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TWIN Global 2019: A Hopeful Vision of Our New “To Be Determined” Age

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” - Carl Sagan. 


The air at Harris Theatre in Chicago crackled with thought and action-provoking insights as TWIN Global 2019—under the guidance of Robert Wolcott and friends of TWIN—got underway.


Trying to absorb or crystallize what you see and hear over three days at TWIN Global 2019 is too much of a mountain to climb: sessions are packed with intelligent provocation, lunches are filled with disarming intellect, and there are rooms full of people from whom you hope you can mine just a fraction of the possibility present.


A motif of TWIN, a chime that I heard again and again—how you create a vision with a sense, foresight, projection, perception, projections, and purpose, and how this informs the kind of world (or worlds) we want to create in the future.


We started our journey through TWIN by being 'granted access' to Mars with a coin artfully designed by David Delgado, Artist in Residence with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Throughout the event, beautiful projections of maps, generously granted by David Rumsey with Stanford University, reminded us that Robert Wolcott and his thought peers want to inspire us to start each day with a broadened, more adventurous view of what’s possible.

 

Many of this year’s topics addressed the importance of balancing the fast-moving and emerging worlds of AI and data science with disciplines that remind us that all of this must work in the human sphere, that is, incorporate neuroscience, behavioral science, art, and intuition. People do what is easy more often than they do what is right.' Jesus Mantas, IBM


When we look back, we see epochs largely identified by the influential technology of the time: the Bronze Age, the Industrial Age, the Information Age. What age are we entering now? I have heard “Experience Economy” (highlighting the human craving for authentic engagement and genuine emotion) and “Transaction Age.” Certainly, we want the era we live in to be known as something other than “That Time When Everything Fell Apart, and Skynet Took Over.” No doubt, our civilization is going through a profound transformation, and we must master a new thinking process that unifies the mental and emotional realities, grounded by the willpower to do good.


"Technology can make us better humans, so long as we don't lose the humanity that makes our species so special." Anna Catalano

These humanistic grace notes throughout my three days at TWIN Global offered a fuller, and more hopeful, a possible answer. As we upend the workplace and economy once again, becoming masters of oceans of heretofore opaque data, we must not lose sight of what humans need to thrive, be healthy, and be heard. As we charge the frontiers of technological capability and free human potential to create new paradigms, the sensitivity to how this operates at the human nexus will ultimately define the “to-be-determined” age we’re creating.


Nobody quite knows the outcome of this adventure, but if the people I met at TWIN are representative of purpose-driven leaders, I am looking forward to the future. As Rabbi Irwin Kula put it, “We all believe the world can get better. With whom do you want to wonder? We will have to wonder with everyone.” 


To achieve “humility in the world of abundance,” we will need to square the difference between people and profit. To trust that what the ancients have always told us about “being here” will inform us as we “go there” (which is Mars and Alpha Centauri, for starters). That the space nurtured by Robert Wolcott and TWINians can manifest a broader future where the artist, the doctor, the soldier, the teacher, and the scientists are all valued co-authors of an age where technology anchored by wisdom can create a new kind of world. “We live in the history of the future to come.” - Martin Wezowski


Even if we don’t quite know what to call that world yet, the notes of hope are welcome and inspiring—all given a lovely sendoff with Sons of Serendip’s transcendent rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” a perfect grace note for an uncertain and exciting new age.

"Purpose moves and motivates... To overcome obstacles, we need a belief." Robert Wolcott, Founder Of TWIN Global.

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