Ever Smarter World is the personal blog of futurist John M. Smart. It covers the story of accelerating technological change, the most powerful and important story of our time, taking a big picture view of the future, asking who we are, where we are going, and what might be better and worse ways to get there.
See also John’s Medium posts on universal, personal, global, and organizational (UPGO) foresight, strategy, and leadership.
For further reading, let me recommend a few particularly excellent books and authors that have raised our awareness of the issues, opportunities, and risks of accelerating change in recent years (alpha by book title).
Consider any of these for your personal library:
|Abundance, Diamandis and Kotler (2012)
Accelerate, John Kotter (2014)
Acceleration, Ron Havelock (2011)
Bold, Diamandis and Kotler (2015)
Digital Disruption, James McQuivey (2013)
Factor Four, Ernst Weizsacker (1998)
Free, Chris Anderson (2010)
Future Crimes, Mark Goodman (2015)
Humans Need Not Apply, Jerry Kaplan (2015)
Infinite Progress, Byron Reese (2013)
Knowledge & Wealth of Nations, Warsh (2007)
Leading Digital, Westerman et al. (2014)
Learning from the Octopus, Sagarin (2012)
Natural Security, Sagarin and Taylor (2008)
Reinventing Fire, Amory Lovins (2011)
Revolutionary Wealth, Alvin Toffler (2007)
Smaller,Faster,Cheaper,Denser, Bryce (2014)
|Technology’s Promise, William Halal (2008)
The Acceleration of History, Gerard Piel (1972)
The Age of Context, Scoble and Israel (2014)
The Age of Spiritual Machines, Ray Kurzweil (2000)
The Birth of Plenty, William Bernstein (2010)
The Infinite Resource, Ramez Naam (2013)
The Master Switch, Tim Wu (2011)
The New Killer Apps, Mui and Carroll (2013)
The Pentagon’s New Map, Thomas Barnett (2005)
The Second Machine Age, Brynjolffson&McAfee (2014)
The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein (2008)
The State of Humanity, Julian Simon (1996)
The Transparent Society, David Brin (1998)
The World is Flat 3.0, Thomas Friedman (2007)
What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly (2010)
Why the West Rules… For Now, Ian Morris (2010)
Why Nations Fail, Acemoglu and Robinson (2013)
As these books argue, it is overwhelmingly probable that our current century will continue to experience relentless, disruptive, accelerating change in specific areas of science, technology, and innovation. We’ll see increasingly amazing levels of social connectivity, quantification, computation, virtualization, and machine intelligence, as well as ever growing wealth, opportunity, social and environmental justice initiatives, and competitive (business) disruption.
To manage the risks and downsides of all that technical and social acceleration, we will need to build new levels of personal and institutional collaboration, fairness, transparency, resiliency, security, and democracy. As always, we will be spurred to these integrative efforts by periodic catastrophes. With luck and effort, hopefully they will be increasingly small catastrophes, and we will learn appropriately from them.
The phrase “ever smarter world” has been used by a handful of futurists in recent years, most notably by Alex Lightman since 2003. Accelerating change is a story that needs to be far better researched and told. We’ve been born in a particularly amazing time. Great transitions are underway, and we are fast en route to a very different and far more intelligent future environment.
This blog will consider these coming changes, and try to place them in both a universal and human historical perspective. Accelerating technology appears to be the latest chapter in an epic story of universal evolutionary development, where the leading edge of complexity has moved from astrophysical, to geophysical, to biological, to human, to human-machine, and perhaps soon to postbiological forms of intelligence.
To be effective leaders we need to uncover, research and critique this story to the best of our abilities. To improve our foresight, innovation, and strategy, we need to develop an acceleration-aware, big picture, and evidence-based perspective on change. We also need to critique each other’s models and stories of the future, to best improve them. Talking together in constructive dialog we can perennially find those marginal solutions, big and small, will that best improve our world and ourselves. I look forward to your participation.
Seeking to help you better understand, guide, and benefit from accelerating change.
– Foresight, tools, and strategies for self- and organizational leadership.
– Exploring evolution and development in humanity, technology, and the universe.
– Seeing accel. diversity, innovation, computation, wealth, efficiency, density, & resiliency.
– Conversations about life, liberty, morality, progress, and happiness in the 21st century.
– Seeking clarity, simplicity, goodness, truth, and beauty. Calling out deviance when helpful.
– Advocating rational optimism, lifelong learning, and ethical practice.
– Seeing oneself as an informational entity. Exploring the value of an indefinite lifespan.
– Exploring a bigger picture. Seeking out interesting friends. I look forward to meeting you!
1. Foresight, Innovation, and Strategy
Improving our ability to foresee, create, and manage our futures. Becoming better personal, organizational, and societal foresight professionals, and helping others to do the same. Developing better foresight education curricula (K-12, Undergrad, Masters, PhD).
Topics: Scanning, Delphi, Scenarios, Predictions, Trends, Forecasting, Performance Curves, Models, Innovation, R&D, Diffusion, Design, IP, Crowdsourcing, Entrepreneurship, Strategy, Planning, Roadmapping, Risk Mgmt, Finance, Accounting, Analytics, Management, HR, Marketing, Demographics, Economics, Policy, Association of Professional Futurists (ASF), Foresight Education and Research Network (FERN)
2. Social Progress
Getting self-actualized, and being good citizens. Learning how to improve ourselves and our societies. Developing our theories of social, economic, and political progress, consistent with our modern understanding of evolution, and also including concepts of social, economic, and political development.
Topics: Human Social and Biological Sciences, Evolution, Adaptation, and Development, Human STEM Compression, Immunity & Resilience, Universal Biological and Social Values, Complexification & Consciousness, Memetics, Economics, Politics, Democracy, Activism, and Philanthropy, Careers, Investing and Saving, Health, Longevity, and Performance, Education, Media, Culture, Religion, Self-Actualization & Empowerment, Entertainment, Tools & Resources, Community & Events, Aesthetics, Acceleration Studies Foundation
Being good engineers. Building better and increasingly dense, resource-efficient and virtual futures. Measuring and understanding scientific and technological progress and resiliency, on the way to the conversational interface and perhaps later, the tech singularity (generally human-surpassing machine intelligence).
Topics: Technological Sciences, Evolution, Adaptation, and Development, Nanoscience and Technology, Technological STEM Compression, Immunity & Resilience, Engineering, Simulations, IT, AI, Agents, Conversational Interface, Cybertwin, Valuecosm, Internet TV, Metaverse, Networks, Tools & Resources, Acceleration Studies Foundation
4. Calling-Out Deviants
The world has its share of moral deviants, both purposeful and accidental. It is our moral duty to point out some of these individuals and groups on a regular basis, and think up and do things that will hold them to account, either now or in the foreseeable future, playing our role as part of the planetary immune system. A big part of that response is to continue working on accelerating positive change. Our next-gen internet, which will include such democratizing features as the conversational interface and the cybertwin, will offer many exciting new strategies to hold the top 1%, 5%, and 10% accountable to the 99%. For now, we can do our best with the civilizing tools we have today.
Topics: Authoritarianism, Autocracy, Biological Immune Systems, Civil Law, Corrections, Crime, Criminality, Criminal Law, Dogma, Fascism, Fundamentalism, Morality, Penal System, Politics, Plutocracy, Recidivism, Rehabilitation, Social Immune Systems, Technological Immune Systems, Transparency
5. Evo Devo Universe
The practice of evolutionary developmental foresight (evo devo foresight) seeks to understand which things and processes in our universe, on Earth, and in human society and technology are evolutionary (creative, uniquely adaptive, divergent, and unpredictable) and which are developmental (conservative, constraining, convergent, and statistically predictable). The better we understand the creative (chance-based) and the convergent (necessity-based) processes in our world, the better our theories of progress become. We improve our concepts of individual, organizational, and social progress, and begin to see them in universal terms, as elements of a process of universal progress. This gives us the best grounding we could have for understanding the meaning, purpose, and priorities of our lives. For more, see EvoDevoUniverse.com
Topics: Physical and Non-Human Biological Sciences, Evolution, Adaptation & Development, Morality, Immunity & Resilience, Astrophysics, Astrochemistry, Astrobiology, STEM Compression, Accelerating Change, Environment, Resources, Sustainability, Complexity and Systems Theory, Natural Philosophy, Scientific Naturalism, Evo Devo Universe
5. Postbiological Future
Speculating on our possible next big transition to postbiological life, our history of increasingly space, time, energy, and matter (STEM) efficient and dense platforms for life and mind, and perhaps ultimately, our journey to universal transcension. Working to get there as humanely and responsibly as possible. If you want to stay around for the amazing journey, it may be a lot easier than you think.
Topics: Postbiological Evolution, Adaptation, and Development, Technological Singularity, Bio-Inspired Computing, General AI, Uploading, Postbiological STEM Compression, Developmental Singularity, Transcension Hypothesis, Brain Preservation Foundation