There's an awful lot of talk about the future. Good, bad and ugly.
Whatever storyline you follow, one thing seems certain: the future is uncertain. That's the wider context for every story these days. But what's so new about that?
For one thing, in spite of having survived world wars, cold wars and terrorism, the precarious combination of global financial/economic solvency and climate/ecosystems insolvency has raised the stakes to an unprecedented level of unknown futures that lie ahead.
This much has also been known for some time by curious, concerned and creative people who have turned their talents to doing something about it. Specifically, we are talking about the scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and visionaries who drive the evolution of the technosphere - that domain at the intersection of nature, science, humanity, society and creativity that makes things happen.
Rather than idly debating the finer non-sensical points of prosperity versus collapse, these souls aboard Spaceship Earth are quietly seeding a revolutionary period of technological evolution with nano-sensical verve. Threads of digital, nanoscale, genetic domains are emerging into weaves of ingenuity previously preserved beyond human imagination. While this fabric is necessarily incomplete, it is becoming more and more perceptible.
At this year's Tällberg Forum we add this special look into our evolving technosphere, how it will connect up everything, defying current constraints, and thus alter our economic, political and social systems and - dare we think it - may even be of benefit to the ecosystems.
We might be tempted to paint lavishly hopeful renderings of the future. But we have the guidance of the late Russ Ackoff to remind us of our common task:
"So much time is currently spent in worrying about the future that the present is allowed to go to hell. Unless we correct some of the world's current systemic deficiencies now, the future is condemned to be as disappointing as the present. My preoccupation is with where we would ideally like to be right now. Knowing this, we can act now so as constantly to reduce the gap between where we are and where we want to be. Then, to a large extent, the future is created by what we do now. Now is the only time in which we can act."
Join us at the Tällberg Forum 2012 as we learn more of this upwelling evolution, inspired not by the good, bad or ugly of restrained futures, but by the boundless beauty of life on Earth as it can be maintained, sustained, enhanced and enjoyed freely by all of us together -- right now.
Senior Advisor and part of the Tällberg Forum Team