A New Theory of Relativity

“Like gods, deep fakes don’t have to be real to have impact – all that is required is that someone believes in them.” ~ Chris Roper (Via Twitter)

From deep fakes to digital twins, it’s all getting rather strange around here. The questions we now need to ask include, how can we keep our humanity without losing our minds to the machines? And how can we re-gain our sense of place in history, bringing the best of our past with us into the future?

In this talk we look at how the concept of “reality” is changing and what it means for South African individuals, businesses and society at large

Topics covered include:

  • Lost in the infinite now – How how deep fakes and fake news are setting us adrift in history – without a clear past or a clear future (and how they can be abused by “digital dictatorships” and other bad actors).
  • It’s all relative anyway – Why nothing is quite as it seems (aka we’re all a little bit biased).
  • Digital abundance vs real word scarcity – from Donella Meadows to Ray Kurzweil beyond the limits to growth, and the real cost of the fake world.
  • Fantasy economics – From fiat currencies to mining digital gold (and no, we’re not talking about Bitcoin, OK, maybe just a little bit about Bitcoin) to unreal estate and virtual wares; the untethering of value from reality (and action from consequence) is changing all the rules.
  • Artificial people – DIY girlfriends (and trolls) for the lonely sex-recession generation.
  • Digital twins – Infinite universes and the future of forecasting and scenarios (but beware, the map is not the territory).
  • The problem with prescribed utopias – There is no one-size-fits-all future. 
  • The great escape – Are we ready for unreal-real-life parallel universes? And can we blame people from wanting to escape from the overwhelming challenges (from climate change to politics) of the immediate present? 
  • Back to reality – The pressing, immediate problems facing Southern Africa – sticky poverty, a demographic time-bomb and economic stagnation caused by rapid de-globalisation – and the challenge of how to find breathing space amidst all this to reconnect with our stories to start writing our future rather than being victims of our present.
  • Discounting the future – Why we need to re-discover and invest in the long now (as opposed to the infinite now) if we want to succeed as leaders, corporate, and as citizens.

In unpacking these trends and trajectories we attempt to answer (or at least ask) the big question ahead : When there are no “true facts” how do we hang on to what is real and find meaning and purpose – for ourselves, our businesses and our nations?