So what is coming down the pipeline for this next generation of young adults? What change, what transformations, what challenges????
A fusing of technologies; technologies embraced by half of the World population, instantaneously accessible and fluidly transferable through nanosecond-speed flows of information and data in a global neural network, all wrapped within an World of environmental change.
The blend of these transformations will have significant secondary effects which the global society will need to manage intelligently and at a much more rapid pace and ability that at anytime in human history.
1. Business will have to change their operational models and value chains will all be challenged, requiring business to adapt or die. 2. A majority of jobs and careers that we have grown up with will morph or disappear entirely, replaced by others yet to be envisioned. 3. Stresses on access to resources and imbalances of equality of opportunity and wealth will become deeper and broader; 4. cyber-security, privacy and asymmetrical conflict will be increasingly prevalent and challenging to manage, 5. requiring governments to become much more agile and capable in dealing with digital threats. 6. And cohesion of human and social identity will increasingly become redefined in novel and unexpected forms, creating ethical dilemmas stretching human capacity to resolve.
All of these transformations and challenges, present a significant redefinition of what our future world will look like. And it will offer profound opportunities for students and the next generations of humans think about what type of world they want to live in and prepare for.
Tennyson reflected on the rapid changes in England during the 2nd Industrial Revolution of the 1800s; especially those of industrial materials manufacturing, mass assembly production, the steam engine and transportation innovation (trains) in his lines: “let the great World spin forever down the ringing grooves of change“. Human experience has always been about change. But what is so terribly different now is the pace and depth of that change. In the Tennyson world, society was radically changed, but in a relatively short time frame, it adapted (albeit with a lot of social pain). But it did catch up and a new social order was created. However, this new Industrial Revolution, the 4th, is changing 5 to 20 times faster than the previous Industrial Revolution. The human institutions, the human social order, the human mu=ind just can’t keep up with the pace of change. And as a result, dislocations, social pain and instability will be profound and so disruptive, that the result will be an continuous and never-ending catchup game, with humans never really able to control, modify or mitigate the distortions that will challenge social order and social systems we have all expected as true and essential for our well-being.
Change is here and will continue to flow at us from all directions with overlapping effects and ramified confluence. Will you, our children and children’s children, be ready to manage and sustain a healthy world for your own and for future generations?
A new form of education, unlike any we have yet created or experienced must become a foundation for future capability. All of societies stakeholders,: families, students, communities, businesses, political institutions, social associations, not-for-profit organizations, academic institutions, all must create a shared vision which will give students the tools and habits of thinking and of the mind to design and adapt for profound change. This will need to be a group effort at an unprecedented scale.