Self Help

Imaginable - Jane McGonigal

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 76 min read

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  • The world has experienced many seemingly “unimaginable” and “unthinkable” events in recent years like the COVID pandemic, extreme weather events, and political upheavals.

  • The author argues these events may not have truly been unimaginable or unthinkable if we had engaged in better future forecasting and simulations.

  • In 2008, the author led a massive online simulation called Superstruct that modeled the spread and societal impacts of a hypothetical respiratory virus outbreak in 2019.

  • When COVID emerged in early 2020, many people contacted the author recalling her past pandemic simulation work.

  • Based on data from Superstruct, in early 2020 the author gave public advice about high-risk activities like religious services, weddings, nightclubs that later proved accurate.

  • The simulation also correctly predicted challenges like mask resistance that emerged during the real pandemic.

  • The introduction establishes that rigorous future forecasting through simulations can help identify risks and recommend actions to better prepare for uncertain or “unimaginable” future events.

  • The United States is a large, geographically diverse country in North America with a population of over 330 million. It has a mixed economy and high average living standards.

  • Major issues facing the US include political polarization, economic inequality, racial tensions, gun violence, healthcare costs, and environmental challenges like climate change.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on the US starting in early 2020. Schools closed and millions of women had to leave the workforce to care for children. Those without financial support struggled to follow public health guidelines.

  • Effective government responses to crises, like providing cash payments during COVID, help encourage people to follow health guidelines and contain spread. Places with past pandemic experience also responded stronger and faster.

  • Large-scale social simulations conducted in the past, like Superstruct and EVOKE, surprisingly accurately predicted many aspects of the COVID pandemic and other 2020 crises, showing the value of futures thinking to prepare for unforeseen events.

  • The author argues futures thinking habits can help make societies more resilient by stretching the imagination and ability to adapt to challenges, based on evidence from these past simulations. The book aims to teach readers these futures thinking techniques.

Here are a few thoughts on how I might react in 2033 to various future scenarios:

Climate change impacts: I would feel concerned about worsening effects of climate change like more extreme weather. As an individual, I could do my part to reduce my carbon footprint through choices in transportation, energy usage, diet, etc. I’d also stay informed on collective climate action and support policies aimed at transitioning to renewable energy and a greener economy.

Jobs transition: Automation replacing many jobs could worry me for family/friends. I’d aim to continually learn new skills and encourage lifelong learning for adaptability. I might explore new types of work like in sustainability, healthcare for an aging population, green technology, creative fields less susceptible to automation.

Living off Earth: If colonies on Mars or moon became reality, I’d be fascinated but also cautious of related risks and ethical issues to consider. I’d hope any such initiatives stress scientific collaboration and bettering life for all humanity rather than exclusionary or exploitative goals.

Online worlds: If immersive virtual/augmented reality was common, I’d be open to enjoying educational or socially-connective applications but also aware of potential for addiction, isolation, spread of misinformation, risks to privacy or disproportionate corporate influence over such platforms.

Emerging technologies: In general with new tech like AI, biotech, I’d advocate that researchers/leaders carefully consider how to maximize benefits and minimize harms, with oversight aimed at fairness, safety, transparency and human dignity. I’d also try to keep informed community discussions on shaping tech development in a responsible way.

  • The author developed debilitating headaches, vertigo, memory problems and mental health issues after contracting a virus.

  • To help with recovery, they designed a game called SuperBetter which became very successful and helped many people with health challenges.

  • During a futures simulation exercise with the CDC, the author imagined having a daughter in 10 years. This helped them realize they wanted to be a parent, even though they weren’t planning for kids at the time.

  • After many years of fertility treatments, they had twin daughters, which they attribute to having that early realization during the futures exercise.

  • The author believes engaging in futures thinking helped prepare them mentally for challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and gave them confidence to help others.

  • The book aims to help readers stretch their imagination about how the future could be different, so they are better prepared to adapt, feel resilient, and take actions that lead to future happiness and success.

  • The passage describes a game the author plays with students called “When Does the Future Start?” where participants write down when they think major changes will happen in their lives.

  • Answers vary widely from days/months to years in the future. Participants organize themselves in a timeline from shortest to longest timeframe.

  • Reasons for short timeframes include recent losses or shocks that changed someone’s life dramatically. Reasons for longer timeframes include anticipating change after achieving goals like graduating.

  • Milestone birthdays are also seen as moments when big changes may occur, not just personally but in the wider world.

  • The exercise is meant to show that everyone anticipates change happening at different points, for highly personal reasons. It gets people thinking about when they might be most receptive to envisioning dramatic changes.

  • The passage discusses the question “When does the future start?” and how people’s answers reveal things about their mindset.

  • Ten years is by far the most common answer, indicating most see that as enough time for dramatic change.

  • History shows many examples of major social, political, and technological changes happening within 10 year periods.

  • Thinking 10 years ahead gives a sense of “time spaciousness” - that we have enough time to enact change through new skills, allies, trial and error. This encourages creativity and higher, “maximal” goals.

  • Shorter timelines like years or months produce a sense of being rushed and discourage creativity. They lead to “minimal” goals focusing just on avoiding bad outcomes.

  • The passage recommends setting 10-year goals and resolutions to encourage ambitious, maximal thinking and feeling less time-pressured to enact meaningful change.

So in summary, the key idea is that envisioning the future 10 years ahead opens up more possibilities for change by providing psychological “space” and time to think bigger.

  • The passage encourages imagining one’s life and goals 10 years in the future to help create bigger changes and feel less constrained by time limits. It suggests making resolutions or schedules with 10-year deadlines to promote a sense of abundance and control over one’s timeline.

  • As an example, it describes a German community that redistributes farmland plots randomly every decade through a lottery system. It challenges the reader to imagine such a system in their own community.

  • It acknowledges some see change happening on 20-30 year timelines through generational shifts, but says this outlook delays action and makes predicting the distant future difficult.

  • A survey found most people rarely or never imagine their lives 10 years out, which the passage argues limits their ability to intentionally shape the future.

  • Thinking 10 years ahead uses a third-person perspective that provides emotional distance and a broader view, unlike thinking in the nearer past, present or future from a first-person view.

So in summary, the passage promotes regularly imagining 10 years into the future as a way to better direct one’s life path and access a more objective mindset for creating change.

  • The passage describes an experiment where participants traced the letter C in front of their forehead while imagining walking on the beach either tomorrow or 10 years in the future. Those imagining the near future traced it from their own perspective, while those imagining the distant future traced it from a third-person perspective. This suggests imagining the distant future provides psychological distance and a more empathetic perspective.

  • The author then shares an experience from over 10 years ago, debating autonomous vehicles with automotive executives who were certain people would never give up control of driving. She notes their resistance to consider an “unthinkable” idea, even for innovators.

  • At her training institute, the mantra “strong opinions, lightly held” taught the importance of flexible, open thinking when imagining possible futures. One must be willing to reconsider assumptions and let beliefs go when new information emerges.

  • In summary, the passage advocates mentally expanding perspectives in time and space to become more empathetic, open-minded and able to envision disruptive changes, rather than stubbornly holding narrow views that prevent considering previously unthinkable possibilities.

  • The passage talks about an exercise of getting students to imagine riding in a fully autonomous vehicle for the first time and describing their emotional reaction in one word. The author has done this exercise with thousands of students.

  • When students share their one-word reactions, it covers a wide range of emotions like excited, nervous, confused, etc. This shows how different people may feel about the same possible future.

  • Imagining the future with others allows us to notice differences and adapt our own beliefs more easily as new information is considered.

  • Data suggests trends like declining car ownership among youth and increased popularity of closing streets to cars during the pandemic, implying we may be past “peak driving” for human drivers in our lifetimes.

  • The future could see fewer cars and less human driving, changing where and how we live. Imagining such a future can spark new ideas.

  • While 10 years is used for future imagining, some consider it too long given age. The future timeframe should stretch the mind without feeling too distant.

  • Two exercises are described to practice imagining the future - a morning one day ahead and one year ahead, noting how details come more easily for the near future.

  • Episodic future thinking (EFT) involves using your imagination to vividly simulate and pre-experience possible future events and scenarios. It’s a form of “mental time travel” to the future.

  • EFT requires significant cognitive effort and engagement of multiple brain regions. It is more demanding than daydreaming or remembering, since you are constructing something novel that does not yet exist.

  • When engaging in EFT, the brain carries out three major types of sense-making:

    • Scene construction - building the setting, characters, props, etc. of the imagined future scenario. This establishes the “semantics” or basic facts.
    • Simulating your future self - imagining your perspective, thoughts, feelings, behaviors in that scenario.
    • Assessment and planning - evaluating whether you want that future and what you can do today to influence its likelihood.
  • Well-developed EFT ability allows you to pre-experience and prepare for possible futures, make decisions, plan goals and actions, and motivate yourself by tapping into anticipatory emotions.

  • Regular practice with EFT flexes your “mental time travel” muscle and makes envisioning and influencing the future easier over time. Both positive and challenging futures can provide useful perspectives.

So in summary, EFT engages our cognitive abilities to mentally project ourselves into plausible future scenarios, which can be a powerful tool for planning, motivation and decision-making.

During episodic future thinking (EFT), the brain engages in a complex process to construct and experience potential future scenarios. Various brain regions work together, including the hippocampus, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, putamen, insula, and amygdala.

The hippocampus draws on memories and knowledge to build a scene. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex identifies goals and motivations based on one’s deepest values and needs. The putamen contributes strategies that have worked in the past.

The insula and amygdala generate real emotions in response to the imagined future, allowing one to evaluate whether it is desirable. This helps determine if actions should be taken to influence the likelihood of different potential futures.

EFT involves asking oneself where one will be in the future, what will be different, what one wants and how to achieve it, and how one will feel. Studying EFT provides insights into mental health, as depression and anxiety are linked to difficulties with future imagination. EFT training can help people imagine more positively and gain a sense of control over potential futures.

  • Episodic future thinking (EFT) involves using one’s imagination to vividly envision potential future experiences and events. It helps reduce anxiety by allowing people to envision actions to cope with future uncertainties.

  • Researchers study EFT because declines in this ability are linked to various health conditions affecting cognitive function, like dementia, PTSD, concussions, and chronic illnesses. Poor EFT can impair planning and motivation.

  • Training EFT skills has been shown to significantly improve psychological well-being and cognitive abilities in clinical studies. Many future-thinking exercises in the book are based on such techniques.

  • EFT is also an effective tool for behavior change, as envisioning long-term benefits can motivate short-term investments like healthy eating, exercise, education, sustainability, etc.

  • EFT is linked to creativity - imagining the future boosts performance on creativity tests. Creativity training sometimes uses EFT exercises.

  • Children as young as 4-5 can start developing EFT skills through guided future envisioning exercises. EFT interventions have helped vulnerable groups like refugees and former inmates.

So in summary, the passage discusses the mental process of EFT, its connections to mental health, cognition, behavior, and creativity, and the potential for teaching and training EFT skills.

Here is a summary of the key details in the future scenario presented:

  • The date is February 2, ten years in the future
  • It is a new national holiday called “Thank You Day”
  • On this day, every citizen aged 16 or older receives $2,000 from the government
  • They get to keep half ($1,000) and must give the other half away within 24 hours
  • The money can only be given to people on a national registry of “essential and frontline workers” like healthcare workers, teachers, sanitation workers, etc.
  • The purpose is to honor those whose jobs are important to society but may not be adequately compensated
  • One has the choice to give to someone they know who made a difference in their life, or to a stranger matched through the registry database
  • Each year the registry is updated to reflect new groups of essential workers during times of crisis
  • Thank You Day was created as both an economic stimulus and a way to strengthen social bonds in the community through acts of gratitude

The scenario sets up an imaginative future situation and presents a decision point - who the individual would choose to give their $1,000 to on Thank You Day. This prompts considering how one might personally respond and what values would guide their choice.

  • Thank You Day is a hypothetical future scenario where each adult receives $2,000 from the government that they can gift to lower-paid essential workers as a thank you.

  • People often write gratitude letters or videos to share who they are gifting and why, which can go viral on social media.

  • The goal is to make essential jobs more financially attractive without mandating higher minimum wages. While rewards are unpredictable, some benefit from an annual bonus.

  • One can opt out and the $2,000 is returned to the government. When imagining participating 10 years in the future, most would choose to say thank you and gift someone for their contributions.

  • Additional questions are raised like who might feel left out, how people could try to exploit the system, and if it could help address issues like income inequality or social polarization over time through collective gratitude. Overall reactions are mixed but many see potential benefits as well as drawbacks to consider.

Here is a summary of the key points of the Future Scenario #2 “Have You Checked the Asteroid Forecast?“:

  • Scientists have detected an asteroid approaching Earth that could be 50m to 1km in size. An impact from even the smaller size could wipe out a city.

  • The estimated impact date is May 1, 3 years from now, but there is still a 95% chance it will miss Earth.

  • The location being impacted, if it hits, is still unknown but narrowed to a “ring of impact” around the globe based on current orbits. The place the scenario reader lives is on this ring.

  • Scientists and governments are working on plans to deflect the asteroid using technology that has never been tested before, but experts are unsure if it will work.

  • Communities on the ring of impact are being urged to start planning for potential mass evacuation and relocation in the next 3 years, which raises logistical and social challenges.

  • The scenario reader is waking up thinking about how seriously to take the forecast, whether evacuation of a large area is possible in 3 years, and what resources and willingness of people would be needed to relocate successfully if risk increases.

Here is a thoughtful response to the proposed scenario and questions:

I see this scenario playing out in the year 2032. I wake up in my home in Sacramento, California with my wife and two young children. We have an 8 AM family meeting already scheduled to discuss wildfire preparedness and long term plans.

Over breakfast, I get a notification on my phone from NASA alerting me to a potential new asteroid impact forecast. Out of curiosity, I click the link and am stunned by the details - a 10% chance of an asteroid striking Earth in the next 10 years. My heart races as I think of how to share this unexpected news with my family.

At our meeting, I tell my wife and kids about the asteroid forecast first. They feel anxious but know we will face this together as a team. We decide the smartest thing is to gather more expert opinions. I call my brother, who works for a science non-profit, to get his take and connect with relevant scientists.

If the experts validate the forecast is credible, I think most people would be in a state of unease but not full-blown panic at first. There would be online speculation and news coverage but life would still feel relatively normal. Over time, if the probability increased above 30-50%, governments would likely start coordinating response plans and the public mood might shift to more concern.

Personally, I would follow the science very closely and consider taking an online course on astronomy. While praying the forecast is wrong, I’d also want to be informed enough to have thoughtful discussions. Our family might stock some long-term supplies just to feel more secure.

With open communication and global cooperation, even a scenario like this could potentially bring more unity and focus on our shared humanity. In facing existential risks, what really matters most comes into clear focus.

  • The passage discusses the possibility that climate change could make their home and town uninhabitable due to extreme fire risk, requiring Californians to become “migratory” and relocate parts of the year to avoid annual wildfires.

  • The author has tried imagining an annual migration but hasn’t found realistic options yet for their family. They hope remote work/school could make it possible and are advocating for fire mitigation strategies like increased evacuation routes and controlled burns.

  • They donate to environmental causes researching technologies to reduce fire risk and help the community. Imagining worst-case scenarios motivates them to try preventing such an outcome while also mentally preparing to leave if necessary.

  • The key points are the family is worried about extreme fire risk making their home unlivable due to climate change, they are exploring migration options but nothing feels realistic yet, and they are taking political and charitable actions to help mitigate fires and research solutions while also mentally preparing for possible relocation.

  • The author plays a game with students called “Stump the Futurist” where they try to name something they are 100% confident will be the same in 10 years. Common answers are that it takes a man and woman to make a baby or humans need oxygen to breathe.

  • Over time, new scientific developments have challenged these assumptions. Babies have been born from three parents using new fertility techniques. Researchers are working on allowing babies from two same-sex parents. Mice babies have been created from two mothers.

  • Scientists are exploring creating life from scratch without eggs or sperm and using artificial wombs. Researchers grew mouse embryos in artificial wombs.

  • These developments open up discussion of alternative family structures and reproductive choices. They also point to concerning declines in human fertility due to environmental toxins.

  • One student shared how considering these future possibilities helped her decide to pursue IVF with her husband despite religious objections, feeling more able to make her own choices.

  • In summary, imagining radical changes to assumptions helps people prepare for uncertainty and influence the future.

  • The passage discusses the game of “Stump the Futurist” where the futurist tries to convince students that facts often considered unchangeable could be different in 10 years with the right evidence and thinking.

  • As an example, the futurist brings up the fact that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. While seemingly set, developments in space travel and Mars colonization mean some humans could experience sunrises and sunsets on a different schedule if living on Mars.

  • Private companies like SpaceX and NASA programs are actively working towards manned missions to Mars in the 2030s, meaning the first Martian colonists could witness different sunrises/sunsets relatively soon.

  • Mars colonization would require reinventing all aspects of society like food, governance, laws, etc. The futurist argues we should all participate in envisioning these new societies rather than leaving it to just private space entrepreneurs.

  • Discussing far-out futures like life on Mars can spark creativity and new ideas, as evidenced by a professor now exploring how to support well-being for space travelers through new experience design. Thinking about seemingly “ridiculous” futures opens up innovation.

So in summary, the passage uses the example of changing sunrises/sunsets on Mars to illustrate how discussing unlikely future scenarios can lead to new ideas and encourage creative thinking.

  • The passage imagines a future scenario 10 years from now where scientists have been warning of an urgent global fertility crisis. The birthrate has declined by at least 30% in most countries.

  • In response, reproductive epidemiologists sound the alarm and call for an “emergency sperm bank” to collect and freeze as much sperm as possible to hedge against a worst-case scenario where the human population declines rapidly.

  • A “Global Emergency Sperm Drive” is launched to encourage men under 60 to donate sperm. Over 50 million men have registered so far through efforts like social media campaigns and celebrity endorsements.

  • However, there is skepticism about the drive on social media. Some question if it is a real emergency or what the stored sperm might actually be used for. The donor consent form also raises concerns by allowing unlimited future use of the genetic material worldwide in perpetuity.

  • The scenario poses questions about how individuals would respond - whether to donate, what information they would need, and various ethical considerations around trust, use of genetic material, future family structures, and more.

  • In reality, scientists are already preserving genetic material to prevent biodiversity loss, showing such a scenario of stockpiling DNA/sperm could potentially happen.

  • The passage discusses the practice of endangered animal biobanking, which involves storing biological material like ovarian and testicular tissue from endangered species with the goal of eventually using it for reproduction to help species recover or prevent extinction.

  • A new facility called Nature’s SAFE was established in 2021 dedicated to biobanking endangered animal tissue. Other biobanking efforts include the Millennium Seed Bank which has preserved over 2.4 billion plant seeds, including some from extinct species, and plans for a Living Coral Biobank.

  • The author poses the question of whether human biodiversity should also be biobanked to protect against potential future threats. While an extreme scenario of a “global fertility crisis” is used as an example, the core point is that considering challenging future situations can help us prepare and reduce shock if those situations arise.

  • Imagining potential futures, even ridiculous ones, can have psychological benefits like building confidence and feeling less helpless if elements of that imagined future come to pass in reality. This is due to the brain’s response of recognition rather than shock when facing a familiar situation.

  • Examples are given of how participants who imagined a pandemic scenario were mentally prepared when COVID-19 emerged, allowing them to act quickly and help others during the real crisis. Imagining the future can function like a kind of exposure therapy for difficult situations.

  • Dator’s Law states that different people find different future ideas ridiculous based on their own assumptions. The more ridiculous an idea seems, the more it challenges our assumptions.

  • Playing “Stump the Futurist” helps develop an awareness of what we dismiss as impossible so we can look for evidence of potential changes.

  • The exercise is to make a list of things believed to be unchangeable, then find evidence that they may already be changing or could change in the future. This challenges our assumptions.

  • By finding evidence that contradicts our stated “unchangeable facts”, we sumarize to challenge our own assumptions and see that whatever we previously thought was fixed may already be in flux. The goal is to remain open-minded about future changes.

Here are summaries of the key points:

  • Aries, the future of fashion, public gardens, video games, higher education, manufacturing, and professional sports all want fresh thinking on how to accomplish their goals.

  • The artistic director of a ballet company brainstormed how ballet could change after COVID, such as dancers performing into their 70s-90s. This could allow for new stories telling the aging of classic ballet characters.

  • One Fair Wage held a workshop to envision restaurants without subminimum wages. Ideas included restaurants receiving grants/contracts to provide free meals, creating a steady revenue stream without relying on tips. Some restaurants have adopted this “High Road Kitchens” model.

  • Radical reimagining may be needed for global issues like nuclear disarmament. Scenarios imagined disarmament happening rapidly like COVID lockdowns or being forced by private companies making critical technology contingent on disarmament.

  • Playing with ridiculous future ideas, even those that seem impossible, can help transform seemingly intractable problems and create unexpected solutions. The game can be played by groups in person or online over various timeframes.

  • One of the author’s online students, Jeremy, shared how playing the “One Hundred Ways” game helped his anxious daughter make a decision about online schooling during the pandemic. Brainstorming alternative futures reduced her anxiety and helped her feel more in control.

  • The game has both quick benefits of improved mood, as well as longer-term payoffs like being better prepared for unexpected changes like school shutdowns during COVID-19.

  • The author encourages readers to try flipping facts about their own lives, such as citizenship or occupation, to imagine alternative futures and broaden perspectives.

  • Doctors potentially prescribing things beyond medication is discussed, such as hugs, video games, puppies, or shoes, to support whole-person health. This could evolve healthcare systems.

  • A future scenario is described where people receive a “medicine bag” to fill with free fresh produce weekly from grocery stores or markets. This is part of insurers prescribing nutrition for better health outcomes and lower costs.

So in summary, the article discusses how imagining alternative futures through games like “One Hundred Ways” can provide both immediate emotional benefits and longer-term advantages like flexibility and preparedness, using various thought experiments and scenarios as examples.

  • The passage advocates imagining futures that are different or “upside down” from today. It provides the example of considering a future where doctors can prescribe free fruits and vegetables to improve public health.

  • It discusses existing programs and organizations working to make “produce prescriptions” a reality in the US. Research suggests this could significantly improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

  • It encourages going beyond just considering this scenario to thinking about related societal and economic implications, like impacts on agriculture or new businesses that could emerge.

  • The passage recommends “flipping facts” by imagining the opposite of 100 present-day truths to open up thinking about alternative futures. The goal is to challenge assumptions and envision plausible changes.

  • It introduces the concepts of “strangesight” - noticing unusual things that challenge expectations, and “signals of change” - concrete examples proving a type of future change is already happening now in some form.

  • Finding signals involves actively looking for clues about potential futures in various sources, to fill one’s mind with possibilities to envision and predict future scenarios from available information.

So in summary, the passage promotes imaginatively conceiving of alternative futures by inverting assumptions, and looking for early “signals” that a different future may be emerging, to think more creatively about plausible changes.

  • The author saw a “No Drone Zone” sign at a local park, which she viewed as a signal of broader social changes related to drone use becoming more common.

  • She did further research and found similar signs appearing worldwide, indicating it was a strong signal rather than a weak one.

  • Increased drone use was raising issues like noise/visual pollution, privacy concerns from camera-equipped drones, and even potential for police surveillance uses.

  • This early stage of uncertainty around drones presented both risks and opportunities - a chance to shape policies but also creeping encroachment on privacy if left unaddressed.

  • The author has since used drones herself to gain knowledge and work through discomfort, continuing to track signals of changing drone applications and regulations.

  • During COVID, drones were used for surveillance enforcement of lockdowns but also provided a new perspective through empty city street footage.

  • Drones could potentially democratize visual documentation like cell phones did, enabling more accountability through citizen witness of injustices like the George Floyd case. But this power also enables surveillance if left unrestricted.

So in summary, the author sees the rise of drones as an example of a specific, emerging technology that presents both opportunities and risks worth ongoing consideration and discussion to help guide its influence on society.

  • The passage advocates for avoiding excessive surveillance from police, government and military drones, and preserving clear, open skies for citizens to enjoy naturally.

  • It describes how the author and her husband have gotten involved with using drones and drone footage in positive ways, like documenting human rights issues and producing awareness-raising videos.

  • They introduce drones and “drone infrastructure” as ethical issues into technology trainings, acknowledging the harm caused by military drones and need for trauma-informed development.

  • It encourages readers to get involved when they see signs of change that inspire them, in order to shape the future positively and feel comfortable with transformations.

  • Examples of emerging drone technologies are described, like coordinated drone light shows, delivery drones, and floating warehouses for fast delivery. Concerns are raised about surveillance, data collection, and loss of privacy and quiet enjoyment.

  • Scenario descriptions imagine possible futures where citizens regularly use coordinated drone constellations or receive deliveries via drone infrastructure, incorporating both benefits and ethical issues raised by increased drone use.

  • Raul has two daughters who are autistic, aged 5 and 7. He wants to make the world more accommodating for them by the time they are adults.

  • Many autistic people are highly sensitive to sensory stimuli like lights, sounds, tags, which can cause discomfort. Raul looks for examples of “sensory accommodation” like quiet rooms in airports and stores.

  • He hopes increasing awareness of accommodation will inspire more inclusive spaces. He also studies the LGBTQ rights movement for clues on improving autism acceptance.

  • Raul wants autism to be openly discussed and celebrated rather than just bringing awareness one day a year. He takes his family out in public despite potential challenges to normalize autism.

  • The story then discusses “signals of change” like the discovery of pizzly bears, a polar bear-grizzly bear hybrid resulting from climate change. This hybridization could indicate species adapting to warming, and questions what humans may need to do.

  • It suggests discussing signals of change with friends to generate ideas. Climate change may force billions to relocate by 2070, requiring equitable migration policies, which current approaches may not support at such a large scale. Imagining community responses to future migration and climate impacts could help prepare.

  • The passage describes how in 2021, scientists discovered that a drone crash landing wiped out an entire generation of elegant terns at a nesting ground in California, with nearly 2,000 eggs abandoned. This was a major wildlife loss.

  • In response, governments along the west coast planned stricter “no drone zone” laws for wildlife areas to better educate the public and enforce the rules.

  • The author sees this as a signal of changing attitudes and laws around drones, as well as a signal of animals like polar bears needing to adapt as climates change. Sometimes signals can align in a special way.

  • Following signals and clues is like following a ball of string through a labyrinth, leading to unexpected places but eventually an open space of new ideas. Looking for signals helps develop a “strangesight” for noticing surprising changes.

  • In summary, the passage discusses how a drone accident wiped out seabirds, acted as a signal for changing drone laws and policies, and demonstrates how following signals of change can lead one to think creatively about the future.

Here is a one paragraph summary:

The passage discusses future forces and how to think about their impact. It defines future forces as powerful trends that are almost inevitable to shape our future in a major way. It suggests paying attention to forces that make us uncomfortable, as that indicates they demand significant changes. As examples, it points to climate change, disease outbreaks, cyber attacks, and others that are consistently highlighted as major risks in reports surveying global experts and leaders. The key takeaway is that by learning about the forces experts warn about, like those routinely flagged in the Global Risks Report, one can better understand how to navigate coming changes and potentially influence outcomes through various means of engagement.

  • Studies show that during 2020-2021, mental health deteriorated for 80% of children and young adults globally. These problems may have long-term ripple effects lasting a decade or longer.

  • This adds to other challenges youth already face like the digital divide and disillusionment. Combined with threats like climate change, inequality, and other risks, the future outlook could involve scenarios like most global youth striking, a 1 billion person mental health crisis, frequent cyberattacks causing internet shutdowns, and extreme weather forcing mass migration.

  • To not be blindsided by these future forces, one needs to pay attention to expert warnings and the direction indicators are pointing. Having an awareness of potential disruptive trends can help one better prepare themselves and help others.

  • Even brief imagination of potential crises, like 20 seconds envisioning a disaster, can help overcome normalcy bias. Normalcy bias is the human tendency to ignore risks that have never happened before. But many history-changing events were previously unimaginable.

  • Scientific studies show that vividly imagining a possible future event makes one more likely to believe it could actually occur. This is because it feels easier to recall something you have a memory of, even if it hasn’t happened yet. Each vivid imagining strengthens this effect.

Here are a few key takeaways from summarizing the passage:

  • Imagining possible future crises or disasters vividly can help overcome “normalcy bias” and prime the brain to see those risks as real possibilities rather than unthinkable events. This would allow one to react faster if such a crisis actually occurs.

  • Brief periods (20 seconds) of active imagination are enough to form new, persuasive memories of possible future scenarios.

  • Rather than worrying excessively about hypothetical crises, it’s better to identify small, concrete ways one could help others affected by that crisis if it did happen. For example, taking a mental health first aid course.

  • Turning overwhelming future forces into opportunities to help even one person can increase a sense of empowerment and hope. Examples given include making online education more inclusive and inviting youth to participate in futures workshops.

  • If no specific helping action comes to mind, one can set an intention to help and wait patiently for an opportunity. In the meantime, finding inspiration from others already working on issues can alleviate anxiety.

The key message is that vividly imagining potential crises through futures thinking need not induce fear or overwhelm, but can instead help one identify tangible, achievable ways to help others affected by those crises, if they were to occur. This recasts worrisome futures as opportunities.

  • The passages discuss keeping track of and understanding various dynamic future forces, like technologies, risks, and social trends, that could significantly impact our lives. This includes things like asteroids science, pandemics, climate change, etc.

  • The author finds it helpful to acknowledge these bigger forces and not deny or avoid potential risks and revolutions. Tracking reports like the Global Risks Report helps anticipate crises in advance.

  • Not all future forces are risks - some could positively impact areas like healthcare, energy, social safety nets, education, and more. The author provides optimistic examples like mRNA vaccines, renewable energy, universal basic income, anti-aging technology.

  • The author encourages imagining how positive future forces could fully play out and what a resulting world may look like. This can provide hope and inspiration. Tracking future forces is an ongoing process of revisiting and updating understandings over time.

In summary, the passages discuss the value of actively tracking and imagining various dynamic future forces, both positive and negative, to better anticipate changes and potentially influence developments for the better.

The passage describes a possible future scenario where facial recognition technology and “face searching” apps are ubiquitous. In the scenario, you notice someone discreetly pointing their phone camera at you while in a public place. You realize they just used facial recognition to search for information about you.

The passage asks you to imagine details like where you are, what time it is, who is with you. It also asks how you would feel about being face searched by a stranger without consent, and what you might do in response.

The passage discusses how facial recognition technology is advancing rapidly and becoming very accurate. However, it notes concerns about racial bias in current algorithms. It also mentions some regulation efforts by certain cities but says the technology is spreading widely among individuals and businesses.

As an example, the passage describes testing a current “face search engine” app called PimEyes that was able to quickly and accurately match the author’s face to hundreds of online photos.

Overall, the passage explores how ubiquitous facial recognition and face searching could profoundly change social interactions and expectations of privacy in public in the near future. It raises issues like consent, information access, behavioral changes, and addressing biases in the technology.

  • The scenario imagines a future where college learning is organized around solving “grand challenges” rather than traditional academic majors. Students would “declare a challenge” to focus their studies on problems like climate change, health, gender equality, etc.

  • It describes challenge season as an exciting time when millions of students worldwide declare the challenge they want to dedicate their education to addressing. The top 10 challenges from the previous year are listed.

  • Hypothetical situations are presented where a student, parent, teacher, or employee has to make a choice about which challenge to declare or support.

  • Existing programs like the UN Sustainable Development Goals, XPRIZE competitions, and the Grand Challenges Scholars Program are mentioned as trends making this type of future more plausible.

  • The scenario envisions lifelong learners of all ages would be able to participate in challenge-based programs through online and community college options. Universities and organizations would collaborate on these globally.

So in summary, it outlines a vision where education is restructured around tackling real-world problems through “declaring a challenge,” drawing on existing models to argue this future could realistically come to pass.

  • Many online learners on platforms like Coursera and edX are already educated adults seeking new skills or opportunities for learning, rather than just young college students. Over 2/3 have a bachelor’s degree or higher and more than half learn while working full-time.

  • Factors like automation leading to career changes, free community college, and universal basic income could further increase demand for continuing education among adults.

  • Younger generations who have grown up playing video games for many hours may be primed for a shift to more game-like, collaborative online education experiences.

  • Developing strong imagined empathy for one’s future self, through vividly and positively envisioning that future self, can increase pro-social and goal-achieving behaviors driven by self-control today that benefit the future self. Having less empathy/connection to one’s future self is associated with more present-focused, impulsive decision-making. Questionnaires can measure individuals’ empathy for their future self similar to brain imaging studies.

So in summary, it is realistic to see continuing learners as increasingly consisting of educated working adults seeking new opportunities, rather than just young students, and online platforms may help meet this demand through engaging, game-like experiences that build connection to one’s future goals and self.

  • The passage discusses two types of empathy: easy empathy which comes from direct personal experience, and hard empathy which requires more effort to imagine someone else’s perspective without that direct experience.

  • Hard empathy is important for broadening perspective, building relationships, and creating a healthier society. It involves imaginatively putting oneself in another person’s situation rather than just guessing at their feelings.

  • The author suggests practicing hard empathy by finding news stories about people with radically different lives and imagining what it would be like if their circumstances applied to one’s own life and environment. This blended approach of blending facts about others with one’s own feelings facilitates a more authentic empathy.

  • Studies show “blended empathy” like this leads to feeling more connected with different people and motivated to help or support their causes. It is presented as a way to build empathy even for those outside one’s usual circles and a future self that may be quite different.

In summary, the passage discusses the importance and challenges of hard empathy, and recommends a strategy of blended empathy by imagining unfamiliar situations apply to one’s own life as a way to connect with others in a more authentic and impactful way.

Here is a vivid scene imagining what it might be like to live under strict water restrictions like those imposed in Cape Town:

I wake up feeling parched, my throat dry. Rolling over, I look at the water tracker app on my phone - I’ve only got 30 liters left for the day. My first thought is of a long, cool shower to refresh myself, but I know that’s impossible now. One minute is all I can spare.

Begrudgingly, I haul myself out of bed and shuffle to the bathroom. I turn on the tap and cup my hands under the stream, taking small sips as the digital display counts down the liters. Ten liters gone in a flash. I resist the urge to linger, reluctantly stepping out still feeling unclean.

Downstairs, my roommate Amy is in the kitchen preparing a meager breakfast of toast and tea. “Only 20 liters left between us,” she sighs, worriedly eyeing the flour and cereal we can no longer easily cook with. I offer a reassuring smile, putting on a brave face though anxiety gnaws at my insides. What will we do if the taps run dry?

After our dry meal, I get to work, hoping to distract from my parched state. But my mind keeps drifting to water - how many more days can we endure like this? And what of our elderly neighbors, how will they survive without extra support? I resolve to check on them later, sharing what few liters I can spare. Together, perhaps we can endure the drought.

Here are two journal entries responding to the scenarios provided:

Journal Entry 1: The Great Disconnection

I’m sitting at my desk working when the emergency alert suddenly pops up on my computer screen. At first I think it must be some kind of mistake or hoax, but the official government warning sends a chill down my spine. Within minutes, the internet and cell service will go dark across the entire country.

Panic rises in my chest as I think of all the ways my daily life will be disrupted. How will I communicate with friends and family? How will I get work done without internet access? Will stores even be able to process credit card payments? I quickly shoot off texts to my partner and parents to warn them before the shutdown hits.

As the minutes tick by, I frantically backup important files to external storage. I also print out maps, fill water bottles, and pack a bag with supplies just in case this crisis drags on longer than expected. When the final minute hits, I hold my breath waiting for the phone in my hand to go dead. Everything goes eerily quiet. The uncertainty of what comes next is terrifying.

Journal Entry 2: The New Financial System

I rub my eyes in disbelief as I read the presidential announcement. Due to escalating cyberattacks, the government is shutting down the existing financial system for 30 days to implement mandatory security upgrades. All bank accounts will be temporarily inaccessible.

At first I’m frustrated that my money is now trapped, but then I start to see this as an opportunity. Across the country, local communities are coming together, sharing resources, and strengthening bonds of trust. Some started bartering skills or goods. Others established communal food gardens. It’s amazing what people can achieve when not focused solely on money.

After the transition, the new financial infrastructure is said to be hack-proof. But I have to admit, I’m not in a rush to go back to the way things were. Perhaps there’s a better path ahead if we retain some of this cooperation and resilience and re-think our relationship with money and wealth. Exciting times could be ahead as we rebuild stronger foundations for our economic future.

  • In 2021, Colonial Pipeline had to shut down its major fuel pipeline after a cyberattack, disrupting fuel supply on the East Coast.

  • Also in 2021, a cyberattack on meat processor JBS inflated global food prices and disrupted supply chains worldwide.

  • Hospitals are frequently targeted by cyberattacks. In 2020, a attack shut down the University of Vermont Medical Center network for 42 days, forcing delays and postponements of treatments.

  • Future cyberattacks could lead to widespread network shutdowns as a defensive strategy. People should consider how to prepare and communicate during a potential telecom shutdown.

  • “Mesh network” apps like Bridgefy, Signal Offline Messenger, and FireChat allow phone users within 330 feet to connect and send messages even without cell service or internet, creating a decentralized local “mesh” network for communication.

  • Amazon is developing its own “Sidewalk” mesh network using smart devices like Echo speakers and Ring cameras, which could potentially counter internet shutdowns, though privacy and security issues have been raised.

  • In the future, governments may transition entirely to digital currencies and try to remove paper money from circulation. A hypothetical scenario presented a US federal “cash buyback” program offering to double the value of cash surrendered for digital dollars, incentivizing the transition.

  • The passage discusses how digital currency and programmable money will likely transform the financial system gradually over decades, not through a sudden shock. However, imagining a dramatic overnight scenario can help attract more attention to the ongoing changes.

  • It provides examples of how digital currency could be programmed by governments for purposes like stimulus payments that expire quickly, discouraging hoarding of money, and incentivizing certain behaviors. This would give governments more control over the economy.

  • It notes that such programmable money will enhance governments’ oversight abilities but may also drive demand for privacy-focused alternatives. As money becomes more digital, the policy options will multiply.

  • The passage then describes how the author led workshops with a tech company (Company X) to anticipate future consequences of a new product. However, once the workshops revealed potential issues, the company involveed lawyers and clamped down to avoid legal responsibility.

  • It argues that futures thinking should not happen secretly but openly to best avoid potential harms. Shared imagination allows us to envision more outcomes than individual thinking alone.

Here is a summary of key points about practicing hard empathy from the passage:

  • Hard empathy involves going beyond imagining how different futures might affect others, and actively asking others how they would feel and what they would want.

  • It means filling in gaps in your own experiences with stories from people whose lives are very different from your own. Envision changing your circumstances to be more like theirs.

  • This helps increase your natural empathy and feel more connected to others. It improves your ability to imagine change.

  • You can practice hard empathy when considering future scenarios. Don’t just guess impacts, ask others directly what they would be excited or worried about.

  • Share stories you write down to move from mental to social simulation. Fill your imagination with real hopes and concerns of those with different lives and values than your own.

The passage advocates practicing hard empathy as a way to strengthen understanding of different perspectives and envision positive changes in the future from those viewpoints. It’s about truly considering how others would experience various scenarios rather than just speculating yourself.

  • Low-income neighborhoods suffered higher COVID infection rates as the virus spread more easily where people live in close proximity with less ability to socially distance or work remotely.

  • Many low-wage workers delayed getting vaccinated due to concerns about missing pay if they experienced side effects from the vaccine.

  • Economic inequality is likely to worsen in the aftermath of the pandemic, as it has following past pandemics. Billionaire wealth increased substantially while global workers’ earnings declined.

  • Job losses disproportionately impacted women and minorities. Unemployment can lead to long-term lower lifetime earnings.

  • School closures resulted in learning losses of 6-12 months, which can translate to lower lifetime wages. Wealthier families were more able to access private school or tutoring.

  • Poorer countries lacked funds to minimize economic hardships through business bailouts or cash payments to citizens. Half of families in poorer countries reported food shortages.

  • The pandemic exposed flaws and inequalities in health systems globally like shortages of healthcare workers, a “brain drain” of medical professionals from poorer to richer countries, lack of universal healthcare increasing costs as a barrier to care, and profit motives slowing vaccine distribution to poorer nations.

  • The latest Global Burden of Disease study indicates that preventable chronic diseases pose a major health burden and mortality risk. Healthcare systems focus more on treatment than prevention of disease.

  • Underlying health conditions make people more vulnerable to climate crises like heat waves.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in global health governance. There was no way to compel countries like Brazil and India to take responsible action or hold them accountable when their failures affected neighbors.

  • The pandemic is an opportunity to reinvent and improve healthcare systems globally. Many challenging questions are being debated about topics like profit caps, health as a human right, debt relief for developing countries, and how to make major reforms to address inequities, expand access to care, and strengthen prevention efforts and global coordination.

  • Political polarization and the rise of “post-truth” attitudes made collective action against COVID-19 very difficult. Misinformation spread more widely in polarized societies. People’s views on a country’s pandemic response tended to align with their existing political allegiances rather than actual outcomes.

  • Racial inequities were another systemic vulnerability, as racial/ethnic minority groups experienced higher infection and death rates from COVID-19 in countries around the world. The pandemic highlighted the ongoing issue of racial injustice in societies.

  • Pre-pandemic, companies optimized supply chains and workforces for efficiency and profit by keeping inventories and staffing lean. This created brittle systems with no slack or buffers.

  • When the pandemic hit, it exposed critical weaknesses, like shortages of medical supplies as most factories were in China and shut down early. Geographically concentrated production hampered the response.

  • Patented medicines also limited factories’ ability to pivot production, leading to drug shortages. Non-medical supply chains also broke as demand suddenly changed.

  • Just-in-time systems failed because they couldn’t adjust to non-normal demand patterns. Shortages of goods like toilet paper and bikes ensued as companies struggled to adapt.

  • Overworked and understaffed frontline workforces in many industries were susceptible to outbreaks, exacerbating disruptions. Crowded meat plants saw severe outbreaks and meat shortages.

  • Pre-pandemic, the WHO recognized rising workplace stress and burnout as an “occupational pandemic,” foreshadowing struggles during the pandemic as overworked populations faced even greater stresses.

  • A survey of over 50,000 workers across 46 countries found that 85% said their physical or mental well-being had declined due to overwork, 72% felt pressure to work while sick, and 51% were unable to maintain strong personal relationships due to work demands.

  • Another study by the WHO found that in a single year, overwork (defined as 55+ hours per week) led to 745,000 deaths worldwide from increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and other health issues. Most of these deaths were among men.

  • Overwork poses risks not just for individual health but also for societal resilience during crises. Workers who are overworked and burned out may struggle more during future emergencies.

  • Climate change exacerbated the COVID-19 pandemic by facilitating animal-to-human disease transmission, increasing disease risks through air pollution, and making responses to outbreaks more difficult through extreme weather events. It also set a precedent for politicizing scientific consensus.

  • Moving forward, societies will need to address systemic issues like inequality, broken health systems, political divisions, injustice, fragile supply chains, overwork culture, and climate change in order to build resilience against future overlapping crises. These preexisting conditions will continue complicating our responses if not adequately addressed.

Here are some potential responses:

  • Climate change and environmental degradation could add significant complications to future scenarios. Extreme weather, natural disasters, food/water insecurity from climate impacts may exacerbate other issues. Societies will need to adapt and build resilience to withstand these new challenges.

  • Political polarization and eroding trust in institutions could get worse, complicating coordinated responses. Disinformation and conflicting messaging may sow more confusion. Finding ways to bring people together and establish shared understanding will be important.

  • Economic inequality and lack of social support systems leave many vulnerable to disasters or crises. Ensuring equitable response and recovery efforts that reach all communities will be crucial for stability. Addressing root causes of inequality should be a long-term goal.

  • Racism, sexism and other forms of systemic injustice mean some groups suffer disproportionate impacts. Conscious efforts must be made to counteract biases, from policy design to program implementation. Healing social divisions is a precondition for resilience.

  • Public health vulnerabilities, like underfunded systems and uneven access to care, hamper prevention and response capabilities. Building robust, equitable and adaptable health infrastructure needs to be a higher priority.

  • Dependencies that leave supply chains or critical networks exposed to failures must be addressed to shore up resilience. More self-sufficiency and redundancy are worth investing in.

The passage imagines a future scenario where tens of millions of people gather twice a day to howl in grief, anger, and hope for change. It started with one young woman in Mumbai who began posting daily videos of herself howling to express her emotions about current events and failures of leadership. Others joined in by also posting howling videos.

It soon became a global social media trend and grassroots movement. People howled together in both public and private spaces at noon to express pain and at night to express hope and solidarity. Reactions were mixed - some saw it as protest, others as distraction. Questions arose about where howling should be allowed or restricted.

The scenario then invites the reader to imagine themselves in this future and decide if they would join the howls or not, and to consider various implications and possible next steps for the movement.

As an example, the passage shares that the author’s own town engaged in nightly howling during the early pandemic lockdown in 2020, with over a million estimated participants. It provided stress relief and community during a difficult time, and later incorporated messages around racial justice issues.

In summary, the passage imagines a world where howling becomes a grassroots form of mass collective expression around societal problems, leaving open questions about where such a movement could lead.

  • The passage describes hearing the cries of grief from a mother in the adjacent room in a neonatal intensive care unit after being told her prematurely born daughter would not survive and would be taken off life support.

  • The screams of grief were unrestrained and seemingly “unimaginable” in their pain and despair. The author says she will never forget those cries and feels like she can still hear them echoing in her mind years later.

  • She believes witnessing another person’s raw, unfiltered grief in that way leaves a permanent impact and changes you.

  • The author then poses questions about whether society will give people space and time to fully express their grief through unrestrained cries and screams, and whether people will be willing to listen to such displays of emotion.

  • She wonders if large-scale collective expressions of grief through howling or crying could help address global trauma by tapping into evolutionary instincts to soothe and help each other. However, she acknowledges such a large-scale “Howl” scenario may not be probable.

  • The passage reflects on how bearing witness to another’s deep pain and grief through their vocal expressions can profoundly impact and stay with the observer long-term.

The passage discusses increasing optimism and hope for change around societal challenges by using imagination. It suggests imagining positive futures where challenges have been solved, through techniques like considering how things could be different 10 years from now or imagining alternative futures. The more vividly and realistically one can imagine positive change, the better prepared the mind will be to spot opportunities to enact real change.

It then presents the “Urgent Futures Questionnaire” as a framework for understanding how connected and empowered one feels regarding different future challenges. Calculating a “power score” based on the responses can reveal where one has the strongest calling and potential to make an impact. Discussing the questionnaire with others can also increase hope and sense of empowerment.

Overall, the passage advocates for the power of imagination to pull desired futures into the present and motivate collective action. It argues we should keep imagining alternative visions and asking questions to make more progressive possibilities seem accessible and spur brave, bold thinking about societal transformation.

  • Originally, psychology assumed we learn helplessness when exposed to uncontrollable adverse conditions. But newer research shows the brain’s default is to assume helplessness, and we have to learn we have power and control.

  • The instinctive biological response to stress is to “freeze” rather than fight or flee. We have to learn we can take action to influence outcomes.

  • Learning we have control activates the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) which overrides the instinct to freeze driven by the dorsal raphe nucleus.

  • Video game players perceive more control in their lives because games teach control through experimentation and skillbuilding to overcome challenges. This strengthens the vmPFC pathways.

  • We can overcome the freeze response by imagining controlling future scenarios, building confidence we can help solve problems. This “learned helpfulness” strengthens our sense of agency.

  • Future scenarios are opportunities to practice heroic, adventurous roles through imagination, finding ways to help others and address crises. Bringing insights back strengthens our ability to improve the present.

  • The passage discusses the “call to adventure” that arises when confronting the future and uncertain scenarios. It’s an invitation to imagine how we might adapt and thrive in unfamiliar situations and crises.

  • In myths, the call is sometimes refused, with people clinging to the status quo instead of rising to the challenge. The passage outlines four common ways people refuse the call: through distancing, denial, fatigue, or surrender.

  • During the early COVID-19 pandemic, many refused the call by doubting warnings from affected areas, saying it wouldn’t happen here or wouldn’t be a big deal. Refusal persisted until the crisis hit home.

  • The exercise “Pack Your Bags for the Future” encourages imagining what strengths, skills, knowledge, communities and values each person brings that could help in future challenges. It says no contribution is too small, and getting creative about applications is important.

  • The goal is to answer the call to imagine the future proactively, rather than reactively once crises emerge, by drawing on diverse talents and perspectives from all members of society. Open-mindedness about potential roles is key.

  • The passage describes a future scenario in the year 2035 where Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS), a potentially fatal meat allergy caused by tick bites, has become a global pandemic affecting over 50 million people in the US and 250 million worldwide.

  • It outlines how AGS causes life-threatening allergic reactions to foods and products containing mammalian meat, dairy, or gelatin. Emergency room visits for allergic reactions have skyrocketed as a result.

  • Society has adapted in major ways, with over 25% of the global population now vegan, outdoor spaces emptying out to avoid ticks, and people abandoning pets to reduce tick exposure. Critical drugs like epinephrine are in short supply.

  • People are divided into 5 groups - those with AGS and the lifestyle changes required, those afraid of getting it, those preemptively adopting an AGS lifestyle, those doubling down on meat/outdoors, and deniers who think it’s a hoax.

  • The scenario poses imagining oneself living in this AGS-pandemic world in 2035 and considering which skills/values from one’s profile could be helpful in responding to the crisis.

Here are the key points from the summary:

  • The scenario imagines a future crisis called the “AGS crisis” where a tick-borne syndrome called Alpha-Gal Syndrome (AGS) becomes pandemic. It causes a life-threatening meat and dairy allergy.

  • The question asked how I might react to such a crisis - would I take extreme precautions, live more freely while possible, make major life changes, be in denial, etc.

  • Then it shifted to discussing how to identify opportunities to help in such a future. Three questions were posed:

    1. What will people want and need?

    2. What kinds of people will be particularly useful?

    3. How can unique strengths be used to help others?

  • Ideas were then brainstormed for answers to those questions in the context of an AGS pandemic, focusing on things like increased demand for tick prevention supplies, plant-based foods, skillsets around allergy management, outdoor activity adaptation, and more.

  • The goal was to think expansively and creatively about how individuals and communities might adapt and find ways to support each other through such a challenging scenario.

  • The scenario imagines a potential future crisis called “The Alpha-Gal Crisis” where tick-borne allergies to the alpha-gal sugar molecule become widespread globally due to factors like climate change and increasing tick populations.

  • Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS) is a real condition caused by a tick bite that can lead to life-threatening allergies to red meat. Rates of AGS and sensitization to alpha-gal are increasing worldwide.

  • With rising tick populations and exposure, it’s plausible that many more people could develop severe AGS in the future, potentially resulting in a global crisis if red meat consumption needs to be severely restricted.

  • However, there are also reasons for hope - some research suggests AGS may be reversible, new drugs could prevent allergic reactions, and rapid advances in tick research may lead to better prevention and control methods.

  • Imagining future scenarios like this and thinking about how to be helpful can increase empathy for one’s future self and inspire present-day action and participation to address potential future problems. It causes people to see their future self more positively and take more responsibility for that future.

  • An example is provided of Mita Williams who regularly participates in future scenario simulations and has taken local action like giving educational walking tours on infrastructure as a result of considering future challenges.

  • The passage discusses how imagining future scenarios can be beneficial for developing flexible thinking and preparing for unexpected changes. Like dreams, envisioning futures that are different from the present helps counteract normalcy bias.

  • Computer scientists have found that giving AI programs “noise injections” - feeding them randomly changed data that doesn’t make sense - helps them learn faster and perform better by teaching them to handle unfamiliar situations.

  • Neuroscientist Erik Hoel proposed that dreams may serve a similar function in the brain as noise injections do for AI. Dreams present surreal, recombined experiences that help brains think more flexibly rather than getting stuck on past patterns.

  • Imagining futures through scenarios allows people to mentally simulate change before it occurs. This could help plan for and affect the future, as well as develop adaptive thinking skills through encountering situations outside one’s normal experiences.

  • You offered to create a guided hike scenario set during a fictional “alpha-gal crisis” as an example of taking action by imagining future challenges through mental simulation.

  • A mental simulation or social simulation invites people to imagine what living in a possible future scenario would be like in a vivid, immersive way. It asks them to project that future scenario onto their daily lives and experiences.

  • This can involve imagining how everyday activities, locations, conversations, jobs, media, etc. might be different in the future scenario. Small details are encouraged to help make the imagined future feel more realistic.

  • The goal is to blur the lines between present reality and the imagined future scenario, warping normal daily experiences with hypothetical possibilities. This trains the mind to be more flexible and less shocked by real change.

  • People can bring the scenario more to life by creating “artifacts from the future” like signs, posters, labels, etc. and incorporating them into their real environment to further enhance the immersive “waking dream” experience.

  • A long-term social simulation asks people to sustain imagining this alternate reality for weeks by injecting it into as many daily experiences and encounters as possible.

  • The scenario describes a potential future social network called FeelThat in the year 2026.

  • FeelThat allows users to share their physical sensations and emotions in real-time by tracking biometric data like heart rate, stress levels, mood, etc. via wearable sensors.

  • Users can “feel” what their friends and followers are feeling by using a neurostimulating peripheral device that alters one’s own emotions and energy levels to match the other person.

  • The technology aims to provide a more authentic and direct way of sharing one’s true self online without filters.

  • Users can also see aggregate emotion/stress trends across neighborhoods, cities, social groups on FeelThat.

  • A big impact so far is that many users seek out places and people that spread positive emotions and raise physical energy/oxytocin levels.

The scenario presents a thought-provoking potential future of social media that is based on direct sharing of emotions/feelings rather than just words/images. This forms an intriguing basis for participants to imagine and discuss various social and ethical implications.

  • More and more FeelThat members are avoiding stressful people and places that drain energy or spread negativity. However, some members intentionally seek out sad/anxious people to try helping them feel better.

  • I would have to think carefully about joining FeelThat. On one hand, sharing emotions could promote empathy and connection. But it also risks spreading negative emotions or draining people’s energy. Privacy and consent would be major issues to consider.

  • Running a simulation of this future could be an interesting thought experiment. Choosing a scenario, participants, duration, and setting are important design decisions. For a first simulation, starting small with a focused group over a short but multi-day period could work well. The goal would be to imagine creatively while addressing realistic concerns.

Here are a few thoughts on your questions:

  • Running live meetings can be a great way to spark deeper discussion and insight within a simulation. Sharing ideas and stories in real time allows for organic conversations to unfold. It helps bring the imagined future scenario to life.

  • Maintaining an online forum throughout the simulation provides an archive of the ideas generated and allows for asynchronous participation. This is especially useful for larger groups.

  • Guiding questions posted at regular intervals can help participants explore different dimensions of the future scenario over time. New prompts encourage revisiting the topic from new angles.

  • Collaborative challenges like brainstorming lists can surface a diversity of ideas and foster cooperation. They provide tangible outputs from the experience.

  • Artifacts, roleplays, prototypes etc. that bring the imagined concepts into the real world can strengthen engagement and make the future feel more plausible.

  • A summary at the end helps participants synthesize insights from across the experience. It also communicates takeaways to a broader audience.

In terms of my own participation, simulations like this provide mental exercises in envisioning alternative futures. While I don’t have real-world actions planned, the process of imagination and discussion is thought-provoking. It’s an interesting approach for communities to jointly explore possibilities.

  • During the Plague of London, children imagined how life might be different with unreliable power and energy. They invented new games and rituals to adapt to this future experience.

  • They then hosted a small playground festival where they taught others the games they had created. This showed how social simulations can inspire creative problem solving and community building.

  • When planning a large-scale social simulation, it helps to define clear goals. These could include preparing for potential crises, testing new policies, exploring technology uses, giving voices to underrepresented groups, predicting irrational behaviors, or fostering collaborative creativity.

  • The researcher behind “Feel That Future” wanted to understand how open young people would be to future neurotechnology. The simulation surprisingly found high interest, showing such a future is plausible. It is a tool for stretching imagination and empowering people.

  • While simulations can generate insights, their primary purpose is empowering participants by expanding their sense of readiness and optimism around possible futures. This leaves them better prepared to face uncertainties and create positive change.

Here are four key points about the different future scenario archetypes:

  1. Growth scenarios imagine current trends accelerating even faster in the future. Examples given include a pandemic from a tick-borne illness and food/medicine programs scaling up dramatically.

  2. Constraint scenarios involve new limits and self-discipline in response to threats, calling for coordinated global efforts and priority shifts. Examples are severe water restrictions in Cape Town and limits on where humans can safely live due to climate change impacts.

  3. Collapse scenarios involve major social systems straining beyond their breaking point, leading to disrupted services and social chaos. The example given is an internet shutdown by governments.

  4. Transformation scenarios stretch our imaginations by suggesting seemingly impossible innovations that could radically change individuals and society. Examples include universal basic income combined with gratitude programs and new forms of digital currency or biotracking technology at massive scales.

The author encourages imagining how each archetype could tell different kinds of future stories about the same topic, like different scenarios for the future of the shoe industry. Feedback is also suggested before sharing scenarios with others.

Here is a summary of the key points from the journaling prompts:

  • The scenario imagines a future world called “Zerophoria” where garbage and disposable packaging no longer exist. People go weeks or months without throwing anything out.

  • To get to this future, the journaling exercise imagines a shock to the system where all landfills are full, waste-to-energy plants are closed for health reasons, and other countries stop accepting imported waste from the US.

  • The US government declares a national emergency and takes control of waste collection, shutting down curbside pickup and removing all public trash cans. New strict zero-waste rules are put in place.

  • Residents are challenged to adapt to the new rules which heavily tax disposable packaging and charge fees for any waste disposal. The goal is an 80% reduction in annual waste by the end of the year.

  • Journal writers are asked to imagine what it would feel like to live through this transition period to a zero-waste society and how people could help each other adapt. They are also prompted to explore when feelings of “zerophoria” might kick in.

  • The scenario describes a future where the government has ended all recycling programs and will pay every citizen $10,000 in “digidollars” to spend within 60 days to kickstart a transition to a zero-waste society.

  • Younger generations seem excited by the potential environmental benefits, while others are looking for loopholes or ways to protest the new rules through illegal dumping, flushing trash, etc.

  • Entrepreneurs are filling the void left by the government, starting new businesses like package-free grocery stores and “swap shops” to reuse unneeded items.

  • The payment is meant to incentivize changing habits, but enforcing the new rules through surveillance will be challenging. Social norms may evolve quickly if people want the $10,000.

  • The scenario prompts the reader to imagine their reactions and daily life in this future through journal entries, exploring how they would adapt, resist, or reform the new system. It raises questions about habit changes, worries, and opportunities in a post-trash world.

In summary, the scenario outlines a hypothetical future where the government ends recycling and pays citizens to transition to a zero-waste society, exploring both the potential opportunities and challenges that may arise from such a major societal change. Readers are invited to imaginatively engage with this future scenario through reflective journaling.

Big companies have started to make changes to make zero-waste lifestyles easier. Some ways they are stepping up include:

  • Making packaging more recyclable or compostable. Many are switching to paper or glass containers instead of plastic.

  • Offering refill programs where customers can refill containers rather than always using single-use packaging.

  • Partnering with organizations to set up hard-to-recycle item take-back programs so less ends up in landfills.

  • Providing more information online and in stores about which items are recyclable or compostable in different areas to reduce confusion.

  • Sponsoring zero-waste challenges and campaigns to encourage reduced consumption and waste generation.

So in many cases, companies are completely changing their packaging and business models to create a more circular economy with less waste. The goal is to make practicing low or no waste lifestyle easier and more mainstream.

Here is a summary of some key ideas from parenting, beauty, and fashion websites focused on zero waste lifestyles:

  • These sites provide ideas and inspiration for reducing waste in everyday life through choices around parenting, personal care, and clothing.

  • Making these changes often requires time and resources, but the sites envision a future where zero-waste options are more mainstream and accessible through infrastructure like unpackaged grocery stores.

  • Global trends like laws shifting costs of waste management to producers, reuse/resale programs from major brands, and a circular economy model could help make zero waste an equitable and achievable lifestyle for many more people in the coming years.

  • Imagining how one might adapt to and participate in building such a future zero-waste society can spark creative journal entries exploring social, economic and technological changes that could support widespread sustainable living.

  • Topics like the zero-waste movement, producer responsibility, and shifting to a circular economy model are worth following to identify signs the future portrayed could become reality.

  • The “Welcome Party” coalition has come to power in many countries on a platform of providing a humanitarian response to climate relocation demands. They have legal authority to plan for large-scale migration.

  • An emergency alert informs the reader they have been selected to participate in the “First Global Census of Climate Risk Tolerance and Migration Intent.” This survey will help model where up to 1 billion people may need to relocate from by 2033 due to climate impacts.

  • The reader is given 10 days to complete the 10-question survey. Their answers will help determine support and relocation opportunities they may receive. Countries are preparing to welcome new residents to climate-safe regions.

  • The questions gauge the reader’s freedom and willingness to relocate, reasons they may stay put, preferred destinations, views on seasonal vs. permanent relocation, resilience thresholds for heat waves, pollution, water/power outages, and infrastructure risks.

  • The “Welcome Party Platform” advocates for climate migration as a human right. Wealthier historical emitters would take in large quotas of migrants as “climate reparations,” including the US taking 250 million and China 150 million.

  • The party aims to use the next decade to prepare resilient destination cities and minimize social disruption when mass relocation begins. People are encouraged to prepare themselves and communities to potentially move.

  • The least risky cities for relocation due to climate threats as of 2021 were Krasnoyarsk, Russia; Glasgow, Scotland; and Ottawa, Canada according to a risk analysis report. Other cities mentioned as highly resilient included Memphis, Montevideo, and Cairo.

  • Defining “home” and brainstorming ways to bring aspects of home like sights, sounds, smells, traditions, people, and places if relocating due to climate change. Creating something tangible to represent home.

  • Imagining actions one could take to fit into a new culture like learning the language, cooking local foods, adopting local sports fandom, or joining community groups.

  • Brainstorming ideas for welcoming climate migrants to one’s neighborhood, workplace, etc. and sharing a story of a welcoming action.

  • Creating an “artifact of the future” like a tally board tracking climate impact days or a welcome sign for migrants and explaining its purpose.

  • Imagining seasonal migration as the norm, with details on where one might go, how to afford it, finding work away from home, services to support vulnerable groups who can’t migrate.

  • Speculating on possible positive outcomes and headlines from climate migration initiatives by 2043 like mass migration no longer being necessary if cities become more resilient.

The summary focuses on capturing the key topics, scenarios and ideas presented in the prompt for further exploring climate migration and resilience through imaginary future scenarios, creative works and acts of welcoming.

  • The scenario imagines a future where scientists have developed a breakthrough geoengineering technology that can partially block sunlight and cool the planet, potentially reversing global warming. However, it would require living with less sunlight and more rain for 10 years while the impacts are studied.

  • Scientists are optimistic but there are concerns about who would have authority over such a decision, public trust in the science, and what living through a decade of global cooling would be like.

  • The world holds a global vote on whether to implement this large-scale geoengineering experiment. It requires a supermajority of over 60% to pass.

  • After nearly a year of voting, the results come in - just barely passing at 62% yes to 38% no. This would mark a historic global decision known as the “Sun Exit” to temporarily dim the sun’s rays and cool the planet over 10 years in an effort to stop climate change.

  • However, there are uncertainties about what impacts global dimming at this scale could have and how easy it would be to later reverse the process. The scenario sets up exploration of the challenges, tradeoffs and societal implications of such a large-scale climate intervention.

Here is a summary of section e:

  • A countdown clock shows there are 10 days until the start of the planned 10-year winter due to geoengineering. Sulfate particles will be dispersed into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight and cool the planet.

  • Skies will be gray and rains/storms will be more frequent and longer lasting. Temperatures will cool significantly - the new average high will be what used to be the average low. This is a much more dramatic intervention than originally discussed.

  • The winter is intended to buy time for humanity to transition fully to renewable energy and eliminate carbon emissions. Plans are in place to help agriculture, provide vitamin D, create “sun centers,” and support disaster relief and mental health.

  • Past volcanic eruptions cooled the planet 3 degrees F for 2-3 years, causing famines and disease. Organizers say infrastructure is better now than in 1815.

  • Emotions are running high on social media as people debate the results. Anger, gratitude, panic, worry, grief, manic creativity, and hope are all expressed.

  • The decision is made, there is no more debating - people now have 10 days before atmospheric seeding begins and the 10-year winter officially starts.

Here are some potential responses to the prompts:

  1. Mental health challenges: Depression, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder from lack of sunlight, increased social isolation.

  2. Information seeking: How to grow food indoors, alternative energy sources, survival skills.

  3. Essential supplies: Food, water, fuel for heat, batteries/solar panels, medication, generator.

  4. World might run short of: Food from impacted agricultural regions, fuel as infrastructure is disrupted.

  5. Harder time adapting: Elderly, very young, impoverished populations without resources.

  6. Group needing extra help: Homeless, refugees displaced by extreme weather or conflict, communities reliant on at-risk industries like farming.

  7. My unique skills: I’m a teacher so I could help educate communities and pass on practical skills. I could also help organize mutual aid networks to share resources.

  8. Letter from 2038: We’ve made progress adapting through community and technology, but it’s been difficult. I’m hopeful global cooperation on climate solutions will continue so future generations never face this test. Have faith - with humanity’s spirit of resilience, I believe we will get through this.

  9. Best possible outcome: By working together worldwide, we stabilized the climate, protected biodiversity, and built a cleaner, more equitable economy. Now in a world of restored harmony, I have hope that my grandchildren will know the joy of a life nourished by a healthy planet. Our shared victory proves that in our deepest hour of need, humanity will rise.

  • The passage discusses how scenarios like banning trash, climate migration, or geoengineering being put to a global vote could help strengthen mental resilience and flexibility for dealing with future crises and shocks. Imagining unrealistic futures is like dreaming - it may paradoxically help with navigating real challenges.

  • There is growing interest in new forms of global governance to deal with planetary-scale problems, like climate change, that local or national governments can’t solve alone. This could involve more inclusive decision-making and public input on issues with worldwide impacts.

  • Experiments with advanced technologies like geoengineering, genetic engineering, or contacting extraterrestrials raise difficult ethical questions since they could permanently alter humanity or Earth. Some argue the global public should have a say in approving such high-risk scientific pursuits.

  • Exercises like imagining different scenarios for 2033 can help people feel more prepared psychologically for facing major changes and uncertainties in the real future. It increases confidence and optimism that one will be able to adapt and rise to challenges of “a world as unthinkable as this.”

  • The key is to strengthen “urgent optimism” - the belief that while big problems exist, each individual still has power and ability to positively shape the future through their unique talents and contributions.

  • The passage encourages readers to take an optimistic and proactive view of how the world may change over the next 10 years. It suggests rating one’s outlook on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely worried and 10 being extremely optimistic.

  • It then asks readers to rate their sense of control or influence over how their world changes, from 1 being almost no control to 10 being almost complete control.

  • The goal is to see if reflection makes people feel slightly more optimistic, that changes will be positive, and that they have some ability to shape events. Even a small increase in any of these ratings is considered meaningful.

  • The passage advocates imagining future scenarios as a way to be more creative and open to new possibilities, rather than limiting visions to what seems normal today. This helps enable meaningful changes.

  • As an exercise, it invites readers to vividly imagine attending a book club discussion in September 2033, hosted by the author, to compare visions of the future to reality in 10 years.

  • The intent is to make the future feel more connected and less strange, and to motivate shaping changes through scenario building and mental time travel to alternative futures.

So in summary, the passage encourages a mindset of urgent optimism and agency regarding possible futures, through exercises in envisioning and comparing scenarios to come. The goal is to empower meaningful participation in shaping changes rather than feeling solely subjected to unknown changes.

Here is a summary of the selected sources:

  • e-Transitions (2010) studies how life transitions foster learning and development through requiring flexibility and adaptation to new roles and environments.

  • The Future Self (2018) discusses how people construct representations of their future selves and how these impact decision-making, motivation, and well-being.

  • Two sources (2007, 2015) examine the influence of environmental factors like ceiling height and nature on creative thinking and problem-solving.

  • Regulatory Focus and Temporal Distance (2003) analyzes how psychological distance from events impacts how risks and benefits are perceived.

  • Sources from 2003 and 2005 discuss concepts of time scarcity and poverty in modern society and their consequences.

  • The American Future Gap (2017) report analyzes gaps between American expectations and realities related to technology, economy, equity and other trends.

  • Sources from 2009-2015 analyze how imagining the self in the future impacts cognition, emotion, motivation and behavior through psychological distance and self-continuity.

  • Findings on declining youth licensing rates in the US from 2014 and 2020 attribute this to economic and social factors beyond costs.

  • Chapter two sources from 2010-2020 discuss the cognitive and neural bases of episodic future thinking, its role in decision-making, well-being, psychopathology and more. Goal-directed prospection and its impact on affect is also summarized.

Here are summaries of the key sources:

  • Suddendorf and Redshaw (2013) studied the development of mental scenario building and episodic foresight in children. They found that these abilities continue developing throughout childhood and adolescence.

  • Prabhakar and Hudson (2014) and other studies examined young children’s ability to construct event sequences to achieve future goals, finding improvement with age in envisioning steps to accomplish objectives.

  • Schacter et al. (2017) reviewed research on episodic future thinking, which allows humans to project themselves mentally forward in time to pre-experience events. This helps with planning, decision-making and creativity.

  • Förster et al. (2004) found that temporal construal affects abstract vs concrete thinking and thus creative cognition. More distant-future construal promoted abstract thinking while near-future was more concrete.

  • Chiu (2012) examined the fit between future thinking and future orientation on creative imagination, finding those high on both had highest creative performance.

  • Miloyan and McFarlane (2019) conducted a systematic review of instruments used to measure episodic foresight ability. They identified key tools and highlighted areas needing further development.

Here is a summary of the Roadmap to Reimagine Restaurants report from May 2020:

  • The report was published by High Road Restaurants, an organization that represents over 300 independent restaurants in the Pacific Northwest.

  • It outlines strategies and recommendations for how independent restaurants can adapt and transition as they reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes reimagining the dining experience with more emphasis on safety.

  • Key recommendations include expanding outdoor dining and takeout options, simplifying menu options, implementing digital ordering and payment, enhancing cleaning/sanitization protocols, training staff on new safety procedures, and procuring necessary supplies like PPE equipment and barriers.

  • The report also recommends policy changes like permitting extended outdoor seating, streamlining permits/approvals, suspending commercial evictions, establishing relief grant programs, and advocating for healthcare coverage for furloughed/laid off workers.

  • The goal is to help independent restaurants transition to new business models, gain access to resources, and operate safely as restrictions ease to promote long-term viability during and after the pandemic. The report provides strategies and best practices to achieve this.

Here are summaries of the key articles:

  • Nurius 1986 - Proposed the concept of “possible selves,” which are individuals’ ideas about what they might become, what they would like to become, and what they are afraid of becoming. These possible selves motivate behavior and help shape perceptions of the future.

  • Taylor et al. 1998 - Argued that mental simulation, or imagining future events, helps with self-regulation and coping. It allows people to problem-solve, rehearse behaviors, and experience emotions in a low-stakes way.

  • Butler & Mathews 1983 - Reviewed cognitive theories of anxiety. Proposed that anxious individuals have characteristic biases in information processing, memory, and interpretation that contribute to the onset and maintenance of anxiety.

The other sources provided recommendations and background information to supplement the discussion on possible selves, mental simulation, empathy, polarization, and related topics. Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions!

Here are the key points from the references provided:

  • Reference 18 discusses how early childhood adversity, toxic stress, and racism impact health foundations. It finds that racism is a form of toxic stress that gets under the skin to affect health.

  • Reference 17 argues that COVID-19 is increasing multiple forms of inequality and suggests policy actions like increasing support for vulnerable jobs and strengthening social protection systems.

  • Reference 16 cites evidence that past pandemics have increased inequality, and COVID-19 may do the same if preventative policy actions are not taken. It points to increases in economic inequalities.

  • Reference 15 discusses how COVID-19 is reversing decades of progress on reducing poverty, access to healthcare and education according to a UN report. It also mentions stimulus programs in the US have surprisingly helped the poor.

  • Reference 14 examines the impact of COVID-19 on student equity and inclusion, finding school closures harmed vulnerable students the most. It advocates support for these students.

  • Other references discuss long-term scarring from job losses during COVID-19 (13), worse impacts on women, low-wage workers and people of color (10,12), and increased inequalities in health, income and education (11).

Here are the key points from the sources:

  • Repeated experiences of economic insecurity can negatively impact mental health and lead to increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Prolonged stress from job or financial insecurity takes a toll. (Watson and Osberg)

  • Developing countries face significant psychosocial risks and work-related stress due to factors like unsafe working conditions, long hours, low pay, lack of breaks, and limited social protection. This stress impacts physical and mental health. Addressing these issues requires policy changes and organizational interventions. (Kortum, Leka, Cox)

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted these issues and exacerbated existing stress on healthcare workers, who have faced increased workload, exposure to risk, lack of protective equipment, and risks to their mental health. Burnout has increased substantially. Addressing this will require long-term strategies to strengthen health systems and better support workers.

In summary, the sources discuss how prolonged economic insecurity, work-related stressors in developing countries, and the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively impacted mental health and exacerbated stress on healthcare workers globally. Strategies are needed to strengthen social protections, work conditions, health systems and better support worker well-being.

This section summarizes sources related to emerging infectious diseases and their long-term impacts.

Key points:

  • Emerging diseases like Alpha-Gal Syndrome can arise when tick populations and geographic ranges change due to climate factors. This red meat allergy has been increasing due to exposure through tick bites.

  • Sources discuss the growing number of people affected by Alpha-Gal Syndrome in the US and emerging evidence about its causes and symptoms. Prevention methods like tickproofing yards are mentioned.

  • Long-term impacts of diseases are examined through sources on post-treatment Lyme disease cases, long-haul COVID symptoms, and similarities to chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • The potential for intersecting disasters like storms and pandemic outbreaks to compound impacts on vulnerable populations is noted.

  • Imagining messages from the future and embracing imagination/storytelling are discussed as ways to help prepare societies for emerging threats and uncertainties.

In summary, this section analyzes emerging and long-term disease impacts, with a focus on Alpha-Gal Syndrome as an example of a emerging issue tied to environmental factors like climate change. It explores both scientific evidence and creative tools for building resilience.

  • Climate change is increasing the risk of ticks and tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease in many parts of the world as temperatures rise and tick habitat expands. Ticks are being found in more northern and urban areas.

  • Models project shifts in the geographic ranges of medically important tick species in North America under climate change.

  • Tick populations have been observed to be increasing in spring seasons in parts of the Midwest USA due to warmer weather.

  • Dreams may play an important evolutionary role in consolidating memories and assisting with generalizing knowledge and skills. Animals also show signs of dreaming.

  • Alternative futures thinking and simulations can help envision possible long-term impacts of current decisions and trajectories. Two future simulations discussed transitions to more sustainable waste and materials systems and increasing climate migration risks.

  • Actions are needed to transition waste and materials systems to be more circular and reduce health and environmental impacts of waste disposal. Examples of relevant policies and business models from around the world were presented.

  • Climate change is projected to significantly increase risks of displacement globally. Ethics of climate-related migration and potential policy options to address needs were discussed. Adaptation challenges for highly vulnerable regions were also noted.

  • The passage discusses several scientific articles and opinion pieces related to climate change, migration, population trends, and geoengineering/climate intervention strategies.

  • One study finds that non-optimal ambient temperatures from 2000-2019 were associated with millions of deaths globally from heat and cold exposure.

  • Some argue for more open borders policies to accommodate climate migrants and refugees. Others discuss trends of declining birth rates and potential population decline in countries like the US and worldwide.

  • There is debate around proposals to increase global population to 1 billion or more people to address economic and sustainability challenges.

  • Papers explore the idea of large-scale internal climate migration within the US and challenges people may face relocating due to climate impacts.

  • The passage outlines different solar geoengineering and carbon dioxide removal techniques being proposed and researched by scientists to limit warming. Governance of these approaches is an ongoing discussion.

  • Hypothetical future scenarios look at how technologies like sustainable aviation fuels, exascale supercomputing and CRISPR could shape outcomes, along with ethical issues around contacting aliens or total human citizenship.

In summary, the passage covers a wide range of current research and perspectives related to addressing climate change impacts on human populations, migration patterns, and technological solutions under development or consideration.

  • Studies suggest that mentally simulating futures works similarly for visually impaired and sighted individuals, though the visually impaired may rely more on shapes, textures, sounds, smells, etc. So the techniques in this book should apply to all.

  • Dator’s law is named after Jim Dator, a founder of futures studies, who formalized his “laws of the future” in a 2007 paper.

  • The latest Global Risks Report can be found at the provided World Economic Forum link.

  • The scenario of widespread facial recognition apps could realistically happen within the next few years rather than a full decade.

  • Stanford University’s community-based project Stanford 2025 showcases many ideas for futures thinking and imagination.

  • The scenario discusses a central bank digital currency, not cryptocurrencies - it’s about a digital form of fiat currency issued by a central bank rather than physical money.

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