It has been said that all emotions stem from either fear or love. An innovation-centric take on this is; people, companies, cities and nations can feel dominated by scarcity or abundance. Missteps are often overlooked when the future seems bright, yet decline seems to engender poor behavior. As entrepreneur inventor types can attest to, decline is rarely graceful. On the other hand, when on a roll, one can (almost) do no wrong, so get hot and get on a roll!
There may be an alarming number of undiagnosed cases of existential angst caused by fear about the uncertainty of tomorrow. There seem to many suffering from scarcity caused fear. Some feel that the world as they know it, is ending, and are desperately trying to resist. They will have to give it up! Yes the world is changing. None can step into the same universe twice. It isn’t there any more.
Driverless cars will eliminate jobs while creating entirely new industries. Replacement of the old with the new has been going on for a very long time. Everyone should be used to progress after a few thousand years. The world does not naturally go backwards, although a nuclear or climate caused population dieback could force humanity to go backward to a world no one wants.
The cure for those desiring to go back to the past, is actively participate in the creation of tomorrow. People, companies and nations actively innovating and creating new futures for themselves, have neither the time nor orientation to be passive and fearful.
Each person, organization, town and nation can determine if they want to pursue abundance or scarcity, by deciding if they want to go forward or backward. Those trained in science are familiar with natural laws, which require no enforcement and do not care if anyone believes in them or not. Deny gravity and die, or overcome it and figure out how to fly.
A dangerous label sometimes associated with the educated elite is “progressive”. Does anyone truly prefer to not be educated, and to not get ahead but to go backwards? Sorry, human progress is a natural law we can not prevent. Although I love science fiction, time travel does not exist. The laws of physics can not be repealed for they are self enforcing and appear to be operating the same way everywhere on earth and in the rest of the universe we have observed. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.
Being afraid of tomorrow is not irrational, but it is a choice. Tomorrow is coming anyway, like it or not. Change is here, like it or not. Yesterday no longer exists, like it or not. Questions we can be asking ourselves and each other are; what future do we want to create? and how do we want to get there? If machines are coming, and yes they are, than what can we focus on that we can do better than them? Two things people may want to focus on are Meaning and Expression.
Expecting meaning to be externally defined has already been shown likely to create disappointment and exploitation. Expression, something we can all participate in, gives our lives meaning. Make something, do something, get better at something, do a deep dive not a superficial escape, it does not matter what as long as it makes you happy. This does not mean it will be easy or always work. Neither a machine nor someone else will ultimately be able to make anyone happy or give life meaning, only individuals can do that for themselves and then not be afraid of tomorrow but be running toward it with open arms! An excellent way to predict the future is to create it, but do not plan on violating natural laws, which are by definition self reinforcing and do not care about opinions. Some communities will attempt to disavow science and bear the fruits of their ignorance. The only two choices are accept reality and progress or resist, try to go backwards, and decline.
Innovation will not be denied. It is humanity’s birthright to adapt, evolve, create, innovate and solve problems. This does not mean we are invulnerable. We can destroy ourselves, but this is a choice we can make and going backwards is not; once a thought is thought, it can not be unthought.