October 20, 2014

Gore, A. (2013). The future: Six drivers of global change.

“The consequential age we are living in will be remembered as one of the great turning points in civilization. Once we turn, though, where will we be? That is the compelling question Al Gore sets out to answer by examining the drivers of global change, connecting the dots among the social, economic, and political forces shaping our present and future. A rising global consciousness is forcing people around the world, but especially Americans, to rethink their basic assumptions about how the world works, and, even more fundamentally, how it should and can work. Borders matter less than ever. Technology is constantly reordering the way we live, think, work, learn, love, pray, and play.” –from http://www.worldcat.org/title/future-six-drivers-of-global-change/oclc/820665430&referer=brief_results


Al Gore The future (3 minutes) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Yy0UnMgEp_o

Al Gore: The Future, Institute for Leadership Studies – Dominican University of California (82 minutes) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=V8IMzu6pDT8

RSA Animate – 21st Century Enlightenment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC7ANGMy0yo

RSA Animate – The Power of Networks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJmGrNdJ5Gw

A3 Signs of the times

Step 1
a) [What] Pick one pathway of change in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development for a design exploration.
b) [Who] Who is affected by the pathway of change you identified (e.g., individual, group, family, organization, public policy, nation, world, etc).

materials from http://www.wbcsd.org/home.aspx

12 thoughts on “October 20, 2014

  1. Jobs are being outsourced and every role is being replaced. It’s this discovery of dNA that produces new life form and the unintentional nature that have new potential.

    Al Gore starts off with the six global drivers of change. The economy is skewing the way money, labour, and goods flow. There is a more disruptive way to our society. The global communication technologies is connecting all of us and our world is filled with so much information that is overloading on us. While ignoring what is happening to our human population numbers, the ballooning of megacities, stresses on agricultural land use, bloated energy demand, and increasingly scarce freshwater. Bioscience and genetic advances in Al will lead to new and artificial life. Lastly, a sea change in climate will bring humanity to understanding the altering of the atmosphere.

    It feels like we’re experiencing a rapid change in our society. Mr. Gore identifies that the remaining change must happen. Of course he is takes on a more American view of the society and joining on the science and technology. Unfortuately I am very disappointed in our society is leaning towards a “you reap what you sow” attitude as we’ve produce more than a quarter of the 90 million tons of global warming pollution every day.


  2. The talk that most struck me here was the one about 21st century enlightenment. It reminded me of another thing I just read, http://lesswrong.com/lw/l30/on_caring/ … where the author was talking about how deciding what to do based on “caring” is no longer adequate, because our world is so big and interconnected. Nevertheless, it’s a skill we need to develop. I find the hypothesis that 21st century enlightenment will be based on empathy to be optimistic, but definitely possible. But we have to realize that our current empathic ability is just inadequate.

    Also, the trees -> webs thing. I find it true across different concepts, but not super revolutionary, because it’s so general. Yeah, in different fields, things are more interconnected than we thought. But just because a mouse brain and a galaxy look kind of similar to our eyes, doesn’t mean there’s any similarity in them (besides that they’re both complicated).


  3. I enjoyed learning about Gore’s new book as I feel like his climate change documentary and book revolutionized how we see climate change today. I found it interesting to think about how global, economic and political power is shifting. It’s true that people like Carlos Slim, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet have a lot of control over what the future looks like, yet they are all private actors. I was also intrigued by the notion of writing about GMO’s, as I feel they are highly misunderstood by the general public, but are accepted and deemed safe by scientists.

    The other video that made me think about the world in a different way was the one about networks. The story about how we started with a tree structure, but we are truly all parts of a network was compelling. The recommendation that we should know a little bit about everything felt against everything represents to me. What would the future look like if we all did have knowledge in many fields? And what would it look like if we followed the recommendation to look at the world as a networked system? Lots to explore and think about.


  4. Al Gore six drivers of change are very similar to the forces of change that we studied for the first assignment. The most interesting part of his discussion was the sustainability of the “developed” lifestyle. Citizens in developed nations have grown accustomed to a standard of living which is not sustainable for the rest of the world. There are simply just not enough resources on earth for all of us to live like a middle class American. The vision document outlines different pathways that makes it possible for everyone on earth to live comfortably in 2050 but I think this vision is to optimistic. The more and more I read up on the changes in the world, the more I am convinced that there will be a war that decimates either a large portion of the population or the globalization of the world. I can imagine a future of isolated nation states that limit all communications with the outside world. Hopefully this will not come to past but the news is not convincing me otherwise.


  5. Gore’s comment about robosourcing changing the meaning of what work is and it’s place in our society fits in well to my robot caregiver world. He covered a lot of topics but the ones I found most interesting, and the ones that fit best into my techno world from A2, were: Reinvention of life and death, the creation of brand new lifeforms, the blurring the lines that used to separate species and disturbing the ecological relationships between them, and the implications of GMOs for future generations.

    These ideas tied in with the RSA’s 21st Century Enlightenment ideas on the fallacy of the three logics:
    Logic of science and technology
    Logic of markets
    Logic of bureaucracy

    Specifically, just because we can blur the lines between species, should we? Just because we can double productivity and consumerism should that be a goal we pursue? What is progress and how do we as a society become more involved in the debate about what this means for our society and our future.

    I also read an interesting article about the future of computer vision and augmented reality. The article comes complete with copious references to the fantastical future promised to us in the 60s that someone mentioned last week in class:


  6. What really struck me from Gore’s lecture was that the things we need aren’t rewarded by the markets such as mental healthcare professionals, childcare, education, and etc. While this is something that I think most people realize, you never hear it said and when you do it makes you question much about how our society works. Why exactly isn’t there a higher reward for jobs that are high in demand? When goods are high in demand, their cost is also high. Why isn’t it the same for services? I have always questioned why athletes make such high salaries and get such respect as opposed to teachers who earn a much lower salary and have difficulty keeping their rights. Teachers are much higher in demand and more important to the wellbeing of our society, yet they are not treated as such. I find this to be such an odd and complex issue that desperately needs to be fixed. Unfortunately, people need incentives to do particular things and the best incentive is money. Do we have a sturdy enough economic system to give more support to the professions that are in high demand?


  7. I liked the issues the RSA video on 21st century enlightenment pointed out. I feel like it is a slightly different approach compared to the way we have been thinking about the future so far – identifying drivers of change and studying them closely. We have been looking at specific trends in the present and how to plan accordingly, but the video is talking more about reevaluating human values as a way to affect the future. It is interesting that “empathy” in this case is both a quality but also a philosophical topic – to care about other people also means to care about what it means to be human, and that itself is an interesting and probably unanswerable question.

    The network video makes some interesting points about changing the way we think about the world (top-down, hierarchically), but I don’t really agree with the comments at the end. First, it seems like he is suggesting that networks are a universal structure, but it is entirely possibly that in the future we will discover some other type of structure that seems to fit the complex relationships in the world. The mouse and galaxy analogy is interesting, but it also seems like a shallow example; there could be small but important differences that separate the two. The comment about needing to know a little bit about everything also makes me uncomfortable. While I see the advantages, it’s under the premise that the world becomes totally interconnected and collaboration is a smooth process. However, this system seems to me that if nobody is an expert on one thing, everybody is at the same level of knowledge and expertise, a shallow one, so I’m finding it difficult to see how to progress from there.


  8. I’m interested in how the RSA Animate films might interact with one another.

    In the first video, we have 21st century enlightenment, which in short, encourages us to be better human beings. In the second video, we look at how all things are interconnected. A mistake in one area will affect two more, which will affect ten more. The effects may not necessarily also be negative, but change will occur down the line. Examples that come to mind are from ethics.

    Example one: There is a prison with two inmates being charged for a crime committed together. They are asked for testimony separately. If they both lie and say they are innocent, they will get off free. If they both admit to the crime, they will be charged 20 years each. However, if one testifies against the other, then the honest inmate will receive 10 years and the liar will receive 50. Theoretically, it is more advantageous to admit to the crime, but the appeal of getting off free will usually convince the inmates to lie. In the same manner, it is more advantageous to be empathetic, yet the appeal of corporate success is too tempting. Theoretically, all children should be raised thinking empathetically. If they are not, it is probably because empathy is viewed as a disadvantage in various contexts.

    Example two: In a flock of birds, there are three kinds of habits: Moochers, who only take food but do not give it out. Martyrs, who give food to anyone who asks. And thinkers, who only give food to those who give food back. The empathetic choice would be to be martyr, but in a flock of birds containing all three types, the martyrs will eventually starve and die out. This leaves a flock with only moochers and thinkers. Only the thinkers will survive, since they will refuse to give food to anyone. The choices of the martyrs affected the thinkers, which affected the moochers. In the same way, if only some humans are acting empathetically, they will usually be the ones to be disadvantaged. It takes an entire system’s agreement to cause permanent change. Will we ever agree? I am not sure.


  9. I’m a little late to posting, but I was interested in Al Gore’s comments about privacy and security in the video “The Future, Institute for Leadership Studies – Dominican University of California”. I am actually working on a project for another class I’m taking (Privacy, Policy, Law and Technology with Lorrie Cranor) on what the future of privacy could look like (inspired by the assignments in this iDTF course!). Al Gore briefly mentioned cookies, online behavioral advertising, and the National Security Administration collecting all phone calls, texts and emails for security needs, but at the same he stressed that people’s privacy and security needed to be handled with care. I’m really curious about Gore’s deeper ideas on these complex topics in his book “The future: the six drivers of global change”.


  10. I agree with the topics discussed by Al Gore concerning the future. These topics are important and are true. I like the way in which he makes statements about the future and is very specific to the different factors that he outlines for the future. The way that Al Gore describes it, I can relate directly to it and the imagery makes my ability to understand it more clearer. The topics are: The Global Economy, Instant Communication, Shifts in Power, Growth, and Genetic Manipulation. Al Gore restates the current situation and what this means for the future. He states that consumption of goods is increasing rapidly and competition with the availability of resources. We are shifting towards complete electronic communication which exposes us as individuals with a new Global Mind. Our movements are being tracked and we no longer have privacy/security. As we enter our data through online resources we are contributing to a large database that stores our private/personal information. The Jobs in America are already being greatly outsourced to different countries like China and India and we are now seeing greater advancements in science that was not possible in the past. DNA which was conceived is now being compared to other types of DNA and being combined to form junctions/modification or manipulations of species. We are already thinking about the future in the way we are making changes today. This is a powerful speech that helps motivate me to look at the future in a positive way and to look at the potentials and the positive things that are occurring today that will contribute to growth and success. If people look at the future more optimistically they will be more broad minded in their approach to design for the future and not limit themselves channeling larger growth and productivity. Ultimately this determinism will make us a stronger society and more powerful.


  11. In his video, Al gore highlights some pretty cool forces of future. One really shocking fact that he mentioned was how the human population has quadrupled in less than 100 years. The implications this has on the earth’s resources is pretty stark – and this is even if we take away all the other extra harm that we are doing to Earth. I also relaly liked the term he introduced – the global mind and the privacy issues that surround it


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