I agree on all the observations on bias and decision making with regard to feelings, not facts (read ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman). It’s also true that fear brings people together. However, IF we can reduce fear, there’s something else that has proven to bring people together, and actually make them accomplish great achievements — and that’s visions.
So here’s what’s happening in the world today: People are afraid. Of the future. Because people feel that there’s a huge change coming over us, but most people don’t have the tools to understand what this change — fundamentally driven by accelerating and disruptive technologies — is about and how it might affect us, business and society. This fear makes people turn to extremist movements, fanatic religious groups, and populist simplistic political messages, such as those by Trump. Back to something that’s easy to understand and well-known, promising simple and clear solutions.
The only antidote towards these messages is not answering with facts — which is clear from the post above. What might work instead are visions. Credible and realistic long-term visions, taking into account both opportunities and challenges of accelerating and disruptive technologies such as automation and AI (for starters…). And this is also what’s missing completely from the political debate in most countries today. Which is why it’s perfectly understandable that people are brought together by fear.
So—let’s talk about the future. For real. And build visions.