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Burbank Economic Summit Looks at Top Trends Shaping the Future

It was not long ago that computers were slow, had black and white screens, and still cost upwards of $2,400. Only a few years ago, the notion of uploading a presentation from an eight gigawatt USB drive was inconceivable. Yet the technological advancements of today are nothing compared with what? to come, said global futurist James Canton, speaking to about 150 people at the Woodbury University auditorium during Burbank? Economic Summit and Business Expo on May 28. Canton, who authored the book ?he Extreme Future: Top Trends That Will Reshape the World for the Next 5,10, 20 Years? described a future where new technologies drive job creation and economic wealth. He urged his audience to look ahead, and start preparing to better compete in the new environment marked by the emergence of what he called the ?nnovation economy? ?here is more technology in my computer today than existed in the entire world before 1975,?he said. ?he future that we?e stepping into, whether it? one minute from now or it? over the next ten to 15 years, is one that is based on an entirely new metric of complex exhilarated change, much more so than we?e ever had to deal with.?p>Some of the important industries that will shape the future, Canton said, include biotechnology, nanotechnology, quantum science and IT. Similarly, because the largest concentration of economic wealth and power today and for the next 15-20 years (about $30 trillion, according to Canton) lies with the Baby Boomers, the health enhancement industry will be dramatically impacted. ?hey?e looking to live longer, look better and be more active?one of the largest marketplaces in the 21st century is health enhancement,?he said. In this new era of technological advancements, Canton said cities will have to compete for talent and will need to work to attract the next generation of entrepreneurs. The City of Burbank, he said, should start thinking about this future today. ?hat? your vision? What does the Burbank 2020 plan look like??he asked. ?s there wireless internet broadband everywhere? Is it an innovation zone and a magnet for innovators, whether they?e next generation virtual reality 3-D game makers, or virtual education professors, or nanotechnology developers creating talking sneakers, or embedded censors in buildings for the next generation of smart architecture??p>Canton said by 2020 Burbank could be trading Carbon credits, selling electricity online to other cities that need it, or even employing thousands of workers through a massive solar power industry, if it chose to prepare for that today. In this future, cities will also have to prepare for a decreased workforce, he said. ?ne of the key problems with 2020 is we?e going to have more jobs than we?e going to have workers. We may have as many as 10 million more jobs than we will have workers to fill them because we are suffering from a certain degree of depopulation or low fertility.?p>Canton said immigration into the U.S. will not be enough to offset this problem so cities will need to think of ways to attract skilled workers to fill new technology jobs. With the proliferation of the Internet, and since close to 5 billion people will use the Internet by 2020, he said, businesses and city leaders will also have to become more ?lobalization savvy?and reach out to customers all around the globe. ?e?e living in an unprecedented time of exhilarating innovations that are going to create tremendous wealth, opportunity and tremendous job creation if you focus on them.?p>The Economic Summit also included a business panel discussion on Burbank? current and future economic business climate, which included Warner Bros. Senior Vice President Lisa Rawlins, Woodbury University Vice President Don St. Clair, and Poquito Mas owner Kevin McCarney. The discussion was moderated by Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Gregory Bowman.

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