Thinking of the future offers us a choice. Will it be a dystopian one, a la 1984, George Orwell and Big Brother, or will it be one of abundance, and positive potential? It can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In his World Wide Web (WWW) trilogy (Wake , Watch , Wonder), science fiction author, par excellence, Robert J. Sawyer, weighs in on the abundance side, with Webmind, a sentient web presence (beyond human design) that emerges out of the WWW/Internet.
I’ve read a half dozen of Sawyer’s books. He is my current, favorite, science fiction writer.
His latest, the WWW trilogy (published 2009-11), is inspirational; thoroughly researched, touching on cognitive theory, information theory, psychology, computer science; imbedded with memorable characters, human and non-human; fascinating storylines that explore the boundaries of relationships, human/human, human/machine, and machine/animal; connecting today’s social networking culture (the Twitter tweets/references are a hoot) with an exciting (abundant, remember!) future, so close at-hand?!
Oh, I should also mention he’s Canadian, lives near Toronto, and a number of his storylines take place (in part) in old stomping grounds of mine.
A future orientation is something all mediators, collaborators, bridge builders must have, and work with.
What’s in our future orientation toolkit? Here are a few tools for talking about the future, all of which are featured, in Sawyer’s Trilogy:
- Abundance; value creation, yes, and.., positive potential, options
- Paradox; the duality of things, order/chaos, half full/empty, a future of hope/despair
- Reframing; changing the game, how we describe the situation, the conflict
- Emergence; out of complexity, things that weren’t expected come into existence
- Reflection; pausing to reflect, self-awareness, what do I/we really want?
- Storytelling; connecting the dots, my/your ways
- Iteration; learning our way forward, integrating the thinking and doing
- Ownership; being accountable, choosing to decide your future vs. letting someone else have control over it
- Relationships; between people, between all things
- Collaboration; together, we can produce something greater, 1 + 1 > 2
Nora Young, CBC Radio technology reporter, recently interviewed Sawyer about his WWW trilogy and ideas, in this 10 minute audio clip. Fascinating stuff, well worth a listen.
So what does the future hold? Will it feature malevolence or abundance? How are you getting ready for it?
Me? I’m looking forward to Sawyer’s next book, for a few answers and questions.
Image credits: Robert J. Sawyer website.
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