Activate the Future: A Four-Part Short Documentary by BMW

by Socrates on March 17, 2011

BMW recently released an interesting series of four short documentaries under the umbrella title Activate the Future.

The films are about 6 minutes each and are well worth watching. To me, the cinematography style reminds me of Honda’s The Power of Dreams series, while the proactive title brings back memories of Peter Diamandis‘ inspirational video lecture at Singularity University appropriately titled The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create it Yourself.

What BMW says about the film:

“Wherever You Want To Go” is the first release under BMW Documentaries—a new franchise dedicated to crafting original, thought-provoking and entertaining content. The film aims to take audiences to a place they’ve truly never been: the future. From the minds of some of the most influential scientists, academics, pioneers, and entrepreneurs of our time, this four-part documentary paints a unique picture of technology, culture, cities, our past, present and how it all relates to the future of mobility.

“Wherever You Want To Go” is not meant to provide definitive answers, but rather, to ask the right questions from the right people in an attempt to generate discussion, provoke thought and stir the imagination. As part of the Activate the Future website, viewers are also encouraged to click and comment on various points throughout the documentary. was created to get users actively involved in the ever-evolving conversation on the future of mobility. Over the coming months, this site will continue to explore new ways to shape the future of mobility and will encourage users’ opinions and participation along the way.

Part 1: The New City

How the way we live will impact the way we move.

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Part 2: The Future Just Isn’t What It Used To Be

An evaluation of where we are now and where we thought we would be.

Part 3: Reinventing Mobility

How Technology will change mobility in the future.

Part 4: How We’ll Learn To Stop Worrying and Love the Future

A look at things to come and a future of possibilities.

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  • PsyGenX

    They say that cars are parked 90% of the time and conclude that we need small efficient cars that we can park at home Oo. Doesn’t the logic point to ‘We don’t need to POSSESS cars?’ Instead we need to have an automated transportation system that is delivered on schedule when needed, and when free (90% of the time) it can serve someone else!!
    1- Less cars = Less resources wasted = less jams = less emissions = More space for people
    2- Automated = No accidents = more free time = peace of mind

    THAT’s EFFICIENCY !! not stacking the world with more ‘Cool, Stylish, Efficient (yeah, right.)’ cars.

  • Jason

    I am enthusiastic about the potential for self-driven, networked, smart power-grid connected transport. These technologies may enable us to build a future with a beautiful synergy of: energy efficiency, reduced traffic mortality, smart grid battery power storage in cars, and reduced environmental impact …. all that kind of nifty future stuff.

    I was very happy, however, to have the voice of the car culture guy in his big American muscle car. Cars are not simply A to B utility machines (though several of the speakers seem to hold them as such), they are also status machines, rolling sculpture, and expressions of individuality and autonomy. In all the breathless enthusiasm from the other speakers for transformative solutions to our transportation issues, it was good to hear a reminder that people have relationships to cars other than as people and grocery moving boxes.

    Ignore that and you ignore that some people won’t be willing to give up on those irrational factors in the name of societal efficiency. In other words, try not to make changes which feel like downgrades.

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