These past months, futurists around the world have been discussing the current crisis and its anticipated consequences. I was honored to be part of the “Aftershocks & Opportunities: Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future” book by Fast Future Publishing and to take part in their series of webinars.
The book is available in print and ebook format at https://fastfuture.com/shop/aftershocks-and-opportunities/
Find below the transcript of my presentation.
My name is Sylvia. I live in California. I have been a strategy consultant for the past 15 years, supporting international tech companies in their international business development.
I have been lucky to meet with awesome entrepreneurs and witness hundreds of innovations all these years. That’s probably what helped me to gain foresight into tomorrow’s world and to develop my career as a futurist.
I am leading an initiative called Silicon Humanism and we dedicate our research to the Future of Education, the Future of Work and the Future of Well-Aging, with a special focus on the social and human aspect.
Also I come from diverse background, french-german-american, social science (sociologist specialized in workplace + top European business school)
I have always been a heavy writer. I consider future fiction as a fantastic tool to bring people to put themselves in their future selves’ shoes. I am always very interested in imagining and discussing the future and take every opportunity I can to share perspectives about this topic. It has been an amazing adventure to be part of the Aftershocks and Opportunities project along with the Fast Future team.
My chapter for the book revolves around a history class taking place 17 years from now. A classroom of high schoolers is studying the COVID crisis with their teacher. They review the 2-year sequence of events following the sanitary crisis. In the chapter I mention the rushed reopening of the economy, the confusing time for medical research and a delayed vaccine, a second strain of virus and the consequent come-back of the pandemic, segregation policies (by health status), as well as military intervention to calm down protests…
Also, beyond the medical, economic, and social impact of the pandemic, the wounds turn out to be more acute, profound, and intimate than anticipated.
I was interested in exploring different perspectives on the current crisis.
- At a first level, I relate and anticipate macrotrends, some of which are unfortunately already taking place such as public order actions in a polarized society. Through the character of the teacher, I mention the effects of the health crisis on the economy, medical research advancement, social policy, politics and elections, etc. “”Colored badges were issued. You’d go to different schools, different stores, different churches!” And questions follow: What draconian measures may be required if existing measures fail to prevent a significant second wave of infections? How far should a state of emergency go and should the military be involved at all? Is segregation ever legitimate? Should we encourage a separation by health status at all?
- At a second level, I wanted to investigate what it means to teach history, and how we are going to teach history specifically to the children born today in these times of crisis. How do we convey our experience to the next generation? And more largely, how can we help Generation alpha to reflect on their roots and define their identity in this new world and paradigm?
- Finally, at a third and probably more subtle level, I evoke the intimate experience of the crisis, the inner wounds, the impossible grief. I illustrate this, more in the subtext, through the personal story of the teacher who has lost someone dear in the crisis. With another line of questioning: How are individuals going to grieve for the family and friends they lost in anonymity? How can we make sure that individuals find a space to grieve the loved ones they lost?
All these questions finally converge into what is one of my main concerns relating to this crisis: How do we profoundly heal as a society in a large-scale death count? How can we help people to heal and recover from the profound wounds the crisis left?
Well, I hope you enjoy the chapter and I am happy to answer any questions.