Chapter 12. Visions and Challenges – Priorities for Professionals

Foresight is Becoming Acceleration- and Evo Devo-Aware

Acceleration and evo devo are among the biggest of the perspectives in big foresight. What goes faster, for how long, and why? What is predictable, and what is presently, or forever, unpredictable? Seeing where the universe apparently wants to take us, understanding “what technology wants”, as Kevin Kelly discusses in his excellent book by the same name, seeing what the emerging Global Superorganism looks like, as Francis Heylighen discusses, are among the deepest ways we can currently understand progress. We learn to align ourselves with universal trends, such as we understand them today.

It’s one thing to note that all the world’s societies are trending toward certain commonalities as they digitize and industrialize, but it’s yet another to claim that there are universal values, aspirations, and destinies we must discover in all civilizations on all Earth-like planets.

Yet that universal perspective is exactly what we can expect big foresight to increasingly deliver as it grows up in coming decades. Humanity is now looking actively beyond our planet, to ask how it is situated in the universe at large. Thanks to emerging sciences including simulation, convergent evolution, and astrobiology, we may soon learn that life and Earth-like planets are ubiquitous, and prove that all universal complexity is subject to convergent evolution (a form of universal development) in similar environments, a convergence which guides it into certain far-future-determined forms and functions.

univeral hierarchiesOne of the most basic proposals of such predictable convergence is that all universal complexity development may have to proceed through hierarchical layers, each faster, more adaptive, intelligent, and resilient than the last, and express archetypal complex adaptive systems within each layer (one version of such a hierarchy is offered in the picture above).

Within this century, science may tell us all complex adaptive systems in the universe must proceed in an accelerating manner from physics to chemistry to biology to society (biological minds) to self-aware technology (technological minds) as they evolve and develop. In such an environment, science should have valuable things to say about human and machine progress, values, and purpose, where today it is often mute. We’ll learn that values come in two types: intelligence-created and universe-given. Efforts to find and verify “universal” biology, sociology, technology, and values will be greatly advanced, where today we have mainly intuitions, circumstantial evidence, systems theory, and argument regarding such deeply future-important topics.

In 2008, my colleague Clement Vidal and I started a community of systems theorists to investigate the interaction between predictable and unpredictable futures. This community, Evo Devo Universe, studies evolutionary development, (also known as evo devo), the interaction between unpredicable and creative (evolutionary) and predictable and constraining (developmental) processes in both living systems and in the universe as a system. Science is still early in uncovering predictable developmental processes in the universe and human social systems, but we are making steady progress. We believe appropriately blending these two universal perspectives is one of the foundations to good foresight.

Consider the following phrase: Sustainable innovation. It is a blend of the two most basic processes of change, development (processes that cycle predictably and protect the integrity of the system) and evolution (processes that branch unpredictably and create useful new novelty, difference, and information).

I would argue that anyone who talks about sustainability without recognizing we live in a world of accelerating innovation and continual creative destruction (destruction, renewal, and change that actually is good for the system, making it more resilient and adaptive over time) is missing a critical piece of how the world works. Likewise, anyone who talks about innovation and forgets that our world system must continually sustain itself, and continue to renew its definition of sustainability, is equally ignorant of how the world works. Both values must be balanced in organizational strategy, plans, and actions, or the organization will not be adaptive.

Think also of any foresight method. In practice, both evolutionary and developmental values must be addressed and balanced by foresight practitioners, or their methods won’t be very adaptive. There are methods that bias us to evolutionary foresight, methods that bias us toward developmental foresight, and others that are an adaptive blend of both. We need all three approaches, and Three Ps foresight, to help our clients.

Consider scenarios. It is not a coincidence that the dominant method of scenario generation, the GBN method, is to pick the most important and uncertain variables in a two by two matrix to generate alternatives. Figuring out what is most important often translates to a predictable developmental megatrend. Figuring out what is most uncertain often translates to an unpredictable evolutionary trend or event. Each of the two variables have both developmentally important and evolutionarily uncertain dimensions to them, depending on your perspective. This method is well balanced between both evo and devo perspectives.

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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