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Possible Future Worlds | Part 1

This is an online course for Carnegie Council Ethics Fellows for the Future on www.globalethicsnetwork.org. It is based on the e-book, Of All Possible Future Worlds: Global Trends, Values, and Ethics, available at www.possiblefutureworlds.com.
by

Thong Nguyen

on 22 October 2014

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Transcript of Possible Future Worlds | Part 1

Of All
Possible Future

Worlds

GLOBAL TRENDS, VALUES, AND ETHICS
What will our world be like
in the next fifteen to twenty years?

individual
Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, “What Is Distinct About Our Era?,” Thought Leaders Forum, February 2014, video available at www.carnegiecouncil.org/studio/thought-leaders/questions/distinct.









Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of
People, Nations and Business (New York: Random House, 2013). See a video presentation of the book, “Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen: The New Digital Age,” at Oxford University, June 14, 2013.









Peter Theil and Blake Masters, Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future (Crown Business, 2014) or Masters’s lecture notes on Thiel’s spring 2012 Stanford course, “CS183: Startup” at www.blakemasters.com/peter-thiels-cs183- startup. Or Peter Thiel, “You Are Not a Lottery Ticket,” South by Southwest Interactive 2013
conference, October 14, 2013.
individual
Increasingly
interdependent
and
interconnected
s
$
Culture
Communication
Commerce
Travel
Shared
Ideas
$
Culture
Communication
Commerce
Travel
Shared
Ideas
$
Commerce
Travel
Shared
Ideas
Shared
Ideas
and witness global cultural
convergence
A more
crowded
planet
of 8 billion people
states
conflict
among
A
complex
world of more than
cooperation
One possible world . . .
Another possible world . . .
state
National Intelligence Council (NIC), “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds,”
Washington, DC: Office of the Director of National Intelligence, December 2012.
European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), “Global Trends 2030:
Citizens in an Interconnected and Polycentric World,” Paris: Institute for Security Studies, European Union, April 2012.
Alexander A. Dynkin, “Strategic Global Outlook 2030,” Moscow: Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2011.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), “Multiple Futures Project: Navigating Towards 2030,” 2009.
Individuals, communities, businesses, academics and policymakers have convened with think tanks, states, and multilateral organizations to produce trends reports for the year 2030.
We'll start by looking at . . .
Let's look at the US predictions.
Next, we'll look at the EU's projections.
Let's see what a leading think tank in Russia foresees.
Finally, let's see what
NATO anticipates
Since the trends predicted by each organization are different both in kind and degree, they each predict different future worlds.
might emphasize trends related to the . . .
Let's look at a few.
might focus on societal trends rather than the . . .
or societies
One world might have more . . .
Another world could have more . . .
Or maybe another could be . . .
look at trends on actors larger than
individuals
Other worlds might
This world could be made of one
global unitary
or many . . .
demanding middle class comforts, competing over resources, and adapting to climate change, and migrating to cities

The US focused on four megatrends.
They also considered several game-changers.
Focusing on three themes, the EU first told a narrative of individual empowerment.
And they completed their narrative with a polycentric world.
The EU continued
its narrative with qualified human development.
A think tank in Russia evaluated four themes, first focusing on international security.
They then looked at the global economy.
The final two themes the Russian policymakers looked at were sociology and ideology.
NATO looked at the future systematically, first identifying structural drivers.
They then focused on deterministic drivers.
Finally, NATO questioned how systems might be compromised by sources of threat.
<
=
Friends
and Family
Create
Think
Time
Health
Consume
Gender inequalities will lessen
as we become more equal
more educated
and in general more capable
How has technology led to these new liberties?
The internet has allowed us to quickly and easily access information and create new neural connections . . .
even with strangers from distant places . . .
and to connect with
others . . .
with different perspectives . . .
Connectivity.
will lead to new liberties . . .
but with similar access to technology
and opportunities to enjoy more liberties.
The rise of the
technologically
empowered
The biggest difference is that
5 billion people
will be connected for the first time.
For many of you, this may be old news.
This never-before-seen level of complexity will turn our traditional relationships upside down . . .
"No duh. What you're talking about is globalization, which has been happening for centuries. This type of complexity, while more intricate, is only a difference in number, not kind."
"What do you think? How will the the connectivity of billions of people change the course of the future?"
For more detail, read or watch the following resources
What do you
?
Are you skeptical of a technologically driven future or excited by one?
"What do you mean, 'No duh'?! We are living in singular moment—a golden age of technology—not simply a continuation of a centuries-long trend. Our future will be fundamentally different."
"No duh."
"Yeah, totally. Look at some of the most influential individuals today who have challenged the power of governments and industries."
Let's start
with the original disrupter.
Bill Gates
The Harvard dropout who programmed software for personal computers
that would . . .
lead to an technology empire, making him the . . .
richest man in the world
,
who would then . . .
give almost all of it away
perhaps contributing to the human development of more people than other individual or most states.
"But, you know, Bill, there might be more disruptive ways that an individual can change the world."
"An individual shouldn't just think about software . . . "
"or just about hardware . . ."
"You need to think about design—how everything fits together. You need to . . . "
"Well, Woz, that's not quite it either."
"Yes!—All the best people in life seem to like Linux."
Individuals that think about technology this way can build computers people love.
They can change advertising . . .
change how people watch movies . .
change how people listen to music . . .
and change how people communicate with one another . . .
Although neither of these two individuals accomplished these feats on their own, each played a significant role in changing the world with technology—empowering themselves and others.
Two other individuals have also empowered themselves and others with a little bit of code.
Helping us find what we are looking for . . .
Another individual also changed how business is done in other ways. . .
creating new technologies and challenging preconceived notions of how business can be done . . .
changing the way we shop
and how we read.
But an individual doesn't have to be a billionaire to change what people read.
Anyone can.
But, in life, it's not only what you know . . .
it's also about who you know.
An individual can connect over a billion people.
A connected individual can openly expose government secrets—legally or not.
Or anyone could compromise establishments anonymously
Traditional players may adapt technology for their purposes and take controversial measures to counter threats new and old.
But an individual
can also open
a global debate on privacy, surveillance, liberties . . .
to both controversy and celebrity.
But one member of a "mafia" that changed how money moves is taking measures to safeguard liberties in new ways.
An investor who saw the potential of networks before anyone else . . .
Another "mafia" member is extending new frontiers of liberty
Building re-fuelable rockets that could propel us to Mars in the next two decades
Harnessing the power of the sun for more sustainable energy sources
And challenging old industries to compete to build electric cars
Some other individuals are also developing new ways to drive
Automatically
They are also changing the way we see . . .
now . . .
and in the future
And by launching balloons into the air to expand internet access to billions, they are building on the work of . . .
The one man who invented the Internet
ensuring that it
Like this person
who started an open-source movement
to build self-replicating 3D printers
An individual could design and print houses
An individual can design and print musical instruments
An individual can design and print rocket parts
And printing could help one individual develop one technology of the future we all were promised.
Robots
Some may make more socialable ones
Other individuals might build robots that are amazing and . . .
Creepy
Fast
Resilient
can fly and coordinate
In the future, technology will continue a long trend of empowering individuals to leap over obstacles.
aspires to use big data to challenge the dichotomy of security versus liberty.
will form
societies
will share
On the other hand, the world could be more conflicted for many reasons
Today, over half the world's
7 billion people live in cities.
The births of an additional 1 billion people, continuing economic growth, and migration trends, will lead to approximately 60% of the world's population will live in cities.
Cities from emerging countries will lead in the growth of global demand
Cities from all regions will grow.
Take a look at the top 75 cities of the future.
Notice the direct positive relationship between economic growth and urbanization
(You can zoom in and click and drag)
Did you notice how many cities you've probably never heard from one are in one particular country?
But Asia will not be the only

region to see growth.
An
Urban
World
But Asia will not be the only region to see cities proliferate
McKinsey and Company, “Urban World: Cities and the Rise of the Consuming Class,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2012.
View an interactive map, McKinsey and Company, “Global Cities of the Future,” available at www.mckinsey.com/insights/economic_studies/global_cities_of_the_future_an_interactive_map.


Benjamin Barber,
If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities
(Yale University Press, 2013).
For more on cities, read or visit:
They may be able to better cope with water, resource, and energy scarcities with responsive planning, technology, and infrastructure.
In the future, mayors may play a more influential role in people's daily lives international, national, or state leaders
Let's take a look at how the globe has been changing
Resources
Climate Change
Cities
How might we mitigate these global problems with local solutions?
And as cities grow, so will economies
An anarchic order without strong linkages or effective international institutions may preclude sovereign states from ever connecting with one another in the way people can.
More people from Asia, for example, will have middle class aspirations, in what they buy . . .
and, perhaps, also in what they will value.
Global market competition for resources
However, nor is this a story of absolute decline.
The global story is not only about the relative decline of the West and the rise of the East, but it is also the emergence of the global South . . .
While the major story of the next century is the rise of Asia, particularly China and India . . .
The ways of the world may not change. But the actors will.
vs
vs
vs
vs
These changing political dynamics may lead to interstate conflict . . .
Uncertainty about the intentions of other states
State leaders serving their citizens before foreigners
Shifting political and economic asymmetries
for a number of reasons
, &
individuals
,
societies
vs
vs
Transnational civil societies, terrorists, and criminals
Empowered individuals
What other actors do you think might challenge state interests?
They might be . . .
We are living in the most peaceful time in history.
However, there is one reason to believe that the future world may be less conflict-ridden and less Hobbesian.
Evidence.
Archeological, ethnographic, and historical trends shows that violent death from warfare is on the decline since the beginning of humanity.
And trends show that there is something about states that has contributed to this centuries-long decline.
Interstate conflict is approaching
0
.
Soft power may matter more than material power.
Why do you think rising states might cooperate?
Think about the connections.
The post-World War II architects created a mutually beneficial order that facilitated . . .
The economic rise of countries like
China
Brazil
India
Turkey
Russia
South
Africa
US
EU
So there are material incentives for emerging countries to continue working within the liberal order and with the West
Can you think of other reasons why or how
Some
countries
exist within regions
that are more networked
than
others
So far we have only looked at states that are in a network of emerging or established wealth and relative peace.
What will life be like for


outside of those
networks?
Also, the historical decline of violence may extend to these outer-network regions too, after decades of rising intrastate conflicts are beginning to decline.
The news may be marginally positive.
Economies in least developed regions such as Africa and the Middle East have seen modest economic growth.
However, we should not be overly optimistic.
Some countries will effectively have no future better than today.
What do you think might cause this?
What demographic is the most violent cohort in history?
Young, unemployed men.
Let's explore a few reasons.
While the average demographic age structure of the world will continue a trend of maturing . . .
the rest of the world will get older, and the most violent demographic will decline . . .
except in certain regions.
Another cause may be resource competition, particularly over water in these same regions.
Can you think of other ways the world might be more complex in the future?
For more on complexity, cooperation, and conflict read:
Joseph S. Nye, Jr.,
The Future of Power
(New York: Public Affairs, 2011). A video presentation of the book held at Carnegie Council on February 10, 2011 is available at www.carnegiecouncil.org/studio/multimedia/20110210/index.html.

G. John Ikenberry,
Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011). A video presentation of the book held at Carnegie Council on October 12, 2011 is available at www.ustream.tv/recorded/17837299.

Steven Pinker,
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
(New York: Viking, 2011).
,
such as the . . .
We'll use today as our starting point.
We will grow older on average together.
See how individual countries have aged over the past decades. Visit http://projects.flowingdata.com/life-expectancy/

States
States
See how the face of the planet is changing yourself. Interact with these maps yourself at:
https://earthengine.google.org/#intro
29 years old and hearing myself for the 1st time!
The new bionics that let us run, climb and dance
Full transcript