Rob McConnell Interviews – Frank Ogden – Doctor Tomorrow

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Alvin Toffler coined the phrase “electronic cottage” in the 80’s. Futurist Frank Ogden carried the concept further. From his high-tech houseboat in Vancouver harbour, he is wired to the world by computer, phone, cable and phone modems, satellite, infra-red transmissions and CD-ROMs. The Financial Post describes Frank as a “20th Century visionary” and calls his ideas “outrageous”, an ideal combination of qualities for a life of profitable nonconformity. From Papua New Guinea to the high-tech jungles of silicon, satellites and photons, Frank has a reputation for innovation and originality. In 1979, he began monitoring 200 satellites and 2,000 data banks, to provide a video clipping service for forward thinkers wanting information on new and relevant business developments. Now Ogden circles the globe as consultant to companies and countries, preparing people to trek along the fast track. “A bulldozer of change is charging over the planet,” he says. “And if you’re not part of the bulldozer, you’ll become part of the road.” Born in 1920, Ogden was educated in Canada and the United States and served as a flight engineer during World War II. Unflaggingly energetic and curious, he graduated to a dizzying array of jobs flying airplanes and helicopters and selling aircraft (He is currently checked out as Pilot-In-Command in 55 different flying machines), real estate and housewares. During the 1960s, he joined a medical team researching LSD at Hollywood Hospital, and he crossed Canada by helicopter to celebrate the country’s centennial. He also helped found Canada’s first think-tank, taught at the Ontario College of Art and the New England School of Art in Boston, and managed a Montreal radio station, leading it boldly into progressive rock. He was also a founding member of the World Future Society in Canada.While studying voodoo in Haiti and establishing a think-tank for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Ogden recognized the link that exists between primitive thinking and high tech. “Everything in life is information. So-called primitive cultures have known this for thousands of years,” he explains. “Voodoo priests get their information through a hierarchy of gods; we get ours through a hierarchy of technology.” Such concepts as these have made Frank a celebrity speaker on the conference circuit, where he outlines the electronic and information revolutions of the current and coming decades. Frank suggests a future of teleports, limited labour unions, as more people become self-employed, and body implants to make cyborgs of us all. Audiences praise him because “he shakes people up and gets us thinking about the future!” –

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