A Conversation About the Future
March 05, 2010
CATFOA 2010: Edward Boches (CCO Mullen) - 2.8.2010 from Ech03 on Vimeo.
[First few mins of audio are bad but it gets better]
On Monday, thanks to a nice chap called Tim, I'm heading to Minneapolis to speak at series of things called Conversations About The Future of Advertising [or CATFOA].
It's lovely to be asked, especially due to the illustriousness [yep, that's a word] of the other speakers on the course: Edward Boches, Hashem Bajwa, Colleen DeCourcy are all pretty awesome thinkdoers.I get asked about this sort of thing a lot because, well, I write about it a lot, and as an industry, and a species, we are obsessed with the future.
And we so we should be.
If you'll indulge me [and I know you will] let me quote at you from that thesis I wrote about the future of brands, a few years back:
Prospection: the act of looking forwards in time, is a quintessentially human endeavour. In fact, some even consider it the quintessential human endeavour:
“The human being is the only animal that thinks about the future.”
Daniel Dennett has noted that “the fundamental purpose of brains is to produce future...brains are, in essence, anticipation machines.”
We spend much of our time projecting ourselves forward, and we do this to motivate ourselves to reach towards our desired future, using the lens of that future as a way to understand what we should be doing now.
As Alan Kay said, the best way to predict the future is to invent it. We can motivate our- selves by imagining less pleasant to- morrows, of eroding relevance and margins, and thus engage in prudent, prophylactic behaviour.We are usually wrong, as I've pointed out before, due to the biases of presentism that prevent us from predicting anything actually novel, but that doesn't mean we should think about it and try to work out what our role in it is, and how to get there.
And in fact, predicting what I'm going to say is the assignment Tim has given to his class.
You can see one of the predictions here.
Do you think it's right?
More confusingly, what if now, because of my reading it, I change what I was going to say?
Find out next week - I'll probably post the video of this talk, and then start to think about the next thing I'm going to think about.