In this seventh installment of the RethinkX rethinking humanity series, Tony Seba and James Arbib describe the choices that lie ahead, as convergence across five foundational sectors drive a phase change: energy, transport, information, food, and materials. With this convergence, the old industrial system could collapse before the new production system emerges. One need only look at existing timing issues as the energy sector transitions. Supply of fossil fuel drops along with investment, while demand increases and clean sources of energy cannot meet demand. In a shift so profound, it may be impossible to imagine what it looks like. The power of this storytelling lies in its ability to illuminate possibilities and drive awareness – and with it, the hope for human action. Similar brilliant storytelling can be found in the new book AI 2041.Continue reading
RethinkX: The Growth and Collapse of Industrial Civilization
In this fourth installment of the RethinkX rethinking humanity series, Tony Seba and James Arbib describe a civilization that now stands at the precipice. We lose sight of the fact that we invented the political and economic systems of our time. When the organizing system is no longer suited for a new era, we have the power to reinvent. Reinvention however requires a willingness to look beyond our current beliefs, institutions, and mental models. If we view this phase transition through our traditional lens, our solutions will fall short. The power of this video series lies in its ability to illuminate the size of the challenge. This is not a story of disruption, this is nothing short of a phase transition between eras.Continue reading
RethinkX: Repeating The Patterns Of History
In a brilliant third installment of an eight part series, RethinkX explores the lessons of history. In analyzing the patterns from the age of extraction, the video zeros in on the cycles of history and the warning signals that should be flashing bright red. History is very instructive – but if we do not learn from it, we are destined to make the same mistakes. Consider for example the eerie similarities between the 1920s and our current day:Continue reading
The Great Discovery – Rethinking Humanity: Episode 2
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 here. Here is the second video in the series. Here is the video abstract:Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
The Great Reset
We face the task of understanding and governing 21st-century technologies with a 20th-century mindset and 19th-century institutions – Klaus Schwab: Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In a video titled “The Great Reset”, economist Tyler Cowen uses a great metaphor of canaries in coal mines to describe the warning signals that seem like local events – but actually represent greater and broader stress. He uses several recent examples to highlight the growing stress in the system and the potential for a great reset in the future. Regardless of your belief system – it is hard to argue with the underlying logic. Whether we view this as the Fourth Age in human history, a third major Tipping Point, or a Great Reset, structural change is inevitable. This short seven minute video drives this point home.
An Uncertain Future
I have used this Emerging Future visual to demonstrate the overwhelming number of combinations that will conspire to create our future. The science and technology foundation converges with societal, political, economic, and environmental forces to build towards a very uncertain future. A future that I believe represents the third massive tipping point in human history.
This very short animated video describes the visual.
Belief Systems, Purpose, and Balance
At the Health Summit in D.C. two weeks ago, I was asked to articulate those things that leaders should consider as they navigate the complexity of our emerging future. The three that always top my list are:
- Resetting our intuition and belief system for a new era – think differently
- Shifting to a hybrid profit and purpose orientation
- Seeking a balance between innovation that enhances society and mitigating the risk of unintended consequences.
This two minute video captures that portion of our panel discussion.
Reimagining the Future: Week Two of the Online Course Launched
Week two of Reimagining the Future has just launched! Week one drew a large audience and generated great dialog. A big thank you to those who have participated so far. As discussed in the course, we must collectively take control of creating our future. Our hope is this course and related dialog are just one small step on that journey. There is still plenty of time to take the full course, you can enroll here.
Reimagining the Future – A Journey Through the Looking Glass
I have spent the better part of two months filming an online thought leadership course focused on our emerging future. The free course will be available starting May 23rd. I had the pleasure of working with futurists Gerd Leonhard, Gray Scott, and Chunka Mui. In addition, I was joined by Element Fleet Management executive Michele Cunningham, as well as TCS CTO Ananth Krishnan, and BRP CIO Hassan El Bouhali.
A video promo of the course along with the course description are available here. I hope you take the time to journey with me through the looking glass. course summary and bios for my guests are also included below.
Visualizing our Emerging Future
As the pace of science, technology, and societal change accelerates, a vision of our future is emerging. Many future scenarios are viewed as science fiction, or thought to have timelines that are too far into the future to worry about. I hold a firm belief that these timelines are collapsing and future scenario analysis is critical both at a business and societal level.
I have used this visual as a driver of future scenario analysis. It has been captured and utilized in workshop and events. It is described in a post on Connecting Dots, which I view as a critical leadership trait. Given its exposure, I am making a copy available via this PDF.
Balancing the Opposing Forces of Innovation
The unabated exponential progression of science and technology has driven a staggering pace of innovation. The building blocks are mostly there, allowing creative minds to combine them in ways that attack the world’s most difficult challenges.
Digital Transformation of Business and Society
At a recent KPMG Robotic Innovations event, Futurist and friend Gerd Leonhard delivered a keynote titled “The Digital Transformation of Business and Society: Challenges and Opportunities by 2020”. I highly recommend viewing the Video of his presentation. As Gerd describes, he is a Futurist focused on foresight and observations – not predicting the future. We are at a point in history where every company needs a Gerd Leonhard. For many of the reasons presented in the video, future thinking is rapidly growing in importance. As Gerd so rightly points out, we are still vastly under-estimating the sheer velocity of change.
With regard to future thinking, Gerd used my future scenario slide to describe both the exponential and combinatorial nature of future scenarios – not only do we need to think exponentially, but we also need to think in a combinatorial manner. Gerd mentioned Tesla as a company that really knows how to do this.