How to spot patterns of progress | Changes of Tomorrow

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

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“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” 
– Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist, George Bernard Shaw

When change is the only constant, tracking it could give us an idea of where progress is taking us.

If you were to put the last 70 years in a continuum, starting back in the 1950s with the first big-as-a-room computers, you’d notice an interesting pattern. The big computer led to the home computer, which lead to the personal computer, which led to the smartphone and the tablet, which led to wearables, which led to… you see where this is going?

From big and public to small and personal. This patterns of progress point in a clear direction, where our future computers will be part of ourselves.

In one possible future at least.

Could we identify other interesting paths leading to undeniable arrows of progress?

Common wisdom among futurists is that those who can see what nobody else sees, wins. So come with us and let’s go in search of interesting stations of progress and not-so-obvious ones.

The theme of this newsletter was inspired by Inventing the Future, part of The Knowledge Project podcast. (1h:37 min audio)

 

What’s changing: Friday, April 4th, 2019

First, the obvious one: When gestures, voiceeyes and facial expressions control computers, the next step is… AI playing pictionary. You can play it, too!

But, seriously now, machines are learning everything about being human, which leads to robots taking jobs, which leads to human qualities exploding in value (soft skills, creativity, empathy) which leads to interaction with humans becoming a luxury.

Ok, how about the accumulation of power and wealth: In the US, three companies control about 80% of mobile telecommunications. Three companies control 95% of all credit cards. Four companies run 70% of all airline flights within the US. Google handles 60% of the searches we make. (h/t The Economist) In agriculture, four companies control 66% of US hogs slaughtered in 2015, 85% of cattle and half the chickens. This leads to monopolistic control, which leads to control, which leads to antitrust movements, which leads to a new form of economic market and new taxes!

As you can see the arrow of progress move in interesting and revealing directions… Let’s try this one more time with health.

Hard agriculture work led to bad health and short lives. Hard industrial work led to bad health and short lives. Hard office work during the 1990s and 2000s led to more wealth but still unhealthy lifestyles. And digital work has led us to obsessive and addictive behaviors, which has created a mental health crisis, of depression and sleep deprivation, leading to a desperate need for more time-off. Today Self-care is an 11 billion dollars business and growing, leading us to an in-depth search for meaning; introducing emotional labour!

Transportationentertainmentretaileducationwar, or diversity… the arrow of progress is aiming!

 

Mental energizer

But here’s the challenge: there are at least 50,000 professional skills in the world, according to Linkedin data. Fifty thousand!

If you’re like us, you probably have time to learn a few skills this month. That begs the question: of those 50,000 skills you could potentially learn, which should you learn today to help you stand out all year?

– From “The Skills companies will need most in 2019” at The Learning Blog by Linkedin

 

Food for thought

Digital grounding.

“Since many parents use digital devices to pacify their children ‘digital grounding’ can be a double-edged sword. Take away the device and suddenly you have to deal with the kid again.”

 

Tomorrow’s numbers

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts a day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative. From ask yourself these 5 questions to boost your resilience.

In the last 10 years, independent bookstores have grown by nearly 50% across the country (US), from 1,651 to 2,470 stores. From Indie bookstores flourish in an Amazon world.

Bird, now in more than 100 cities, has reported more than 10 million rides, Lime more than 26 million on its scooters and bikes. From MicroMobility. The Prose and poetry of the scooter-faithful.

The number of single-person households in the world will jump 128% between 2000 and 2030, according to a new report from Euromonitor International.
From Living alone.

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This week’s exploration of possible futures was curated with curiosity by Iñaki Escudero, Future Activist.

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Photo by Namroud Gorguis on Unsplash.