Throughout history people have tried to imagine future society. Aldous Huxley and George Orwell predicted a dystopian future overtures of which exist in the world today.
COVID-19 is accelerating change in society. This post examines some of the concepts emerging and asks the reader what responsibility they will take in actioning these changes for the betterment of us all.
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- The world is changing, COVID has accelerated this change.
- Concepts such as sustainability and build back better imagine a future world much different from today
- People have an opportunity now to determine this change outcome
- Your social actions matter
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By Turlough Rafferty
In his book Brave New World Aldous Huxley imagined a dystopian future where society is engineered and stratified based upon intelligence. It foretold a world that was controlled and pacified through a happiness drug, psychological manipulation and conditioning.
In today’s world we are overmedicated, conditioned via short term dopamine fixes from notifications and social media interactions on our mobile devices, victims to fake news, disinformation, and the socially isolating effects of brand identification and mass consumption.
Brave New World is often compared to another book 1984 published some eighteen years afterwards in 1949. Here the author and democratic socialist George Orwell imagined a repressive totalitarian society under mass surveillance in a state of perpetual war where propaganda is waged against the population under the watchful eye of Big Brother.
Today the world’s wealth is held in the hands of a few oligarchs where the richest 10% of adults in the world own 85% of global household wealth. We have invited technology companies into our home to listen and record our conversations. Our every move is tracked through our devices, even our health information is up for scrutiny. If it can be recorded, your data is processed, scored, stored and sold back to you.
Add on top of this a global pandemic and where does this leave society?
The Great Reset
In response to COVID-19 the World Economic Forum seeks to respond to the problems facing society with the opportunity to rethink the state of global relations. It looks to harness digital transformation, strengthen regional development, encourage greater cooperation through a long term vision of building sustainable business models that put people and the environment centre stage.
Build Back Better; the concept of de-risking and developing systems to mitigate against future shocks, circularity and sustainability are keywords you will be hearing a lot of in 2021 and beyond.
Take for example the European Green Deal which seeks to make the EU economy sustainable transitioning to zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. Similarly, the UN sustainability goals are a series of interlinked goals to create a better and more sustainable future for all.
Whichever (or any) of these concepts you subscribe to, each bring their own challenges. More importantly they all that augur massive change is coming or already underway.
Whether it will be a combination of a 1984 meets Brave New World or something better, the power of change is in your hands.
If you are serious to action social change, perhaps consider the lyrics of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Imagine all the people living for today, living in peace, sharing all the world.
And the world will be as one.
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