There are many challenges ahead and the Open Minds forum has already proven that it is as open as its title suggests. We focus on important topics from Longevity to Climate Change and from Sustainable Energy to Food Security ... and the common thread is humanity - you, me, us. Sometimes it helps to take a step back from the topics and focus on that human side.
In connection with Swiss Re's 150 year anniversary film project, we've already talked to a great many people. Fascinating interviews with people from all walks of life, diverse views from across the globe. Here's a short clip of an interview I particularly liked - featuring Gennaro Aliperti, a butcher in Brooklyn. When asked about his concerns for the future, he focused on human beings and how technology is both good and ruinous in his eyes. He remembers the days when they were all outside playing ball whenever they could - and he looks around his neighborhood now and says "People don't talk to each other anymore".
While he says the value of technology, he offers a simple wish, "I wish that technology would slow down a little bit." That's a wish that won't be fulfilled! ... or maybe it will but in a different way. I believe we can have the cake and eat it, too. Today we still are generations who are in awe of and intimidated by technology. My hope for the future is a world where we don't even notice technology. It'll be there, but it'll be invisible. There won't be monitors, there won't be keyboards, there won't be things we need to turn on and off and there definitely won't be any buttons to be pushed.
The future I see is a future that'll make Gennaro happy - people will not be absorbed by technology but empowered by it. They'll be freed from burdens and enriched by insights, they'll have more time and they'll be able to choose... actually, my future is one that'll do exactly what Gennaro misses today - a world where people meet and talk again, a future where kids can play Wiffle ball out on the street again. It'll be made possible because priorities will have shifted, tasks will be automated, the air and the streets will be clear. The future can be bright ... and, counterintuitive as it may seem, technology will be the means to make our lives, our days, our communities more human again.
Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States