Once upon a time, we moved forward year by year, engrossed in linear time. The dictates of our lives were a natural progression to what came before. Block by block, we built our modern realities. We formed relationships, created families, voted in governments, lived within established social structures, exchanged money for perishables goods and services, gave value to education and academic titles in job-seeking and built what we hoped would be, robust business models. The guarantee of some form of secure stability, was a given. Not so anymore. There is nothing linear or stable on the horizon. Increasingly our experience is becoming a perpetual Fibonacci sequence.
Lawrence Peter YOGI Berra, of the New York Yankees, will go down in American baseball history as an icon of the game, but perhaps more so, for his “Yogi-isms”, or what we would call “malapropisms”. The opening title, is a quote adjudicated to him, and probably, unbeknownst to the great majority, there are many more which in popular Anglo-Saxon jargon have become mainstream, such as “It ain´t Over until it’s Over”. Is our game over, I ask? And, another one which is apt for this particular train of thought is: “When you come to the Fork in the Road, take it”.
We are, as a collective human species, not only at a “fork”, but already crossing the bridge into the second decade of this 21st Century. We may not quite know where this is leading to, or how we are going to get there, but we will come out on the other side, some intact, others, not. And looking back, we will all agree that this would have been, what I am venturing to baptise, as the “DECADE OF DISRUPTION”. Once upon a time, we moved forward year by year, engrossed in linear time. The dictates of our lives were a natural progression to what came before. Block by block, we built our modern realities. We formed relationships, created families, voted in governments, lived within established social structures, exchanged money for perishables goods and services, gave value to education and academic titles in job-seeking and built what we hoped would be, robust business models.
The guarantee of some form of secure stability, was “a given”. Not so anymore. There is nothing linear or stable on the horizon. Increasingly our experience is becoming a perpetual Fibonacci sequence.
Is there nothing, no one and no place that can placate this dizzy spinning top, which is reminiscent of a dervish dance?
At the turn of the last decade, Juan Enriquez and co-author Steve Gullans, coined a name for the new human as they see it, in the book of the same name. Two eminent scientists, authors and entrepreneurs, they bring forward a piece of data which is useful as a reminder, lest we forget. As a human species we have had 25 genetic upgrades, or as they call it we have gone through 25 “prototype” human experiences, and we are now already entering what could be the “be all and end all” of our collective story, not only of all species, but of our planet. “These rapid changes will not alter just our bodies but our core religious, government, and social structures as mankind transitions into a new species, a Homo Evolutis, which directly and deliberately controls its own evolution and that of many other species” .
In a similar vein we find, leading futurist Ray Kurzweil, predicting the nearing of The Singularity, where humans and machines will fuse. Transhumanism is served. And, in another of his provocative predictions, he exposes in the book, “How to Create a Mind”, a precursor to a period where we will be uploading our thoughts and memories to a virtual cloud, and will be able to bequeath them to our offspring as a legacy. (That could definitely be a new use for pen drives!)
Keeping tabs on the Future, means investigating trends, authors and thought leaders, some of which would be: Peter Diamandis, founder of The Singularity University , author of “Abundance” , “Bold” and “ The Future is Faster than you Think” ; Micho Kaku with his interest in “The Physics of The Future” or “ The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind” historian Yuval Noah Harari with his incursion from the past into the future with his “Homo Deus” and “21 Lessons for the 21st Century”; Reon Brand, Design Director for Philips with “Co-emerging Futures”; and American journalist Joel Garau “Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies—and What It Means to Be Human”.
In terms of new economic models, we should mention, Jeremy Rifkin and his “Zero Economy”, and Gunther Pauli with his “Blue Economy” to which we can credit much of the recent Circular Economy trend.
G.R.I.N (Genetics – Robotics – Information technology – Nanotechnology)
If we take this acronym as a very simple compendium of the quid pro of this new reality, we can clearly see four pillars that emerge, which will affect us all to a greater or lesser degree:
In this upcoming era of A.I; where also, thanks to genetic engineering we can modify anything from plants, to animals and humans; where IoT, Big Data, 5G will mean increasing control as well as management of our daily lives; and where microchips may become the obligatory nano bots installed at birth - how are organisations, society, education, business approaching this great clash of the titans, conscientiously?
When asked what are the BIG YES/BIG NO contributions of my public with regards to what is coming, the reflections are noteworthy. Issues like health, longevity, efficiency, speed, increased innovative opportunities are some of the BIG YES answers, whereas most of the BIG NO´s zero down to a “Big Brother” dystopian view that is all controlling, eradicating privacy and rendering the human mind secondary to the superiority of A.I. Some pit their hopes on interspatial exploration, where depending on the course of action on planet earth, may prefer to opt for new territories way beyond this mothership as we all know it. For all intents and purposes, of course, the emigration to other planets is now no longer science fiction.
Before his death, four years ago, Stephen Hawkins had asserted that “the only chance of human survival would be in fact to colonise other planets”. Whereas Elon Musk, has created SpaceX to this purpose and his goal would be to start migrations by 2024.
Mars One, founded by Bas Lansdorp, intends to make colonisation a reality by 2031. And NASA is looking at putting humans in low-Mars orbit in the 2030's, and landing people on Mars sometime after that.
Given the body of evidence regarding the disruptive changes ahead, and as we fast advance into the 4th Industrial Revolution, which is essentially digitally driven, there is one element that stands out, the absolute urgency for the rise of an incremented human intelligence. As we catapult into this new decade, into this next century, we need to address the limitations of our present cognitive structures, so as to cultivate the limitless potential of the human being. We are an evolutionary blue print of our human development, with a built-in triparty brain. This includes an 85% of our functionality being based on our reptilian and limbic brain. Our neocortex is still just the new kid on the block! It is my absolute conviction that H.I. or Human Intelligence needs to be on par with A.I. This means UPGRADING the operating hardware of every man, woman and child with a new mental software based on conscious, cognitive, and creative dexterity.
H.I GPS SYSTEM
The internal GPS system that has a simple 4-point structure, just like the 4 directions N.S.E.W, is a lighthouse which serves as an indicator and barometer to be able to navigate confidently in the face of uncertainty. It serves both the individual as well as the group. It works both at home and at work. It can be used by the young and old. It has no cultural or linguistic barriers. It promotes mental and emotional “operacy”, incrementing synaptic plasticity. It allows personal and collective consciousness to experience similarities to virtual reality. It is respectful, objective, explorative and prolific.
The system includes the following directions, and integrated skills:
CREATIVE Thinking - these are systematic and rigourous frameworks that supersede brain storming. The advantage of creative stimulus is a scientific fact, the increased synaptic activity makes for genius thinking, using both parts of the brain, lateral thinking becomes mainstream.
If the brain is stimulated it grows protuberances on cell tentacles – new synaptic connections increase, our brain actually grows in activity.
VALUE Recognition Radar Thinking - the more we are able to identify value and values in people, circumstances, products, etc. the faster we can create algorithms of what is worthy and what is not. Irrevocably all conflicts, are based on a disparity of values. The more and the better we understand them, the less time we waste going round in circles trying to trudge through the mire.
LEADERSHIFT Thinking - insofar as this means learning how to take on accountability as part of a continuous self-development journey to maximize one´s own potential and that of others by having a cascade effect. It is the capacity to learn how to be self-observant, understand our own brain and emotional functions to better micro and macro manage. It is a holocratic approach, and is not at all based on traditional hierarchy.
FUTURE Trends Thinking - based on the premise that every organisation, every school, University, Government, needs a “Future Trends Observatory” to be able to a) understand and prepare for what is coming, by recognising new opportunities or threats, as well as b) being the ones that CREATE future trends because of an intrinsic cultural commitment to EXCELLENCE, and perpetual improvement.
In conclusion, the next big thing as we cross the bridge to the future, is a cultural shift, a universal language, which I believe to be this one. One where, the mindset, the skills and the commitment to a i) CO-Creative, ii) CO- llaborative and a CO-ntributive world order will make the quid pro difference to future generations.
Written by Donna Pace, Founder and CEO/CIO of DP & Associates.