As you might have assumed, members of the Sarasota Institute – A 21st Century Think Tank are actively involved in writing and speaking about the future. As one of the Co-Founders – and the Managing Director- I have committed myself through the Institute and elsewhere to be active to help shape our collective future at this historically critical time.
One key other project I have initiated is the #forkintheroadproject. Along with the other two initiators -also futurists- our next webinar will feature our very first public presentation of this visionary project. The details of the webinar are on the landing page of the web site. Please take the time to sign-in and register if you are a member. If you are not a member, please consider this a good opportunity to join so you can avail yourself of all our programming. Membership details are on the web site.
Our next webinar in April will feature another of the Institute’s Co-Founders, Phil Kotler, who along with his co-founder has another significant global initiative to face the “Seven Wicked Problems ” of humanity. This is also an exclusive to Sarasota institute members.
Here is a column I wrote a few weeks ago about the #forkintheroadproject
Last fall I was having a couple of Zoom calls with two futurists for whom I have a great deal of respect. We were talking about what we saw going on in the world, what the lasting effect of the global pandemic might be and what is ahead for this decade. We all came to an agreement that one of the great futurists we all read years ago and have come back to for wisdom had, 50 years ago succinctly suggested where in fact we are right now.
- Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome, and several other spectacular inventions had written a book in 1969 entitled “Utopia or Oblivion: the Prospects for Humanity”. In it he suggested that in several decades humanity would come to a fork in the road, the two roads being utopia and abundance and the other a mindless road to Oblivion.
“Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment… Humanity is in a final exam as to whether or not it qualifies for continuance in the Universe.”
The three of us, Gerd Leonhard, Glen Hiemstra and I all saw that this decade of the 2020s was in reality the fork in the road of which Fuller wrote about more than 50 years ago.
As futurists who peer into the future for a living, study macro-trends and arcs of history into the present, we all see this decade is the last full decade we have to fully, proactively create the road to the future that we want, rather than unknowingly, mindlessly heading down a road to a more dystopic future. Not that we are in the last stages of anything but rather that so many big rapidly developing dynamics will occur this decade that we must collectively face them to shape them into the good future we want for ourselves and our children and grandchildren.
We wrote the #forkintheroadproject Manifesto and put it up on our new website. On the website you can read the Manifesto, read about the three of us, read our blog and also see the presentation that was made at our first global Zoom call. This first meeting of the #forkintheroadproject collective had futurists from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the U.K. Spain, South Africa and Brazil. In addition, were a couple of noted science fiction writers, media executives and producers, and thought leaders.
We all understand the longer-term consequences. We all see that if humanity wants a future that is positive, places humanity first, faces the immediate to long-term threat of the climate crisis and undertakes an inclusive discussion about the future of technological intelligence, genetic modification, the reinvention of capitalism to align with the realities of the 21st century, we must act with urgency between now and 2030.
We admire and acknowledge all that such organizations as the U.N, the World Economic Forum, the B Team, Singularity University and the Millennium Project [whose Executive Director is an initial signer of our Manifesto] that see the need for massive reorganization of how economics and humanity currently exists on Earth as soon as possible. We cheer them on and see many well-intentioned efforts underway. Many of these groups are well-funded, staffed with brilliant people who see all the current problems and endeavor to fix them.
We see the #forkintheroadproject as a call to action, an understood metaphor, a story to be told and a meme that can raise awareness that in the 2020s humanity is at the fork in the road on every major issue facing humanity. As futurists we are not about solving problems and building organizations. We are about seeing the trends, the dynamics, the forces at play that are ahead of us all. We see that humanity is in one of its’ most critical junctures in history. As people who look at the arcs of history and project them into the future, we see that this decade, these nine years to 2030 is the time when the decision will be made – consciously or ignorantly.
While many forces challenge the future, we recognize these 4 overarching issues:
- Dealing with the Climate Crisis so that humans and all life can continue to flourish on Earth
- Designing New Economic and Political Frameworks, based on sustainable principles such as “People, Planet, Purpose & Prosperity”
- Managing Exponential Scientific and Technological Progress
- Governing Human Enhancement, Longevity, and Human Genome Editing so that progress continues while consequences are carefully considered
Please visit the web site, read the Manifesto, read and view other content, and if you are moved or in agreement with us, there are several things you can do. You can sign the Manifesto, sign up for the newsletter, fill out a form if you, or the organization you are with might want to get involved, and finally start to spread the word by using the hashtag #forkintheroadproject.
Time is of the essence! Urgency is called for. Thank you!