Imagine a world where everyone lives a healthy active life well past the age of 100. A world where the moon is a family vacation destination. A world with an educational system that teaches students how to innovate, solve problems, and lead lives filled with purpose.
Not according to the world’s most brilliant leaders, entrepreneurs, and changemakers. I had the opportunity to meet some of them this past weekend, when I attended Synergy Global Forum, held in New York City.
Synergy Global Forum holds events in New York, London, and Dubai, and invites international speakers to “revolutionize paradigms of thought, methodology, and leadership.” The event calls itself a “Master Class in Disruption.”
And this year, the 2017 speakers had almost fantastical visions of the future.
Richard Branson said Virgin Galactic will send one of their own to outer space within the next three or four months--and within six months, he’ll be getting on the plane himself for a casual space-getaway.
Ray Kurzweil, a 5-time bestselling author with cred to spare (20 honorary doctorates and honors from three U.S. Presidents), teamed hup with billionaire Naveen Jain to talk about the future of disease. In particular, they said that by the 2020s, most diseases will vanish.
This will happen, they say, as nanobots become smarter than our current medical technology, allowing us to heal at a far faster rate--and perhaps increase our immunity.
Kurzweil also predicted that by 2045, we will multiply our intelligence a billionfold by linking our neocortices to a synthetic neocortex in the cloud. Our neocortex has developed and grown over millions of years, allowing us to have “higher” functions like sensory perception, motor skills, spatial reasoning, conscious thought, and language, according to Kurzweil.
Access to an additional neocortex in the cloud would bring human intelligence and innovation to a level we cannot even comprehend.
It might sound impossible, but these predictions aren’t just bedtime stories. This future is a GOAL we all need to actively work towards.
First, we in the business world need to change the way we’ve been doing things for decades. Business up to this point has been focused largely on pleasure--focusing on short-term gains, and stacking up money.
But one common thread from almost all of the speakers flipped this on its head. Steve Forbes, for one, said that “[the purpose of] business is to produce happiness, not to pile up cash.” And many, many speakers echoed that sentiment. In other words, the purpose of business should be to produce happiness--not pleasure.
But wait--why are happiness and pleasure different? And what does this have to do with nanobots?
Pleasure is a momentary, short-term sensation. But happiness--true happiness--is the pursuit of a worthwhile goal. And what goal could be more worthwhile than a future where everyone is stronger, smarter, and healthier than we ever thought possible?
OK, but where should we start?
We can start by beginning to restructure our society from “strong-link focused” to “weak-link focused.”
Bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell explained it like this: we are a “strong link” society, centered on helping the wealthy get wealthier, with the idea that the “stronger” they are, the better off everyone will be.
He argued that this was somewhat legitimate pre-internet, but now, especially due to globalization and the rise in technology, we need to think in terms of a “weak link” society. This means that we focus on helping the “weaker,” or less fortunate, become “stronger.”
After attending this two day conference, I couldn’t agree more. It’s time for entrepreneurs to step up and really be in business to help others, instead of focusing on profits alone. It’s time to change the way we think about business--it can be something that enhances and brings our society closer together, rather than something that deepens the divide.
And most importantly, we need to trust and love the process. This isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s not even going to happen in the next five years. And it’s certainly not going to happen if we’re too afraid of change to truly embrace it.
But if we keep moving towards this goal, the possibilities for what we can accomplish together are greater than we can fathom. The sky isn’t even the limit, as shown by Branson’s near-future space-mission.
We can make this happen--don’t let fear get in the way of leaving the planet better off than when you got here.