Posted by & filed under Continuing Conversations.

Hi Exponentially Human friends and contacts,

You’ve all got different fragments of the Exponentially Human “story so far” – so I’m pulling various parts of it together here for anyone who wants a fuller picture.

Introduction to the term Exponentially Human

I came across the term “Exponentially Human” in the book “Technology vs Humanity” – see www.techvshuman.com

50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years

There was an invitation for chapter proposals for a book called 50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years – the invitation

My response

I responded with a scenario that starts on March 1st 2017 (the date the book is published) and then jumps forwards ten years to 2027.

The idea is that in 2017 someone sets up a new Meetup group called “Exponentially Human”. The group is for people who see that smart phones have altered our lives and behaviour, for better and for worse,. The organiser is hoping to find people who are interested in learning what other kinds of digital technology are around the corner. The bigger hope is that once they learn more then they may want to get involved with developers and policy makers to influence whatever new digital technology is on its way.

Ten years later, in March 2027, “Exponentially Human” (EP) has moved on from its small beginnings to become a well established, influential community, scattered around the globe. It usually has some kind of annual celebration of its foundation, and given this is celebrating ten years it is something rather special.

The chapter is written in the style of a newsletter advertising the celebratory event. The event will be wide ranging, spotlighting some of the special interest groups within the EP community. By its very nature the newsletter isn’t giving full details, but it does illustrate the variety and achievements of the community.

The 2027 programme and other newsworthy items

Originally I was going to make up all the information for the newsletter by myself: details of topics for workshops, speakers, recent achievements, future plans and so on. I started discussing ideas with other people, and of course they knew more about some things than I did. That led to the idea of inviting some of these other people to write their own 100 word contribution to ‘the newsletter”, instead of me writing it all.

Benefits and disadvantages

Like most of my ideas the idea of additional contributors has its benefits and disadvantages. The most obvious benefit is to widen the scope of the “newsletter”. The most obvious disadvantage is the problem of consistency. If I write everything myself then I can easily be consistent in my references to the “reality” of  2027.  I have a good idea of what my imaginary version of a 2027 world would be like, given a strong EH influence and exponentially developed technology. However the other people may have different ideas. We need to avoid referring to “life in 2027” in ways that belong to different versions of our possible future. This means I have to try and share my vision of 2027 with the newsletter contributors in considerably more detail than I will do in the chapter.

Exponentially Human on Facebook

We’ve got a closed group on facebook where the contributors and influencers can connect with me and each other. while I’m preparing the chapter

A very human future

The Exponentially Human group in 2027 will be contributing to the creation of “a very human future”. Some the issues and changes around such a future, especially in the world of work, are outlined in this video. The rapidly changing world and the skills we need to live in it are relevant way beyond our day jobs. In my mind “work” includes the work that we do for the love of it and/or because we see its value even if no-one else gives us money to motivate us or to help us along the way. Our education system needs to enable the development of the skills mentioned in this video.

 

Influences on my version of 2027

Other influences on the Exponentially Human version of 2027 include, in alphabetical order:
  • Dadamac’s UK-Africa online collaborations
  • Enspiral – for its organisational structures and culture
  • FASST and OneSPRINT – experimenting with the practicalities of collaboration
  • First Thursdays – an online community active since 2007
  • Frederick Laloux and his ideas of flat “Teal” organisational structures in “Reinvienting Organisations”
  • Holacracy
  • Mincius Sodas (Lithuanian for Orchard of Thoughts) – an “ahead of its time”, widely diverse, online community delivering active collaborative projects until it was bankrupted by its innovative and effective involvement in conflict resolution and peace keeping during the Kenyan post-election violence of 2007
  • Mindfulness groups
  • Pattern language
  • Peer to Peer Foundation
  • School of Commoning
  • Teal for Startups group (for content and as an example of 1200 people scattered across the globe involved in a collaborative project)
  • U.Lab – for structure and content – another massive online community with local study and action groups and a shared approach to “the emerging future”

The idea is that as Exponentially Human people in 2027 we will be thinking together, imagining together, and combining our varied perspectives in ways that people in 2016 would have found hard to imagine.

Three “power blocks”

Part of my mental landscape for 2027 relates to shifts in power. Two of the big sources of power in 2016 are Nation States and Corporations. These will have altered in various ways and the relationships between them will also be changing, but they will still be significant “power blocks”. A new kind of “power block” will have emerged, made up of globally scattered, locally active, online groups. Exponentially Human is one example of a group within this “power block”. Each of these groups will have its own shared interests and values. They will be separate just as Nation States are separate and Corporations are separate, A new noun will be needed to describe this “power block” of effective, distributed groups, with flat organisational structures. Just like people used to call all vacuum cleaners “hoovers”, and ball point pens of all makes were called “biros” so collaborative groups will take the name of an early example of excellence. I’d like to call them “enspirals”.