The Creativity Age and the Future of the World

Started - 1985
Last content change - October, 2009

By Richard Bornet

Humankind is going through the most massive and rapid transformation in history.
To understand what the Creativity Age is about, it is important to understand this transformation. I will try to give you a picture of what it is, and what the world will look like in the future.

The best way to understand the magnitude of what is talking place is to take a look at the changes that took place in the past.
The central theme of what I’m about to talk about is inspired by Alvin Toffler’s famous book, "The Third Wave."

The theory is not that complicated and most people would probably agree with it. Toffler basically says that humankind has gone through major changes since the beginning of time, and you can divide those into three major upheavals:

Stone Age → Agricultural Age → Industrial Age → Information Age

The point Toffler makes is that there was a fundamental shift in humankind from age to age. Not only in terms of what humans did, but also to their beliefs, social structures, relationships, economic units, political processes and so on. The shifts were seismic. He also argues that technology that drove these changes.

So let’s take a look at some of these changes, and how much the humans who lived through them were affected.

Stone Age → Agricultural Age

cavemen
Cave Persons
At first, man lived in tribes. The primary occupations were “hunter” and "gatherer." It took hundreds of thousands of years until someone figured out that if you put up a fence, the cow wouldn’t run away. Someone else figured out that if you planted a seed in the ground, sometime later a plant would grow which you could eat. These were technological breakthroughs.

The effects of these simple technological changes were dramatic. It allowed people to stay put, rather than being constantly on the move. Out of that single transformation we got a myriad of spin-offs which in turn transformed people and cultures. Now you had private property. Villages, towns, and even cities came into existence. You got roads, aqueducts and internal plumbing. Because people stayed put, others found ways to control those people. Tribes changed to kingdoms. Social stratification came into place where some people controlled others, and found ways to profit from them. You got ownership, taxes, landowners and serfs, some differentiation in occupations, trade, money and so on. Two other big changes that took place were that the family (rather than the tribe) became the main social unit, and organized religion became a powerful and dominant institution.

argicultural_age_1.jpgUnfortunately, war was as common as it is today. Wars between Agricultural Age peoples and Stone Age peoples would have favored the Agricultural Age peoples. Some antisocial behaviors like gender inequality and slavery became institutionalized.

The main point here is that mankind changed, and on average was better off than before.

Agricultural Age → Industrial Age
agricultural_age_2.jpg
I guess they liked spotted cows
This was marked by a move away from manual/animal powered production to the use of machines. It started with the mechanization of the textile industry, continued with steam engines, the internal combustion engine, and electricity generation. Again, changes to people’s lives and society were dramatic.

People moved off the land to work in factories, in the cities. The world became organized into countries, with governments at the forefront. We saw the increase of civil servants and government control over people’s lives. Taxation and laws were broadly enforced. The intrusion of government was huge. School systems, roads, the health care system, and trade were all controlled or even completely run by the government. A larger and larger portion of the population worked for the government.

Work became much more differentiated, and you saw the start of the service industries and what I call the “shuffling of paper” industries – banking, insurance and so on. More people lived in crowded houses and apartments.

In successful industrial societies, some governments became democratic, where the people elected their governments. The economies of the democracies grew faster than non-democracies. Eventually slavery was abolished and women gained more rights. The family still predominated, though became smaller in size. The extended family was replaced by the nuclear family. Some countries combined democracy with free markets. Freedom became important, both in the economic world and in the social world.

industrial_revolution_1.gif
Karl Marx had his own spin on the Industrial Age
Unfortunately, wars also became industrialized. Inaccurate muskets were replaced by mass-produced rifles with long-range accuracy. Cannons became howitzers, and cavalry became tank battalions. Wars wrecked more havoc and were conducted on a larger scale. Genocide took place on an unimaginable scale, and oppressive dictatorships proliferated. Pollution and organized theft increased.

The main point I'm making is how much social change has been occurring. The average person also became better off. One only has to compare the uneducated peasant who lived in a hut, subject to famines and disease, to the worker who lives in suburbia, with a car and television set, and who shops at the supermarket and has health care and education provided for him/her and their families.

Industrial Age → Information Age
Industry_modern.jpg
Even insects are brighter than these things
This is Toffler’s third wave, and we are going through it now. It's fuelled by the computer and telecommunications, and as it gains speed, it brings even more powerful changes. Toffler used the term “Information Age”, but I will argue that this is only a start, where the end product will be something we should call the Creativity Age.

We have already seen huge changes because of this transformation. We now consider "modern" societies to be information age societies. In these societies, work is mostly either in the information industries, or in the service industries. People’s choices of what they can do, purchase or become, have dramatically increased. Many dictatorships have begun to rely on information technologies to control their peoples. However, most are poor at using information technologies to foster economic growth. In the Soviet Union, personal computers were illegal, and the use of photocopiers was tightly restricted.

The big changes have not even appeared yet. Many institutions that existed at the height of the industrial age still exist. We still have big governments, big bureaucracies, big taxes, with many institutions vying to control our lives. These will all eventually break down. You are already seeing some of the effect of this as a large proportion of marriages break down. Religion has become a secondary player. Many people listen to their therapist way more than to their priest.

At this point I want to thank Toffler, and I'm going to picture the future from here, with my own voice.

The future as I see it

I am going to give you a glimpse of the future as I see it. I have been saying and teaching this for 20 years, but this is the first time I have written it up. The changes which will take place will be based on the huge amounts of information that are becoming available to us. So let’s talk about some basic principles and how the psyche deals with this.

Universally Available Information
The first principle is that “right now” information is power. Some have it, some don’t. This will end, and is already ending; eventually all information will be available to all of us. We are beginning to see this on the internet. TV viewership is dropping, newspaper and magazine sales are plummeting, while internet use skyrockets. The Internet is a great leveler, but finding exactly the information we need is still difficult, and it's is often presented badly. Facts are heavily mixed up with fiction.Iphone_1.jpg

Information will become easier to get, and it will also be presented in a much more useful way. There are clear signs of this. My son has an i-Phone, where he can verbally ask a question and get an answer. This is still version 1, but it’s a glimpse of the future. Eventually, we will be able to ask a question and the answer will not only involve information, but also will perform analysis and be able to extrapolate. If we don’t know exactly what to ask, we will be assisted.

Information will also be presented on a need-to-know basis. There is no way the human mind can accumulate, process and handle all the information that will be needed, each and every day. Even to attempt this would lead to overload, and the average human will either become very selective, or just ignore information.

To combat this, information will be parsed into small understandable units, which will be available when the person needs it. Don’t know how mortgages are calculated, and don’t trust the banks? Download a simple application which will explain and calculate all the information you need to handle the situation. This can be applied to any area. Information, on demand, able to be used in whatever interaction, transaction or thoughts the person is having.

I call this “Just-in-time information”.

So then the question becomes, what differentiates you from me, if we both have access to the same information? The answer is very straightforward:
1. Creativity. Which one of us is more creative with the information? This will be huge, because the most creative people will eventually become the most successful. Hence the term Creativity Age.
2. Execution. Even if you have the information, you still have to do something with it. Those who can execute better, actually do something with that information, will be more successful than those who cannot execute as well.

We are all better off.

World_GDP_Capita_1-2003_AD4.jpg

What is noticeable is that GDP per capita has skyrocketed in last years of the 20th century. This is mostly due to the introduction of information technology and the huge impact it's having on growth and productivity. The world GDP is now growing at about 3% per annum. If it continues at that rate, the GDP of the world will be 6 times greater in 60 years. Even with the current downturn, the citizens of the world have never seen such prosperity.

So not only will the availability of information reach heights we can barely imagine, but humanity’s ability to afford it will also rise correspondingly.

Who we are will change

So let’s put together this huge increase in information and a rise in prosperity, and let’s see how the interaction of the two will change who we are. What has really happened is that the number of choices individuals have open to them is exponentially greater. Also, there is a huge amount of available information, which is there to help the person make those choices.

Let’s give a simple example: what to do on a Friday night. Let’s compare the choices a serf in the Middle Ages had, to those of a 21 year old living in a large Western city.

The serf’s choices were limited. One: it was dark and there was no lighting except natural lighting, fireplaces, or candle light. Weather could also limit the choices. So what could that serf do? Well, he could stay in his hut, or go over to someone else’s hut. He could go into the forest and risk being attacked by a bear. If the village was big enough, it may have had a tavern. The serf had to remember that he would still have to be up at the crack of dawn, to milk the cows or plow the fields. Survival has a major effect on both focusing and limiting one’s choices.

Activities.jpgNow let’s look at the choices the average 21 year old has on a Friday night. Let’s start with the 500 channel universe, then unlimited internet sites, video game playing, and the person has not even left the living room. Add to that more restaurants then he could visit in a lifetime, bars, discos, clubs, movies, plays, sporting events and so on and so on. Modern transportation allows our 21 year old to go almost anywhere and visit almost anyone. So not only does the 21 year old have a million choices, but all information about all these choices. So what criteria does the 21 year old use to make these choices? The individual weighs all the choices and says, “This is what I want to do”. The “I” is the important part. The individual has to not only evaluate the choices, but his perceptions, feeling and beliefs regarding those choices, and then decide based on all of these.

Now let’s take an even simpler example. Say an individual wants a candy, and there is only one type of candy available to him. Then the person really has no decision to make. External factors (non-availability of candies) have made the decision for him. If, on the other hand, the person has 1000 candy varieties available, plus chocolates, cakes, cookies and even chocolate fondue, then the choice switches to the individual.

Let’s not underestimate how big a change that represents. The locus of control is switching from external factors to internal factors. We, as a species, have been molded by external forces. The tribe and religion imposed a code of contact on its members. This changed to corporations and governments, but again, people were supposed to behave and in reality follow orders. But no matter how much the powers at be would want it, they are losing their control, as more and more people want to make their own decisions.

Take the institution of marriage. In the past, parents decided on the bride, and one was to live with this person for the rest of one’s life. Now we marry for love, which is an internal decision, and marriage is only one of many choices an individual can make. The parents can only say “I told you so!”
What_makes_me_me.jpg
The question now becomes, Who am I? What makes me the person I am? Now let’s leave aside for now divine and karmic intervention. Let’s leave aside that your personality could be genetically pre-determined. It would be safe to argue that you are really the sum of the information that you have received, and how you have decided (consciously or unconsciously) to build a model of yourself and the world, based on those inputs. Now if the inputs are fairly homogeneous, then you and I will be fairly similar. Remember it is not only the inputs, but how we process them and make sense of them that defines us. Now one input may be conformity, either coerced or social in nature, which forces most people to behave and believe in the same way.

The further we go back in history, the greater the conformity. Tribal members lived by a certain code, and serious breaking of that code could result in banishment. Religion defines people in the Agricultural Age, and forced conformity on most people. Stepping out of these norms could result in ostracism and even death. It still does.

During the Industrial Age, you still had conformity. This was now spurred by a mixture of religion, government, needing to adapt and fit into the work environment, and just social pressures.

But really the conformity was caused by a consistent and limited set of information allowing people to define themselves as Christians, Muslims, Americans, Natives, line workers and so on.

Take a look at the following diagram.

X X X X X
X X X X X
X X

If the X’s are the information a person gets to form their personality then we could define a person diagrammatically as

! X X X X X !
! X X X X X !
! X X !

Now what happens if a person receives a piece of information (Y) that is outside the bounds of that personality?

! X X X X X ! Y
! X X X X X !
! X X !

Now there are only three possibilities.
1. Ignore it or deny it exists
2. Reject it or suppress it
3. Change your boundaries

Ignore it: This is done most of the time. Much of the information we receive, we label as irrelevant and don’t even think about. And most of that information probably is irrelevant. Some people go as far as to ignore any information that could threaten their boundaries. Just look at when you try to have a discussion with some people. They just walk out of the room and refuse to process what you are saying.

Reject it: There are two reasons to reject information. One is that the information is simply bogus. “The road to a successful life is to shoot up on heroin”. No, I don’t think so. You look at it rationally, and your judgment tells you it’s wrong, so skip it. But people can also reject information without looking at it rationally. Information comes in which attacks the boundaries, and certain people try to kill the messenger. Sometimes literally. Just try standing up in some cultures and saying anything that disagrees with the state religion, and see what happens. In extreme cases, people would rather have you controlled or even dead, than allow you to be you, or for you to incorporate new information and change your boundaries.

Change your boundaries: The third way to deal with this is to incorporate the new information and change. Method 1 and 2 may work, if the amount of new information is minuscule, but we are now beginning to be bombarded with new life-altering information, which not only can affect our behaviour, but our internal worlds. If you don’t like ambiguity, you are in for a rough ride.

Now this is a huge change, because it affects so much of what we believe in and what we do.

One of the ways to form a boundary is to define ourselves. People do this all the time. I am an American, Chinese…. I am black, native…. I am Muslim, Christian, Jewish… I am gay, feminist, straight... I am a manager, a computer programmer... The problem here is that different definitions may contradict each other. It may be hard to define oneself as gay and Muslim, for example. The problem here is that each one of these definitions can be challenged, and information is put forward that completely contradicts a chosen definition.

You see this all the time. A person grows up in a religious household, then hits puberty and the teenage belief that sexual experimentation is good. Can’t hold onto both. Or someone may see himself as an Arab and believe America is Satan, and then come to America and decide it is not all that bad. Can’t hold on to both. Or someone sees himself as a manager and that his life revolves around work, and then his wife gets seriously ill, and he feels the need to be at home. Can’t have both. And so on…

Life will provide a challenge to almost any belief.

Multicultural_1.jpgNow that any boundary can be challenged, we have a second dynamic. This is that we cannot incorporate all the information presented to us. So to create a boundary, even though it may be flexible, we have to select which information is important and create our own personal boundary. This means that every human being with access to information, will create their own unique boundaries. So we don’t have Hindus, Americans, gays… we only have people who chose to define themselves as Hindus, Americans, gays…. And for every one of these people, they may chose to define themselves differently down the road.

Multicultural_2.jpgLet’s not underestimate how dramatic a change this is. This is the end of multiculturalism, religion, nationalism and so on. The question we have for each other is not, who are you? but why did you chose to be that person at this moment? What are you getting from it? You want me to see you as gay, Why? Why is that important? People will no longer fit into moulds, but work together to help each other in the journey of life.





Computers sometimes do things better

Computers not only provide us with information, but can also analyze situations far better then human beings. We will just allow computers do the things that they are most suited for. Now this will also dramatically change what we do.
Let’s take an example.
Future_computers_in_medicine.jpg
Currently one of the main functions that doctors perform is diagnosis, and then they prescribe a treatment. What are they really doing? They’re accessing their own internal database of information. It is safe to assume that computers could do this better, more cheaply and more successfully. In fact, there already exists software that does this. So the main reason we have imbued doctors with so much power has just gone out the window.

Another function of doctors is to impart information, which they get from some source. That source and many more will be available to everyone. I just went to a doctor and he looked something up in a book. I can look up that book on the Internet also.

Given that new information is generated at an unprecedented level and can be made available to everyone, who is to say that doctors are best informed? Patients may become far better informed than the people who treat them.

Of course, computers on their own aren’t going to be setting broken bones or doing surgery any time soon. But the doctor’s role as information providers will become minimal. Talk about the role of a whole profession being substantially altered.

And that’s only one profession.

It is the change of the locus of control from external forces to the individual that is so important. Where others decided before, now the individual decides. This will change everything; schools, health systems, the way we run our businesses, religions.

What do we do when we become empowered?

Where does all this lead to? When we have gained more control over our lives, when we realize that we define ourselves. What becomes the purpose of life? Remember the peasant in Vietnam in the 60’s did not have difficulty with the meaning of life. It was plain and simple. Survival. But in the Creativity Age survival is not that big an issue for most. So what becomes more important? Fame, Power, Success.

I believe that if we are forced by the constant changing of information to constantly ask “Who am I?” then we will also be forced to ask “Who are you?” As we open up to ourselves, we will also open up to others. The main issue of the Stone Age and Agricultural Age was survival. The main issue of the Industrial Age was Control. The main issue of the Creativity Age will be Relationships.

Relationships_many_1.jpgWe don’t define ourselves in a vacuum. Information comes from others. Most of the valuable information we receive is not from the Internet, but from the day to day interactions with others. The closer the people are to us, the more influence they have. Our parents have more influence then our teachers. Our spouses have more influence then our co-workers.

If we look at our lives and examine where most of our emotional energy goes, it is almost assured that at the top of the list is relationships. Those are relationships with our significant others, children, people at work and others. Just listen to most conversations and people are talking about some relationship. Too bad they don’t seem to work as well as they could. It is our belief that this is the next frontier, where one goal in life is to take relationships to a higher state. Every major revolution has taken humankind to a more developed state, where we can do things we could only imagine before. Why would this not be the case with relationships?

I believe relationships will be a central theme of the Creativity Age.

richards_table1d
Extrapolation Table 1

richards_table2d
Extrapolation Table 2

richards_table3d
Extrapolation Table 3


Parties It safe to assume that the choices will grow exponentially. This could be the single largest job area of the Creativity Age.
Major personal issue Survival Survival and control Control Openness / Relationships

Now one way to look at the future is to extrapolate from the past. If the relationship seems to be linear, then one could assume that this trend will continue, and if it does, how will it affect the world?

Unit of Identification

Let’s start with Unit of Identification. This is how a person defines themselves. In the Stone Age, everyone identified themselves as a member of a tribe. In the Agricultural Age the two main units of identification where Kingdoms, and Religious affiliation, where in large part the first defined the second. In the Industrial Age identification was by country: “I am French”, and to a lesser degree by religion and also by occupation. As one moves from Tribe → Kingdom → Country, it is obvious that the unit is becoming bigger. The next step is to World.

We go from “I am a member of this tribe” to “I am subject of this king” to “I am a citizen of this country” to “ I am a citizen of the world.”

What does this mean?

Are we now subjects of a world government? Probably not. I think a clearer identification is “I am no longer a Zulu, I am not a subject of the king, I am not a Hindu or a Jew, I am not a German or Japanese, I am a human being and so are you. So we now stop relating to each other through symbols and are starting to relate to each others as humans”.
percentage_of_people_who_speak_english_at_work.jpg
% of Swiss who speak English at work

Two factors are significantly contributing to this. The first is the globalization of work and entertainment in all its forms, including movies, internet, etc. The second is the fact that more and more people speak a common language, English. Language has always been a good divider of people into groups. Once we can all communicate using one language, issues become more interpersonal, rather then dictated by nationality or tribe.

Now I am not under any illusion that we will all of a sudden have a deep caring and understating for our fellow human beings and start acting in all of our best interests, but it is a direction we could move, if we don’t screw it up.

Traditional symbols such as religion, race and nationality will be replaced with new symbols. Your occupation, how much money you make, political beliefs, interests, attitudes, morality, looks and body size, clothes, sexual orientation, interests and I am sure a myriad of other symbols we have not yet thought of.

The problem here is that all those things change, and can change quickly. So are we entering a world where today I relate to people “wearing white shirts and ties”, and tomorrow I relate to people who wear “black shirts with symbols” on them. What about the day after, and the day after? This is a very hard world to deal with.

The human psyche only has a minimum number of ways of dealing with the rapid change.
1. Become rigid: Pick something and stick to it and reject everything which challenges this.
2. Live with change and ambiguity: This is also difficult because you end up not being able to plan anything.
3. There is a psychological trick, which takes care of this. Don’t relate to symbols. The issue is no longer what the symbol is, but why has this person, at this time, chosen to have that symbol, or even define themselves using this symbol. That is a relationship to a real person.

Again let’s not underestimate the effects of this change. Imagine if people become interested in what is behind the scenes. You have decided to study “Ancient Egyptian Religion.” I don’t have to share this interest, but I may be very interested in why, and what you have learned, and what are you gaining from this experience. It allows me to learn about you and also about myself. I may not ever become interested in Ancient Egypt, but as a result of our conversations I may think more about spirituality.

Number of people involved in political decisions and their execution

Now this is simple progression:

Stone Age - A few -Tribal elder and medicine man
Agricultural Age - Thousands - Kings, courtiers, religious leaders, landowners
Industrial Age - Millions - Governments, State bureaucracies, professions

If you just extrapolate this, it is obvious that the number of decision makers will continue to increase.

medical_decision_makers_too_many.JPGThere are problems with this scenario. The first is the fact that no government can pay for all these decision makers. The second is that informed people don’t like others making their decisions for them. This of course does not affect every facet which touches people’s lives, but it is in enough areas that governments are going to come up against serious resistance from sizeable groups of people.

So how will the future look to handle these two trends?





Firstly, people will just have to make up their own minds. Decision making will be transferred to the individual. Now what does that mean? Well, institutions which make decisions for us will be forced to give up their power. This is a very controversial statement with which most people will disagree. People will just take power. What institutions and what processes will take over? That is really at the essence of the Creativity Age. It is probably safe to say that most of the structures that will be in place have not even been thought of currently.

One of the major purposes of this site is to discuss what those structures may look like in the future, and how will they function.

We are not just talking about government, but about organizations. Society has many sacred cows, like medicine and education.

How will they work in the future?

medical_BP_and_computer.jpgLet’s just take medicine. Currently, medicine is completely controlled by professionals and bureaucrats. But why should this be? Why shouldn’t people, with the aid of computers, make their own diagnoses and treatments? The technology to allow this to happen is almost here, it is just medical self-preservation and the need to be important and have control which is stopping it.

What will empower people to make those decisions is a whole new set of applications that will be designed to help people make decisions.

The second change in the number of people involved in decision making is that we will give many of those decisions over to computers. When thousands or even billions of pieces of information need to be analysed to make a decision, we will just allow the computers to make those decisions. We already see this happening, for example with computers that run traffic lights for optimal rush hour traffic. Let’s give another example of this. There is an optimal tax rate which allows for the greatest prosperity for the most people and the best provision of support for the population. No human being can figure that out, but computers will be able to. The algorithms eventually will be so good, that we will just let them do that.

Underlying Main Issues which govern peoples’ lives

One way to understand what will happen in the future is to look at the main issues people have during these ages.
Stone Age - Survival
Agricultural Age - Survival, Control
Industrial Age - Control

In the Stone Age, the overwhelming need was one of survival. The way humans tried to help themselves survive was to live in groups (tribes).

In the Agricultural Age, humans gained some control over their environment. The tribe disappeared and the group which helped survive was now the family. All sorts of institutions grew up to allow people to trade, and a segment of the population figured out how to control people, whether to satisfy their need for control or for money can be debated.

In the Industrial Age, man’s ability to control the environment grew substantially. Famine in one part of the world could now be met by food being delivered from somewhere else. It did not stop people trying to control others on a gigantic scale, as illustrated by two world wars, communism, and the frequency of genocide. Companies were very hierarchical and so were societies; following orders was expected. Making money meant one had more control over one’s life. But in the last parts of the Industrial Age, we began to see people question all this. It is nice to make money, it is nice to have more control over one’s life, but to what purpose? For the answer to that, one had to look inside. The Industrial Age started to give people the time to look at these issues.

As mentioned earlier, increased information leads to more choices. If one only has limited choices, one’s behaviour is dictated by the lack of choice. But if the choices are almost endless, then the individual needs to decide which choices are the right ones on an individual basis. This pushes individual to look at themselves and try to figure out who they are. The inner world now has become not only important, but central. People are less and likely to sacrifice who they are just, or just follow orders, just because an external force wants it to happen.

Remember that information and prosperity gives people the time and tools to ponder. People have the luxury to question, examine who they are. One interesting by-product of questioning who we are is that the restrictions on sharing this seem to be falling away. We are moving to a world where sharing and openness are primary.

Jerry_Springer.jpgYou are already seeing many signs of this. Just look at the topics that people discuss on TV. Many of these would never have been allowed 60 years ago. People give out and expose themselves on Facebook in ways which no one would have believed possible 70 years ago. Therapy has become a social staple, and let’s be honest, most people go to therapy because of relationship problems. What’s therapy? It is an individual’s need to learn to understand oneself and others, and to be able to communicate with others in more successful ways. The inner world is talked about constantly and has become very important.

Now here is the interesting part of being human. Our struggle to figure out who we are and what it means to be human is not a solitary activity. We define ourselves by examining our relationships with others. Whatever we do really involves others.
Let’s take an analogy. Let’s say life is a game of squash. We can do a lot of work on ourselves to improve our squash game: weight training, practicing alone, working out strategies, watching others, finding help in books and on the Net, improving our mental approach and so on. But all this work is really about that squash game, which is an interaction with others. That’s where you measure yourself, and get the pleasure that comes with a good game of squash. Life is like that. It is ultimately about the relationship; that’s where people define themselves and have a chance of obtaining what they want from life.

Now no matter how a person sees themselves, the fulfillment of one’s needs, desires, wants, being true to oneself, or just figuring out who one is, are of these all done in relationship to others.

So in the Creativity Age, who we are and relationships will become central. Even for those who have large issues of belonging, or greater issues of control, those issues all involve relationships.

Now let’s take all of this and put it together and try to give a picture of the cataclysmic changes that are going to take place.

Top_down_management.jpgIf these are the issues that drive us, then watch many of society’s institutions crumble. How will employers keep their best employees if they does not take into consideration those employees’ real needs? How can a boss tell her employee what to do, when the employee is so much better informed then she is? Some people may be wiser than others, but wisdom cannot be bought, delegated or enforced. And who is to say that the person higher on the control hierarchy is the wiser one or the more capable one?

Top down “hierarchical management”, “political correctness” (which is just a mechanism to punish boorish behaviour and to control people by shutting down telling the truth and being open), ”it’s just business”, “leave your personal issues at the door”, “we know better”, “being professional”, “personal privacy” are all concepts which will go the way of the dinosaur.

Now again this will not happen overnight. Just examining the quantity of politics that exists in organizations, and the failure of so many marriages, it is obvious that we as a human race are not very good in creating the types of relationships that really further us as human beings and provide us something which is good for “our souls.” That’s the struggle of the Creativity Age.

Fostering Creative people

creativity_-goldfish_in_lightbulb.jpgFor the Creativity Age to blossom, it needs mechanisms to allow creative people to blossom. Many of the mechanisms now in existence do not favor the creative individuals. It is interesting to see that in any era where there is a great deal of creativity, it is the creative people who have the upper hand. The bureaucrats, managers and all the other people who just want to make money off creative ventures, often want to control those creative ventures. The problem is that they are not that creative, and their need for control takes precedence over the person or people who actually do the creative work.

One only has to look at the music business and compare the 60 and 70’s to the present day. As one person stated name one memorable song that was written in the last five years. Now name one memorable song written in the 60’s or 70’s. The former is a struggle; the latter is a question of sorting out the flood. What is the difference? The creative people dominated.

This type of structure will eventually be put in place and we are seeing signs of this right now. The creative process basically has several components.

Idea -> Prototype -> Product -> Manufacturing -> Sales / Marketing -> Fulfillment
The creative people only need to be involved in the first 3 stages.

So here is a model for how creative ventures may look like in the future. So let’s say a creative person wants to create new shower heads. He has this idea that the body has an internal rhythm which, when matched by the pulses of water being distributed in a certain way, provides for a very relaxing effect. I just made this up while writing this. So in the Creativity Age, this person will design the idea. Then he will find a prototype house that specializes in these types of devices to help him build a prototype. Once the design has been validated and a working product has been made and tested, the creative person then finds a fulfillment house. The fulfillment house will arrange for just-in-time manufacturing, will take orders and arrange probably with another body to promote the item.

Fulfillment_House_3.jpgThe creative person can solicit multiple fulfillment houses to keep them honest. Now how are those people paid? Some will demand money up front, but others will be willing to take a risk and take a percentage of the sales. What will allow them to do that is that most of these tasks are automated, so their costs are kept low. The manufacturing component, because of automation, is on a just-in-time basis, so there is little or no inventory, and the product is produced when there is an order. Many of these fulfillment houses will play the numbers game: one winner pays for the losses on 5 losers.

In this example, all through this process, the control is with the creative person. Once the product is a success, the creative person can hand this over to a, for lack of a better word, “maintenance” house which will keep the ball rolling, and may at times issue adjustments to the product. The creativity team can go onto the next project.

Large companies can also do the same thing and control all the aspects of the process. But from my experience of creative people, I believe that they will much prefer the freedom afforded by doing it themselves and controlling their own outcome, rather than being at the mercy of some “shirt”.

This process also allows one individual or a small team of individuals to be able to actually create something and have it distributed and sold around the world. I’m sure IBM will try very hard to be that one-stop fulfillment house, but it will have competitors.

Tools

One thing for sure is that we will develop tools for manipulating information that we cannot even imagine. The tools will perform various functions
Information Tools:
• Find the information
• Massage it in a way that is useful for us
• Give us options for decision making
• Track information as it is affected by our decisions and could affect our decision.

Production tools:
Once a decision is made, we need to produce something either based on the information, or based on our creative imagination, or both. These tools will become simpler and much more powerful to use. Currently, to create a set of drawings using a CAD system involves much expertise and training. The gulf between the idea and the design will be seriously closed. Eventually we will be at the point where a person will just need to describe something and the designs will be created.
Very early attempts at this are beginning to be seen. Apple computers have software to create a book with pictures that takes minutes to complete. This kind of technology is still in its infancy.

Testing tools:
If one creates something, then one has to test it, to make sure it works. Currently this is a laborious process, but new tools and services will be come into existence, which allow for the testing of new ideas.

Most of this will be automated. So if there is software involved, test automation will not only create the tests, but monitor the software to make sure it is behaving as it should.

Tools of communication:
Since work in the future will be highly creative and collaborative, tools will be invented to foster the dialog between people. Ways of sharing ideas, information and just having contact will be far more sophisticated.

One such tool will eventually be 3D video-conferencing, which is described in another posting.

The worker of the future will be one who collaborates with others in an effective manner. What does that mean? Well if you cannot communicate and get people to cooperate with you, then you will be in trouble. Remember a new job is “Computer: find me a new job where I can work for a nice person.” That should finish off old fashioned bosses who rule by intimidation and fear.

But it is more than that. Remember what we have:
• Workers who have information and therefore have a sense of power over their lives
• A world view that we are all human, and therefore who we are and how we relate matters
• A view that work is not separate from who we are
• A fundamental need for contact and sharing who we are.

workplace-relationships.jpgThis will end the impersonal nature of work. Who I am and how I relate to you matters. People will put up with the lying and the highly political nature of the work setting, only if they have no choice. The Creativity Age is really about choice, so if people can quit and then get together with others to create something new easily, this will foster in new types of organizations.

People now get together with like-minded people to engage in all sorts of activities. This will escalate, and why shouldn’t it apply to work as well as to personal lives? For example, hockey players play together, knitting clubs knit, gays gather together, environmentalists work on projects together, politically correct people gather in all sorts of settings to reinforce their views. Because of the tools of communication, this type of coming together of people will skyrocket.

Why shouldn’t people of like mind also gather to start a business? So Muslims, Trekkies, or classical music lovers will be able to come together and work on projects as a group. This type of selective inclusion will make mincemeat of many current human rights codes and labor laws, which try to regulate against this.

Disinformation versus Truth

One of the main issues of the Creativity Age will be the validity and truthfulness of the information that is presented. In personal relationships, untruths are called lying. On a more societal basis it is called disinformation, but it is still just lying to manipulate people.

Disinformation_1.gifIf information is the main element of society and is needed to perform almost any task, then it is safe to assume that society will work better, the more truthful it is. If information is incorrect or a lie, then efforts must be made to get at the correct information, or to find out the truth. At minimum, incorrect information is a major source of time wasting. At maximum, it can foster behaviour which is significantly destructive.

The single biggest problem of first half of the 21st century will be lying and disinformation. If information is the main product, and being able to use it is the deciding factor in success and in making money, then it is safe to assume that many people will try to manipulate that information to make money, and attain and keep power.

There is an old expression that “the truth will always come out.” This may or may not be true. For example, we still don’t know who killed Kennedy, even though we have agreed that the Warren Commission was a pack of disinformation, and that there was a conspiracy. The Warren Commission stated that there was one assassin (Oswald) and a single bullet went through two people, having done a U-Turn. The amazing thing was that the major news sources failed in their responsibility to search for the truth, but supported the Warren whitewash.

Kennedy_Assassination.jpgA senate committee later agreed that the Kennedy assassination was part of a conspiracy and there was more then one assassin involved. You would think that given this conclusion, the FBI would have been instructed to find those involved and leave no stone unturned. This would have been followed by an equally tenacious investigation by the media to uncover the truth. I mean a President was assassinated, would you not think that this should trigger one of the greatest manhunts in history? No such thing happened and we still don’t know.

This is mentioned as an example that the truth does not always come out and is not always welcome, by those who have some reason to subvert it and can influence the search effort. Now moving forward, this scenario will play itself out on a much larger scale. Winning the disinformation war on the side of truth will not be easy. That’s why it may take most of the first half of the 21st century.

A current example of a war of information which is being fought is the one over “Global Warming”. There is so much slanted information and maneuvering around Global Warming that it is hard to tell what the truth is. Al Gore states that the science has been decided. Science is never decided, it only provides a snapshot until more information is presented. Al Gore’s contribution to the world was to get the early stages of the internet funded, therefore creating the greatest information tool invented. His other contribution may be his dogmatic refusal to debate and allow for a comprehensive debate over Global Warming. Why is this a contribution? If you have any doubt that the hysteria of the Global Warming could turn out to be one large disinformation campaign, take a look at this.

http://fixtheclimate.com/component-1/the-solutions-new-research/mitigation/

and this

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17742-worlds-climate-could-cool-first-warm-later.html

liar-liar.jpgSince I first wrote this, ClimateGate has exploded. For those who don’t know, ClimateGate refers to documents and e-mails hacked from one of the major Global Warming Research Institutes. The “released” hacked information would argue that the data has been fudged and manipulated by these Global Warming scientists to support their agendas of pushing global warming and huge government interventions.
This article accuses those scientists of committing major fraud.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/understanding_climategates_hid.html



You know, when the Global warming crowd backtracks this much, that it’s over.

The debate which should be taking place is how could we have allowed this type of deception to take place, and what mechanisms do we need to put in place to facilitate the truth in the future.

The battle between political manipulation and the search for truth has not played itself out. Mechanisms will have to be put in place to make sure that producing disinformation is not rewarded. Penalties will also have to be placed on those who purposely try to manipulate information (AKA Lie) for personal gain. Personal gain could be defined as an attempt to be the center of attention or gain power; the gain is not necessarily monetary. The resolution of this may be that mechanisms may be put in place to help search for scientific fact, rather than allow science to be manipulated for gain or politics.

The real problem is that the people who should be responsible for the truth coming out are the ones that profit the most from disinformation, and have no incentive for putting check and balances in place.Sesame_Street_-_Telling_the_truth.jpg

In the Industrial Age, the method of exchange was called money. If 50% of the money was counterfeit and there was no way for the average person to know what was real and what was counterfeit, then the society could not function with any true efficiency. Very stringent rules with very large penalties were put in to successfully discourage most counterfeiting.

In the Creativity Age, the major source of exchange is information. For this type of society to function properly, the same types of stringent rules and penalties will also have to be put in. Looking at the current world, it is hard to imagine this type of society will evolve; but this has to happen.

These issues have to be discussed. If solutions are not found, then the Creativity Age will take much longer to reach its zenith. That’s why I give it 50 years. You cannot function as well when the information is erroneous, untrue, or even if you are not sure of the information.

This same mechanism plays out on the personal level, though at this level we don’t call it disinformation, we just call it lying. Relationships where there is a high degree of lying are usually dysfunctional.

Again my goal here is to put these issues on the table.

End of Privacy

There is much discussion about the need for privacy. Forget it. Any determined authority can already find out anything they want about you. As time goes on, privacy will be less and less possible.

This will force several things onto society.
• If you lie, you will be found out, for two reasons. Firstly, because the information you provide can be independently verified. Secondly, there is more openness between people. So if you lie, someone will notice and bring it to others’ attention. The liars will be found out and eventually shunned.
• Greatly increased tolerance. As mentioned earlier, people will be interested in who you are, or to put it differently, why you are at this moment choosing to be this person. Coupled with this is an understanding that life is fluid, and every human goes through stages. The temptation to mold people will decrease.
• Personal disclosure will become important. We will want to know who we are really working with, who we are forming relationships with. That way you can increase the chance that the person will help you in reaching some goal successfully, and will also provide you with what you need. Again, for this to take place, you need truthful disclosure. People will not disclose, if they think it will hurt them. So they will be selective. But those who disclose honestly will be able to form more successful relationships.

End_of_privacy_3.jpgNow when personal disclosure becomes important, the whole idea of privacy becomes moot. Our acceptance of people in their life paths will have to dramatically increase. People will just have to realize life is a process and who a you a person is at any moment is who they are at that moment.

Here is one scenario why the end of Privacy may not be so bad.

http://holytornado.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/how-the-end-of-privacy-could-rid-us-of-local-policing/



Peace

Real democracies very seldom have wars between each other. As the tyrannies run by dictators, organized thugs, and theocratic terrorists fall, and fall they will, the chance of war will decrease.

In addition, globalization is really breaking down the importance of countries. Why would you go to war with another country when there is a huge amount of cooperation between individuals in both countries? The whole concept of countries in the Creativity Age is an anachronism. It’s people working and relating together all over the world. Why do we need borders to get in the way? They are just hindrances.

Europe_-_border_crossing.JPG
European border
In Europe, borders already have withered. It is quite a thrill to be able to drive from France to Germany and there is no one at the border to stop you. You don’t have to even slow down. But there seems to be a resistance to further integration in Europe. Whenever the people are allowed to vote on the bureaucrats’ plans for further integration, they turn them down. I suspect that this is not because they are against integration, but because they are against those bureaucrats, whom they feel they cannot control. The way the powers have set it up, more integration means less power to the people. But both more control for the people and greater integration will come.

kids-playing-xbox_live_games.jpgThe Internet and the dominance of English really is bringing in peace on a large scale. Interesting wars are fought in nations where the public does not have huge access to the Internet. I watch my son play group games through Xbox Live, where there may be players in the US, England, Mexico City, Australia and other places, playing together and communicating using their head sets. It is amazing. Between games, these kids chat with each other. They see this as perfectly normal. You can just see the barriers not being there.

But there are even more dynamics. As we shrink into one world, we are forced to look at others as human beings like ourselves. The problems in Gaza, or Darfur, or Myanmar are not cultural, or political or even religious, they are really failures of human relationships. More and more, we will start looking at conflicts at that level.

I believe peace will come more quicker if the industrial-military complex is channeled to other activities. If they make more money from, let’s say, space exploration than they do from producing weapons, then they will switch over. As long as they cannot do both. The CIA and other Secret Services will switch from infiltration and manipulation of countries, to the ferreting and control of evil and people who want to subvert. Being a spy may turn into a very honorable profession.

How to bring the benefits of the Creativity Age to people faster

The first answer is to just get out of the way. This is probably true, but you can see many people trying to control and corral progress. In the US, genetic alterations are patentable. Apple tries to control what people can do on their products. Service providers want to monitor and restrict usage on the internet, lawyers find all sorts of reason to sue people, making people be over-careful and un-adventurous and so on and so on. And we have not mentioned what governments want to do. All these activities need to disallowed, and players who practice them should be punished, if the try to subvert the move to greater individual choice and freedom.

But letting freedom reign is not enough. Some of the biggest improvements to humanity would be in areas of that are in the domain and control of the government. Here's an example. Let’s say someone figured out a way that could focus a beam of a certain frequency which could attach and destroy a fixed molecular structure. So it would kill a specific cancer by running a beam through the body, and leave all other cells and bodily activities intact. In addition, a diagnosis program could ascertain which destructive molecules actually existed in the body.

This would, overnight, destroy much of the business of the drug companies. It would also make obsolete many medical practitioners. If a computer does the diagnosis and then administers the treatment, why do we need doctors?

government_bureaucracy_3.jpgTo bring this technology as quickly as possible to the public is the desirable goal. Would governments actually do this, or would they create barriers or allow current barriers to thwart the introduction of new technology? This is an example where government is in a position to make a huge impact, for better or worse.

But many of the most beneficial uses of technology may be in zones that are currently the domain of government services. Let’s say we could show that computers can be far more efficient in teaching students than teachers. Then the government would need to change the way it administered its education service. But would it? Would it just keep ploughing ahead on its current course? Or would it be like turning an ocean liner? Or more like the deployment of an emergency fast response team?

Again, this is something which needs to be discussed and new structures put in place.

Rise of morality

One issue which will become more and more important is that of morality. In the past, morality was defined usually by religion and enforced through law. With the rise of personal choice, the idea that an external body should and can enforce a strict morality is not only unthinkable, but unrealistic. On the father_and_baby.jpgother hand, it is hard to believe that a world society can exist if it takes the stand that morality is really a matter of personal preference. What will need to take place is a consensus of what moral codes should exist, and on what the sanctions should be if the codes are broken.

This re-evaluation of moral standards will challenge many of the pillars of society. Old time religions will either undergo substantial change, or will wither. The institution of marriage may alter dramatically, as you can see already today, as many groups are challenging traditional definitions. This will affect the nature of relationships and the upbringing of children.
moral_people_1.jpg
Why can’t we just have an immoral world? The simple answer is that it much less efficient than one where morality has been established because it is of practical benefit. We have already talked about the necessity for truth. This will have to become a moral standard, which people buy into so as to allow society to function successfully. If relationships matter, then being a good person matters. So what’s a good person? We have to talk about this.

Finally

Now I could go on and get specific about what all these institutions will look like, 50 years from now. But it is the purpose of this web site to look at all this. What I want to do is talk about what The Creativity Age will look like. I want to come up with ideas and solutions which will help us get there. I also want to start putting in place concrete solutions to move us into the Creativity Age. Ambitious, yes, but even if we only succeed a little that’s a start. If we succeed a lot, then maybe we will bring some magic to this world.

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