Chapter 9. Trends and Progress – Leading Positive Change

6. Social Sciences and Technologies Overview

Main concept: Social sciences and technologies, aided by accelerating IT and nano sciences and tech, will increasingly permeate our environment (smart things) and educate and empower the global workforce, reducing digital, education, and earning divides. Politics and culture will be the primary barriers to better cognition and more evidence-based behaviors, until groupnets and sims, post 2030, become even more important contributors to self-conception than politics and culture.

Leader’s challenge: Simultaneously growing Individual Rights/Freedoms and Evidence-Based Collective Behavior.

Summary sentence:

“Values maps, groupnets, agents, sims, and the conversational web will drive learning, productivity, diversity, and activism.”

Area topics:

Social Freedom and Creativity. The primary wealth enabler. Why the West (US and Europe) will continue to drive global services and entertainment industries. Our laws and social norms are a “generation or more ahead” of the rest of the world. The great new social advances the West can gain right now are based on freedoms of connection, information creation, digital augmentation, just-in-time education, collaboration, commerce, and  specialization.

Mental Health and Corrections. Consider what a groupnet (GN) can do for a parolee. Or a schizophrenic. Scary potentials for abuse, but powerful new therapies too. Countries with corrections focused on rehab (eg., Scandinavia) will use GN’s first.  Both GN’s and Twins will advise us on better ways of talking to others. Nonviolent communication.

Privacy. There are many types of legal privacy in society. They must be better protected, but anonymity will disappear.

Media, Entertainment, and Positive-Sum Games. Internet TV (millions of channels, user control of content and commercials) will be a major edutainment disruption. The telcos can delay 100Mbps, but can’t stop it. MS, Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook TV. Then Open iTV, with its ability to remix, tag, and personalize content. Many say digital media in the 1980’s drove Eastern Bloc discontent with communism. Circa 2020, expect “serious games” for education and personality assessment. Bookstore and film, fiction vs nonfiction ratio analogy.
Values and Values-Mapped Web (Valuecosm). Increasingly, our contacts and values mediate consumption, entertainment, education, collaboration, political action, conflict. This “valuecosm” will greatly increase subculture diversity, connect the like-minded, and disrupt. Eg, Sweden’s Pirate Party, Anonymous, other activist groups.

Books: Nonzero, 2001; Master Switch, 2011; Better Angels of Our Nature, 2011, The Measure of Civilization, 2013.

Leadership Questions:

  1. What are your social technologies research, acquisition, R&D, hiring, training, measuring, & mgmt strategies?
  2. What key disruptions or threats must you anticipate in a world of greater freedoms, networks, and Big Data?
  3. What problems could be addressed and opportunities taken if you had much better social/networking tech?
  4. How can you get measurably more of the most valuable social capabilities, at an efficient ROI?