Against the clock

It is 02019.

A multi petabyte-scale simulation of global processes, called the Global Extinction Awareness System (GEAS), has just determined that, without immediate action, humanity will survive only another 23 years before the deadly synergy of five catastrophic Superthreats does us in.

The Superthreats are:
1. Quarantine — declining health and pandemic disease, including the current Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ReDS) crisis
2. Ravenous — the imminent collapse of the global food system
3. Power Struggle — the increasingly desperate search for alternative energy solutions
4. Outlaw Planet — challenges to human security and civil rights in the midst of hypercomplex information systems
5. Generation Exile — skyrocketing numbers of refugees and migrants in the face of climate change, economic disruption, and war

Your role is to flex your foresight, creativity and collaborative skills to contribute to our collective survival.

The GEAS report is available in full here, and video briefings on each of the Superthreats can be found here. One to get you started:

The scenario described above is the premise of Superstruct, the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game, which kicks off in just under two weeks’ time, on 6 October 02008.

Over the six weeks of the game, long term thinkers everywhere will have the opportunity to imagine themselves in this version of 02019, bringing their real-world expertise and ideas to bear on the Superthreats. The purpose of the game is to harness our collective insights and ingenuity; to help invent the future by playing it first.

It’s being run by the Ten-Year Forecast Program at the nonprofit research organisation Institute for the Future, Palo Alto (disclosure: I’m one of the Game Masters).

Get involved, and good luck. The clock is ticking.

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The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.

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