and how it comes into play. Let us assume that all human beings respond in accordance with the following formula for logical behavior: Observation + Premise = Conclusion (see Olsen: A Book About Culture). The Wisdom statement can then be said to be a Conclusion made by the message-sender (i.e. the source of Wisdom), as well as an 'Observation' made by the message receiver (i.e. the person trying to apply the Wisdom). When the latter combines this Observation with any chosen Premises, he/she will draw Conclusions of some sort (consciously or unconsciously). This means that the chosen Premises will decide how the Wisdom is interpreted, meaning we actually 'apply' the same Wisdom differently in different cultures.

Let me stress that by 'cultural differences' I actually refer to the fact that different cultures always have different 'premises' in place. This is actually what constitutes cultural differences in the first place. These premises affect the message receiver greatly, and since this is mostly unconsciously, the receiver typically does not even realizes that s/he applies the Wisdom in a different way than what someone with a different cultural origin would do.

We westerners often try to take on non-western wisdom, but we tend to interpret it and apply it in quite different ways than do non-westerners. By 'different' I do not intend 'wrong' - but simply 'different'.

It is important to point out that I by "culture" refer to a wide range of 'cultures' - not only national or social ones. Cultures can also be professional or generational, they can be driven by gender, religion, interests, education or lineage, or by any other trait that people value.

Cultural dominance can hence be of a wide range of types. Let's take e.g. women and 'non-westerners', just to demonstrate. These groups are often forced to emulate male and/or western cultural behavior if they wish to reach the top in any of those environ-ments where male / western culture dominates - which for that matter happens to be just about everywhere where money is an issue of concern. If they do not take on the dominant culture's approach, their efforts will be less successful (although exceptions of course do exist).

That also includes the dominant culture's way of interpreting and applying certain Wisdom.

Take for example Diane Ackerman's quote (by some listed among 'wise statements'): "I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well."

To some, this quote could suggest that the best advice to a Laotian woman who wants a slice of the global pie would be to act as what the sport-shoemaker Nike suggests: Just do it! But how many Laotian women would interpret this Wisdom like that? 'Width' could alternatively represent a spiritual dimension, which - if that was the interpretation made - would not take her any closer to the slice in question.

Another example could be Chinese philosopher Chuang-tsu's saying: "Live so you are at ease, in harmony with the world, and full of joy." The way in which we define 'the world' is here critical for how we apply this Wisdom. Is 'the world' the society we live in and the friends we already have, which means we can disregard those parts of the world we have never encountered, or is 'the world' everything we or our fellow humans may encounter in life - including strangers, non-believers, divine beings and ecological systems?

Just like so many others I consider Wisdom an underutilized force, one that should be given a far greater role in society. However, I also consider cultural differences both a strength and advantage, why I see no reason to downplay or suppress them by making efforts to eliminate Wisdom's cultural associations in favor of its universalism.

Instead I believe there are some core messages running through all these expressions of Wisdom. These could be entangled and put in context, using a truly 'multicultural' approach (considering the wide range of different types of cultures indicated above). These core messages need to be elevated to human fundamentals, to which different societies could link different examples and guidelines, accommodating its prevailing culture or cultures. In a process like this, the fundamentals that all societies can agree to would serve as common denominators, while the culturally accepted references that the respective societies can positively relate to can serve as more direct guidelines for social development.

If we all had the same culture there would be no rainbow, just a monotonous light of blue, yellow or red. We must allow Wisdom to retain its truly glocal sentiment, or it will run the risk of meeting the same fate as Beauty - to be hijacked by media in its never-ending hunt for simplifications and glamour.

… and yet I haven't even touched upon another global problem: "Lost in translation"!

In October, 2009

See also our blog

.Recommended Book


What Would Google Do?
by Jeff Jarvis

Jarvis, columnist and blogger about media, presents his ideas for surviving and prospering in the Internet age, with its new set of rules for emerging technologies as well as industries such as retail, manufacturing, and service. We learn that customers are now in charge, people anywhere can find each other and join forces to support a company’s efforts or oppose them, life and business are more public, conversation has replaced marketing, and openness is the key to success. Jarvis’ other laws include being a platform (help users create products, businesses, communities, and networks of their own); hand over control to anyone; middlemen are doomed; and your worst customer is your best friend, and your best customer is your partner. Jarvis offers thought-provoking observations and valuable examples for individuals and businesses seeking to fully participate in our Internet culture and maximize the opportunities it offers. It is unclear what role Google played, if any, in the preparation of this book, which provides excellent advertising for the company. -- Mary Whaley

.New Personal Mobility Device

Honda's U3-X

Pursuing the concept of "harmony with people" Honda has developed a new personal mobility technology and unveiled U3-X, a compact experimental device that fits comfortably between the rider's legs, to provide free movement in all directions just as in human walking - forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally. Honda will continue research and development of the device including experiments in a real-world environment to verify the practicality of the device.

This new personal mobility device makes it possible to adjust speed and move, turn and stop in all directions when the rider leans the upper body to shift body weight. This was achieved through application of advanced technologies including Honda's balance control technology, which was developed through the robotics research of ASIMO, Honda's bipedal humanoid robot, and the world's first* omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System, or HOT Drive System), which enables movement in all directions, including not only forward and backward, but also directly to the right and left and diagonally. In addition, this compact size and one-wheel-drive personal mobility device was designed to be friendly to the user and people around it by making it easier for the rider to reach the ground from the footrest and placing the rider on roughly the same eye level as other people or pedestrians.

Key features of U3-X

<Free movement just as in human walking>

1.Device control featuring application of balance control technology cultivated through ASIMO research:
The incline sensor detects the incline of the device based on the weight shift of the rider and determines the rider's intention in terms of the direction and speed. Based on the data, precise control is applied to return the device to an upright position, which achieves smooth and agile movements and simple operation by weight shift only.

2.HOT Drive System (Omni-directional driving wheel system):
Honda developed the world's first wheel structure which enables movement in all directions including forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally. Multiple small-diameter motor-controlled wheels were connected in-line to form one large-diameter wheel. By moving the large-diameter wheel, the device moves forward and backward, and by moving small-diameter wheels, the device moves side-to-side. By combining these movements the device moves diagonally.

<Compact size which fit between the user's legs>

3.Compact and innovative package:
The combination of the balance control technology and the HOT Drive System enabled the one-wheel style compact and innovative package of the device. In addition, the device adopts a light-weight monocoque body in which the foldable seat, footrests and body cover that also function as the frame are stored in the body of the device, achieving highly portable convenience.


.Futurist Portrait: Vint Cerf

Vinton Gray "Vint" Cerf is an American computer scientist who is the person most often called 'the father of the Internet'." His contributions have been recognized repeatedly, with honorary degrees and awards that include the National Medal of Technology, the Turing Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In the early days, Cerf was a DOD DARPA program manager funding various groups to develop TCP/IP technology. When the Internet began to transition to a commercial opportunity, Cerf moved to MCI where he was instrumental in the development of the first commercial email system (MCI Mail) connected to the Internet.

Vinton Cerf was instrumental in the funding and formation of ICANN from the start. Cerf went to the same high school as Jon Postel and Steve Crocker. Cerf waited in the wings for a year before he stepped forward to join the ICANN Board. Eventually he became the Chairman of ICANN.

Cerf has worked for Google as its Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist since September 2005. In this function he has become well known for his predictions on how technology will affect future society, encompassing such areas as artificial intelligence, environmentalism, the advent of IPv6 and the transformation of the television industry and its delivery model.

Some quotes:

"The Internet is based on a layered, end-to-end model that allows people at each level of the network to innovate free of any central control. By placing intelligence at the edges rather than control in the middle of the network, the Internet has created a platform for innovation."

"The remarkable social impact and economic success of the Internet is in many ways directly attributable to the architectural characteristics that were part of its design. The Internet was designed with no gatekeepers over new content or services."

"I realized it had taken 20 years for the Internet to take off: from 1973 to 1993," Cerf says. "So I wondered what I should be doing to prepare for our needs in the future. An interplanetary backbone was the answer."

The Internet in 2035


Our Season Program 2009 / 2010:

October 29


the future of Advertising
De Zwijger, Expo Zaal, 1st floor, Piet Heinkade 179, 1019 HC Amsterdam

November 19

  the future of Waste
Location: WTC, Metropolitan Boardroom of Amsterdam In Business, D tower, 12th floor, Strawinskylaan 1, 1077 XW

February 11

  the future of Biosensing
Location: De Waag, Amsterdam

March 25

  the future of Sports
Location: Amsterdam

April 29

  the future of Music
Location: Amsterdam

June 3

  the future of CERN
Location: Amsterdam

July 1

  the future of Bollywood
Location: Amsterdam


Your comments, ideas, articles are welcome!
Please write to Felix Bopp, Editor-in-Chief:

.Subscribe & Unsubscribe


To unsubscribe:


Copyright 2002-2009, Club of Amsterdam. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2002-2015 Club of Amsterdam. All rights reserved.    Contact     Privacy statement    Cancellation Policy