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

Emotion, Cognition, and Action: A Primal Do Loop

Our Internal Intelligences Emotional (System 1) and Cognitive(System 2)

Our Internal Intelligences
Emotional (System 1) and Cognitive(System 2)

Now is a good time to review the basics of human intelligence, one of the most important concepts we can understand. As Daniel Kahneman relates in his excellent Thinking Fast and Slow, 2013, modern behavioral sciences tell us we use two competing kinds of intelligence for navigating the world. What he calls System 1 is our fast, intuitive, parallel, and emotional way of perceiving and deciding, based largely on our instinct and emotional unconsciously stored past experiences that are rapidly available to memory. System 2 is slow, deliberative, serial, and logical, based on our conscious appraisal of current events, and our stored episodic long-term memories, which are slowly available to memory. In shorthand, Kahneman calls these our intuitive and deliberative intelligences.

System 1 is a lot older and much more primitive. Many animals have emotion but little cognition. System 2 is evolutionarily newer, especially with regard to what we call our executive functions, which reside in our prefrontal cortex and related areas, and involve stored models of ourselves and others, and circuits that help us decide what we will do next.

Humans and other higher animals often turn to System 1 when we are in conditions of threat, stress, and uncertainty. But in a complex, changing world, rather than making fast gut decisions based on instinctual, subconscious, or emotional experiences and mental models, it often pays to slow our thinking and responses down enough to use System 2. “Slowing down enough to think” (use System 2) in times of stress or distraction can be one of our greatest foresight challenges.

The emotional aspects of System 1, may happen as an immediate result of our unconscious intuition, or they may happen in parallel with it. Either way, it is isn’t too valuable, for our purposes, to separate out intuition and emotion, so it is a useful shorthand to call System 1 our emotional system. Likewise, while the term cognition covers both intuitive and deliberate forms of thought (Systems 1 and 2), in common language, we think of cognition as the slower, more conscious form of thought, so it makes sense to call System 2 our cognitive system.

Commonly then, the use of Systems 1 and 2 to generate action can be called the ECA (Emotion-Cognition-Action) cycle. Pop psychologists used to refer to emotion and cognition as “right brain” and “left brain” ways of thinking, but today we know both our intuitive and our deliberate systems operate on both sides of the brain, using different neural pathways (picture right). Lateralization of brain function does happen, but it is a far more complex story. For example, we see some lateralization of consciousness, as our left parietal lobe is active when we visualize things in the first person, and our right when we visualize in the third person, standing outside and above ourselves.

It may be accurate to think of Systems 1 and 2 as competing cycles, intuition-emotion-action and deliberation-cognition-action, that compete for dominance in our minds depending on context. But we also can think of them as one composite cycle, as both are ultimately integrated into action. In other words, we both intuit-feel and we think-deliberate our way to the future, then we take action, we review that action, and we start over, feeling and thinking some more. Working together, we can think of both of these cycles as a primal Do loop. They are how we navigated the world for millennia, before we had things like complex language, science and technology. Modern humans use our intuitive-emotional and cognitive intelligences, in combination with our external intelligences, to be discussed shortly, to generate adaptive action.

The ECA cycle reminds us that thinking of our and others emotional status and communications first, especially when dealing with any kind of stressful or difficult issues, then our cognitive status and signals second, once we give ourselves time to slow down and reflect, will go a long way to improving our and others’ actions. Common emotional mistakes include being ruled by our fears instead of our passions, not communicating or being open as a result, and making too-quick judgments. Common cognition mistakes include not knowing and correcting for our biases, not valuing cognitive diversity, not developing good goals, not prioritizing our actions, and not using good cognitive process, like the Eight Skills.

We will use the compound phrase “emotional-cognitive” in several sections of this chapter, to indicate we are talking about the ECA cycle. Both System 1 and System 2 together are always influencing our action. As Kahneman would argue, there’s great value in thinking “emotions first,” about our issues, and tuning into all the emotions in the room, then giving ourselves and others sufficient time and resources for a more deliberate and rational response.

In Chapter 4 (Models), we will introduce the Perception Decision Action (PDA) cycle commonly discussed in cognitive science and ecological psychology as a foundation of the Do loop and the Eight Skills of strategic foresight. The PDA cycle argues that perceiving, deciding, and acting are the basic way we navigate the world, and it helps us realize that what we “see”, or fail to see, due to our biases and shortcomings, influences how we “decide”. When we recognize that perceiving and deciding are done with both our emotion and our cognition, we see the PDA cycle is just another version of the ECA cycle. They are two different windows to the same process – human intelligence.

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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