About the Futures

Another thing I wanted to mention about thinking about the future is that: it’s complicated. When it comes to the future we rarely really have the future; instead what we have are a bunch of different parts, like people or places or things or circumstances, etc., all relating and working together in a complex way. From this lens, “the future” really represents the state of a big ol’ system of everything we know. Lovely, isn’t it?

So if you want to “invent the future” you have to understand your actions, inventions, etc. do not exist in a vacuum (unless you work at Dyson), but instead will have an interplay with everything.

And this helps direct a lot of what’s possible without really great efforts. If I wanted to make my own smartphone, with the intention of making the number one smartphone in the world, I can’t really do that. Today, I can’t make a better smartphone than Apple. There are really only a few major players who can play in this game with a possibility of being the best.

I’m not trying to be defeatist here, but I am trying to point out you can’t just invent the future you want in all cases. The trick is to be aware of the kind of future you want. You can’t win at the smartphone game today. Apple itself couldn’t even be founded today. If you’re trying to compete with things like these then you have to realize you’re not really inventing the future but you’re inventing the present instead.

Be mindful of the systems that exist, or else you’ll be inventing tomorrow’s yesterday.

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