In the few days that news about Future Surge has been circulating, these are the questions that have been asked the most often:
Why does the world need yet another organisation?
What’s different about Future Surge?
It’s true: the world is awash with organisations and initiatives, many of which turn pretty cold not long after their initial flurry of announcements. There’s a lot of talking, but little sign of actually changing the world.
So these questions deserve answers. In fact, here are a number of answers.
The first answer, to speak provocatively, is that Future Surge operates at the fourth level of exponential enlightenment:
- Level 1 features excitement about the positive possibilities of exponential surges. “Do you realise that things could get much better, faster than is generally thought possible?” “Look at this great technological breakthrough – more like this are coming soon!”
- Level 2 features apprehension about the negative possibilities of exponential surges. “Do you realise that things could get much worse, faster than is generally thought possible?” “Look at this drawback of disruptive technologies – more like this could come soon!”
- Level 3 features advice about how individuals and organisations can, and should, transform themselves, in order to improve their anticipation and management of exponential surges. “Here is how you can improve your foresight, become more agile, and strengthen your resilience.” “Here is a way of building a business to take advantage of an exponential surge.”
- Level 4 highlights desired transformations, not just for individuals and organisations, but in the social and political landscape. Unless these changes take place, the likelihood is much reduced of individuals and organisations being able to flourish in the times ahead.
Hence the message right at the top of the Future Surge home page:
Revitalising the social and political landscape
What’s meant by “social and political landscape”? It includes:
- The infrastructure that we often take for granted – the systems that enable the flows and exchange of energy, people, finance, information, healthcare, food, consumer goods, services, and so on
- The set of legal contracts that govern our lives, our businesses, and our transactions – and the mechanisms that come into place when contracts are broken
- The ethical norms that guide our behaviours even when no legal contracts apply
- The incentives that society provides – including tax breaks, subsidies, prizes, and awards – to encourage various sorts of behaviour
- The set of public goods that are available – items created without direct monetary compensation in mind, but which are intended to assist the flourishing of a community – such as libraries, public broadcasters, public education, public healthcare, sanitation services, and basic scientific research
- The safety nets that can prevent individuals or organisations from (metaphorically) falling too hard, in case of missed connections or dropped handovers
- The political mechanisms by which potential changes in our social and political landscape are discussed – such as the processes for voting, for counting votes, for nominating people as candidates in elections, and for structuring debates
- The set of prevailing ideas about appropriate ways for all the above to operate.
Future Surge is developing a list of policies for how the social and political landscape should be changed. As you can see from the Future Surge Policies page, this includes transformations in:
- The measurements used to assess the state of society
- Healthcare systems
- Access to neurotechnologies
- Access to cryopreservation
- The use of genetic editing
- Access to online services
- Mechanisms governing privacy
- The distribution of the fruits of abundance
- The ways political decisions are debated
- The principles governing the development and deployment of new technologies
- Statements of universal human rights
- and much more.
Of course, many other organisations exist that also seek to cause changes in the social and political landscape. But to be clear, here’s what’s different about Future Surge compared to most of these other organisations:
- A deep appreciation of levels 1, 2, and 3 of exponential enlightenment, including an understanding of specific disruptive exponential trends, ahead of trying to operate at level 4
- Inspiration from the philosophy of Active Transhumanism.
Trying to operate at level 4 of exponential enlightenment, without these two foundations, is a recipe for failure.
The final difference with Future Surge is a determination to be more than a talking shop. Future Surge will operate with a heartbeat of attention to progress with specific projects. These projects will have targets, interim deliverables, timescale plans, regular reviews, and other aspects from the best disciplines of getting things done.
People who visit Future Surge will be encouraged to associate with one or more project teams. Over time, these project teams are likely operate in various different ways. But for now, the place to visit is the Future Surge Discord server (access instructions are here). Projects will be initiated as the result of interactions in what are known as “threads” inside the various channels on the server. For example, in the #policies channel, you’ll find a thread on “Superseding GDP”.
If there’s a policy where you think you can contribute to its further development – or if there’s any other area of Future Surge where you would like to make a difference – then don’t be shy to create your own new thread.
(And in case you create it in an awkward location, don’t worry, Discord moderators will soon sort it out. On that point, moderating the Discord server is its own project.)
Did that answer your question?
By the way, if you have any other questions about Future Surge, take a look at the Future Surge FAQ page. Or drop into our Discord server, and strike up a conversation.
For other news items from Future Surge, see Future Surge News