Chapter 12. Visions and Challenges – Priorities for Professionals

Dogmatic Futurist

Another problematic member of our community is the Dogmatic futurist. As with the Scriptural futurist, the Dogmatist believes they have found a set of invariable truths. Unlike the Prosperity futurist, who discovered this truth via simple belief, or the Scriptural futurist, who discovered it by belief in scripture, the Dogmatist found their truth their intellect, via some combination of intuition, belief, reason, argument, and evidence.

We are all guilty of a little dogmatism on occasion, and having a healthy ego and belief in oneself, or in anything is helpful in approaching the future. But dogmatic thinkers also don’t tend to do well in business world, as their insistence on being right, and lack of willingness to consider alternative perspectives tends to drive others away. Unfortunately religious dogmatism is still tolerated in some cultures, but even that is steadily disappearing as our connectedness and access to education grows.

Dogmatics also rarely get the valuable feedback they would need to see and fix their dogmatism. Most reasonable people rightly predict that such rigid thinkers wouldn’t value the feedback anyway, so they withhold it, perpetuating the futurist’s ignorance and dogma, in a vicious cycle. If you notice yourself being dogmatic in your words and thoughts, do your best to use qualifiers in your language and claims, and to acknowledge uncertainties wherever they exist.

We foresight professionals need to help our clients cultivate a deeply rational and scientific view of the world. Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World (1997), Shermer’s Why People Believe Weird Things (2002) are two insightful texts on the importance of balancing rationality with well-placed belief. We don’t need to neglect our spiritual search. Instead, we need to pare our beliefs to the most adaptive set possible, consonant with our growing evidence and science. Counterintuitively, such careful gardening of our beliefs can make those that remain standing even more deeply meaningful and motivating, as complexity scholar Stuart Kauffman reminds us in his inspiring ode to the reconvergence of science and spirituality, Reinventing the Sacred (2010).

Another tool we can use to help our clients find better beliefs is creative visualization, a set of mental practices that challenge us to imagine well-chosen futures that may be challenging yet are truly reachable from where we are today. Many good sports practitioners use visualization techniques. The key to visualization’s effectiveness is foreseeing achievable outcomes, and tying visualizations to the work the athlete has done to get in range of desirable outcomes. As you hit your visualization targets you revise them upward, continually challenging yourself to reach new, still achievable goals. In this process, evidence-based and critically-evaluated goal selection, thinking, strategy, plans, and actions are as important as belief. So also is humility, a desire to help others, and continual honest self-assessment. See The Champion’s Mind, Afremow (2014) for more.

In sum, we need to be belief- and evidence-balanced, not belief-centric, or we can quickly get into trouble. When our citizens are dogmatic believers, easily swayed and polarized by populist media, our democracy stays weak and underdeveloped. Many of the one percenters in our societies don’t mind that outcome, as it keeps their relative power stronger for longer.

Fortunately, some industrialized societies are much farther along toward evidence-based thinking and self-empowerment than others. In the long run, it seems inevitable that our education systems will be deeply aided by emerging web intelligence, which may have nobler motivations than our plutocratic leaders. Whether we put our children on a more rational footing before our accelerating machine intelligences do it for us, to protect us from ourselves, may be our major ethical choice in the remaining generations of human-dominated politics, however few those may be.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 2. Personal Foresight – Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 2: Personal Foresight

Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 4. Models – Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 4: Models

Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 7. Acceleration – Guiding Our Extraordinary Future

Chapter 7: Acceleration

Guiding Our Extraordinary Future (In Process)

II. Global Progress: 5 Goals, 10 Values, Many Trends

Innovation: Our Abundant Future
Intelligence: Our Augmented Future
Interdependence: Our Civil Future
Immunity: Our Protected Future
Sustainability: Our Rebalanced Future

III. Universal Accelerating Change

Great Race to Inner Space: Our Surprising Future
Entropy&Information: We’re Running Down & Up
The Puzzle of Meaning: We Have No Einstein Yet
Trees, Funnels & Landscapes: Intro to Evo Devo
Big Picture Change: Five Scales of Accelerating ED
Transcension Hypothesis: Where Acceleratn Ends?
IDABDAK: Social Response to Accel & Developmnt
We’re On a Runaway Train: Being Accelaware

IV. Evo Devo and Exponential Foresight

Seeing It All: Accel., Diverg, Adapt, Convrg, Decel.
Natural (I4S) Innovation: The Evolutionary Drive
Natural (I4S) Intelligence: The Human-AI Partnership
Natural (I4S) Morality: Why Empathy and Ethics Rule
Natural (I4S) Security: Strength from Disruption
Natural (I4S) Sustainability: The Developmental Drive
S-Curves: Managing the Four Constituencies
Pain to Gain: Traversing the Three Kuznets Phases
Hype to Reality: Beyond Hype Cycles to Reality Checks
Exponentials Database: Measuring Accelerations
TINA Trends: Societal Evolutionary Development
Managing Change: STEEPCOP Events, Probs, Ideas
A Great Shift: A Survival to a Sentient Economy

V. Evo Devo and Exponential Activism

Building Protopias: Five Goals of Social Progress
Normative Foresight: Ten Values of Society
Top & STEEPCOP Acceleratns: Positive & Negative
Dystopias, Risks, and Failure States
Three Levels of Activism: People, Tech & Universe
A Great Opportunity: Exponential Empowerment


Chapter 8. Your Digital Self – The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

Chapter 8: Your Digital Self

The Human Face of the Coming Singularity (In Process)

I. Your Personal AI (PAI): Your Digital Self

Digital Society: Data, Mediation, and Agents
Personal AIs: Advancing the Five Goals
PAI Innovation: Abundance and Diversity
PAI Intelligence: Bio-Inspired AI
PAI Morality: Selection and Groupnets
PAI Security: Safe Learning Agents
PAI Sustainability: Science and Balance
The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

II. PAI Protopias & Dystopias in 8 Domains

1. Personal Agents: News, Ent., Education
2. Social Agents: Relat. and Social Justice
3. Political Agents :  Activism & Represent.
4. Economic Agents:  Retail, Finance, Entrep
5. Builder Agents :  Work, Innov. & Science
6. Environ. Agents : Pop. and Sustainability
7. Health Agents :  Health, Wellness, Death
8. Security Agents :  Def., Crime, Corrections

III. PAI Activism & Exponential Empowerment

Next Government: PAIs, Groupnets, Democ.
Next Economy: Creat. Destr. & Basic Income
Next Society: PAI Ent., Mortality & Uploading
What Will Your PAI Contribution Be?

Chapter 10. Startup Ideas – Great Product & Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs

Chapter 10: Startup Ideas

Great Product and Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs (In Process)

I. 4U’s Idea Hub: Building Better Futures

Air Deliveries and Air Taxis: Finally Solving Urban Gridlock
Ballistic Shields and Gun Control: Protecting Us All from Lone Shooters
Bioinspiration Wiki: Biomimetics and Bio-Inspired Design
Brain Preservation Services: Memory and Mortality Redefined
Carcams: Document Thieves, Bad Driving, and Bad Behavior
Competition in Govt Services: Less Corruption, More Innovation
Computer Adaptive Education (CAE): Better Learning and Training
Conversational Deep Learning Devsuites: Millions of AI Coders
Digital Tables: Telepresence, Games, Entertainment & Education
Dynaships: Sustainable Low-Speed Cargo Shipping
Electromagnetic Suspension: Nausea-Free Working & Reading in Cars
Epigenetic Health Tests: Cellular Aging, Bad Diet, Body Abuse Feedback
Fireline Explosives and Ember Drones: Next-Gen Fire Control
Global English: Empowering the Next Generation of Global Youth
Greenbots: Drone Seeders and Robotic Waterers for Mass Regreening
High-Density Housing and Zoning: Making Our Cities Affordable Again
Highway Enclosures and Trail Networks: Green and Quiet Urban Space
Inflatable Packaging: Faster and Greener Shipping and Returns
Internet of Families: Connecting People Over Things
Kidcams: Next-Gen Security for Child Safety and Empowerment
Kidpods: Indoor & Outdoor Parent-Assistive Toyboxes
Microdesalination: Democratizing Sustainable Fresh Water Production
Noise Monitors: Documenting and Reducing Noise Pollution
Oceanside Baths: Sustainable Year Round Beach Enjoyment
Open Blood Scanners: DIY Citizen Health Care Sensor Tech
Open Streaming Radio: User-Centered Audio Creation and Rating
Open Streaming Video: User-Centered Video Creation and Rating
Open Values Filters: Social Rankers, Arg. Mappers, and Consensus Finders
Personal AIs: Your Private Advisor, Activist, and Interface to the World
Pet Empowerment: Next-Gen Rights and Abilities for Our Domestic Animals
Safe Closets: Fire-, Earthquake-, and Intruder-Proof Retreat Spaces
Safe Cars: Reducing Our Insane 1.3M Annual Auto Deaths Today
Safe Motorcycles: Lane Splitting in Gridlock Without Risk of Death
Shared Value Insurance: User-Centered Risk Reduction Services
Sleeperbuses and Microhotels: Demonetized Intercity Travel
Space-Based Solar Power: Stratellite Powering and Weather Management
Stratellites: Next-Gen Urban Broadband, Transparency, and Security
Touch DNA: Next-Gen Home Security and Crime Deterrence
View Towers: Improving Urban Walkability, Inspiration, and Community

Chapter 11. Evo Devo Foresight – Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Chapter 11: Evo Devo Foresight

Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Appendix 1. Peer Advice – Building a Successful Foresight Practice