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Chapter 2 — Visualize the Future
2.1 Reflective Practice
You don't need to have any super powers to be able to get a good picture of what the future has in store for us. You simply have to observe that the future is a process of different events occurring in the right place, at the right time. We all have aspirations about the future that are constantly changing as they are fulfilled. And we do all sorts of things to realize our aspirations as we deal with our present. So, if you formulate the right combinations or analogies, you will probably come up with a close to accurate picture of the future. Of course this isn't a scientific statement, or magic, it's a reflective practice. In this chapter, we invite you to visualize the future with us and, more importantly, to reflect on the future scenarios that are relevant for your practice. In the previous chapter, we wrote about what we, as humanity, have done in order to fulfil our aspirations up till the present. Now we will present a compilation of major ideas of the future around Meta Products, under the headings: information is the fuel, our sharing culture, and where's the value?
We don't believe it's interesting or useful to tell you about our vision of the future. Our aim is to share our vision of how we can look into the future. And this vision consists of reflecting on the way we experience our past and our present, and understanding how we build our aspirations or ideas about the future. Reflecting in this way might give you interesting forecasts in return.
While it's generally accepted that technology changes our lives, the reality is more complex. It's a process, and one that's cyclical. We experience our past and our present in a certain way, causing us to build our aspirations. Subsequently, we perform all sorts of actions in order to convert our aspirations into reality. Through this whole process, we learn, and create new aspirations, which again motivates us to do all sorts of things in order to materialise them.
We've studied the ideas of some of the well-known futurologists and innovators such as Juan Enriquez, Steward Brand and Katherine Fulton1Juan Enriquez, Chairman and CEO of Biotechonomy LLC. Founding director of the Life Sciences Project at Harvard Business School and a fellow at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs. Steward Brand, Founder and curator of Long Now’s “Seminars About Long-term Thinking” (SALT), a monthly series of public talks in San Francisco. Katherine Fulton, President of Monitor Institute, Katherine Fulton is also a strategi st, author, teacher and speaker working for social change. among many others, and we can identify a similarity between them that perhaps can explain why they are so good at looking at the future: they are genuinely interested in 'change' and in understanding why we change. They keep abreast of scientific discoveries and research challenges. They are very interested in linking the past to our present and intuitively reflecting on the future. There are characteristics in the attitudes of the great futurologists and innovators that cause them to be constantly dissatisfied with the ordinary, forcing them to look for controversy and confrontation wherever they are. It's not that they are difficult people, it's probably just their way of identifying the real motivators for doing what we do, and why we change. Futurologists and innovators also love serendipity — when you find something you weren't expecting to find, or when you have the ability to link together apparently unrelated facts to create unexpected and valuable new information. Maybe you're a great futurologist and innovator, and maybe you can actually shape the future world through design. So why not try to reflect on some of your ideas of the future right now?