Jane McGonigal on Stretching the Imagination in a Pandemic

07 Apr, 2020

Jane McGonigal on Stretching the Imagination in a Pandemic

Alum Jane McGonigal, Director of Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, holds a PhD from the University of California Berkeley in performance studies. As the Coronavirus becomes more widespread she argues that we need to learn how to adapt quickly to global changes that will continue to disrupt our daily lives.

From the article:

“The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed.” This is one of our guiding principles at the Institute for the Future (IFTF). It means that if you look closely around the world today, you can see potentially big changes already starting to develop. They’re happening locally, at the edges of technological experimentation, social behavior, business innovation, health trends, or political uprisings. These “signals of change” could be the beginnings of societal-scale disruption. If you spot these clues quickly and imagine how they could impact you personally, then you can prepare for and adapt to the coming global changes faster.

For most of the planet, our future is already here, arriving first in Wuhan, then Iran, and then Italy. In each of these regions, on a few weeks’ time delay, the novel coronavirus has exploded with the kind of exponential growth that leaves even the most advanced health care systems unable to cope.

Ten days is not a lot of time to change the future. How can we possibly reinvent virtually everything about how we work, eat, learn, socialize, and live, so fast?

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