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WW#029 Facing our Futures (with Nikolas Badminton)

I don’t like negativity. I’m from the Abundance school of thinking – I want people to focus on their
strengths and passions, to cultivate a mindset of abundance and possibility, and to support and
collaborate with others in achieving their goals.

So it was a challenge for me when I was asked by futurist Nikolas Badminton to consider the idea
that by using dystopian futures to help humanity consider how to avoid such events allows us to
build a better utopian vision – a total clash of philosophies in fact!

In his book ‘Facing our Futures’, he focuses on the potential impact of emerging technologies on the future of work and society and explores how technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics are transforming industries and reshaping the nature of work, leading to significant changes in employment, education, and training.

The concepts of utopia and dystopia have been around for centuries. Utopia refers to an imagined
perfect society, while dystopia refers to a society that has gone wrong, where the people are
oppressed and miserable. Both concepts have their benefits in terms of inspiring us to create a
better world, so is there really a stronger case to be made that considering dystopia can actually
help us achieve utopia?

Dystopian fiction often highlights the dangers of specific social and political systems, providing us
with cautionary tales of what can go wrong if we are not careful: ‘1984’ warns us of the dangers of totalitarianism, while ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ highlights the risks of religious extremism. By exploring
the negative outcomes, we can learn from them and avoid making the same mistakes in our own
societies. So in that way, dystopian ideas can be seen as a kind of road map for avoiding the pitfalls
oppressive systems.

Considering dystopia can also help us appreciate the positive aspects of our current society and
inspire us to work towards a better future. Often, it is only by experiencing negative events that we can truly appreciate the positive, so by imagining a world where everything has gone wrong, we can recognise the value of the freedoms and opportunities we have in our current society, which motivates us to work towards a better future.

But how can we apply this concept to the world of work? Surely embracing the chaos of dystopia is
the exact opposite of what you should do to achieve success!

Well, you’d be surprised. Take a problem and, rather than trying to fix it, instead think about how
you could exacerbate it beyond all measure: what could you do to make the issue horrifically worse?
When you have a list of crazy solutions – do the polar opposite.

By looking at the worst possible outcome, it shows you the way to become the best.


It was a great debate about the future & AI. Key take aways, let’s make sure we…

  • put Humanity before technology
  • consider dystopian futures so we can create utopian ones instead!
  • & If you aren’t facing the future, you’ll become part of the past

Hopefully you feel like you can go out there and face yours

Thanks to Nik our awesome speaker today. I hope you feel slightly Wiser this Wednesday as a result of joining us! Enjoy the discussion above.

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James Potten


On a mission to democratise entrepreneurship by providing access to best practice, helping startups sustainably scale up.