Fiction as Future

Everything starts with fiction. As one of the world’s top brand designers, Brian Collins, reveals, “Design is hope made visible.” Any leader ever praised or derided as visionary understands this. Leaders like Oprah Winfrey or Elon Musk define futures and marshal resources to attain them. They inspire others to belief and action.

Even more than in the past, fiction will become one of the essential capabilities for our future. Composing a great film or novel will remain a critical endeavor, but narrative seeds contain far more. As technology expands what’s possible, demand will intensify for those who can propose what best to do, and why. Power transfers to individuals or collectives capable of generating the most compelling, desirable, seductive living experiences — for good or ill.

Humans organize and project power via collectively accepted fictions. Yuval Noah Harari comments in Sapiens, “Large numbers of strangers can cooperate successfully by believing in common myths.” What is new this century is the intensity, velocity and scale with which technology will enable humanity’s fiction engines to expand, diversify and transform our lived experiences.

*This article originally appeared in Forbes on 10/11/2018.