Society And Freedom
Cooperation for Mutual Benefit
Has your outlook on the world been changing lately? There is a general sense of dissatisfaction that is permeating our pursuit of happiness. We are on an universal hunt to accumulate resources. We work, we buy a car, we buy a house. If we are doing it “right”, we get to invest. But what is our purpose? Can it really be just owning things? What about experiences and enjoyment? What about the greater picture?
Traditional structures are beginning to dissolve as a new type of balance with progress is beginning to evolve. The development of the web and new technologies mirror the abundance of interrelationships we face in our daily undertakings. There has to be more than just the hunt for more. What about personal freedom, what about time, what about scarcity? Are we adequately preparing for the challenges and opportunities ahead? How will our children live? Why are most of us working from 9 to 5? Do our values still hold true? What is the definition of a healthy environment?
A Shift in Paradigm
In the broadest sense, interrelationships are logical or natural associations or connections between two or more entities. Connections are becoming increasingly complex in nature. Thus, we need to create interdisciplinary approaches to understand them. The term “interdisciplinary” means involving two or more areas of knowledge. Our children are already living with this new way of thinking. As a fact, it is essential we develop interdisciplinary ways of thinking as well.
For instance, how can I connect the image of an apple with a traditional yellow mailbox for snail mail? What on earth should I do this for? As a matter of fact, the ability to think about familiar things in unfamiliar ways is the strength of interdisciplinary thinking. As uncomfortable as it may be, we will need to hurt our brains with entirely new thinking strategies.
Lateral thinking is a skill that will not only turn out to be a deal breaker in the professional realm but also in the context of ethical living and sustainable development of resources.
In line with this, can I make money and support others at the same time as an individual? Can I consume resources and simultaneously save the environment? How? At the same time, can advertising be ethical? Yes. Why?
In our old world, the organization of the industrialized world took place via standardized procedures subject to central control mechanisms. However, the efficiency of solutions we want today is increasingly dependent on our flexibility and adaptability to circumstances. With each wave of automation, intelligent algorithms and machines are taking over those processes that are coordinated according to simple, repetitive patterns. Unskilled human labor is being replaced by machines. Humans are increasingly competing for livelihood and jobs with robots and artificial intelligence (AI).
Consequently, this changing landscape of the world of work means that we have to develop our capacities as self-starting individuals in completely new ways. In the scope of this process societies are growing increasingly accepting of novel approaches as conventional structures are crumbling.
Have a risky and creative idea? Tell your boss. He won’t go for it? Start your own project. You think the standards in a field are not up to par? Write up your own ideas and find supporters to back it up. Publish your paper so others can read it. Do you have a concept for your life? What does it look like?
We Will All Become Producers
Quaintly put, increasing self-employment will require finding niches “the robots” can’t serve. As a matter of fact, we have to find out how we as humans are going to serve society in useful ways as only we can. Thus, our focus will shift to those areas where machines have a hard time competing with us. These are areas such as creative processes, social interactions and taking care of the environment. Ventures like crowdsourcing, open innovation and FabLabs are just the beginning as research and development are beginning to take place right in the middle of society. Trends such as Citizen Science are going to provide a wealth of opportunities for individuals from all walks of life to get involved.
Development of New Skills
The profound changes in society won’t be easy to handle for the majority of people. Especially the Veteran and Baby Boomer generations were brought up to accept authority figures, while Generations X and Y and even Millennials still seek some degree of supervision. However, now we are enabling ourselves, developing our own new perspectives and finding new roles while supervising ourselves. This process will likely be a cycle that starts over and over again as we need to reinvent ourselves from time to time. It is not only the youngest generation that is going to have to educate itself and be ready to educate others. Life-long training will be essential to stay on top of the new types of changes ahead.
In line with this, we will see the emergence of new standards of living, thinking and communications with the objective of cooperating and freeing up resources for creativity. Some of these include mindfulness, the Paradox of Tolerance and minimalism.
Blockchain — New Ways of Handling Our Data
Organizational structures of the digital world are beginning to change the material world. Tools such as crowdsourcing and blockchain technology are bringing forth databases, creating vast troves of data. Data is something we can utilize infinitely — analyze it as much as you want and it still won’t lose its value. Thus, data is actually a currency, placing the value of social networks in a whole new light. Society is becoming increasingly sensitized to what is happening with people’s data. Demand for trustworthy tools to manage personal data is growing. We need new contracts with large global corporations to ensure that each and every one of us is in charge of our data. This means, using technologies like blockchain and smart contracts, you decide who accesses your data, for what purpose and what you want in exchange.
The Sharing Economy
Our planet’s resources are finite. Massive climate changes are affecting our entire globe causing heatwaves and storms. The oceans are teeming with plastic and debris. Around the world, consumer behavior is gradually beginning to change as a new kind of awareness is emerging towards assets and resource allocation. In the old world it was just a few investors who decided on future developments. The new concept of the Sharing Economy is founded on temporary access to resources instead of ownership — and ideally many get their say.
Yet the issue with the reality of the Sharing Economy is that it is a social movement in theory only. In practice, it has once again evolved into a global phenomenon turning unskilled laborers into the grist on the mills of technology entrepreneurs and investors. Thus, in fact, it is still the investors who decide on future developments.
On the positive side, the Sharing Economy is another example where blockchain technology could make a positive difference. Introducing decentralized platforms where peer-to-peer sharing can happen transparently and without intermediaries, smaller companies have a chance to participate and become a force to be reckoned with.
In summary, our objective should be to educate the world and to re-create structures from the bottom-up instead of top-down. Be your own everything, tap your resources. And become part of a foundation that includes as many people as possible in the global potential for success, cooperation and innovation.