To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
— R. Buckminster Fuller
I want to start a conversation about the world we are creating, and the world we would love to live in. I want to begin formulating the creative brief that might lead us to manifesting it with as much fidelity as we are able.
We have arrived at a moment in human evolution when we are capable – by virtue of the remarkable scientific and technological prowess we have achieved – of creating just about anything we set our minds to. Yet it would be hard to contend that we’re on our way to achieving the world of our heart’s desire.
We already have so much prognostication about technology that would be “cool”, that we would like to have. User-centered-design is a practice that helps us specify what it is that we’d like those technologies do for us and the forms they might take. We are accustomed to talking about what the world is composed of – but not the nature of the world we intend to create, as a whole.
Popular culture crowds our imaginations with images of dystopic, techno-hells that are getting so dark that they’re beginning to occlude any light. Our political climate makes it hard to imagine that we can even imagine something better anymore. Futurists, from Tom Friedman in Thank You for Being Late, to Yuval Hariri in Homo Deus and Ray Kurzweil in The Singularity is Near would have us believe that the technologocial future is already determined.
We need a conversation that starts with our humanity, and not technology, at the center of the frame – conversation about the longings of the heart, the imagination of our souls yearning for a world that we’ve only ever dared to call on in prayers, dreams and poems.
This conversation won’t come easily. We’ll need to overcome the habits of the head, the reluctance of our intellect to linger in the mystery of the unknown. To speak to what is in our hearts, we need to arrive with hearts that are open. We need to inform these discussion with what we know about technology without making them about technology. We need to ground in the practicalities of the world we know while allowing ourselves to soar to heights that the human spirit is capable of.
I invite you to join me in this conversation – to look beyond the technology you know, the limitations of our politics, the restrictions of contemporary economics, to the world you believe is possible, that your soul yearns for.