Jerome Clayton Glenn
"15 Global Challenges and Prospects for Humanity"
Jerome Clayton Glenn, Director
The Millennium Project
World Federation of United Nations Associations
2009 State of the Future-15 Global Challenges
The accelerating rate of the future will make the changes and challenges of the last 25 years appear slow compared to the next 25 years. The building of the environment will have ubiquitous artificial intelligence imbedded in it. Humans will be using nanotechnology on and in their bodies with transceivers making a continuum of the built environment as represented in human bodies and minds. Before we get to this age of “Conscious-Technology” we must address the challenges below.
15 Global Challenges
The emerging knowledge economy will require a far more intelligent and knowledgeable world labor force than
did the industrial or agricultural economies. In this address global trends will be discussed that are leading to a
more complex and rapidly changing world that gives rise to new challenges and opportunities for social science education. For example, as the human autonomic nervous system takes care of the management of the body,
freeing the mind to invent the future, so too, future urban infrastructures will become like autonomic nervous
systems for civilizations, freeing humanity to go beyond our current imagination. These capabilities will include resilience systems that can anticipate, respond and recover from disasters such as Tsunamis, massive migrations
due to water shortages, prolonged electric and/or Internet outages, financial crashes, and wars.
Our bodies will be increasingly augmented by technology, global brains will emerge from the Internet, and
all will be connected to the more intelligently built environment to eventually become a more
“conscious-technology.” As rural cultures did not anticipate megacities and have become amazed by
their capabilities, so too megacity cultures might not anticipate the emerging conscious-technology capabilities.
Scientific knowledge of brain functioning and potentials for improving human intelligence are increasing
rapidly. Mind-building could become more popular than body building. If Moore’s Law continues, then half the
world could have portable devices with the processing power of a human brain in less than 25 years. The
work-at-home knowledge economy will make tele-education of children more acceptable to parents'
potentially blurring work, learning, and play.
Just as we write lines of computer code to create software that changes the way we live, so too will we
write lines of genetic code to create new life forms. They may produce energy, medicine, and merge with
some mechanical and other biological systems making nanosensors and other parts of our future
infrastructures more effective.
About the Keynote Speaker
Jerome C. Glenn is the co-founder (1996) and director of The Millennium Project (on global futures research)
of the World Federation of United Nations Associations and co-author with Ted Gordon of the annual State of the
Future of the Millennium Project for the past twelve years. He was the Washington, DC representative for the United Nations
University as executive director of the American Council for the UNU 1988-2007.
He has over 35 years of Futures Research experience working for governments, international organizations, and private industry in
Science & Technology Policy, Environmental Security, Economics, Education, Defense, Space, Futures Research Methodology, International Telecommunications, and Decision Support Systems with the Committee for the Future, Hudson Institute, Future Options Room,
and the Millennium Project. He has addressed or keynoted conferences for over 300 government departments, universities, NGOs,
UN organizations, and/or corporations around the world on a variety of future-oriented topics.
Recent research includes: Global Energy Collective Intelligence, National Future Strategy Units, Future Education
and Learning Possibilities by 2030, Global Energy Scenarios for 2020, the Future of Ethics, 2025 Science and Technology Scenarios, Middle East Peace Scenarios, and Military R&D Priorities to Reduce Health and
Environmental Impacts of Nanotechnology.
Glenn was the Deputy Director of Partnership for Productivity International involved in national strategic planning, institutional
design, training, and evaluation in economic development in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America and
created CARINET in 1983 as the leading computer network in the developing world subsequently bought by CGNet. He has been an independent consultant for the World Bank, UNDP, UNU, UNESCO, FAO, UNEP, US/EPA, USAID, and several governments and
He invented the "Futures Wheel" a futures assessment technique, Futuristic Curriculum Development, and concepts
such as conscious-technology, transinstutions, tele-nations, management by understanding, definition of environmental
security, feminine brain drain, just-in-time knowledge and learning, information warfare, feelysis, nodes as a management
concept for interconnecting global and local views and actions, and coined the term futuring in 1973. Saturday Review
named him among the most unusually gifted leaders of America for his pioneering work in Tropical Medicine (national Leprosy system while a Peace Corp Volunteer), Future-Oriented Education, and Participatory
Decision Making Systems in 1974. He was instrumental in naming the first Space Shuttle the Enterprise
and banning the first space weapon (FOBS) in SALT II.
Glenn has published over 100 future-oriented articles in such as the Nikkei, ADWEEK, International Tribune,
LEADERS, New York Times, McGraw-Hill’s Contemporary Learning Series, Current, Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Journal, Foresight, Futures, Technological Forecasting, Futures Research Quarterly, and The Futurist.
He is editor of Futures Research Methodology versions 1.0 and 2.0, author of Future Mind: Merging the Mystical and the
Technological in the 21st Century (1989 & 1994), Linking the Future: Findhorn, Auroville, Arcosanti (1979), and co-author of
Space Trek: The Endless Migration (1978 & 1979).
Glenn has a BA in philosophy from American University, an MA in Teaching Social Science - Futuristics
from Antioch Graduate School of Education (now Antioch University New England), and was a doctoral
candidate in general futures research at the University of Massachusetts. He received the Donella Meadows Metal, Kondratieff Metal, Emerald Citation of Excellence, honorary professorship and doctor’s degrees from two universities
in South America (Universidad Ricardo Palma and Universidad Franz Tamayo) and is a leading boomerang