I’ve been getting more involved with The DaVinci Institute (they’re a sponsor for my upcoming Blog Smart! Business Blogging Workshop) and last night I had dinner with Thomas Frey, the head of the Institute. We had a fascinating and quite compelling discussion about how what we do today can influence the future, and I’ve been thinking about that ever since.
I believe that our society promotes a sort of helpless inevitability about the future, particularly with technology and innovation, a sort of “ceaseless march of progress” that’s embodied in Bill Joy’s famous dictum that “privacy is dead. deal with it.” I’ll call this the Inevitable Future. Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen, be it human cloning, dirty nukes, global outbreaks of avian flu, home abortion kits or whatever, and all we can do is hold on for the ride.
But some reflection reveals that we’re not helpless at all, and that we can individually and as groups influence the future quite a bit…
The DaVinci Institute believes that the future isn’t predetermined at all and that what we do today can unquestionably influence where we’ll end up as a race, as a society, and as individuals tomorrow, and I agree completely. I’ll call this the Influenced Future.
At the Institute, Thomas and his group are working on a bunch of different projects that are all focused on creating paths that will allow us to influence the future, none more interesting than The Museum of Future Inventions. I admit, the first time I heard about it I thought “how daft!” but here’s the basic idea: thoughtful futurist people submit ideas for innovations they’d like to see, and the best, the most interesting, the coolest are all anointed and become exhibits at what they hope will be a 100,000 square foot physical space. So far over 600 future inventions have been submitted to the museum, from 22 different countries.