Never Underestimate The Future
Yesterday we wrapped up the November Executive Program at Singularity University – time-traveling with our participants for a week into the future. Having had the pleasure and honor to have participated, moderated, taught and led workshops in the program for nearly four years, one can get a bit blasé about “the future.”
Moreover, yet – every time I get the chance to sit in the classroom, listen to my extraordinary colleagues and faculty, I realize one fundamental truth:
Almost everyone expects the future to be a slightly modified version of the present as we are biased by our recent experiences.
It is usually very different – and the futures we will be creating in the next decades will be dramatically different from today. Roy Amara, founder of The Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA once remarked: “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”
I couldn’t agree more.
To prepare myself for the future, explore the opportunities, weigh the risks and ultimately create the future we want, I like to read what people who are much smarter than I am have to say about this. Here’s a list of my recent reads (in no particular order – I enjoyed all of them and all of them look at the topic from a slightly different angle):
- The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (Ray Kurzweil)
- Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think (Peter Diamandis)
- The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (Andrew McAfee)
- The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future (Kevin Kelly)
- Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations (Thomas Friedman)
- Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future (Joi Ito)
- Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it) (Salim Ismail)
- WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us (Tim O’Reilly)
- The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Steven Pinker)