WorldView 2002: Storytelling and the Singularity

The second session Sunday morning session I attended was "Story Telling the Future" with Joseph Tankersley, a Disney imagineer. Things began well, with him talking about his perceptions of these conferences, as an outsider, a non-futurist -- very similar to my perceptions of everything being hopelessly old-fashioned. He also pointed out that too many scenarios begin with the technology, rather than emotions and interaction which is what the future and the stories should be about. No one pays attention to the technology because we've all been told so many times that we'll be wearing jetpacks any time now. He recommended The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations by Stephen Denning as a good read (Amazon US and UK). Unfortunately he then insisted the session should be a "conversation," resulting in a half-ballroom-full of people grinding their own personal axes, so I headed elsewhere...

...into "Understanding the Singularity: Exploring Meta-Trends in Accelerating Change" with John Smart. Now this was more like it. Poorly presented (37 sheets of paper pinned to the wall with type too small to read) by an over-excited believer who punctuated every other sentence with "Right?!" or "OK?!" as if this particular unbelievable point was now obviously irrefutable. It might all be utter nonsense or it might be genius, but either way, this is the kind of thing that should be going on all the time at a conference like this, rather than being the exception. Smart's recommended read was Hyperspace by John Gribbin (Amazon US and UK).

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