Right now, we are entering a flux when it comes to technological changes in society: the source of our energy, changes in our vehicle industries, the increase of connected devices, the rise of robots, and the wealth of internet data available.
These technological changes impact our environment, infrastructure, population, and economy. With all these changes, people are looking for online resources to provide them accurate and clear information on how these changes will occur and how will they affect us. A new app from Arup Foresight provides insight into the ongoing changes in our world.
Arup Foresight is an internal think thank and consulting firm concerned with the future, the built environment, and society. Arup itself is an independent firm of designers, engineers, planners, technical specialists, and consultants that work across different industries of the built environment. The firm was founded in 1964 and have been responsible for some of the most ambitious structures and projects around the world. This includes projects like the 2nd Ave. Subway in New York City, the Taoyuan International Airport Terminal in China, and the Advanced Resource Recovery Facility in San Francisco.
The firm’s latest endeavor is to educate society on the design changes affecting the world. The Arup mobile app, Drivers of Change, is available on all platforms and explores “the most impactful trends shaping the future of our urbanized planet.” The app breaks down into 10 key sections:
- Climate Change
Each section is analyzed and examined through the five lenses of STEEP (Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, and Political).
The Drivers of Change app aims to provide insightful resources in a time when internet confidence is high and uncertainty looms in society. According to the Pew Research Center, people will become more trustful of the internet over time and rely on it more for information. Out of 1,233 respondents, 48% said that trust will be strengthened and 28% believe trust will stay the same. Only 24% believe that trust on internet sources will diminish.
Finding reliable resources on the internet is difficult considering that portions of the public are still uncertain about technological changes going on in our world. According to Pew, in 2016 only 39% of the public believe the conclusions of climate scientists, and only 19% believe that they know the best way to combat climate change. Some 55% of the public believe that climate change will be solved by new technology.
With regard to the Internet of Things (IoT), a 2016 report by the Mobile Ecosystem Forum claimed that many people are still unsure about connected devices. Indeed, 62% are worried about their privacy, and 54% are afraid of security and cyberattacks.
According to Dr. Chris Luebkeman, Director for Foresight + Research + Innovation, the goal of the app is to provide insights on these changes and how to solve the problems of the future. “[We are at a] point in time now where we’re seeing profound challenges to the urban systems upon which we as humans depend for our daily lives,” Luebkeman said. “To me, the engineer who will be called upon to solve these challenges needs to be able to have the tools, methods, and mental space to understand the context into which we are moving.”
The app will continue to grow and be fueled by the research done at Arup. “Solving for today’s problems is no longer good enough,” said Lubkeman. “What we have to be doing is looking forward to today’s solutions for tomorrow’s problems.”