The Journey: The Building Blocks Of The Future

My previous posts launched a series that will tell the full story of a reimagined future. Described as a journey through the looking glass, the story began with a series description and a look back in time. The series continues, with each post featuring a piece of our journey. We explored the extreme uncertainty of the future in the last post. In this post, I will now dive deeper into the building blocks of the future.

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Geopolitical Forecasting

The growing convergence story promises to alter our view of possible futures. There are a number of likely shifts that make Geopolitics a critical piece of the story. These shifts add to the high degree of uncertainty reflected in the current environment. In light of this, evaluating geopolitical implications and their influence on the future is growing in importance. But how? I just finished a book titled Geopolitical Alpha that offers a perspective on how to improve forecast accuracy in the geopolitical domain.

The era of geopolitical ignorance is over. The days when investors and corporate decision-makers could be successful without much understanding of politics will be a footnote in the annals of history.

Marko Papic – Geopolitical Alpha
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A Growing Number Of Building Blocks Make Prediction Impossible

I have been of the opinion that the number of building blocks across multiple domains makes prediction impossible. As a result, understanding the future is about rehearsing it versus predicting it. That ambiguity makes many uncomfortable. Humans like certainty, but we live in a world that is very uncertain. Many will argue that this has always been the case. But it should be increasingly clear that periods like this emerging phase transition have only occurred a handful of times in human history. We want to rely on methods that have proven effective in the past. We find comfort in applying those methods to drive a degree of certainty. One need only look at these building blocks to see rehearsal is the only way to identify possible futures.

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Shaping The Future: Technology And Geopolitics

At the heart of foresight work lies the analysis of domains that shape the future. It is in the convergence of these domains that the future emerges. Geopolitics is one complex area of convergence that has massive implications to an uncertain future. In a recent article, Ariel Kastner explores seven views on how technology will shape geopolitics. The World Economic Forum asked members of the Global Future on Geopolitics to offer their views on technology and its impact on geopolitics in the coming year. This specific quote from the article says it well:

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Are We Heading Towards A New World Order?

After World War Two, 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations gathered in the U.S. at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The Bretton Woods Conference aimed to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the war ended. Held from July 1 to 22, 1944, agreements were signed and ratified by member governments, establishing the institutions that represented a new world order. This led to what was called the Bretton Woods system for international commercial and financial relations.

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Current Poll Results: Catalysts of Change

By now, readers of my Blog know that I have been researching the catalysts of human action for over 18 months. I have used a poll to gather insights from the community. I posted Results a while back, and am providing an update via this post. As a reminder of the topic, here is an excerpt from a Post back in April 2019:

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Geopolitics: A Complex Area Of Convergence

The critical need to understand the rapidly approaching future relies upon our understanding of various domains that are Converging. It is difficult enough to stay abreast of rapid advancements in science and technology, but Introduce societal factors, geopolitical, economic, and environmental considerations, and the task gets harder. Yet a high-level appreciation for these domains is necessary if we hope to understand the future and steer it in constructive directions.

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Advancing Human Development: The Catalysts Of Change

More votes have come in since I last reported on my poll. The question based on history is this: what catalysts drive human action in the future? It took two world wars and a great depression to drive humans to act in ways that prevented reoccurrence and advanced human development. In a world that looks eerily similar to that era, we once again wonder about catalysts. Here are the current results.

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The World

When we look into the future and try to understand its path, we must consider the geopolitical sphere as a key area of influence. The WorldTo that end, I just added another book to my Book Library. The World: A Brief Introduction was written by Richard Haass, an American Diplomat. Per the book abstract, The World is designed to provide readers of any age and experience with the essential background and building blocks they need to make sense of this complicated and interconnected world.

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Revisiting The Catalysts Of Change

Seems like an eternity has past since I first launched this Poll on the catalysts that drive human action. As I mentioned back then, one of our Lessons from History was the presence of catalysts that drove actions that ultimately shaped our future. The major catalysts of the second revolution were astounding levels of innovation, World War One, The Great Depression, World War Two, and the eventual democratization of innovation. The question I asked in the poll was: What catalysts force stakeholder actions that ultimately shape our emerging future?

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The Mega-Trends that Shape the 21st Century

In a recent Article by Bryan Walsh, he describes the mega-trends that are likely to shape this century. These trends are driven by the Acceleration of innovation and a growing set of Societal Factors. In describing the seriousness of these trends, our author points to a forthcoming book titled “The Precipice”. In the book, author Toby Ord of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute gives one in six odds that humanity will suffer an existential catastrophe during the next 100 years — almost certainly due to our own actions.

In the book The Fourth Turning, authors William Strauss and Neil Howe  illuminate the past, explain the present, and reimagine the future. They offer an utterly persuasive prophecy about how America’s past will predict its future. Here is what they had to say:

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Change Has Never Been This Fast – It Will Never Be This Slow Again

Happy New Year all! As we enter the next decade, an expression that is now popular rings true: Change Has Never Been This Fast – It Will Never Be This Slow Again. It is not just the speed of change – which many attribute to Exponential Progression driven in part by the Convergence of Science and TechnologyFuturistic Developmentsbut the sheer number of Dots Connecting in what is a very complex system. As is customary this time of year, there is no shortage of content focused on the year or decade ahead.

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