Assets to Liabilities

Demographic dividend, or demographic disaster? As India is about to overtake China as the world's most populous country, it's worth considering if holding that title is still the win it once was. Not so long ago, more people meant more growth, more productivity, more progress. Hence the term: demographic dividend. If your working age population … Continue reading Assets to Liabilities

Africa is (literally) the future

Africa, the continent with the youngest population in the world, is very literally the future. More specially, South Africa, with its progressive constitution that lead the world in terms of dealing with questions around gender and race relations; and it’s early warnings around the limits of the social contract and the (now global) energy crunch, … Continue reading Africa is (literally) the future

Digital Landlords

“As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce.”~ Adam Smith There are countless keynote speakers, business consultants and best selling books that will tell you how technology is … Continue reading Digital Landlords

Guardians of the Past

Over the last few years, Minecraft users have been painstakingly building a 1:1 replica of Earth to preserve a record of our planet and our current civilisation in event of its destruction. (Goodness knows there are enough options - from climate change and pandemics to nuclear and bio warfare - for total world-ending destruction available … Continue reading Guardians of the Past

As above, so below

I've been thinking lately about codes. Not cryptography, but rather the codes by which we govern our lives. At the societal level, the two critical poles come down to trust or control (or liberty or authority). At the individual level, this becomes a choice to be governed by duty or by authority. Similar to how … Continue reading As above, so below

The fine print

Perhaps the biggest policy skeleton key of them all has to be single-payer, free-at-the-point-of-purchase (that is, paid for by strangers) national health insurance / social security. This is, let us be frank, a new experiment. The first test subjects are still alive, and the future sustainability of these nice entitlements is far from guaranteed. What … Continue reading The fine print

The Future – Governments’ Edition

A very short summary of the base-case near-term global future scenario at this point in time: Don't like it? Nothing is set in stone. Remember you cannot comply your way out of (even the banal, bureaucratic sort of) tyranny and do something about it. Don't understand it? Contact me and I'll talk you through the … Continue reading The Future – Governments’ Edition

Bad frames

As futurists, our role is to help others understand the world as it is; the likely futures ahead if we don't do anything about it; the trade offs and choices we face; and the complicated potential and probable unintended consequences and collateral damage of our present and future decisions and the incentives that shape them. … Continue reading Bad frames

Virtualised and Discrete

Society is being virtualised in two different ways. Firstly, in the literal sense, as in how more and more of our experience is being digitised. The continuous is continuously being made discrete. What is digitised and discrete can be codified, flattened, and managed into "computer says no/go" rules which allow us to (at least pretend … Continue reading Virtualised and Discrete

Naked, and alone

On reading We have been harmonised I was reminded the if you want to control a large group, one of easiest ways to do that is to get them all 1) naked and 2) alone. Naked, so that they feel watched by the authority, their peers and -more importantly - by their own selves. Religion … Continue reading Naked, and alone