The Fragility and Deterministic Nature of the Future

be radical Briefing | January 17th, 2022

radical.briefing

Dear Friend,

With the New Year getting well under way, it is a good time to remind ourselves that the future is a paradox: On one hand it is incredibly fragile and impossible to pin down. On the other hand, we can (especially when it comes to technology) make eerily accurate predictions of how certain developments will play out. Read on to discover more…

FutureFWD

When it comes to the future, the one thing we know for sure is that we don’t actually know what the future will be. We can speculate, anticipate, and project — but we can’t know for sure. History provides a good lesson on how fragile and interconnected our world truly is. I am currently reading the excellent account of the five days surrounding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Brendan Simms and Charlie Laderman’s book “Hitler’s American Gamble”. In the words of the New York Times book review: “The greatest strength of Simms and Laderman’s book is its success in accomplishing something supremely difficult: It reminds us how contingent even the most significant historical events can be, how many other possibilities lurked beyond the familiar ones that actually happened — and how even the greatest leaders often have only a shaky grasp of what is happening.” A fantastic read — and great reminder.

Disrupt Disruption

Every once in a while, one comes across a scientific paper which can easily be classified as “groundbreaking”. Late last year, a team of MIT professors published their paper on “Technological improvement rate predictions for all technologies: Use of patent data and an extended domain description”. The team analyzed a vast amount of data sources to develop a model which allows us to predict technological progress for specific technology domains with eery accuracy. And to top it off, they created an online tool for you to access these insights. Highly recommended read!

What We Are Reading

🧘‍♀️ How to Rest and Recharge Your Team for Success in 2022 With over 52 percent of workers experiencing burnout in 2021, it’s time to take a stern look at how we can help our team strengthen their relationship with work. JaneRead

🐿 Checking Privilege in the Animal Kingdom Intergenerational wealth isn’t a concept that applies only to humans. In the animal kingdom, resources such as territory, tools, and shelter are also passed on. Even animals live the consequences of inequality. MafeRead

😩 How to Succeed at Failure In the season of resolutions, it’s particularly useful to know how to fail well — you know, just in case. JeffreyRead

👩‍🏫 The most influential work of political philosophy in the last 50 years, briefly explained Placing a fundamental philosophical contribution in the developments we’re experiencing is a great way to dive in. And it is precisely such fundamental thoughts, as Rawls’s principles, that we might need more of today. JulianRead

🚜 John Deere unveils fully autonomous 8R tractor Wondering when and where you will see autonomous vehicles in actual mass use first? It’s going to be tractors. PascalRead

From the Community

Learning Partner and VR/AR expert Aaron Frank on “How to Explain the ‘Metaverse’ to Your Grandparents”. 🥽

Internet Finds

There appears to be an international competition for snowplow naming — the more outrageous, the better! For quite a while our friends in Scotland seemed to take the trophy for best snowplow name home; that is until Michigan went into overdrive. Our favorite? The Big LePlowski! Pick your favorite here. ⛄️

In Case You Missed It

🏴‍☠️ The Heretic: Leading Into and in the Unknown

⚠️ Disrupt Disruption: We are coming back with a series of interviews, including Dave Friedman, founder and CEO of AutonomyWorks, Hydrow’s founder and CEO Bruce Smith, re:3D’s co-founder Samantha Snabes, and Futurity Studio co-founder Cecilia MoSze Tham. Stay tuned!

Radically yours, take good care, friend!

— Pascal, Mafe and the three Js (Jane, Jeffrey, and Julian)


The radical Briefing is an easy-to-read email digest on the future of business — covering ‘radical’ news, research, lessons, people, and ideas. If you want our take on new technologies, and how they affect business models, methods, culture, and leadership sign up below today!