The future doesn’t have to suck.

“We’re at the crux of becoming a Star Trek or Star Wars society.” – Greg Chase, Pivotal Software, Inc.

Last night I attended the Thrivable Future Salon hosted by Jean Russell and Mark Finnern. It was one of those times when I felt truly grateful for living in San Francisco and being a part of the magic here. I found myself in a room full of people doing amazing things, dreaming big, making their life’s work about building a better future for all. My people.

Topics covered

My big takeaway is this: huge groups of people will find themselves without jobs soon. The largest segment of the US workforce is Transportation… and if you don’t think self-driving cars are coming, you’re wrong. What happens when 4 million people are suddenly out of a job?

We need to rethink how people can survive (and thrive) in this new world. Life is already tough for far too many people, and unless we invent new avenues of value creation/distribution that are fair and transparent, and account for all the externalities, we will find ourselves in a more massively exploitative and impoverished world than even the worst dystopian fiction imagined.

Don’t fear it, fix it

Thankfully, the solutions are becoming more clear.

If we empower makers to invent novel uses for our data, we create jobs. If we consider users not as minable resources but as partners in this value creation, we help people earn a basic income simply by being themselves.

If we architect generative systems that enable massive groups of people to work towards common goals, we can tackle really large problems. Wikipolicy anyone?

If we educate people in practical and rewarding ways, guided by each individual’s own inner compass, we can unlock vast human potential.

If we foster strong communities that understand their place in the global narrative, we can create positive change that begins where it counts and then trickles up.

If we believe that the world doesn’t have to be a terrible place, doomed to resource war and total extinction of all life, then we can open our minds to beautiful alternatives.

If we build a thrivable future, then we can live in one.