Are We Heading Towards a Star Trek or Mad Max Future?

Star Trek: The only way we can grow and evolve as a new species is to have new experiences. – Peter Diamandis


Right now, some of us may feel like humanity is headed towards a Mad Max-inspired dystopia. Even before Covid-19, we saw more people beginning to feel disenfranchised with a growing gap between the haves and have nots. Look at certain elections, Brexit, and divisions becoming stronger within countries, communities, etc.

But in fact, we do have a choice to move towards more of a Star Trek-like utopia. We have the power to determine our future. It’s up to us.

As Shots of Awe host Jason Silva claims, “it’s like someone dosed our drink with acid and didn’t tell us, and we’re collectively realizing the only way out is through. Once we contend and metabolize the panic and converge our brilliance and creativity, we realize from an ego-death can come renewal, transformation, reinvention. This is our chance to be the phoenix that rises from the ashes.”

In fact with exponential technologies today, technology can make the impossible possible. There are assistive technologies that can help people to communicate, to hear, and to see. Be My Eyes is a free mobile app that makes the world more accessible to the blind. We now have 3D printed organs, wearables that can detect our heartbeat, steps, and sleeping patterns. VR devices have been helpful in the medical industry with helping medical students to have close to real-life experiences as well as aiding patients with diagnosis, treatment plans, and rehabilitation and recovery. There are endless possibilities with technology today.

At a recent, ExO World event, Peter Diamandis had a conversation around what the future holds with Rod Roddenberry Jr. from Star Trek’s Discovery and Picard. If there’s one universe, one set of principles that portrays a hopeful positive compelling future for humanity, it’s the work of Rod Roddenberry Jr and his father, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek. He had a vision for a future “where diversity and tolerance are encouraged and in which inclusivity and equality are the norm.” This lead to the creation of Roddenberry Foundation by Roddenberry Jr.

In the future, the Star Trek creator believed, the human potential to be “remarkable” would yield a better, fairer world — “a world with no hunger, poverty, prejudice, or greed”. Since it first aired over five decades ago, Star Trek has continued to offer a unique brand of science fiction that invites us to “think, question, and challenge the status quo” with the intention of creating “a brighter future”.

For Roddenberry, Star Trek was more than just entertainment. It’s ethos and messages inspired people. The idea behind it was that we can grow and evolve as a species as we experience new things. “The enterprise wasn’t out there just looking for strange-looking aliens. It was out there actually looking for unique ideas, different ideas because we at that point had come together as a world and as a planet. We’ve learned to not tolerate each other but to truly find joy and acceptance in the uniqueness between us all. We realize that for us to meet someone with a different point of view was a way that we could grow, evolve intellectually.”

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations (IDIC), the basis of Vulcan (and Roddenberry Jr’s) philosophy and belief “that beauty, growth, progress — all result from the union of the unlike.” The symbol, a triangle intersecting a circle, with a stone in the center, represents this with unlike shapes – one smooth and one angular – combining together with a gemstone in the middle. This is also the guiding principle behind star Trek.

Roddenberry recalls a great quote “do something that scares you every day. Go out and find someone or something that is completely opposite of the way that you think and expose yourself to it.” This is how you grow as a person and the principle behind Star Trek.

There’s also a mindset that there is no problem that we cannot solve. We are oriented towards solutions. The human race is always striving to be better. Ray Kurzweil has said that every technology can be used for good or evil. An example he often uses is fire that can be used to cook our food or burn our homes. As we explore solutions for Covid-19 and other problems, we do still need to evaluate new technologies. Do the rewards outweigh the risks? Each of our questions about new technologies should relate to themes of equality, risk, and autonomy. Will we all equally benefit? Will we become dependent on this technology? An example is the recent development of Covid-19 tracking apps. There are concerns over privacy and health data vs tracking infections. Another issue is that only 1 in 6 Americans do not have smartphones according to the Washington Post. “Rates of smartphone ownership are much lower among seniors.” Inequality comes in various forms from economic, gender, age, race, etc. Being aware and addressing issues around equality, risk, and autonomy early on can lead us to a Star Trek future.

It’s also important to think about what are the powerful myths and stories that can guide us away from Mad Max and toward Star Trek? And how can we empower more of our youth, elders, and indigenous to be change agents? It’s by working together that we can build towards a more abundant Star Trek future.

ExO World: Future of Speaking is Here

Photo caption: Salim Ismail, Exo World host, with Lily Safrani, CEO of ExS, and their son Milan, with guest host Peter Diamandis and sons, and Brazilian actor, commentator and friend, Luigi Baricelli.

“Every event on earth should be like this one! Rich content! Challenging paradigms! Funnels of knowledge and inspiration! Motivation fire! ExO World has changed my world and the Impossible has become Possible in New Zealand and around the world.”
– Cindy Mullins

“This event amplified my mind to no end – I feel like a 5-year-old on Christmas morning.”
– Alistair Hofert

We at ExO Speakers are still basking in the tremendous success of last week’s ExO World Virtual Summit, a three day, online summit that quickly evolved into a virtual festival by the time the program wrapped up last Thursday night. Conceived six weeks ago during a conversation in response to what would soon become a global shutdown and a big wrench in the plans to launch this new Speakers Bureau, ExO World quickly became the main focus for our team and an early challenge to help make this groundbreaking event happen along with OpenExO.

Looking back now, it’s amazing to see the community response to last week’s three-day virtual event. The event featured expert keynotes on the main stage, breakout sessions, expo booths, and a networking area where every three minutes attendees could connect with someone new. There was even live music. Brian Bacon, the Chairman and Founder of Oxford Leadership Group and one of the Summit speakers, summed up the event by saying, “This is basically TED meets SingularityU meets Burning Man, meets global Hackathon.”

Our team at ExO Speakers was responsible for coordinating the many thought leaders that participated in this event. When all was said and done, the total number of speakers ended up at 127!!  We also had four musical artists join us to perform. You can see a full list of speakers here.

Our Managing Director, Joi Gemigniani, who led the speaker management process for ExS, worked closely with Salim Ismail and Jaroslav Dokoupil, the Chief Learning Officer at Open ExO to create the agenda for ExO World. In asking Joi about the event, here’s what she said:

ExS: What was most challenging about putting on this event?

Joi: The timeline of this event from inception to execution was the most challenging. We had about four weeks to plan and coordinate all the pieces, and it came together beautifully.

ExS: And most exciting?

Joi: We had no idea how this would go. We started with a target of 12 speakers, and very quickly that number ramped up to over 100. Everyone was so excited to make this happen. The team worked very diligently to get the flow of the event right and to include all the incredible speakers and artists we had the good fortune to work with.

ExS: What was it like working with the speakers? Recruiting them and telling them about this event?

Joi: Explaining how different this event would be from other virtual events was a little tough at first. I told the speakers “Think of this as Live Aid for building the future.” None of us had worked on the platform before or with an agenda like this. There were a lot of firsts. The feedback from speakers has been great.

This global collaborative online summit, hosted by Salim Ismail with guest appearances by Peter Diamandis, covered the massive challenges of today and understanding the exponential opportunities for all of us to jump right in and help. Whether it was an expert on stage, in a breakout session or one of our hosts, families joined in for this global call to action. This was a great way of inspiring a global community around a massive transformative purpose. “We have Corporate Transformations and Personal Transformations going on, but the crucial one is the Geographical Transformation,” said Salim Ismail.

After experiencing this event first hand, broadcast from a series of homes, Lily Safrani was able to sense the new paradigm coming towards the way companies engage with speakers. In response, ExS looks forward to rolling out an innovative set of engagement options in the coming weeks.

“We are not stuck at home. We’re all creating the new being, being human – Together” – Mark Fishburn