Chapter 12. Visions and Challenges – Priorities for Professionals

Postmodernist Futurist

Another problematic type, increasingly common today, are postmodernist futurists. Postmodernists prize subjectivity, freedom, mental fluidity, and creativity. Unfortunately, they prize these things so highly that they reject science as an apparently universal and constraining way of knowing. They use the term “scientism” to imply that science is just another belief system, on par with all the other human-constructed “isms”. But that is a grave error, as science has been the primary process that has lifted us out of ignorance of our deeper reality. As humans, we each bring bias, limitations, and diversity to our scientific knowledge and methods. But science itself seeks to weed out unhelpful diversity, via models, experiment, and evidence that unearth persistent, universal truths.

Several postmodernists claim science is entirely a social construct (it is always partially so in its evolutionary sense, but never fundamentally so, in a developmental sense). Others misinterpret chaos theory or quantum physics to imagine that science tells us the future is unpredictable (it doesn’t, and it isn’t). Given this worldview, they often also see little to no meaningful predictability and probability in human social systems. We believe the postmodernist view must be gently but firmly challenged wherever we find it, as actively rejects the idea of universal development.

Postmodernists are occasionally found in the business world, but are more often in government and academia—places where their perspective is all too often seen as a harmless cognitive diversity. Unfortunately, this worldview isn’t harmless, as it can easily spread, and it blocks groups of us from seeing how the world truly is. Postmodernism rejects the idea that there is objective truth to be discovered and places subjectivity at the center of reality. For that matter, postmodernism as a term can constitute almost anything to anyone—the reason the phrase “postmodernist academic” is an oxymoron, and why it is so easy for hoax submissions to be accepted to postmodernist academic journals.

Today, postmodern cultural relativists have become one of the more problematic classes of academic futurists, while Marxists are in decline. Like Marxists before them, postmodernists live off of the exponentiating leisure, wealth, and productivity of science and technology harnessed primarily via a capitalist social democratic world system, yet refuse to recognize that science, even as practiced by flawed and limited humans, is very likely to be a uniquely privileged and potentially universal way of constructing knowledge and improving adaptation.

Some postmodernists occasionally use the curious term “posthumanist“ to self-describe. “Posthumanism” has no less than seven conflicting definitions, making the word essentially meaningless, in our view. Such vagueness and logical contradiction is common in postmodernist jargon. We may strain to understand it, when, in truth, there is no clear definition to posthumanist philosophy itself. Many posthumanist philosophers, like Rosi Braidotti, and literary critics, like Katherine Hayles have written important works in social theory, gender and feminist theory, ethnicity studies, cognition studies, cybernetics, and other domains. But in our view, posthumanists muddled language, definitions, and subjectivity-biased worldview keeps them ambivalent and confused on many key issues of global futures.

Humanism—the need to determine values for ourselves, via theory, practice, and empiricism, rather than interpret them solely from our authorities or religious scripture—has been the defining advance of modern civilization since the Enlightenment. Modern science is increasingly discovering that our “higher” human qualities are common to all intelligent species on Earth, in greater and lesser degrees. In other words, higher intelligence in collective complex networks appears to possess many universal developmental qualities, as we’ll discuss later in the Guide.

In short, we believe we are all advancing toward a more universally humanist world, not a posthumanist world. It seems unreasonable we could today define any truly posthuman qualities, if any in fact do exist. Instead, it seems likely that we will progressively use science, technology, and culture to empower and distribute our higher human qualities to all other sentiences that want our abilities, present and future, in the centuries ahead. If future AIs, based intimately on our own evo-devo nature, can greatly increase our empathy with animals in the future, we expect we will increasingly intervene in their ecosystems to lessen their suffering. At some point, we believe we also find it ethical to “uplift” less-sentient species (beginning with our pets, primates, cetaceans, etc.) into our uniquely privileged (not randomly different) human sphere. The IES goals, in our view, tell us that greater sentience, ability, and security, not just suffering abatement, are truly universal desires. We shall see.

Some posthumanist philosophers acknowledge these apparently universal trends, but others do not. Some consider it anthropocentric and arrogant to imagine that many less-sentient species might want to be more sentient, or that future humans will be compelled, when we can do so with future science and technology, to give other species the ethical choice to further develop their sentience, as a reversible experiment, if they so choose. Few would admit that once such choices are made available, we can expect a one-way migration, for almost all sentiences, to persistently more evidence-based insights, complexity, and consciousness. These are apparent developmental processes. We think posthumanists are ignoring the very nature of humanity, which has always been to continually us technology, cooperation, and competition to grow and advance, to make both ourselves and our environment into something different, and more adapted than what we and it presently are.

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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