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  • Writer's pictureNiki Ernst

We are only one generation away from a new world

I want to share with you a great conversation I had, recently. I was asked a very simple question: why? and actually: wtf?

The Silicon Valley is great at a lot of things, people’s capabilities of driving a car is not on this list. If you ever had the experience, driving on 280 or 101 somewhere around 4 pm in the afternoon, north towards San Francisco, you will probably agree to this: why can’t we just revoke ALL the driver’s licenses and exclusively allow autonomous cars on highways? So many problems would dissolve, overnight: terrible drivers can’t do any harm anymore, and one of the main issues with autonomous cars (sharing the street with non-autonomous cars) would be from the desk, as well.

Watching cars randomly stop and slowly moving on, suddenly speeding up, to stop, again, my dear friend Paul asked this question.

Why are we so excited with exponentially growing technologies, with crazy inventions, with turning into a multi-planetary species, with speeding up a race that’s already insanely overwhelming to most of us. Don’t you think it’s enough? Don’t you think we have enough of everything, already? How about slowing down, taking a deep breath. And. WTF?!

A very valid question. A few weeks ago, we discussed the question, “how much innovation do we really want?” in our weekly shootout. Feel free to re-read this edition. But maybe the question is not about “how much we want” and “if we should slow down, a bit”.

Just last week, a scientist at a TEDx conference gave me a new number: 31

I am super exposed to the shapers of our tomorrows world and it makes me live a highly privileged life. It also helps me understand the context a bit easier and being positive, when I look into the future of our planet.

But this number struck me.

Allow me to introduce you to my concept of the Liminality-Window, we live in.

Liminality is a term, being used in rituals. It’s a specific moment in a ritual: the participants no longer hold their preritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. You could call it the space between the stories.

Today we are living a Liminality Window: (almost) everything, we are doing today, is what we have always been doing: The way we eat, the way we travel, the way we communicate, the way we educate, the way we produce, distribute and use energy: technology has made our routines faster and easier, but the routines are all the same.

Soon we will be 10 billion people. Soon we will have reached the climate cut, scientists have talked about for years. (In case you want to get some current data, I can recommend the Global Footprint Network as a reference). This will be a threshold passed where our routines will not be possible, anymore.

It will not be a process to watch. It will be a momentum to quite surprisingly experience. It will not be something that will give us time to react once its there. It will hit us quite intensely.

And until last week, it was very vague for me, when this would be the case.

And now I have a number. 31 years.

That means that we are only one generation away from a new world.

I have found my role to explain and help understand the world we will be living in, in such a near future. Let me know about your concerns, your questions, your fear, your doubts. This is important. I am looking forward to this conversation!

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