The world is changing faster than most people realize. Change is accelerating and will soon bring massive disruption as well as opportunity. Most of the signs of major social and technological change are not covered by the mainstream media, and the general public is not being well informed. We are not prepared for the amount of technological, social and economic change that will take place over the next few decades. Many of the problems of the present will be solved, and new ones created.
The future is not random; there are rules to how it evolves. Many aspects of the future can be forecast and understood when we know where and how to look. Understanding some basic concepts can provide valuable clarity and foresight.
Our physical standard of living is determined by access to technology, both good and bad.
Technology adoption is a social phenomenon; which technologies we develop and use are determined by social rules. Social and technology trends feed off of each other, and understanding technology lifecycles and social behaviours enables us to look ahead.
The technologies that will determine our future are being developed right now and are visible if you know where to look and how to extrapolate. Some of these technologies will change our lives more than we can imagine, and sooner than we think. Markets and psychology are driving the development of technologies that in the next two to four decades will likely make the resource based global economy obsolete, allow humans to live for hundreds of years, enable us to enhance our physical bodies and change what it means to be human, and create artificial intelligence that is exponentially more powerful than the human brain.
As technological and social complexity increase, we have more decisions to make, but as a society our discussions are focused on entertainment and trivia. As a result, our future is being created by a relatively small group of innovators. They will create the future that they want, but will be influenced by public opinion, so it is imperative that as a society we promote open dialogue on what we would want the future to be.
We cannot rely on politicians to lead us through disruptive change. The public must play a larger role in the decision making regarding the adoption and regulation of new technologies. Those who do not participate will lose influence, status and personal freedom. The first step in meaningful dialogue is the dissemination of information and knowledge about the future. This is my goal.