The Fastest, Deepest, Most Consequential Disruption In History


That is quite the title. It is the title of a recent Article authored by Tony Seba and James Arbib. In it, they describe a world where our most intractable problems are solved. I have described that same story using my innovation wheel, and in so doing, I draw many of the same conclusions positioned by the article.

The authors describe this coming disruption as follows: We are predicting the fastest, deepest, most consequential technological disruption in history and with it, a moment civilization has never encountered before. In the next 10 years, key technologies will converge to completely disrupt the five foundational sectors – information, energy, food, transportation, and materials – that underpin our global economy, and with them every major industry in the world today.

This view is consistent with the emergence of a Third Revolution Platform as described by Economist Jeremy Rifkin. In both views, the foundational platform of society shifts for the first time since the early days of the second industrial revolution. The platform however is just part of the story. The bigger challenge is captured very well by the authors, perhaps the most important determinant of success or failure in this emerging era:

While we have the potential to capture the extraordinary societal benefits that these technologies unlock, our ability to do so depends on an unprecedented transformation of society. Our models of thought, belief systems; political, social and economic systems (together our organizing system) are industrial era relics, they co-evolved with and are optimized for the industries of yesterday. As these disruptions accelerate, leaders are increasingly unable to understand, manage, and organize our world. That’s why we’re witnessing social injustice and unrest, environmental destruction, and a global pandemic wreak havoc on society. And it’s just the start.

In essence, we must unlearn the things that have taken us this far – a task that is extremely difficult for humans. The authors have a recent book – Rethinking Humanity – that may shed some light on how we might accomplish this. Per the authors, it provides a detailed action plan for investors, policymakers, and corporate leaders to embrace the new creation-based production system and solve our most daunting global challenges. Books like these are critical for education and dialog. I will report back after I have read it.

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