I have continued to think about the idea that the “future is a human” since my last blog post, “The Future is an Amoeba.” At the surface, comparing the future to an amoeba could conjure up ideas of brain eating amoebas or the sort. But the point I really was making was that the “future looks a lot like us” and I want to unpack that idea further.
Some people associate “Futures” or being a “Futurist” with science fiction type ideas, movies like “Minority Report” or “The Matrix” or with far out ideas like one day uploading our brains to the cloud. It’s true that when you are imagining the future, if your ideas don’t seem “sci-fi” or “provocative” than you probably aren’t thinking transformative enough. So “sci-fi” testing the reach of your ideas can be a really good barometer.
However, if you spend any significant amount of time with “Futurists,” they’ll tell you instead that really the “future is about people,” “the future is a human” and “the future is about today.” Some will even say that science fiction movies probably portray the opposite of what will happen. So, back to my persistent thoughts… if the future is a human, what does that mean?
Humans unlike any other living thing have the ability to imagine, to engineer, to emotionally connect with one another and to believe. Our imagination enables us to dream up possibilities that make this place a better one and to solve big issues. Our minds have engineered technology to such heights that even if robots start to take over some of our jobs, we’ll adapt and find ways to invent new sources of livelihood. We’ll create the futures we want. We aren’t going to intentionally create a world where robots take over, but rather one where technology, machine or robots enable us to be more fully human.
Also, we need each other, we need a community and we become unhealthy when secluded from each other. Through our diversity, collaboration and ability to listen to one another, we are able to understand each other better, solve problems and realize the future together. Ultimately, our beliefs and the stories we tell ourselves and each other shape our futures.
Our futures are the stories we create. The stories that only humans can imagine, engineer and believe into existence. We are humans shaping futures that will enable us to be more human. That is why the future looks a lot like us and is about what we are doing today to make that future.
Contributor: Leigh Cook, Senior Director – Futures, Innovation & Strategy