What are your thoughts about the Future?


I had the pleasure of developing an online thought leadership course focused on our emerging future back in May of this year. I had the added pleasure of working with futurists Gerd Leonhard, Gray Scott, and Chunka Mui, along with several industry leaders. The free Thought Leadership Course is available through May of next year. The course has been invaluable to me, as it provided a platform for dialog about our emerging future. I was thrilled with the thought provoking dialog that occurred through our moderated forum. For all those that participated thank you.

During the two week course, several poll questions were positioned to help us understand how the community is feeling about critical topics like ethics, our economy, and the likely transformative period that lies ahead. Here are the questions and their responses. There is plenty of time to take the course and add your voice to the conversation.

8 thoughts on “What are your thoughts about the Future?

  1. Greetings, thanks for your thoughtful blog.

    It seems to me the crucial bottom line question is….

    How are we going to successfully manage the existential scale powers (capable of crashing civilization) which will increasingly be generated by the knowledge explosion?

    For now the question is only, how we will prevent global nuclear war, every single day, forever? But nuclear weapons are just the first technology of existential scale to emerge. More are coming, at a faster and faster pace, and every one of them will have to be successfully managed. A single failure a single time with just one existential scale power will render all other accomplishments irrelevant. A single failure, a single time, and none of our many brilliant successes will matter.

    Existential scale powers are the turning point in the knowledge explosion. They erase room for error, and the opportunity to recover and learn from our mistakes. This creates a radically new situation. The emergence of existential scale powers reveals our ancient “more is better” relationship with knowledge to now be simplistic, outdated, and increasingly dangerous.

    If we are unable or unwilling to face this highly inconvenient bottom line question it’s likely that all current research is a waste of time, because whatever is learned will probably be swept away in a coming collapse. To defeat this hypothesis one would be required to show how we will successfully manage every existential scale power every single day forever, a daunting task indeed.

    This is not hysterical futuristic speculation. Civilization crash could literally happen by this time tomorrow. This is the reality of where the knowledge explosion is taking us, to a level of challenge never before imagined.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your reply Frank. If the above comments are spot on, how do we focus a culture wide conversation on this bottom line?

    There is already a great deal of discussion about futuristic details. Let’s imagine for a moment that all these conversations are successful and that we somehow get rid of nuclear weapons, and figure out how to limit currently emerging technologies like AI and genetic engineering to purely constructive purposes. Obviously, this would be a wonderful development.

    But such remarkable successes would not solve the problem. The knowledge explosion is like an assembly line which will produce ever more powers of existential scale at an ever faster rate. Meeting the challenge presented by this or that technology is basically meaningless unless we can successfully manage ALL powers of this scale ALL of the time.

    I’m searching for conversations which focus on the bottom line, the “more is better” relationship with knowledge which has largely defined what it is to be human. Such a simplistic paradigm presumes that human beings can successfully manage any level of power, a remarkably naive assumption convincingly defeated by the thousands of hydrogen bombs we currently have aimed down our own throat.

    The challenge as I see it is that the “more is better” relationship with knowledge has been spectacularly useful over the last 500 years, and so we are understandably unwilling to face the highly inconvenient new reality created by it’s success.

    How do we shift the focus of the conversation to the bottom line? I have no idea myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m more than agreeable, and will await your leadership on how to create such a conversation. In the mean time I will introduce myself to his work. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great. Heading in to dinner here now. In the morning I will try to revive my LinkedIn account, and will report back when ready. Have a good evening.

    Like

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