5 Continuous Innovation Archives - Imagine a New Future

A New World Culture Without Limits

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Could we develop a world culture without limits, with an expanding number of ways to reach the many kinds of greatness in all of us? If a Digital Earth delivers the world’s best to everyone, being connected will mean being at the top of the world in the ways we each choose. For everyone, all the time, for everything they want and decide.


A New World Culture Without Limits


For the past 10,000 years, the long wave of human history has been like a gentle swell traveling across a smooth ocean. From the start of civilization to the Industrial Revolution in about 1800, most of humanity lived like livestock.

Almost everyone was stuck and lived impoverished agricultural lives, even when their country did well. The prevailing belief was bleak:  Nearly universal poverty was inevitable.

Before the Industrial Revolution science and technology led nowhere. Our minds were governed by what we saw and thought, so we were trapped in a comparatively small and poor world. We believed that was the only world.

During those thousands of years our greatest obstacle was never ignorance. It was the illusion of knowledge, the certainty that we knew the world we live in.


The Great Divergence:  The world added a self-created future


A New World Culture Without Limits

About the year about 1800, only about 200 years ago, an unprecedented expansion began.  For one thing, population growth took off.  The human population has multiplied repeatedly in just 200 years. By today we have swelled to over seven billion people. By the year 2050, the middle of this century, the United Nations forecasts that the human population will stabilize at about nine billion people on the Earth.

A New World Culture Without Limits

A similar expansion began in the economy. Starting about 200 years ago, with the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom, Western Europe and in the United States — which came to be called The West — there was an economic acceleration some historians call “The Great Divergence.” The West took off economically by embracing technology and science.

For the next 150 years The West made the mistake of thinking they were different from the rest of the world, because they outgrew the world economically.

That triggered a global awakening. Other countries wanted these benefits but had to spend generations absorbing the advances.


The great convergence:  Prosperity made the West better, and everyone else too

By the middle of the 1900’s the Industrial Revolution was reaching the rest of the world, with many countries catching up.

By the year 2050, the middle of this century, the West’s leadership will vanish. Four of the top five economies in the world will not be from the West. China and India will be one and two. The United States will fall to third. Brazil and Japan will be the fourth and fifth largest economies in the world.

While each of these countries are different culturally, they have learned the same economic patterns.

History will record that the West was not different. It was just first.

Economies that grow don’t require abundant natural resources. That’s shown by resource-poor island nations like Japan and Britain that have led the world, while some resource-rich countries in Africa and South America remained behind.

The future will say that the world reached a centuries-long turning point.  It will say that we are only half-way through an industrial revolution that is still spreading to include the whole planet.

Crucially, it could say that the digital stage of that planetary evolution found a turning point, a way to accelerate its progress.

What is that turning point?

A New World Culture Without Limits

Can technology remove our ceilings, so people can blossom?

The most powerful changes come from growing beyond the world we see. We were always limited by believing the visible world is all there is. An industrial revolution came from discovering that numerous innovations are ready to advance the world, and relentlessly finding and adding them.

By now we should know that wealth comes from our minds. Yet we still struggle with eliminating our current illusions, removing bureaucratic barriers, and replacing them with improvements.

Technological imagination is still able to become one of our largest sources of wealth and progress. For a vivid example, Apple is the the most valuable company in the world.

For another example, new Expandiverse Technology, in confidential development for years, adds to our knowledge of how to build a more powerful future — how to conceive and build tomorrow’s digital world today.

With a new opportunity to accelerate, a more successful Earth becomes imaginable, distributable and buildable.

Everyone who is motivated can periodically update their screens — and their minds — to this latest vision of tomorrow’s Earth. As each step is added, connected screens can be used to see or try new versions. Each step moves the cycle forward another turn, flipping our biggest question from whether to when.

With the Industrial Revolution, we started evolving a new culture where everyone has the chance to be free of what held back societies and people since the dawn of human history.

As tomorrow’s world becomes one digital room, every person could have a new and more personally valuable opportunity — to rise to personal greatness.

If we learn to do this, economic and market size growth could take off on a scale never before imagined:  Universal prosperity. For 9 billion people over the coming centuries.

Until this has been imagined, and we see how to build it, it can’t happen. But once we do, and “get it,” watch out.

Recognizing this could make us ready for a new stage in history, for a worldwide Journey to Greatness.

A torrent of continuous, amazing advances could become a new world culture.



• J. Bradford DeLong, Department of Economics, U.C. Berkeley, Estimating World GDP, One Million B.C. – Present, http://econ161.berkeley.edu/TCEH/1998_Draft/World_GDP/Estimating_World_GDP.html

• Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, The Economic History of the Last 2000 Years: Part II, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/06/the-economic-history-of-the-world-after-jesus-in-4-slides/258762/

• Larry Elliott, The Guardian, GDP projections from PwC: how China, India and Brazil will overtake the West by 2050, http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/jan/07/gdp-projections-china-us-uk-brazil


Image credits: 

First image:  Shutterstock.

Second image:  Based on EI T (public domain), via Wikimedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3APopulation_curve.svg

Third image:  Based on Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, The Economic History of the Last 2000 Years: Part II, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/06/the-economic-history-of-the-last-2000-years-part-ii/258762/

Fourth image copyright Dan Abelow.

Dan Abelow is an American inventor, author, speaker and technology consultant. His latest patent-pending invention, the Expandiverse, is new technology to build an advanced Digital Earth now. His previous patents are licensed by over 500 corporations that include Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics and many other leaders. He holds degrees from Harvard and the Wharton School. Get connected with Dan at ImagineANewFuture.com/connect/

Will the whole world become your digital world? And vice-versa?

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What if we made the window into a digital device called a Teleportal? What if that were a two-way network that turns the Earth into a digital room with everyone in it? 

What if that digital world were you-centered and you gained immense abilities? Could your life’s dreams be as close as your screens? Could we build that fully digital world now, decades before it’s expected?


Will the whole world become your digital world? And vice-versa?


From a totally unexpected vantage point, the future became visible. Standing at a window and looking through it triggered a flood of realizations that spilled into years of confidential work.

With all the digital devices we use today, we haven’t digitized the window.

We have added video communications to many devices and we even call Microsoft’s PC operating system “Windows,” but our windows are still dumb sheets of glass in walls.

We don’t even stand in front of our windows and enjoy them for long. We already know what’s outside. It doesn’t change. It’s nice, but boring.

But what if a digital window were a two-way, networked system that turns the Earth into a single digital room, with everyone in it?

Two-way. Interact with the other side. People worldwide talk back to you. Add parallax, depth of field and high quality video/audio, so everyone moves and looks like they’re in the same room, separated only by a sheet of glass.

Imagine if all digitally connected people were in that new connected room.

Billions of us. Together.


Imagine if everyone uses the next generation’s devices to be their best selves

Years were spent turning this into technology and IP.

Next add booster rockets to these new digital windows, and name them “Teleportals:”  Converge computing, communications, the Internet, television, music, work, e-commerce, entertainment and much more.

Combine people, services, places, tools and resources. Make our complete digital world accessible from every digital window.

Make all the connections continuous, as the power of our devices exponentially increases to handle this.

Morph all our screens into one family of Teleportals. Their styles include wall-size to desk-size, tablets to hand-held, pocket-size to wearables. And include new formats when they emerge, like glasses and projectors.

Constantly improve the video and audio processing until your Teleportals feel better than real. Make them more powerful than physical reality, too, with remote control over many parts of our increasingly powerful digital world. With all your Teleportals instantly responsive, their connections always on and ready to do your bidding.

Provide one consistent, adaptable interface to fit the size and power of each of your screens. Your Teleportals put you in one digital world you can use easily and fully from every device. From everywhere, whether in Manhattan or a small village.

Since people naturally focus on themselves and make social connections, our physical world revolves around us.

Teleportals can reflect us the same way. They’re designed so they can be “you-centered” and work like automatic doors. As you turn to one it recognizes you and automagically opens your “Shared Planetary Life Spaces.” Your people, services, places, tools and resources are all on and connected. All you do is “focus” a connection and that part of your world is “here” for you. Instantly.

When you leave that Teleportal it turns off automagically. It saves “where you are” in the architecture behind your Teleportals. As soon as you turn to your next Teleportal it retrieves and restores your Shared Spaces for you.

Your continuous, always on digital world follows you from screen to screen.

If you’re with people, they stay with you as you switch. If you’re using software, tools and data files, these stay in front. If your “location” is a displayed place like your office where you work, that follows you to your next device. Or if you’ve blended a combination then that’s what you see when you switch to the next screen.


Will the whole world become your digital world? And vice-versa?


Can digital boundaries remove the physical world’s limits?

To cut our huge Earth down to your size, you’ll have multiple “Shared Spaces” for the different parts of your life. You’ll separate them into life spaces like family, friends, employers, shopping, business relationships, special projects, entertainment, education, communities, games, personal adventures, more…

You’ll be interested in every part of your life, because you’ll make each of your Shared Spaces what you want.

You can block anything you don’t want in your Shared Spaces. These visible boundaries let you filter in what you like and shut out what you dislike, so your screens reflect how you see the world.

Your boundaries also expand your privacy, with public, private or secret Shared Spaces. Of course you’ll control your boundaries sensibly. You’ll be public when you focus your friends, private when you focus in your employer’s work spaces, and secret when your financial accounts are up front.

But who wants to be sensible all the time? You can also enjoy multiple personal identities that are public, private or secret.

Let your imagination go and enjoy your dreams as some of life’s best adventures await in some of your Shared Spaces. Beyond a first kiss, greater than a first love, outshining the “first time,” you will defeat death in ways medical science can’t. Rather than extending your life by hundreds of years, you could add more identities and lives into your one short lifetime.

You’ll explore the world, becoming a global person who learns how to feel at home everywhere you decide to be, with many different kinds of people. You’ll turn the Earth into your personal home and resource, in ways it’s never been before.

Processing will include speech recognition, with automatic translation for those who speak different languages.

It will be clear that everyone’s everyday lives, and our global adventures, include everyone. Once we see how to have the lives we want, we will reach for our dreams. Life will turn into entertainment, and entertainment into new types of lives and lifestyles.

Your dreams for your life will be as close as your screens. As a global person, the Earth will no longer be limited to the world’s wealthiest elites. Teleportals will make it yours. Ours. Everyone’s.

Not to be outdone, those who want serious can sit in the classrooms of  the Ivy League’s best professors, attend live TED talks all over the world, or pack “invested in” politicians’ virtual town halls to discuss their well spun “My job is to monitor and lock you down!” argument.

Your worlds will be what you choose, including who you choose to be and which realities you live in.

For the first time in history physical reality won’t limit you. Instead, you’ll control trans-border digital reality, with the whole world as your personal resource.

When you can include or exclude anything you’ll decide when you want to be formal, frivolous or fantastic. Your powers will grow rapidly as Teleportal capacities advance at the exponential speed of Moore’s law:  Twice as powerful in 18 months, 4X in 3 years, 32X in 6 years and 128X in a decade. Exponentially, in two decades you’ll be over 10,000 times more powerful.

You’ll redesign your displays in real time, creating your world and broadcasting your preferred realities in your video and audio. Reality designers can develop custom realities — with or without music tracks — and broadcast them for millions to explore, enjoy and switch between.

During breakfast you might blend in a living Amazon rainforest, lunch with Star Wars fans at a simulated Tatooine restaurant, and hold an afternoon meeting in the Louvre.

There’s no doubt, you’ll make your worlds the best you can imagine.

Will the whole world become your digital world? And vice-versa?


The Expandiverse:  A time machine for your devices and your lives

The future wasn’t just a digital window any more. Years of confidential work produced 750 pages of IP filings and 1,500 pages of documentation so this future could be built today.

It started to become clear what our technology possibilities could be if we accelerate tomorrow’s world into today, decades early.

Sooner than you expect, you might become the person you always imagined you could be. A person who controls your worlds, and enjoys the best lives you can discover.

You’ll look around with new eyes. Your digital connections will be continuous, just like physical reality. Walk into a room and the physical world is always there. Turn to your Teleportals and your digital world is always there.

In your Teleportals, you-centered Shared Spaces will make you feel all-knowing, powerful and special. You’ll realize you’ve arrived in tomorrow, with the power to make you the best you can be.

Your Teleportals and Shared Spaces will deliver a world full of people, places, activities and opportunities locally, at your fingertips — with the services and resources you need to live globally at a level far beyond today.

You will explore a much bigger life, and grow into abilities you can’t even imagine.

Not for a future generation. For today.

With economic acceleration for this decade’s economies, the companies that lead this — and you, me and everyone.


Image credits: The first image is credited to Shutterstock. All other images are copyright Dan Abelow.

Dan Abelow is an American inventor, author, speaker and technology consultant. His latest patent-pending invention, the Expandiverse, is new technology to build an advanced Digital Earth now. His previous patents are licensed by over 500 corporations that include Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics and many other leaders. He holds degrees from Harvard and the Wharton School. Get connected with Dan at ImagineANewFuture.com/connect/

We Think We’ve Arrived, but Today is Only a Glimpse of our Digital Future

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Do we know so much, or do we share the same illusion of knowledge as every age? Looking back from our digital future, today will turn out to be wrong. The future will call us obsolete.

Since landing on the Internet’s shores, we have reached only the first few miles inland. Tomorrow’s Digital Earth will come from inventing a more powerful world:  One where everyone can succeed and reach the top of society — where greatness will be the norm.




We think we’re living in a world that’s digital, but we haven’t even begun to glimpse what our digital future will be.

All we’ve reached is the same first step as Christopher Columbus in 1492, when he landed on the shores of the New World. He put down his flag and said, “We claim this land.”

Our “new world” is online. We’re like those discoverers in the early 1500’s. We’ve quickly claimed our new Internet “lands.”

Today we have Googleland, Amazonland, Appleland, Facebookland and others. Some are so huge that many of us have moved into them. The top 10 to 25 “lands” already “own” much of the advertising, retail, ecosystem and other large revenue streams from the Internet’s new shores.


Do today’s new “lands” really know where they are?

In 1492 it took Columbus decades to learn where he was. Columbus made four voyages to the New World and died thinking he reached Asia’s outer islands. That’s why new world natives are called “Indians.”

In our first 20 years of the Internet we have advanced, and a lot was built. But this is only the first foray. Since landing on the Internet’s shores, we have only reached the first few miles inland.

We haven’t realized a Kentucky wilderness lies to the West, Canadian riches are in the North, and heading Southwest leads to a wild Louisiana territory.

We don’t suspect there will be a Mississippi River in the distant middle, plains and mountain ranges beyond it, or a spectacular West Coast in the far distance.

While we focus on our Internet beachhead, our economic stagnation parallels the 1500’s. In that century’s stagnant feudal economy, many knew they needed to emigrate to their “new world.”

Today, many who are locked down in our fading industrial economy know they must find a bridge into tomorrow’s “new world.”

They see what’s happening to the economies in our “advanced societies.” Good middle class jobs are disappearing while low-paying jobs multiply, trapping huge numbers of people in a downward spiral, hoping for a better way forward.

Growing numbers are asking if high-tech has a high price. Is technology a threat or an advantage?

For many of us, our expectations for our personal economic future grows dimmer.

New questions become more urgent: What could a better digital future be? Can we accelerate that future digital world into the present?




When it comes to digital, we’ve only just begun

The 1500’s opening of the New World is different from today’s Digital World.

Back then pioneers had to walk across the New World physically, one foot at a time. We couldn’t see ahead until we sent out a scout, a Lewis & Clark or a John Wesley Powell. Our scouts physically explored each new place and told us what’s there.

Tomorrow’s Digital World is a different kind of “place.” We design and build it.

To find our Digital World of the future it’s possible to be a more creative scout, to race ahead and start building a distant future, then bring back what you discover.

Until now, today’s “scouting wisdom” is to look ahead a few months to a few years, find a disruption and use it for a competitive advantage.

Those are baby steps. While everyone thinks they’re looking ahead, they’re adapting the present.

Instead, I took a different scouting journey. Using history as a guide, each later age found different truths than the previous age. Virtually all our beliefs and assumptions will be transformed.

From the vantage point of our future, what we believe today will turn out to be wrong, obsolete and unknowing.

We just don’t know it. Yet.


We’re busy believing we know so much, living with the same illusion of knowledge as every age.

We look a few months to a few years ahead and ask, “Which disruptions will generate millions, hundreds of millions, or billions of dollars in revenue soon?”

I wasn’t interested.

In my “advance scouting” I went decades into the future to explore the fully Digital World we will build by the middle of this century, by 2030 through 2060 — the decades when our kids will run the world.

I spent years being creative in a future everyone abandoned. I privately scouted, pioneered and planted the first IP flags on our Digital World of 20 to 50 years out.

What a wonderful awakening: Our technological future is not far away. It can be developed and accelerated into the present.

I mined deeper truths, and spent years asking questions that have powerful answers, but don’t fit the way we think.

In a more powerful Digital World can everyone reach the top of society? Can today’s greatness become tomorrow’s norm? Can everyone succeed, regardless of their education?

I discovered a fully Digital World in which our kids could live. A stronger world where it’s normal for everyone to become much more than we’ve ever been before.

Next I figured out how that could be designed now, built by us, to accelerate our economy and expand our lives.

We have only just arrived on the shores of our new digital world. We haven’t even imagined there is more, much more, beyond us.

We don’t need to wait decades. We, not our kids, are the generation who could benefit from this.

We can add tomorrow’s immense digital abilities to our lives and our companies.

I’m impatient and ready. How about you?


Image credits: The first graphic is credited to Shutterstock. The second and third graphics are copyright Dan Abelow.

Dan Abelow is an American inventor, author, speaker and technology consultant. His latest patent-pending invention, the Expandiverse, is new technology to build an advanced Digital Earth now. His previous patents are licensed by over 500 corporations that include Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics and many other leaders. He holds degrees from Harvard and the Wharton School. Get connected with Dan at ImagineANewFuture.com/connect/

The Darkest Hour is Before the Dawn… Of Tomorrow’s Digital World

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Where’s the wealthy future that should be possible from advanced technology? Advanced societies create most inventions, but they’re turning into barbells with the middle class pushed to the bottom while power moves to the top. We’re overdue for answers. 

Today’s digital seems cool. Until you realize it’s only just begun and we’re moving too slowly into tomorrow’s digital world.


The Darkest Hour is Before the Dawn... Of Tomorrow’s Digital World


If a generation is 25 years, then only 400 generations separate us from civilization’s birth, about 10,000 years ago. At just 400 generations, we are the biological brothers and sisters of the people who domesticated animals and plants.

About 10,000 years ago, in an early hand-tilled field…

You feel your sweat drip from your chin as you work in your field under the late Summer sun, suddenly inhaling deeply as you enjoy the first faint tang of Fall’s cool air on the breeze. Your plants are nearly grown. This year will bring a change from hunting and gathering. There won’t be starvation during the cold winter months. It will soon be time to harvest, to celebrate.

We took nearly all those 400 generations to reach the industrial revolution.

In the past eight generations we transformed everything.

Today’s farmer sits in the air conditioned cab of a 35-foot wide combine, confirming its GPS and laser-guided steering. Land management software uses satellite images and soil samples to plan crops, predict yields and calculate farm equipment steering patterns. Your combine’s automated steering replaces your sweat with with one-inch steering accuracy. Music and talk radio replaces boredom.

But that’s not enough. Automation continues to advance. The driver of tomorrow’s 18-wheel trucks will be a driver and a dog. The driver will be there to feed the dog, and the dog will be there to bite the driver if he touches anything.


Full speed ahead

Today we stand on a mountain of human learning and transformation that has only taken us about eight generations to build.

We began industrializing only a few generations ago, and in each new generation we transform even more as yesterday’s industrial revolution slowly evolves into a digital world.

During these two centuries we grew the world’s population from one billion in 1804 to 7 billion in 2012. We expect to reach 9 billion people in 2050, just decades from now.

The industrial revolution’s economic and national prosperity were powered by new inventions and scientific advances. These determined the people, companies, and countries who led the world — basically the world’s rich, middle-class and poor. New knowledge, science and technology became the new levers of power and wealth.

But in the last two decades the developing world skipped wired telephones and went right to cell phones, added the Internet’s global information resources, and used education and modern systems to catch up in ways they couldn’t in the past.

Today there’s more invention and new knowledge than ever before, but economic growth is disconnected from where the inventions are created.

Advanced societies still create most of the inventions and knowledge, but they’re stagnant economically.

As a result, today’s 21st century world is going through three kinds of growth:  gradual rising out of poverty, rapid growth of the middle class in converging economies, and slow growth in “advanced economies.”

At the bottom, the world’s poorest people deal with the challenging issues of electricity, water, sanitation, health care, education, and getting connected to the world’s amazing digital advances.

That’s happening but for some people it’s too slow. However, others say, “Over the next 10 years, a billion more people will be connected to the Internet. That’s fast.”

So it depends on your point of view, but it is happening and as people get connected, the modern world’s advantages flow to billions more.

In the middle, the world’s fastest wave of economic growth is being surfed by people who are catching up and joining the middle class. Convergence is their economic engine. As the world converges hundreds of millions of people enter the middle class, in countries all over the world.

To grow rapidly and economically, many lower income people are becoming well educated and replicating many of the technological advantages and economic performance that were used by the advanced societies. The converging economies are thriving, producing the world’s fastest economic growth.


The Darkest Hour is Before the Dawn... Of Tomorrow’s Digital World

Descending darkness?

At the “top” the middle class in advanced societies and economies, which are roughly 12% to 15% of the world’s population, face an economic plateau.

Their societies’ inventions and technologies race ahead. Productivity is surging. Many corporations earn high or record profits.

But middle class incomes are declining. Middle class jobs are vanishing. Low paying jobs are spreading quickly. Most college educated kids are under-employed. Government and thought leaders don’t have answers.

In these “world-leading societies” science, invention and technology keep advancing. In fact, their pace is faster than ever.

Where’s the great future that should be possible with today’s technology and abilities?

The economic returns to most people are falling. Productivity, technology and wealth creation no longer fuel many kinds of jobs and earnings. Large numbers of people are well trained to thrive in yesterday’s industrial society, but that world is vanishing.

The middle class in “advanced societies” are in an economic decline. More people are being shut out. When someone loses their middle class job and can’t replace it, they face a crashing nosedive.

There’s an invisible elephant in the room:  Has the tech industry failed society?

If you track the tech industry’s activities and $$$ invested in new technology, it’s off the charts. But when you track society’s prosperity, tech’s rise matches the decline of the industrial revolution’s “income growth engine.”

Where’s the prosperous future that should be possible from the tech industry’s amazing innovations, products and services?

The “advanced societies” are failing when compared to the converging societies and economies — the economies that have sped up.

When the world’s most “advanced” countries have the newest and best tech, but they aren’t evolving fast enough, there’s only one conclusion:  They’re moving too slowly!

The gap between our technology’s potentials and our results is huge and growing.

We’re overdue for answers.



Image credits: The first graphic is credited to Shutterstock. The second graphic is copyright Dan Abelow.

Dan Abelow is an American inventor, author, speaker and technology consultant. His latest patent-pending invention, the Expandiverse, is new technology to build an advanced Digital Earth now. His previous patents are licensed by over 500 corporations that include Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics and many other leaders. He holds degrees from Harvard and the Wharton School. Get connected with Dan at ImagineANewFuture.com/connect/

Where are We in the Digital Revolution?

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We think we’re so advanced but whole societies appear lost, not knowing how to build a digital future that works for everyone. We’re becoming inventors, opening many new doors instead of arriving at a  destination.

We will eventually build a continuous Digital Earth that recognizes us and serves us. Today will look primitive and obsolete when our our digital ox carts are turned into race cars.


Where are We in the Digital Revolution?

We think we’re so advanced, so scientific and so quantitative. We measure, analyze and know so much.

What if we’re only digital babies, just learning to stand and take our first steps? What if we don’t realize how long it will take before we become a successful digital world?

You’d think we would see this. Millions in societies worldwide, even whole societies, appear lost in a maze. We don’t know how we, as individuals or as nations, can build the powerful and successful future we want. We careen from one crisis into another, failing to solve most of them fully as we rush head-long into perilous decades ahead.

At times, each society seems rocked by massive frustrations and dissatisfactions. For millions in the middle class and elsewhere around the world, resignation is replacing hope for the future.

We need a better way. To find it, let’s take a look back and see how others succeeded.

Does history hide a better way to see our future, a more effective way to measure our forward progress?


Books:  The biggest intellectual revolution in history

History’s parallels give us perspective. One of the best is the biggest intellectual revolution in history. This started with Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the movable type printing press about 1439 in Strasbourg, Germany.


5.1B Art

One of the first books ever printed with movable type was the Mainz Psalter, in 1459. The most obvious and important part of this book is it doesn’t look like what we call a book. It looks more like the handwritten books that were copied by hand, one by one, before the printing press was invented. In fact, the printer of the Mainz Psalter was careful to copy the handwriting mannerisms that were expected by readers in that generation.

A decade later, books incorporated a style with a two-column layout printed in a regular, standardized font. The design of the letter forms and the lack of paragraphs still resembled handwritten books, however.


5.1C Art

A second generation, by 1490, started printing books for specialized audiences. This is the first illustrated travel book, the famous Peregrinatio in Terram Sanctam. In fact, by the year 1500 over 200 European cities had printers, and some books had quite varied features and styles.

Let’s consider another generation later, in 1517. In this period, Bibles were one of the most popular books printed and sold, and one of the most familiar books read. The Polyglot Bible was one that showed how printers mastered fonts, languages, layouts, columns, titles, liner notes and many other advances in book design and manufacturing.


5.1D Art

By 1520 through 1540, almost a century after Gutenberg’s invention, the types of books we know and enjoy today had become standard. An example is the 1542 publication of De Historia Stirpium the remarkable illustrated history of plants by Leonhard Fuchs, a German botanist and physician.

The book itself, and its anatomically accurate illustrations, look like what we would recognize as a book today.


What you might not know is that Gutenberg and that first generation of inventors had very little to do with creating what we call the book.

5.1E Art


Measuring our future:  Where are we? How well are we doing?

To learn from our past, this timeline shows the three generations it took to develop history’s greatest intellectual revolution — the book:

When history looks back on our generation today, where will we be in the digital revolution?

Shouldn’t we be placed near the end of the first generation and the start of the second?

We’re only about thirty years since the introduction of the PC, about twenty years after the start of the mass-market Internet, and about fifteen years after the take-up of cell phones. We’re just getting through the first decade of GPS location, smart phones, social networking, mobile applications, two-way mobile media, and much more that we think is so advanced.

Our digital version of the printing press is still being figured out. As we keep inventing, our innovations show we’re Gutenberg’s equivalents.

With millions of new apps, we’re spinning outward in multiple disconnected spirals. There’s invention everywhere, without a “finished book” in sight.

We’re in the Inventors’ generation. We may think we’re already there, but we’re still opening new doors. We’re just adding 3D printing, and don’t even know all the kinds of digital printing presses there are.


5.1F Art


The next step — and the next generation — will be the Developers, our children who will take our tens of thousands of inventions and transform them from puzzle pieces into a picture that connects and works together.

Then they’ll be followed by a third generation, the Finishers. Our grandchildren will make tomorrow’s world continuous, connected and whole. We’ll look primitive and obsolete as they turn our ox carts into race cars.

They’ll transform our thousands of separate on/off connections into a continuous digital world that recognizes us, follows us and serves us.

They’ll write more than a digital book. They will build our digital Earth, and bring it into view for the first time.


5.1G Art

So where are we today, and how far can we go now?

According to history, we won’t live to see or enjoy the digital world we’ve started.

Based on the history of the book, we’re only the first generation. We Gutenbergs will be dead and buried before we know what our digital world will be.

The  ‘Finishers’ will be our grandchildren. It will take about 60 to 80 years more before they will have our Digital Earth assembled and working.

But today there is another way forward so we can accelerate and become the  ‘Finishers’ generation in the timeline.

Years of private development have been done to leap ahead to tomorrow’s digital world:  The Expandiverse. New technology to build tomorrow’s digital world today.

Where is our Digital Revolution going? When will we arrive?

We could jump aboard this fourth dimension architecture and time travel into tomorrow’s more powerful world.

We could see our future, decide the parts we want and accelerate them into today.

When we know the Expandiverse destination and how to build it, we need only an irresistible reason to leap ahead.

Do you know what that is?


Image credits: The sixth and seventh images are credited to Shutterstock. The first 5 images are credited to:

Mainz Psalter (1459). http://www.historyofinformation.com/index.php?id=2967 Used with permission.

Peregrinatio in Terram Sanctam (1490, the first illustrated travel book). From Sanderus Antiquariaat, Ghent, Belgium. http://www.sanderusmaps.com/en/our-catalogue/detail/165416/breydenbach-peregrinatio-in-terram-sanctam.-[speier]- peter-drach-29-july-1490.-/2/ Used with permission.

De Historia Stirpium (1542, illustrated history of plants by Leonhard Fuchs http://historyofinformation.com/images/de_historia_stirpium.jpg Used with permission.


Dan Abelow is an American inventor, author, speaker and technology consultant. His latest patent-pending invention, the Expandiverse, is new technology to build an advanced Digital Earth now. His previous patents are licensed by over 500 corporations that include Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics and many other leaders. He holds degrees from Harvard and the Wharton School. Get connected with Dan at ImagineANewFuture.com/connect/