Howard Zinn said, “The future is an infinite succession of presents.” 100 years from now, much will become a reality that we’re barely glimpsing and projecting toward today, with examples like LIGO, the Falcoln Heavy, CRISPR, Sophia and more. Artificial intelligence will reach greater capabilities and we will begin to design and augment our lives with increasingly complex, capable technology. The reality of the future will involve new dynamics, weaving human with AI in an interconnected web, placing a spotlight on the essence of our intentionality, free will, ethics, empathy, consciousness, and the capacity to love.
In thinking about the future, the theme of choice is certainly ripe for debate (just watch an episode of HBO’s West World). Do we have a choice in each moment about how to be, how to live and how to design? If yes, how will our constructs of choice, ethics and decision-making involve AI?
Although we shouldn’t fear AI, our human capacity and relationship with technology is something that begs consideration. Constructed algorithms and user interfaces play right into our persuasions and addictions, leaving us hooked: unfulfilled and wanting more. But who’s to blame? The economic or popularity-driven models, the creators of those models, or ourselves as willing participants?
We want to design a better world, with fashion that meets our desires. This is the merge, the synchronicity, of form and function, as new technologies develop to mirror and even amplify our intentions and expressions. As Janne Baetsen mentioned previous in Disposable Me, a call for transparency and a circular economy, as well as recent tech and fashion revolutions, have opened up a dialogue about today’s issues within the fashion industry, highlighting worldwide what is happening and what we (should) do, design, produce, eat, wear … better. Yet do we also dare to question how and why? How to physically, emotionally and spiritually take the right steps, aligned with our “why” values, will be the greatest challenge in the future.
It’s a wise leadership call-to-action. With mindfulness in mind, our new quest for luxury might not be determined by what we want to possess or how we want to be perceived, but by our search for meaning. Then, presence, both in virtual worlds and IRL, is measured by true quality. It becomes a case of how to design well, how to live well together, and how to love.
As we face 2118 and beyond with a blend of realism and optimism, looking to adopt the best mindsets, four “C” traits could well-define what it means to use both mindfulness and wisdom in pursuit of designing a better world: curiosity, compassion, creativity, and connection. Certainly, fashioning our future depends on our individual and collective humanity.
Caitlin Krause is a globally-recognized innovation learning expert and keynote speaker. As founder of the MindWise consultancy, co-founder of The Center of Wise Leadership, a VR-AI specialist, and author of ‘Mindful by Design’ Caitlin contributes to building products and experiences that promote humanity, innovation and emotional intelligence.