What is our capacity to envision our possible futures? How do we prepare?
Here’s one example—genetically-edited algae that reproduces on wasteland, in salt water, absorbing carbon emissions to produce fuel. Wild algae didn’t produce enough fats to make it economically feasible to extract energy—but scientists discovered how to genetically manipulate a ‘lipid trigger’ that doubled fat production.
With further development, there could be no more need to extract fossil fuels, which might eliminate an entire industry. A chain reaction could result from this fundamental change to how humans manipulate energy to perform work, profoundly affecting our daily lives.
It’s probably true that we overestimate short-term impacts of a technology, while underestimating its long-term effects (Amara’s law).
This is just one of many game-changing genetic engineering changes coming. And though we might be lulled into thinking it’s not a big deal when the development takes time, we need to consider how our futures will change in the long run.
This thought-provoking TED talk explores more issues of disruptive change. “Juan Enriquez forecasts the possible futures of genetic editing, exploring the immense uncertainty and opportunity of this next frontier.”
We may not be the ones with the hard skills to make dramatic changes, but it’s certain that we need soft skills to successfully meet this brave new world. Soft skills like innovation, decision-making, & critical thinking can help analyze & manage disruptive change.
Learn leadership & soft skills at Soft Power Skills Academy by teaming up with other high performers to create goal-related projects that put principles into practice.