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Inventing The Future

In his 1963 book Inventing the Future, Nobel Prize winner Dennis Gabor wrote, “The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.”  That quote has been reworded and reattributed to everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Mark Zuckerberg. It’s a tantalizing prospect; we love the idea of taking the future into our own hands and so easily creating it.

If only it was that easy!

In 1993 AT&T ran a widely circulated mass media campaign that consisted of TV and print advertising in a series of commercials, called the “You Will” ads. The ads were intended to portray the distant future; the very, very distant future. They were perhaps one of the most accurate depictions of the future ever made in mass media.

 

 

Although AT&T predicted the technology of the future with uncanny accuracy, it turned out that it wasn’t the company that brought a single one of these technologies to market. AT&T was very good at predicting advances in technology, but remarkably terrible at predicting the future, and especially at timing it and capitalizing on it.

The fact is that we’re all somehow builders of the future, but none of us has a monopoly on the project of building it. In fact, there is no one future, instead there are infinite paths and possibilities that will get us to tomorrow. Which is why your best chance at developing a 360 degree view of the future, and capitalizing on it, means tapping into as many visions of the future as possible and then constantly pivoting to take advantage of it as it evolves. In other words, stop trying so hard to predict it and just get better at navigating it!

Which is why I’m thrilled to announce the launch of Foresight Radio, a twice monthly podcast that will host some of the brightest minds in tech and business in a conversation about the future.

Our mission is simple, to help you better understand and navigate the many changes that will define the way we live, work, and play in the 21st Century.

We’ll look at leading edge topics such as AI and machine learning,  how to lead the organization of the future, the impact of disruptive changes in transportation, industry, and healthcare, the evolution of the cloud, the changing nature of cybersecurity, and the way all of this will alter some of the most fundamental tenets of how we do business and live our lives.

Most importantly, Foresight Radio is about the practical ways in which you can separate futurist hyperbole from the practical reality of what matters to you and your organization today, as well as tomorrow. We’ll look at the full spectrum of opinions and visions of future—from apocalyptic vision of AI overlords to the amazing prospects of hyperpersonalized genomic health care.

I’m especially thrilled to be partnering with Wasabi as our sponsor for Foresight Radio. Their commitment makes it possible to create a high quality podcast which delivers content in a way that I know you’ll find incredibly engaging as well as informative.

We’ve modeled Foresight Radio after the NPR-type of news segment which explores and explains topics using a very cool multilayered approach that weaves in sidebars and commentary throughout. We’ve also provided full text transcriptions of each episode.

The first three episodes are already up on SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and many other podcasting platforms. Just go to ForesightRadio.com.

Listen in and tell me what you think. Send along the names of people who you’d like to have interviewed and share the podcasts with your colleagues and friends.

While we may not be able to predict the future, with a bit of foresight we can all become better at navigating it.

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