Short Video Describing This Transformative Decade

It was late 2020 prior to the pandemic when I first came across RethinkX and their perspectives on humanity and the coming decade. I echo their thoughts that a pivotal decade lies ahead. They have launched an eight-part video series, with the first one provided below. It is a short two minutes and fifty seconds and well worth a view. Here is an abstract describing the series.

ABSTRACT

Blind to the deeper process of change, humanity has no idea it’s on the brink of epic, existential transformation. Episode 1 of the Rethinking Humanity series by @RethinkX explores how humanity is failing to see its immediate future: a decade of existential transformation, triggered by technologies converging deep in the foundations of our global civilization. We all feel the tremors, but we’re blind to the deeper process of change. Before it’s too late, we must all see the mind-blowing possibility space of the next decade, as well as its catastrophic risks. This is the first of an eight-part series. The Rethinking Humanity video series is based on the book, Rethinking Humanity: Five Foundational Sector Disruptions, the Lifecycle of Civilizations, and the Coming Age of Freedom by James Arbib and Tony Seba, published by RethinkX.

Multiple Signals Point To The Need For Global Cooperation

The pandemic is demonstrating the extent to which high levels of collaboration are required for deeply interconnected societies to manage—and recover from—complex, exponential systemic crises. The fact that viruses are borderless is just another reason why humans need to invest in dramatically re-tooled principles and mechanisms for global co-operation.

Sanjeev Khagram – Why coronavirus will accelerate the fourth Industrial Revolution

Historically, when society has entered a new era, the world has transformed. I believe we are in the early days of a transition to a new era. A major difference between this era and previous eras is the connectedness of our world. That means managing the transition is more complicated. No one nation or organization can ensure a smooth transition. Much like the accelerating shift to multi-stakeholder ecosystems requires collaboration excellence, the path to a future that enhances human development depends on global cooperation.

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The Building Blocks Of Our Future

In a post from 2019, I described the building blocks that established our modern society. It was convergence across multiple domains that shaped our current world. From the post:

A century ago, a convergence across domains ushered in unprecedented advancements in human development. As Robert J. Gordon describes, the special century (1870 – 1970) that followed the Civil War was made possible by a unique clustering of what Mr. Gordon calls the great inventions. The great inventions of the second industrial revolution significantly improved our well-being. In his view, the economic revolution of 1870-1970 was unique in human history, unrepeatable because many of its achievements could only happen once. What makes this century so special, is that these inventions altered what until then, was a life lived in misery. 

Frank Diana – Convergence

I captured many of those building blocks in a visual that I use to tell this story (click on the visual to open in a separate window).

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The Precipice

I just finished another good book. Tony Orb takes us to the precipice in a new book that explores existential risk. He looks at natural risks like asteroids, comets, supervolcanic eruptions, stellar explosions, brightening of our sun, and orbital dynamics. He then explores those risks stemming from human activity (anthropogenic). These include nuclear weapons, climate change, environmental damage, pandemics, unaligned artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and back contamination (from space microbes). The remainder of the book focuses on quantifying risks and safeguarding humanity. I highly recommend the book for those looking well into the future and focused on humanity. I have added the book to my library. Here is the Amazon abstract.

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The Extraction Age Gives Way To The Creation Age

In their book titled Rethinking Humanity, RethinkX Founders Tony Seba and James Arbib describe a transition from an age of extraction to an emerging age of creation. The extraction age began with agriculture and continued through the industrial period. The authors describe the age of extraction as follows:

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Are We Living In The Most Important Century For Humanity?

I have written in the past about tipping points in human history and a belief that the world may experience its third tipping point sometime this century. A recent article via Holden Karnofsky hypothesizes that we live in the most important century in human history. Both views are driven by an underlying belief that the century likely delivers humanity altering changes. In my view, the combination of rapid knowledge expansion, artificial intelligence, machines, biotechnology, genetic engineering, our connectivity, and a new computing paradigm, are likely to change what it means to be human. In the article, the author argues that the 21st century could see our civilization develop technologies that allow rapid expansion throughout our currently empty galaxy. He argues all sides of a debate that ranges from impossible, to skeptical, to humanity altering.

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What Does A Recent Trend Study Tells Us About The Future?

Each year the Future Today Institute releases a very comprehensive trend study during SXSW. I just finished getting through this very comprehensive installment. In announcing this year’s report, Founder Amy Webb had this to say:

The cataclysmic events of the past year resulted in a significant number of new signals. As a result, we’ve analyzed nearly 500 tech and science trends across multiple industry sectors. Rather than squeezing the trends into one enormous tome as we usually do, we are instead publishing 12 separate reports with trends grouped by subject. We are including what we’ve called Book Zero, which shows how we did our work. There is also an enormous, 504-page PDF with all content grouped together as one document.

Well, Amy was not kidding, there is quite a bit to digest. The 12 separate reports referenced can be downloaded Here. As I do with each look into the future, I captured some highlights from this year’s trend study. I will start however with an important observation that Amy made in the opening of the report.

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Reimagining A Post-Pandemic Future

Exactly four years ago I had the pleasure of participating in a OpenSAP thought leadership course titled: Reimagining the Future – A Journey Through the Looking Glass. That course is still available and can be taken Here. The program director for that course recently reached out to pick up the conversation. Robert Nichols produces a Podcast titled OpenSAP Invites. We had a great conversation that this time included colleague Kevin Benedict. You can read the abstract and listen to the podcast below . A full transcript and more detail are available on the OpenSAP Invites site.


SESSION ABSTRACT

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Is The Digital Era Over?

I had a discussion last week that focused on a post-digital world. It was an open question about the state of digital and the related transformation journey. Although the digital maturity of organizations is not where I envisioned it – and Covid-19 underscored the point – digital should be a foundational piece of a bigger story. The continued digital discussion ignores the bigger contributions of science and the boardroom conversations around purpose and innovation. A recent article goes one step further in declaring that the digital era is over, and we are in a New Era of Innovation. In it, Greg Satell makes the exact argument I made above.

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Another Roaring Twenties?

Lost in the focus on life after the pandemic are all the forces that were already shaping our future. I explored many of them in various posts, but none have been as intriguing to me as the forces tied to history. If we look at history and apply it to current day, we can seek out periods that look like ours. This Application of History illuminates possible futures and has the potential to inform our actions. What happened in these similar periods and what can we learn? A recent article posed this question: Will the 2020s Really Become the Next Roaring Twenties? This seemingly simple question is loaded with implications. The article provides several links with great content and I highly recommend it.

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Rethinking Humanity

Last week, I Reacted to an article exploring something that is rapidly approaching: likely the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruption in history. The Article was authored by Tony Seba and James Arbib, founders of RethinkX, an independent think tank that analyzes and forecasts the speed and scale of technology-driven disruption and its implications across society. In the article, they describe a world where our most intractable problems are solved. A book was referenced by the authors titled Rethinking Humanity – which I just finished and added to my Book Library. As an aside, I found two other books while researching their organization: Rethinking Food and Agriculture and Rethinking Transportation. These books are next on my list.

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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.

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Discussing A Post-Pandemic Society on Salem Radio Network

I was honored to appear on a segment of the Don Proft radio show earlier this morning. The show is a part of the Salem Radio Network. The topic was what America will look like post-pandemic. My piece of the segment begins around the 5:25 mark. As always, all views expressed are my own.

COVID-19 Monday Morning News

The COVID-19 crisis is fast-moving with information bombarding us in real-time. On this Monday morning, as we awake to more isolation and rising numbers, there is much to consider. In this Article, the author focuses on three economic scenarios: Easter: an optimistic scenario (25% likely) where isolation leads to a slow return to normal by late April; Summer: the main scenario (55%) where improvements begin in mid-summer; and Winter: the pessimistic scenario (20%) where impact lasts into the winter. Given the expansion of isolation through April in the U.S., the optimistic scenario is all but eliminated from consideration.

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Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery Scenarios

This Analysis by the Conference Board underscores how the trajectory of COVID-19 and the economic response over the next few months are uncertain. They developed three scenarios for the course of the US economy for the remainder of 2020. Focusing on future scenarios was already a critical imperative given the pace of change; the current pandemic just underscores the point. The analysis authors from the Conference Board are: Bart van Ark, Executive Vice President & Chief Economist, and Erik Lundh, Senior Economist. Here is an executive summary from the report:

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Is The Canary Dead?

In 2018 I shared a video that I use in presentations titled The Great Reset. The video features economist Tyler Cowen as he describes our current trajectory and the possibility of a great reset. He has talked about strong indicators that this great reset is already underway – and that was before the world began to envision A Post Pandemic Society. Mr. Cowen thinks about these indicators as canaries in the coal mine. As he describes it, miners used to take canaries with them to provide an alarm when levels of toxic gases were too high. The birds were much more susceptible to the gases and would show signs of distress – or even die – before the miners were in grave danger.

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A Post Pandemic Society

Although it’s now popular to ask how life will change after the Coronavirus pandemic, truth is we were already on a path towards massive change. Nationalism was already a growing movement, immigration was already a hot button issue, the world was already moving towards a Post-World War Two order, the negative impact of globalization on jobs in developed countries already had leaders promising to bring manufacturing back, while automation promised a jobless era of localization. The pandemic serves as an accelerant in some instances – and an obstacle in others. But let prognosticators be warned; past predictions of life after pandemics have not Gone Well.

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The Corona Virus Serves As A Catalyst For Change

I’ve talked about the Catalysts of a different era. These horrific events of our past were catalysts towards a better future. This horrific event – the Corona Virus – will shine a light on education, health, work, and other aspects of our well-being, while exposing underlying weaknesses. Responding as a global community to these types of events is hard. I’ve asked the question about the catalysts of our future in a recent Poll – please participate and add your thoughts.

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The Digital-First Enterprise

This week I attended the Annual Directions Conference  held by research firm IDC. Because of the coronavirus, the conference was held online. Here are some of the key messages – a deeper analysis is provided by Michael J. Miller, chief information officer at Ziff Brothers Investments and can be found Here.

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Family Life In 2025

The Fast Future team continues to provide foresight in various areas. In this recent Article they explore what family life may look like in 2025. The possible future they describe is built on a foundation of multi-sensory immersive experiences, while distance is eliminated. We will no longer miss family celebrations and story-telling rises to new levels. Imagine a grandparent telling stories from their past, brought to  life in ways that stimulate our emotional sensations.

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