The project “Future Shocked”
The hardest challenge ahead of civilization is not to achieve technological progress but how the technological progress is perceived by the majority in the society. The conflict at the point of separation between linear thinking and the exponential progress is becoming more and more obvious in every area of human activity. It is a collision not “Old” vs. “Young” but past lookers vs. forward thinkers, a conflict between people generally ignoring the obvious leaps in the techno-culture and more progressive people that are sensing and propelling the change, adapting to it, getting ahead of the curve. It is not a culture clash, nor it is a class struggle, it is future shock – the fear of the fast approaching future.
The only solution for smoothing this transition is education. At the same time the “regular” education itself suffers from linear thinking. All of us are products of education systems not only projecting in linear terms but also significantly lagging behind. (See more here… and here…)
The goal of my proposal is educating a generation of lateral forward thinkers, adapting to the change, capable to overcome the future shock. The new challenges require new type of solutions, a new type of educational paradigm. The successful educational paradigm in the turmoil of constant change is gaming and active methods of learning.
The project is about organizing a competition (for now among students) on proposals for inventing business ideas for applying emergent technologies.
There are three phases of the project
* Phase Larva (started in 2011) – a competition among students at the University of National and World Economy in which small teams of two or three work to propose and present a vision for business based on some exponential technology.
* Phase Pupa (preliminary talks) – an inter-university competition for student teams. A simulated student company with stress on using exponential technologies in their business proposals. The student teams have 3 months to prepare in details investor-ready presentations about their idea. The outreach will be Bulgaria, then neighboring countries and if all goes well – it will be expanded to South-east Europe.
* Phase Imago – Online platform for collaboration and invention of business applications of exponential technologies. The platform is organized as a competition in game-like conditions but also includes elements of crowdsourcing. There is a rating system based on self-evaluation and also on expert opinions.
* The biggest impact would be from the generated (and selected in competition) business ideas. Most of them would be ready for application soon after. Applying even small number of them in everyday use would impact more than enough people.
* Another direct effect of the project is several hundred participants and maybe several thousand visitors for the competition every year in Phase Pupa, and hopefully a lot more in Phase Imago. More participants and more dissemination of the ideas from the competition mean better public proliferation of the technological singularity, better informed society and less future shock.
* Every idea will be categorized along the exponential curve (sooner impact – flatter line, further impact – more inclined line). With the volume of the ideas generated from Phase Imago increasing, a strategic roadmap (graph of scientific events) will emerge. At the moment there is no general project or a goal-tree of the technological paths ahead. This is in my view the other most important general issue with the singularity/post-humanism movement – there is no way to answer any planning queries. (For example: what milestones are needed to be achieved to reach clinical immortality or consciousnesses upload a separate hardware? )
Angel Marchev, Jr. – project manager
Angel Marchev, Sr. – consultant on gaming and active methods of teaching; technological singularity
Mihaela Komitova – creative & art department
Stefan Beshkov – software development