It is now 2/22/2016 and I started this on 2/17/2016, devoting many hours to reading, writing, editing, and posting, all very worth while. I just completed adding my comments to the formal RTDelphi for Scenario 2, and read the other comments. I will edit this, post it on my blog and email you the url.
Jerry, the two scenarios for 2050, which by at this writing I have read each twice, are both welcome and not welcome. I have also read your “Future Work/Technology 2050 Real-Time Delphi Study” excerpted from 2015-16 State of the Future report. This information is not welcome, in that my responding continues my practice of reactivity and delays my moving to work on pro-active tasks (which appears very difficult, for many reasons). The information is also very welcome, in that these scenarios provides me with a new “foil” on which to attempt to share my own insights and have induced a cascade of new insights.
Given my zero ability to re-experience prior moments, I was surprised to have (a moment ago) a conceptual memory note of our time walking in the desert in Tucson and you drew diagrams in the sand, within which we interacted. I can still “feel” that as a special time, although I can’t replay it. I need to collaboratively draw multi-dimensional diagrams in cyberspace with others, but where the dimensions are in the hundreds (to thousands) and we are seafed (supported, enabled, augmented, facilitated) by nu technologies to interact/explore/construct/etc. over extended time. Ultimately, what we would create with our diagrams, scaffolding, and associated texts & audio/visuals, would be an emerging simulation of humankind. I’m not sure this technology is included in your NT projections.
At this moment my hosted inner world, nuet, wants to send you many simultaneous/related messages. However, the biology of Larry and Jerry restrict sharing to linear transmitted, single info packets of limited size. Also, in conversation we generate an exploding web of potential responses: what parts of your message should I respond to (multiple responses) – or should I initiate other content item stimulated by your message? One of humankind’s challenges is to master the technology of what I have called RT/DT SYNERGY. RealTime/DelayedTime, synchronous/asynchronous in sysnets of sems (semiotic structures) which I call semfields. I know, gobblygook. What we have NOT EVEN THOUGHT OF ACCOMPLISHING with digital/cyber technology astounds me. All the different aspects of NT (Next Technologies), which are cited in the scenarios, will probably be viewed from the future as but a drop in the bucket.
There are 15 or more directions I could go at this point. Some I could link to posted drafts, others remain as too rough drafts yet to post. Yet, I so much want to summarize the context from which my commentary of the scenarios will be based. Nuet will channel but a few:
1) The best of humankind continually attempts to violate the 2nd Law of Cybernetics, The Law of Requisite Variety.
2) The number of independent variables of relevance for humankind far exceed our human limitation to work with only a few variables in working consciousness and the 3D limitations of space for graphical representation. The MSC (Magnitude/Scope/Complexity) of local2global reality requires, at least, well developed cybercrews to be the working organism, and not individual humans. All our models of human systems are constrained by these limits.
3) The fundamental science of systems with humans as components has not really advanced much over millennia – except where amplified when human groups apply the sci/tech of systems with non-human components – for which our competencies have exploded exponentially. Although there are many quality fragments of knowledge about human systems, our practical models of humans and humankind are grossly inaccurate and insufficient for us to accomplish our goals. This applies to our best minds, as well as to the multitude of confused views of human nature among many populations, and illustrated clearly in the Theater of the Absurd of Election 2016 in the USA.
4) What we are attempting is, in analogy, like trying to create perpetual motion machines.
5) …. many more
6) I am optimistic. We have all we need to succeed, once we are open to “really” change.
———- COMMENTARY ON SCENARIOS
I refuse to forecast, as there are too many options. I speculate on the multitude of possibilities, and seek long-term strategies for positive options. However, I believe we should play much more with alternative scenarios.
I accept the constraints on the two scenarios – with focus on work/technology dynamics.: “The socio-political-economic systems stay the same around the world, and technological acceleration, integration, and globalization continues.” I appreciate the details (some new to me) on the potentials for NT. I have long been concerned how technology was eliminating “employment” (which only emerged with the Industrial Revolution) and that the political mantra calling for JOBS is a dead end (within our contemporary societal systems).
That our socio-political-economic systems stay the same around the world, is – to me – highly unlikely. But, what it will be and how the changes might occur over 3 decades is a type of challenge requiring a new level of “cyborg” between higher-developed/learned-persons/teams and nu technologies. However, I will play the game for these scenarios.
INSERTED: Working on questions for Scenario 2 SHOCKS MY ASSUMPTIONS
For reasons that will become clear below, I am inserting this section much earlier in this document, but will leave what will follow unchanged, as to preserve my bias. I will insert noticeable comments when relevant.
Skimming through the questions alerted me that I had misjudged the +/- evaluation of Scenario 2. For some reason, I saw Scenario 2 as mildly positive with many, significant reservations. However, the questions imply Scenario 2 to be negative and seek recommendations for turning it positive. The title of Scenario 2 should have alerted me: Political/Economic Turmoil – Future Despair.
I have just reread Scenario 2 carefully. I am shocked how I had misjudged its final conclusion. My temporary evaluation, now, is that NT was only partly able to be applied and that unemployment did skyrocket, but had not, by 2050, led to globe shattering uprisings. Many of the negative outcomes in Scenario 2 I viewed as already occurring in lesser form and I expect might appear far more rapidly than as in Scenario 2.
I focused more on the attempts of scientists and futurists to create plans (which I doubted would happen – for other reasons) and ignored that the scenario had their work mostly neglected – as I would have forecast.
Part of my bias was due to my (questionable) belief that many of the claims for NT will not be fully achieved. I have not given enough study to these developments and am turned off by their strong proponents (Kurzweil). I see from Scenario 2 that NT could cause significant damage, when those parts that do work are misused or applied for negative purposes. However, I believe that in the longer-term, when NT is not supported by profit-making corporations and coupled with uplifting the actualization of diverse human potentials, the cyborg of human/machine will far exceed our imagination and the negatives will be managed.
Why did my first skim reading of Scenario 2 leave me with a biased evaluation? Part was the assumption for the scenarios: “The socio-political-economic systems stay the same around the world, and technological acceleration, integration, and globalization continues.” If Scenario 2 were the history for 2050, I would be hard put to claim this assumption held. Today, in 2016 the political system in the USA is radically different that before, IN PRACTICE. The financial system (using AI) is also radically different, and will continue to change. That it remains the same is a media illusion. I see today as fundamentally negative, although I live in a pocket of artificially supported well-being. So, I simply translated the present to 2050, but with increased negativity – but that scientists and futurists remained “free” to do their thing.
Before continuing, reading and editing what I had previously written, I must re-read Scenario 1 again, carefully.
AND, I am again shocked. Scenario 1 was what I had inferred Scenario 2 was. The scenarios were of different worlds, not scenario variations on the same world. One cause of my confusion is my current lack of detailed memory of my past. My age (81) has amplified my lifelong lack of mental imagery in all sensory modes, and thus no sensory remembrances or imagination. These days I am surprised when I discover what I wrote only a few days ago. I initially read Scenario 1 before Scenario 2. Later, they merged in my mind, with Scenario 1 dominant. Thus, the questions for Scenario 2 puzzled me, and rereading Scenario 2 increased my confusion.
BEFORE I REREAD SCENARIO 2 AND WROTE WHAT WAS JUST ABOVE.
On reading the scenarios, I was continually reacting “out-of-context”, becoming aware of other relevant domains ignored with this Problem/Solution paradigm that might deflect this scenario. Indeed, I found Scenario 1 rather “simple”, and not “complicated” related to when one considers the other factors ignored. I found Scenario 1 lacking a viable strategy that might lead the futurist technicians to motivate the decaying societal systems to undertake their advice.
Stretching the scenario to 2050 gives it “time” for “magic”. Yet, there is much “magic” that might appear were populations to really begin self-organizing – and NT tech does seaf it – but the rapid decay of minds trapped in silos makes me skeptical. What concerns me more than the warped minds of many leaders is that so many humans are blindly willing to follow then – and devote time and energy in their support.
For example, quoting from scenario 1: “Fortunately, the International S&T Organization was created in the late 2030s that eventually became the global S&T collective intelligence system we have today that makes nearly all information, future projections, assessments, computational science, etc. instantaneously available to all.” The word “Fortunately” implies “magical” to me, as the influence of this level of “rationality” appears to be disappearing, and never was very strong. To me, each of the steps in Scenario 1 call for other significant changes that are not necessarily expected.
[[ new: Jerry, I realize that your work with The Millennium Project and UNU had you probably experiencing the best that was happening on Earth. What I don’t know is how much your “best” contributed to some basic changes in happenings.]]
To me, these scenarios assume a rather neutral societal background; no real opposition to NT. My take on contemporary reality is a rather rapid slide into the chaos-of-disorder (distinct from the chaos-of-emergent-potential-orders). There are pockets of faux order (narrowly strong but of short duration), in chaotic interaction. Our minds project order on disorder to protect sanity. What about psycho/socio-paths, creative and intelligent, rising to positions of power everywhere? When will we be forced to cease repair of damage due to climate change natural disasters, due to lack of resources and trained teams to do the repair? Today, the “world of knowledge” as context for major societal decisions is orders-of-magnitude less than what is available. What their advisers may know is often not comprehended or ignored by the most decision-makers. How does Scenario 1 expect this situation to change. I could go on….
I sense that these scenarios are as they are because of the tech focus of professional futurists. When we study the history of sci/tech, we bury the many paths not taken and how many directions were highly serendipitous. For example, the rise of electronics was prematurely catalyzed by the accidental discovery of radioactivity. Then the rise of electronically recorded music derailed the advanced technology of auto-mechanical playing of musical instruments (UK museums of these astounded me). There were many paths not taken in the emergence of intelligent technology. The role of AI in the transformation of the financial domain (computerized rapid investing and derivatives) was an unintended consequence. Our “high technology” is but one of many alternative routes we may have taken. We are both advanced (non-human systems) and primitive (human systems). How many Black Swans will emerge as we plug along towards 2050?
Jerry – I am not criticizing this project or these scenarios. We need hundreds of such related efforts. Makes me wonder about scenarios generated at Pentagons and Global Corporations around the world. In 1968, a friend of mine in the Minnesota National Guard was working on invasion plans for Norway! I intuit that humankind’s serious efforts to face our Crisis-of-Crises challenges must be commensurate with the MSC (Magnitude/Scope/Complexity) of our challenges. This is a variation of the 2nd Law of Cybernetics; which can no more be violated than Newton’s Laws of Motion – yet we attempt it all the time.
My own proposals are directed to a rapid improvement in the sci/tech of human systems, coupled as “cyborgs” with its own branching of NT. But, this will not come from the current NT community. It will rise from persons motivated to engage in their own, significant OLLO (Organizing-for-Learning=&=Learning-for-Organizing) uplifting; open to transcend many prior assumptions about humans, humankind, and change. Persons willing to significantly change their basic lifestyles. I believe the new insights on “human nature” gained over the past few decades (mostly ignored) will permit this small group to OLLO most of the global population in a few decades. In analogy, galdeeing (growing, adapting, learning, developing, evolving, emerging) in ways similar as we developed from a single fertilized cell into a birthed baby and then development-within-environments. NU, the nu emergent humanity, attracts/orients/engages others ONE-by-ONE into the emergent Societal Butterfly – by a process that insures exponential growth. The NT developments envisioned in these scenarios can also occur within emergent NU.
I was struck, although not surprised, in the Scenarios by the virtual absence of any significant improvement in the distribution of human competencies. Educational improvement in STEM and MOOC are unlikely to alter the aspects of global humankind to actively participate in the multiple challenges we face. We need a learning/organizing process never before imagined. The MSC of our Crisis-of-Crises demands it and the potential flowering of a nu humanity calls it forth.
How emergent NU relates to the co-existing, collapsing humankind is a critical “endgame” for strategizing and scenario work. We cannot assume that major “powers” won’t oppose “positive initiatives”. Details of my work-in-progress require more time for explication and dialog. Indeed, they require a new, advanced educational process equivalent in commitment to a university education program; yet radically different from any existing educational programs. One theme, “Humanity Becoming Augmented Geniuses Changes Nature of Work” is a weird way of imagining uplift; but it does call for human improvement. “If 10% of people are productive enough for sustaining the entire (100%) of humankind, then new products and services will be created for the 90% in adult “day-care” activities to release enormous innovation and creativity” is another proposal implying critical assumptions about humans.
One approach to take with these scenarios, would be to identify two types of statements. 1) statements of achievements, and 2) statements of difficulties (bad things continuing to happen). For (1), explore other actions that may need to be taken to better insure the achievement. For (2) explore other actions that might reduce or eliminate these difficulties. This is a technique I proposed back in 1976, in Mission_2000 which I called Distractor or Factor.
Distractor or Factor: For any proposal, there will be many issues. Typically opponents treat these issues as distractors, calling for the planners to start over again. Or, each issue could be viewed as but a factor for which a solution or remedy is sought and the proposal modified to include the resolution of that issue. This continues, treating all issues as factors until the proposal has no more issues – then it simulates what should be done. Of course, as soon as one begins new issues will occur, to again be treated as factors, not distractors.
A few comments on Scenario 3, based only on it’s intent: “If Humans Were Free – The Self-Actualizing Economy”.
I fear the concept of human “freedom” is wrapped in too many inaccurate or false assumptions about “human nature” and even the many concepts of “freedom”. No human consciously chooses who they will become, we are far, far more determined than we want to believe. We do have agency, but it needs seafing. I speculate that we are quite strictly determined in our responses to stimuli and situations; our agency is manifest when we self-initiate, not in response. We modify our determiner via self-initiated behavior. We are not who we think we are. Also, the sequential environments we experience are highly deterministic of who we become. No human “chooses” who they become.
I fear that as long as we focus on “economy” as the thing to fix or create anew, we are doomed. It is like a human obsessed with the tube from mouth to anus, and what passes through. Obesity is beautiful and don’t bother where you shit. Economic models are mathematically and scientifically invalid, yet they are permitted to claim otherwise. We have multiple functional subsystems and none should be given priority. We will need quality economic subsystems as part of a nu humanity. I believe it is scientifically impossible to transform our existing economic/political system into anything viable or sustainable, and to attempt to do so is futile. Societal Metamorphosis is so much easier and viable, would be only abandon our obsession with transforming everything.
Look honestly on the distribution of knowledge, behaviors, competencies, beliefs in the human population. Can these diverse peoples, each locked into their own inner worlds and believing it to be the REAL WORLD, self-actualize without applying a new sci/tech of human change? Any attempt to herd them into self-actualizing pens will not produce a competent human population capable of doing what will be needed to survive climate change.
I was intrigued by the last paragraph of Scenario 1, which I assume is speculative fiction and not an actual scientific discovery.
THE PARAGRAPH: The discovery that the earth’s protective magnetic sphere is likely to weaken sufficiently by 2550 to end life on earth, has led many to believe that the next organizing principal for civilization could be space migration–truly a long-range work/technology program.
To my knowledge, the magnetic field of Earth has flipped during human history – and probably many times during the evolution of Gaia. In the null magnetic field during the flip, there will be more radiation hitting Earth. Yet, it didn’t extinguish all life the past times, and unlikely to do so this time (coming soon). I also object that the solution focus should be limited to space migration and not also ways of living during the null magnetic field.
A real threat, other than major asteroid or comet collisions, is the eventual eruptions of the few mega volcanoes – such as Yellowstone. In NU GENESIS http://nuet.us/collections/nu-genesis-collection/ I propose a new human myth for the emergence of humankind with premature technology (with risks we are now encountering), so as to provide Gaia with the tools to avoid catastrophic destruction from a turbulent Universe in Gaia’s multi-billennial future.