Insights November 26th, 2020

This past year I spent time searching for the signals of change that indicate that the world is evolving and shifting. And, during the pandemic in 2020 I have been tuning into so many things that are reshaping the world – from mass digitization to the changing energy landscape.

I have identified three areas to get you thinking broadly about the implications of actions of ourselves, our communities, nation states, and companies. I do not aim to be extensive in my analysis or provide complete rationale – that comes in the year following the publishing of these ideas as I track the signals of change around each.

I’m calling 2021 The Year of Transcendence. We are becoming something more aware, more empowered and on a knife’s edge where one wrong turn can lead to deeply challenging times.

We are in collapse – and have been for hundreds of years – and we need a way out. Maybe the areas I discuss here will aid in the ascension out of that? There are three areas of focus that I will spend time researching and advising clients on through 2021:

Let’s look at the first – Shifting platforms and algorithms.

“We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us.” so said Marshall McLuhan. We’ve co-created the perfect combination of systems, input, transformation, and output. We are complicit. 

The evolution of information into an info-demic form has created an ever-renewable viral loop that feeds society and feeds back to input provided by software platforms and the people that design, build and nurture their growth. 

But, the platforms we see have been created by the few that choose to control who we are and to colonize how we live our lives through technology. Those few rarely care about us – humans – and our rights. Here lies the problem that few discuss.

One of the biggest problems we’ll see in 2021 (and beyond) is that tech companies are gaining billions of dollars in funding to make every damn thing into a service – effects into retail, education, healthcare, policing, freedom of expression, the birth of our children and the deaths of our elders. Their aim is totality of consumer ownership and the zero sum game.

Many (mostly unqualified) futurists, governmental representatives and executives wax lyrical about the need for ethics, frameworks of regulations and responsibility with a true lack of knowing how to make this work, and how to implement them in the real world.

But, I am heartened as those that wrangle with philosophy, ethics, human-centred design and responsible approaches to building equity in the world start to gain pace.

Overall, I think that we need to establish a truth and reconciliation commission on the platforms that have become ubiquitous, including, but not limited to email platforms, video platforms, social media, messaging apps, chatbots, productivity tools, the advertising platforms that lay amongst them, and maybe even the trauma of spreadsheets. 

You can see Nikolas’ predictions for 2020, 2019, and more on this site.

If you’d like to discuss this and other areas of research and concern then reach out to Nikolas to book a call.


This post is adapted from the original article  – 2021, the Year of Transcendence – posted on FUTURIST.COM where Nikolas Badminton is a member of Glen Hiemstra’s Think Tank.

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Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA (FRSA), a media personality, and has worked with over 400 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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