The future (may be) so bright we have to wear shades.
By Scott Mize, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Advisors, Network Society Ventures
The past couple of months have shaken many of us, with the rise of so-called populism (some would call it xenophobia, nationalism and/or neo-fascism). The very fate of the world seems to be in the balance with upcoming assaults on the climate, press freedom, egalitarianism, and many things that thinking people hold dear, even democracy itself. Clarissa Ward @clarissaward provides a cogent outline of the dilemma of the ascendance of anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-fact forces in the US that spew fake news and mercilessly troll those with whom they do not agree. Much of this is undeniably a backlash against globalization which seems overwhelming and unstoppable to many.
I share these concerns at a deep and existential level. However, at the risk of being pollyannaish, let me weigh in after making it through some dark days. All of this turmoil must be put in perspective. There is good news. Take a deep breath. Don’t panic. The future (may be) so bright we have to wear shades. Our future lies somewhere between dystopia and utopia, and if we all do our part, much closer to utopia. Thanks to NSV Advisor Ramez Naam @ramez for pointing out that there is much to celebrate. Humanity has been, is and will be making huge positive strides on a broad range of fronts.
Rob Wile @rjwile shares with us 31 Charts That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity. The progress that has been made over the past several decades is quite amazing. Angus Hervey @angushervey shows us 99 Reasons 2016 Was a Good Year. It is truly remarkable that these all happened in the scope of one year. This is the type of progress that won’t be stopped by a few years of poor decision making. As damaging as it might be, it cannot stop the historical momentum of progress, provided that we all keep our eyes on the prize. We must all take action to make the future bright. To help us take the next step on this never ending journey, Robert Hardies @AllSoulsUUDC offers his insight on three ways to cultivate a sense of hope even when times seem hopeless. The character and capability of the nation and world has not changed. We are likely just on a brief, if scary, detour.
Another hopeful sign is that the media seems to be having a strong immune reaction to the assault it has endured of late. There has been a surge in paid subscriptions to news outlets. It turns our that people will pay for quality journalism once they are reminded of its importance! John Avlon @johnavlon explains in his insightful article Our Murrow Moment that our citizens, journalists and institutions, including the media, are about to undergo a major “civic stress test.” He believes that now will be the best time to be a journalist, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Jay Rosen @jayrosen_nyu has provided a great roadmap for the resurrection of the media in his comprehesive prescription Winter is coming: prospects for the American press under Trump. As Aaron Heinrich @bigbrandtheory2 so eloquently states, the antidote in 2017 to the “fear, uncertainty, doubt and lies” of 2016 is the truth.
This is the optimistic approach that NSV plans to take in the new year. Our focus is investing in seed stage companies around the globe that are at the intersection of exponential technologies and decentralized networks in order to drive massively transformative change. Many of the advancements chronicled in the articles above were a result of these two very powerful forces. We are committed to playing our part. You can read more about NSV’s strategy on this Website. We welcome you to join us on this shared journey.
Photo by Andrew Choy