Notes from 7 Revolutions Webcast

Notes from Seven Revolutions Webcast

by Erik Peterson, Senior Vice President, Center for Strategic and International Studies

  • Intro
    • Saint Exupery – “… your task is not to foresee the
      future, but rather to enable it.”
    • Inverse correlation between leadership responsibilities
      and the capacity to plan and lead strategically
    • William Gibson – “The future is here; it’s just not
      widely distributed.”

      • Our capacity to look at short and long range trends is
        better than it has ever been
  • What will the world look like in the year 2025?
    • What are the challenges facing humanity?
    • To what extent will we be able to deal with the
      organizational situations in front of us?
    • What are the precursors of a better world?
    • To what extent are we vulnerable more even now?
  • Seven Revolutions
    • Population
    • Strategic Resource Management
    • Technological Innovation and Diffusions
    • Information and knowledge creation/distribution
    • Economics
    • Conflict
    • Governance
  • Overarching Comments
    • Darwin – “It is not the strongest species that survive,
      nor the most intelligent… but the ones most responsive to change.”
    • Einstein – “No problem can be solved from the same
      consciousness that created it.”
    • Need to think about a new paradigm
  • 1. Population
    • Where we have been: from 150 million to 6 billion people
      in 1999

      • We are growing at a rate of millions every year: 2.4
        people per second
      • Now at about 6.7 billion people
      • 8.0 billion in 2025, 9.2 by 2050
    • Global population growth in an absolute sense has been
      going up, but the rate of growth as slowed significantly

      • We can anticipate a stabilization of 9-10 billion
        people at the end of the century
      • But… the highest growth will be in the poorest
      • Soviet Union, for instance, has de-population; China,
        in 2005, has a contracting population
    • Population expansion and contraction
      • Most populous countries in 1950 had six well developed
        economies; by 2050, only the US will be in the top ten
      • 15% of population is migrants in 50+ countries
      • Developed world could contract
      • Tensions in population with immigration, for instance
        in France
    • Global aging
      • More older people on our planet than younger ones in
        the near future
      • Life expectancy has gone from 50 years in 1950 to
        nearly 80 by 2050
    • Urbanization
      • 60% of humanity in urban areas by 2020
      • Could be good for education, health, and other social
      • But… it is bad, too. More slum dwellers in Mumbai and
        in all of Norway
    • Change in distribution of world population — move from a
      pyramid to a rectangle

      • Tremendous capacity problem for those who are younger
        to work with those who are older
      • “Age quake” in industrialized country — more older
        people in industrial world than youth; more youth in undeveloped world
  • 2. Strategic Resource Management
    • Food
      • Need to be looking at issues that have change
        agricultural horizon
      • We currently have 800 million chronically
        undernourished people — can we feed 8 billion?
      • Doubling global food production
      • No limits to growth in agricultural productivity and
        water… yet

        • But, how much more usable land it there?
        • How much more water?
        • Effects of global warming?
    • Water
      • Imagine that all the world’s water was in one gallon…
        only two drops would be accessible fresh water.
      • 2025 – 3 billion face severe water shortages
      • One flush of a western toilet – one day of use of water
        in a developing country
      • Need twice the amount of water by 2050, and then 50%
        more for each generation after that
      • Mobilizing new and old technologies
      • Climate change will negatively affect our ability to
        deal with all of these factors
    • Energy
      • Transitioning away from oil will be the most difficult
        thing we can face
      • Reliance on hydrocarbons continues to increase more and
      • By 2025, US will still rely on 65-75% of oil
      • Developing world is using more and more oil, up to US
        levels by 2030
      • Can we continue with this same infrastructure,
        environmental impact, and geopolitical forces
  • 3. Technology Innovation and Diffusion
    • Computation
      • Deep computing
        • 467 trillion calculations per second
      • Pervasive computing
        • No longer a discrete experience
        • Information security
        • Personal privacy
    • Biotechnology
      • Human genome project allows us to think about what used
        to be impossible — personalized medicine
      • 120 year life span?
      • How do we regulate human cloning and the broader
        manipulation of the body?
      • Who will get to see these technologies and who will not
    • Nanotechnology
      • Nanotech is moving down to the molecular and atomic
      • Could have need for 2 million nanotech workers in near
  • 4. Information and Knowledge Creation and Dissemination
    • Global information and knowledge flow — the death of
    • Eroding prerogatives, redefining community, shattering
      established practices
    • Children today will go through a number of career
      changes; need to retool
    • Differentiating between learning and working — are they
      becoming the same thing?
    • Shorter life span of information — need to reeducate in
      order not to become stale
    • Thomas Friedman — The World is Flat — “innovate without
      having to emigrate”
    • What is right, what is wrong, what is true, what is false?
      • We choose our truth based on where we get our
      • Reduced decision times
      • More complex issues
      • Polarized positions
    • We need to be knowledge proficient
  • 5. Economic Integration
    • National Intelligence Council, “Mapping the Global Future”
      • 80% output growth to 2020
      • 50% growth in average per capita
    • “It is now possible to produce a product anywhere to be
      sold anywhere…”
    • Global economic output of industrialized countries has
      gone down while non-industrialized countries are going up
    • China increases to 129% of US output by 2050
    • Brazil, Russia, India, and China are beginning to
      overtake the G6
    • That said, 2.8 billion people live on less than $2 a day
      • 225 richest people in the world = combined annual
        earnings of 2.7 billion other people
  • 6. Conflict
    • How will terrorist groups use the information capacity?
    • Bioterrorism — anthrax and ricin attacks
    • Even in the context of this revolution, we need to find
      ways of retrofitting a cold war mentality in the new kinds of theaters
      that are occurring today.
  • 7. Governance
    • We are now beyond nation states, but one in which
      corporations and NGOs are taking a bigger role
    • 9 of the largest corporations would be in the top 50 GDPs
      of the world
    • How are new standards for corporations, moving beyond
    • Exponential growth in NGOs around the world
    • What does this mean?
      • Atomization
      • Dispersion
      • Fragmentation
    • Henry Kissinger — challenges now are different in that
      they are global and information is readily available to all
    • Innovative, dynamic coalitions
  • Conclusions
    • Promise and fulfillment or peril and danger
    • World of higher deviations
    • Hyper-promise and hyper-peril
    • Need Hyper Leadership
      • Promise, not Peril
      • Leaders, not Managers
      • Strategy, not Tactics
    • Lincoln — thinking and acting anew
    • Challenging future leaders

Author: Troy Hicks

Dr. Troy Hicks is a professor of English and education at Central Michigan University. He directs both the Chippewa River Writing Project and the Master of Arts in Educational Technology degree program. A former middle school teacher, Dr. Hicks has authored numerous books, articles, chapters, blog posts, and other resources broadly related to the teaching of literacy in our digital age. Follow him on Twitter: @hickstro

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