The Exponential Leap (also known simply as “The Leap”) is due to be launched on September 18th 2027 as part of the Exponentially Human Twenty Twenty-Seven celebrations.
What is “The Leap” for?
The Leap is a new kind of map that will help people find their way in an unfamiliar world. It doesn’t take much imagination to believe that the world we’ll be living in by 2027 will be different to the world we know now. Some things will remain as they are, but others will be radically different. In some ways getting from 2017 to 2027 will be like taking a short journey in a rather slow, time machine. Imagine setting off now and arriving in a familiar place which is ten years in the future, then getting out of your time machine and looking around. So much is unexpected. People are going in new directions. Familiar paths suddenly lead no-where. Many of the ways of doing things seem to have changed.
When you are somewhere unfamiliar it helps to have a map. With a shared map it’s easier to talk about “where we are now”, what knowledge and resources we can draw on, and what we most urgently need to explore if we are to thrive in our new situation. As we explore we get to meet other people who have arrived from different directions. Together we can add to our individual and shared knowledge of the territory.
Any date could have been chosen for the launch of The Leap – but 18th September 2027 happens to be the date of the XH2027 party – so it’s a good time for it. In fact The Leap will be developed in open and collaborative ways, starting with some work on Federated Wiki. It will be possible to dip into it (and contribute to it) from now up until the launch date. 17th September 2027 has been chosen as the cut-off date for contributions to give the techies a chance to sort out last minute glitches before the official launch.
The technology and presentation
Obviously it’s a while until the launch date of The Leap, and by 2027 things will have moved on regarding Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, global connectivity and other technicalities. Think of The Leap as a mixture of online meeting place and immersive experience.
The Leap will be the closest anyone has come to the holodeck of Star Trek – but exactly how close that will be we’ll find out at the time. This collection of addictive video games and this up to date immersive experience website show us where we are now. Imagine another ten years of development.
Artificial Intelligence will mean that it is easy to retrieve particular elements of archived materials that are most appropriate to the individual needs and interests of people using The Leap.
Regarding hardware we can expect developments that are difficult for most of us to imagine now. However we do know how leading-edge PCs came to seem clunky as they gave way to laptops, tablets and smart phones, how video phones were once a futuristic dream and are now a mixed-blessing reality, and we know how quickly it all happened.
Regarding connectivity you would need to be very young to have seen no changes during your lifetime. I can remember back when international telephone calls were prohibitively expensive and my globe-trotting brother told me to download Skype so we could use our computers to chat with each other from all over the place. I found it hard to imagine before I used it. A few years later I was taking it for granted that I could attend meetings at a distance and dip in and out of audio-visual conversations with people thousands of miles away as conveniently and naturally as I do with people face-to-face. I imagine that by 2027 the difference between at-a-distance and face-to-face will have shrunk further and various elements of Virtual Reality and immersive experiences will have been added to what we currently use.
Using this new “map”
Using The Leap will be a way for us to explore unfamiliar parts of our 2027 world.
The Leap will help us to find our individual paths and understand the different ways people arrived at their 2027 situations. As we explore the routes we’ll come across information and experiences that have been created from archived materials. The information will have been collected up between 2017 and 2027 and then offered to us as state-of-the art immersive experiences (or in any other digital form we choose). As we use The Leap to explore our chosen pathways we can decide to sometimes meet with real people who are also exploring the same space. It will be like meeting at a crossroads and swapping notes to help decide which way to go. We will have arrived from different directions, often from different cultures. When we meet we can get insights from each other. We can share perspectives and experiences from across the globe, enhanced by immersive experiences of each other’s realities.
In 2027 we’ll be more connected globally and we’ll need to think together and, given the problems we are likely to be facing then, we’ll need to collaborate more effectively on a global scale than we have done in the past. We’ll need to develop our abilities to see things from multiple perspectives. The Leap will expand and accelerate our ability to do so. It will be a leap forward for person-to-person understanding and collaboration. Overviews, connections and detailed “local knowledge” will become available to us in powerful new ways. The Leap will make it easier to act together on a massive scale with insight and co-creative power, assisting our sense-making, decision-taking and adaptation to whatever life is like in 2027. It is to be hoped that it will also serve as an anti-dote to “Otherness” and “Them-and-Us” thinking.
The Leap will map the dramatic upheavals (financial, social, technical, political and more) that will be experienced over the next ten years as individuals and institutions adapt to a tsunami of technical change, our networked planet, and the crunch points of extreme weather conditions and other impacts of our species on the planet. It will help people to understand deep systemic changes from mega and micro perspectives, and to relate their own experience to the bigger picture.
Fact or fiction
The Leap began as fiction but is becoming fact. The idea of The Leap came out of a chapter I wrote for a book called 50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years. For more about the book see call for chapters – sent out late 2016. Since I first had the idea I’ve become more aware of work that people are doing on the different elements that can come together to make The Leap a reality and how my own work is also contributing to its practical development. it will exist in some form. How close the fact comes to the most technically ambitious parts of the fiction by 2027 will depend on who chooses to get involved.