This opinion piece is in the current
issue of “The Futurist.” Look
ahead and ask yourself if you and the volunteer program are preparing
for the future.
Anya’s smart clock woke her gently, the time determined by
her sleep phase (as detected by her bed) and coordinated to her morning’s
schedule. Despite this, as she got up, she realized something wasn’t
quite right. There was a mild ache in her joints, and her head felt
Bringing up the Web on her nightstand (the nearest surface at hand),
Anya quickly checked EpiCast and confirmed her suspicions: An H3N9
flu virus was moving through the city. Pathogen detectors had been
tracking its progression for days.
Fortunately, her medicine cabinet spotted the trend nearly 36 hours
ago and ordered the genetically targeted medicine for that exact
flu bug. It had been delivered last night and was waiting for Anya
downstairs. She swallowed two tablets and got ready for work, knowing
she’d be feeling her normally healthy self again before she
left the house.
On the way to the office, Anya’s self-driving Prius navigated
traffic as she reviewed a report in preparation for her first meeting.
The cars around her maintained tight formation while speeding along
at over 100 mph. Lightning-fast response times combined with car-to-car-to-road
communication allowed for capacities and speeds far greater than
in the dangerous old days when people drove themselves. It was difficult
to believe that, at the turn of the century, traffic accidents and
fatalities were hundreds of times more frequent than they were today.
Nevertheless, she noted her normally smooth commute was a few minutes
slower than usual. Checking the navigation monitor, she saw why:
Traffic was being routed away from the old Crosstown Bridge. Earlier
that morning, sensors had determined that stress deformation in the
structure had finally exceeded federal standards. Well, better a
couple extra minutes in traffic than to be caught on a collapsing
At the last minute, Anya decided to make a quick detour to pick up
some office treats from the new 3-D gastroprint chocolatier everyone
had been raving about. Anyone could print their food these days,
but these people were artisans. She paid for the confections with
a swipe of her index finger, the minuscule chip embedded beneath
her skin effortlessly debiting her bank account.
Nine minutes later, Anya arrived at her office building. As she passed
through the scanners and checkpoints, she was quietly taken aside
for secondary questioning. Obviously, her detour had fallen enough
outside her typical routine to trip one of the security algorithms.
It was an inconvenience, but given the amount of crime and terrorist
activity in the world, it seemed like a small price to pay.
The Futurist November/ Page 19 December 2013
“When you possess light within, you see it externally.” – Anaïs
Most managers of volunteers are asked about
statistics or facts on volunteering. Easy to do for the organization's
about comparisons with national statistics? Check out this
site for colorful and factual reporting on volunteering in the US. It
might give you some ideas of the data you should be collecting.
Facts on volunteering are useful in reports to administrators: fodder
for grants, information for presentations, highlight the $ value
of volunteer service, and support for the volunteer program.