Welcome to imagination in action, where we have conversations with compelling people driving the action that will power our futures. These are successful Imaginators you want to know?
Tonight's show is particularly special for me. You know, Parag is is is quite the Imaginator. He's creative and action oriented. And he's done a lot of things that has had impact. And you'll learn a little bit more about that tonight. Tonight is also the night that the last few years I have been in Davos, Switzerland, and there's a dome that's 56,000 square feet, that's built that takes like 18 days to build, that I do a program on this Tuesday, the opening day of the World Economic Forum. And I do it with Forbes and Randall Lane, the chief content officer who created the 30 under 30. Program, and the billionaires list. And the CO fours, Mike federally are my co hosts. But my co curator is Sandy Pentland, and we had a magical program this year. And in addition to doing the event at Davos on the opening day of the World Economic Forum, right next to the World Congress. We were going to weave in a lot of our best of this year on imagination, action. And the reason I started this show a year ago was because the world was in lockdown, and last year's Davos didn't happen. And so I said, Let me collect my interesting friends and have conversations with them. And I'm so appreciative of Allison, who by day is the chief futurist of BCG, and by night is my co moderator. And we've just had a blast. And we plan to do the event next January in 2023. But this year, the Davos event didn't happen. So we took it on the clubhouse, which is a really remarkable platform. Tonight Imaginator speaks English, German, Hindi, French, Spanish, and Arabic. He was born in India grew up in the UAE, New York City, area, chapel quad To be specific, and Germany. And he went to Georgetown, and went to London School of Economics for He has a PhD. And he's now in Singapore, on his website, if you count he's written in 27 Publications multiple times. And I was looking at some of those articles, I realized I read them. When they came out, like in Time magazine, I didn't realize it was him. And those 27 publications, I recognized all of them except for one. And they're all top tier. I mean, it doesn't mean it's good. But it does mean that the top two people want him. He's advised at least 30 countries, according to his website, and in talking to him a few days ago. I know he's been to 150 countries. And I said, Well, I think there are 194 What about the rest? You know, maybe he'll he'll mention that. He's created these amazing digital maps that are so provocative, so interesting, that they are exhibited in art shows around the world. Wired Magazine has him on their short, smart list, like people look to this guy for advice. Oh, yeah, someone's not on mute making noise. And, and he's a leading global strategy mission. He's a world traveler, as I mentioned, he's the founder of map future a future map as a best selling author. And I have my first question actually, is around all these books he's written. And, you know, I know you've written at least six books, the recent one this year, or last year move the forces uprooting us. Prior one the future is Asian commerce, conflict and culture in the 21st century. One before that was XR cracy. In America, lies of the info state before that, connect androphy mapping the future of global citizen civilization, and then to before that, how to run the world charting a course of the next renaissance in your sixth book, the second world empires and influences in the new global order that was in 2008. And then there's one that you've co written, but I'm not gonna recognize that right now. But of those six books, I'm curious, you put yourself out there on some strategies or some things that you thought were gonna happen. And I'm curious, did you over predict or under predict, when you look back at it, you're at those books in totality? Is there something that you say, you know, if I could go back and rewrite it, you know, I'm sure these are like Beatles songs and they're perfect, but if you could go back and kind of tweak them a little bit, what would you have said, you know, would would China's role have been faster? Or would you have predicted, you know, climate change and immigration a little differently, if you could Back to the Future and kind of edit some of the theses? So that's my first provocative question to you.
It's a great question. And thanks so much, John, for having me on. I can't wait to dive in with all of you. Well, I mean, I tend to not think of things in that way. I know, it's a very conventional approach to say, Okay, what was the prediction in a given book? And, you know, did it prove to be true or false? And how would you go back and modify it, but because there's kind of, I view it as like, the way complex systems operate, or at least in a sense, systems that self correct, which is that since these six books are actually joined together, not in the sense of a preordained series, but each of them is modifying in some way or extending arguments made in the other and using them as a baseline, but kind of modifying the foundation as it goes along. I view writing each book as a self as a process that expands upon but also corrects and updates the assumptions and corrects the assumptions that may have been off in previous books, right. So for example, when I wrote The Second World, it was really about three empires and three superpowers it was, I think, probably the first book to really put the United States European Union and China on equal diplomatic footing. This was 15 years ago. And to say that if you look at the reset the supply side of superpower, right is the US, Europe and China. The demand side is all the countries in the world that are deciding who they're going to obey and who they're going to ally with and how and on what issues. And I said, and I looked at that, that diplomatic framework today, or if you then if you fast forward 10 years, I wrote the future is Asian and in that I said, Wait a minute, you know, China, it turns out is not going to be the sole story coming out of Asia. But 15 years ago, India was far too weak. Japan was far too reticent, and other Asian powers were far too meek to do the kinds of strategies that they are implementing right now, to try to limit Chinese expansionism to stand up to China to partner with the United States. I indicated those as scenarios. But I more or less took like a linear and stratospheric path for China for granted. Now it has followed that path. But I hadn't written enough in the first book about things that hadn't happened yet. Which is to say like the quad agreement for those who are following kind of the geopolitical trends in Asia, the United States, India, Japan and Australia, are really teaming up to try to limit China's maritime expansionism. The rival initiatives to the Belt and Road to finance sustainable infrastructure, in Central Asian countries and other countries had yet materialized. When I was backpacking around Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, you know, in the mid 2000s, there were no European projects of the scale of Chinese pipelines and so forth. But I was able to write about all of those things 10 years later, because they were finally starting to happen. So therefore, the Asia book is like a correction or an update of the Second World Book, it didn't need to be discarded or deleted in any way, because it's fundamentally still correct, about the kind of Imperial nature of the US, Europe and China. But in the Asia book, I got to take. On the system, like characteristics, I'll just, I won't drone on forever. But I'll give you the example of the move book, which was really about expanding on the incompleteness of cartography connect geography was about the functional geography of global infrastructural networks, and what they do to our civilization, our world, our economy, our geopolitics. And I looked at transportation, energy and communications networks, I wrote a little bit about migration. But the move book is a huge expansion on Connect geography, because it's fundamentally answering the question, what do we as humans do with all of that connectivity that we are building? And how will it shift our human geography, I didn't have an additional, you know, 400 pages on the back of Connect geography, which was already 500 Plus pages, you know, to go into the human geography dimension, so I wanted to write a whole book about it. And along the way, I got to bring in so many technological developments that I hadn't gotten to talk about and connect all graphy because they weren't as prominent when I wrote that book. 5g hadn't even been rolled out anywhere, let alone everywhere. For example, we didn't have clubhouse, you know, in building kind of, you know, all of the tools that we have now and just the last few years that that deepen, or make more frictionless the ability to build transnational, you know, cloud based communities. So I view every book is an opportunity to just expand on, you know, sort of what was said before without repeating it, but to start from the correct assumptions of the time. rather, and therefore refine anything I may have gotten wrong earlier.
Well, well thank you for your work. And I want to recognize Professor Sandy Pentland, one of the most respected members of the MIT community. He was teaching entrepreneurship, I think before anyone was at MIT and has had, like Yoda like impact on that community and beyond. And tonight, he and I had planned to be in Davos running our imagination action at the 56,000 square foot dome, I thought it would be only fitting to have pre OG as a speaker tonight. Professor Pentland, Sandy, great to Great to see you here. I know, you have deep respect for pre OG, I'm curious, you know, what's on your mind and anything you want to react to that priyad Just just shared?
Well, from my point of view, the prions just a really great academic and and prognosticator because he focuses on the connections and the dynamics of the system, most of the things you see are focused on linear extrapolation or the physical aspect, like, you know, the money you are, you know, carbon or something like that. But these things are all parts of very complicated systems. And what you need to do is think about the entire system, to be able to think about where it's going to go. And he's done a great job of that we don't always agree about everything. But I certainly listened to him whenever I get a chance.
And and pre OG, I'm gonna put a link to your website in the top, and I'm gonna add some topic words, we're recording this. So for those who are listening live, you can go back and hear the recording. And there's a great tool on clubhouse where you can hear that Sandy, maybe say something about what we had programmed for today in Davos that we had to postpone, just as a way to, to share a little bit about what we were thinking of?
Well, I'll give you sort of my perspective on it, it's always a give and take between lots of different parties. But what I see is that there's a great struggle between centralization, and distributed. And in the last 30 years or so, we've seen a huge amount of centralization, partly because of all these it AI data sort of applications. But also, there's a sort of great power struggle about, do you have a world where the center of controls was happening? Or do you have something where communities control what happened in a more sort of distributed and democratic way. And what we know is, is that the distributed way, is actually in some ways, a more robust, but it doesn't guarantee that everybody survives, or that everything works. So it's got a lot more chaos in it, too. And what the sort of big picture between sort of East and West is, East is much more centralized. The culture is one where people naturally look to the center, to be able to follow perhaps because of millennia of wars that were considerably worse than in Europe. Whereas in the West, there is a real zeitgeist of individualism, and a push back against that. And so this is going to be I think, the big battleground, or the big sort of force between things? Or is it going to be these centralized systems that win or the distributed systems that win and centralized systems, as we've seen with the rise of China can be amazing. But they suffer from the bad Emperor problem. distributed systems are inefficient and messy, but it's hard to kill them all, at Sunday, tend to survive better. And this will be the thing that I think is will be the struggle we see as we get into climate change as we get water shortages as we get great power competition. And I like to keep that frame on. Thanks. And I think Parag is probably has some strong opinions about that
to Parag I before I, I'm going to about to go to Allison, to pose a question, but would you like to react to what Sandy said? Do you agree with that any nuance that you want to add for your framework? How you see the world from where you sit, or anything left out in that, or anything new? You want to highlight is totally on point.
Well, just briefly, As you know, Sandy is for me one of those people who do no wrong. So thank you, Sandy for for joining. It's a real honor to catch up with you again. Sandy was in early believer in the Connect geography thesis. And I'm always grateful to his support for that book and giving me a nifty tour around the Media Lab, when I was visiting back in 2016. And so let me say on just to modify on the or to expand on what he said, What what's happening right now, in this debate, this tension, this intellectual, kind of, you know, juxtaposition between centralized and decentralized systems, is that the competition is not necessarily among them as if they represent rigid camps. What's really happening, in my view, is a race to learn how to self correct. So the bad Emperor systems, in other words, the rigid centralized authoritarian systems, the ones that I would call, either technocratic, if they are benevolent, or just straight up authoritarian, if they're not, are learning how to self correct, rather than following the archetype of being the rigid ossified Soviet style states that are prone to collapse. And so most people working on China today, other than the kind of very hawkish fringe who view it as inevitable that this state must collapse for the mere ideological fact of being authoritarian, do recognize that China, with or without technology, though, certainly aided by technology, is learning how to self correct from its mistakes, and avoid the fate of the Soviet Union. Because of course, as we know, China has spent the last 30 years literally precisely 30 years, the Soviet Union collapsed 30 years ago, last month, you know, seeking to avoid repeating that. And at this point, it's exhausted those lessons that doesn't really need them, per se. There are other lessons that it draws upon from places like Singapore, and other countries in the world in terms of how to self correct, even though it doesn't have sufficient democratic feedback channels from the people. And that's where technology comes in, and social credit and surveillance and other types of consultative tools. So in the academic literature, we often talk about China today as being what's called a consultative authoritarian state. Now, that might be far too benign, a term for many people, it's certainly uncomfortable for me to say it in a way that, you know, sounds so respectable. But the fact is that it is what it is, in terms of being a highly evolved version of what previously we thought of as just a pure Leninist communist kind of party, one party system. So to view it in that old school way, doesn't really do justice to how it's evolved. And that's obviously just one country. But what I'm interested in is broader race to adapt, you know, whether a country's a democracy or non democracy, where is it on the spectrum or the process of adapting the latest tools, technologies, processes, even democratic consultations, to rip to be more resilient than it was before and to be more resilient than its competitors? And that's where we, as democracies, actually are engaged in the same race. We're not, it's certainly from the Asian point of view, we're not better anymore just because we happen to be democratic in what one of the things that also differs in this east west dichotomy that Sandy referred to, is very fundamentally, the understanding of what constitutes legitimacy. For us legitimacy is how democratic are your are your inputs, right? The input legitimacy, we have free and fair elections, by and large, you know, we have we would like to have higher voter turnout, but we presume it's sufficient, and therefore the outcome is legitimate in the Asian mind, and this applies even in the world's largest democracy of India, an outcome is not sufficiently legitimate just because the party with the most votes won that party and the government itself is only legitimate if it actually delivers in terms of results and public welfare and provision of order. And that's what we call output legitimacy. So East favors output legitimacy, West favors input legitimacy. And the truth is, we're actually converging quite a lot. Edelman released its Trust Barometer yesterday. It's not perfect, but every single year, as you guys know, from Davos, it's one of the things we always talk about at Davos every year is Hey, what are the latest findings? So the Edelman Trust Barometer, sometimes the the the barometer focuses on public versus private sector differences in in public respectability, or recognition. This year, it happens to point out one of their main findings from their press release yesterday, is that, you know, authoritarian countries, non democratic countries have a far higher degree of trust among the people in their governments, then, then democracies do so democratic citizens of democracy use their own trust in their own governments. Is that more or less an all time low?
And that's That's such as many people startling, but the truth is, it's been a trend that's been underway for, you know, 10 or 15 years that assume generational change, infrastructural decay political polarization, a whole lot of variables. In the, in my Asia book a couple of years ago, I took the worldwide governance indicators and applied them across the world. And I said, if you look at the public service delivery, the quality of public services delivered by governments in Asia, it's improving across the board as their state capacity strengthens. And yet, the some of these countries have had democratic backsliding, you had a coup in Thailand, you have this corruption in Myanmar, Vietnam is an authoritarian state, you have a strong man like new territory in the Philippines. And yet, not only are these leaders largely popular, their states are getting stronger, right? So you can't necessarily sort of, you know, project on to the majority of the world population, the view that that democracy is what matters most to them, it tends to be output legitimacy. And we're in this race, again, governments are in this race, to use whatever technologies are available to get better at outputs in order to retain the support of the public. So all of these issues really do tie together very, very neatly, in fact,
great. I also want to point out that Esther Dyson is on the stage, former Speaker Imaginator I see Larry Nagler. He was on a show just a few weeks ago, was Arthur Ashe is doubles partner and had a long career in law. I see. Pam, I think you've been to every single one of our shows a former Imaginator on our stage. And Bill Walsh Zack, it's great to see all of you here. Let me turn to you, Allison. And have you pose a question. And then after that, I want max to do a brief 92nd Live Music PC's a very accomplished musician. He's one of our artists and musician, artists and residents. And it's a nice thing that we do on our two hour long form journalism. So Alison, I know you and I've been going back and forth. We're real excited about tonight's topic and tonight's Imaginators
thank you so much, John, what a fantastic topic. I love your thesis in your book move that the map of humanity isn't settled. And that you start off talking about where it will be in 2050. But I'd love to have you just spell out a little bit more of that thesis for our audience. I mean, you talk about a new age of mass migrations driven by climate change and other forces, you talk about 4 billion restless youth. And I'm just fascinated by how COVID has changed this, which cities and areas you think will abandon and where you think will resettle and what our map of 2050 will look like.
Wow, well, you've covered the entire table of contents of the book. So it's a good thing, they I never have to do the audio recording. So my own book because I hear that takes like seven days or something like that to do. So maybe just compressing it to to a couple of minutes. You know, start with that stuff that I think is probably most interesting for people, which is about the kind of well, one is just the kind of the, let's say the historical backdrop, if you go back 17th 18th 19th 20th centuries, what I noticed is in every century, the number of people who we would classify as migrants is expands dramatically. Right? So the decimal place is always shifting to the right, from just millions of people a couple of centuries ago to 10s of millions to hundreds of millions in the 20th century. And in this century, surely over a billion people will be migrants or across borders. This was the first century in which more than a billion people did in fact, cross borders, legally, more or less seamlessly, just in the travel industry in a single year. That happened over the last couple of years, several times. So we have the capacity for literally billions of people to move across borders, how many of those will be migrants and relocate? Well, that number has also grown again, in sort of almost in lockstep with the rise of the world population itself. But let's remember that we have four times the world population today than we had 100 years ago. Now in terms of the drivers over the last several centuries, it was politics or economics, it was civil war, or genocide or famine, or the or the transatlantic slave trade or, or colonialism that move 10s of millions of people across the oceans and vast distances. But in the 20th century, it became an late 20th century in particular became predominantly economic migration to fill labor shortages. Think about Latinos and Asians in the United States, or Turks and other populations in Europe. So you have mass migrations due to primarily economic drivers, but you also have climate change already, according to the International Organization of mine. ration and other sources, about a third of today's displaced people or relocated, you know, migrants in the world today are as a result of climate change. And that's a dramatic increase from any point in the 20th century or any event in the 20th century. So we're in an age now, where not only the politics now I think about, you know, the Oregon collapse the the collapse of Afghanistan, or the Syrian refugee crisis, or economics, which is to say, people moving in search of a better life, like Indians getting h1 visas to the United States, you have the historical traditional drivers of migration in overdrive, also, because of labor shortages in wealthy OECD countries like the US, Canada, Europe, European countries and Japan. And now you have climate change. So every possible driver, you can think of that has over the last, say, 100,000 years, compelled people to get up and move is operating in hyperdrive right now. So that brings me to the pandemic, why would you possibly believe as many people do that or have believed for the last two years that this lockdown means, you know, a long term, quote, unquote, you know, end of migration, right, we had reached by the end December 2019, an absolute all time high, like literally never had 1.5 billion people cross borders in a single year as they did in the year 2019. And then January 2020, comes the pandemic. So that was obviously very temporary, you know, sort of a sort of hiatus, if you will, for global migration. It's not that movement didn't happen, you know, 10s of millions of people still moved even during the pandemic. And a lot of you on this call right now, you know, all of us who are capably in digital nomads, for example, relocated, a lot of people move back, there was a movement back and movement doesn't just mean leaving the south to come to the north. It doesn't just mean Africans trying to come to Europe or Latinos trying to come to America, it could be the millions of South India, South Asians, Indians and Pakistanis, who left Saudi Arabia and the UAE because their work and construction project stalled. It could be the New Zealanders who are still waiting in a queue for government allotted slots to move back to New Zealand based upon the limited number of quarantine hotels. The point is there is their zigzagging movement. But there's perpetual movement. And now that the pandemic is fading, and more people can be remote workers and more people are suffering, the effects of climate change, more people have to leave their homes because of forest fires, lots and lots and lots of people are perpetually moving and more will be moving all the time, for positive reasons, negative reasons voluntarily or involuntarily in rich countries or in poor countries, for an on and on it goes. And I wanted to actually take all of that as a totality. I didn't want to focus just on the poor, you know, masses in the countries that are going to suffer the most from climate change, though, of course, a lot of the book is about them. I also want to talk about the behavior of ultra high net worth individuals who have five passports and are lending their their their pocketbooks, basically to invest in countries by way of buying real estate there. And, you know, obviously, such as it is, we live in a world where the richest one or 2% have a disproportionate impact on on on the world economy. So looking at where those 10s of 1000s of people, even though they're numerically insignificant, where they put their capital has a big impact on countries that may become winners and losers in the world economy in the next couple of decades. And I'll just make final final point for now is about youth, you can't do a future, a book about future demographics and focus on the attitudes and behaviors of 80 year olds, right, you really have to look at today's you have to look at millennials, which is Gen Y, Gen Z and Gen Alpha.
Although we've done some shows on longevity, and if the average age goes to 121 50, at one point 80 year olds are going to be a different view. But that's fast forwarding a little bit further faster than we are now.
And I pray I pray that the the elderly or aging, let's call them because we will shift the goalposts on what the definition of elderly is then be in that scenario. But I pray that those individuals have already found the place where they're going to, again, the physical geographical place where they're going to have settled, but the most unsettled are always the young. And so I focus in this book on the for 4.2 billion people who are classified as young which is in fact half it's slightly more than half of the entire world population, because they're the most mobile generations in general. And they happen to also be the most mobile generations in human history, because of course, the world is far more accessible than it was in any previous era to them. And then there's certain demographic characteristics of today's global youth, which is that they are childless, they are economically insecure, they are less nationalistic, and other, you know, sort of sort of traits that I bring up that make them more it would give them a higher propensity to want to relocate and move than their predecessors. So looking at the future geography of today's 4 billion young people was, for me a central motivating factor in in kind of writing this book. Because, again, I wanted to say, you know, where are today's young people going? Why are they going there? What attracts them there? Are those places stable? Or what's changing in those places to make them attractive? What does it tell us about the kinds of places that people will live in the future? And the answer to every single one of those questions is answered by talking to young people. So instead in this book, or for this book, rather than my kind of usual, you know, find the the, the Sandy Pentland like luminary in whatever country, although of course, they're usually just a pale imitation of Sandy, or go to the Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Mayor. That kind of usual repertoire, I've just kind of sought out young people. I have a bit of a history with this, I was kind of very active in in international youth politics, you might say, when I was a teenager, in a very formal way, actually, with like the United Nations youth unit and all these global NGOs and going to these youth conferences and rallying was like kind of like Greta Thornburg before Greta Thornburg. But it was much more that I was not that at that level of sort of notoriety. There wasn't really anyone in the 90s. This was much more bureaucratic and humdrum kind of stuff, trying to get governments to recognize youth rights, and so forth. But the point is that I've always felt this kind of generational consciousness. And now, according to a lot of sociological research and surveys, it's a very real thing young people identify with, according to certain values, like sustainability and connectivity and the right to mobility, those are not the values that we identify with baby boomers. Right, on. So in any case, it's been really enlightening, you know, to kind of see the world through young people's eyes and have these focus groups done for me with teenagers, and really kind of understand what they want for themselves in the future and where they think they're going to get it. And the answers are really quite different from the way probably a lot of us on this call grew up.
Great. So now I'd like to ask max to play something. He's down south and, and then Carolina, play something really briefly. This is the Celebrate the conversation where and how will humanity survive the 21st century? Then I'm going to ask Sandy, maybe just to react what you just heard from Prayog? Or maybe ask him a question. And then next, I want to ask Esther, to ask a question. I know she cares a lot about humanity, and has done a lot to try to help humanity. And I'm sure she has a number of questions she wants to share. You know, priyad, actually, before Max plays, you know, really quickly, I was with a fortune 10 CEO a few years back, and he said he thought the US government was its competitive disadvantage at the time, I'm not going to reveal, you know, what administration was going on? I'm curious, you know, with this pandemic. And Alison kind of started by saying, you know, with the pandemic, I'm curious, has the pandemic revealed some countries, government to be a competitive advantage in some countries government to be a disadvantage? It may be just like, in 30 seconds list, you think who the winners and losers are?
Is that is that sorry? Yeah, that's for you. Yeah. Sure. Okay. Absolutely. Well, just one fun fact. I mean, before the pandemic, there were like two countries that had no mad visa programs that said, you know, come here, we've got a stable climate, we're a great place for remote work if you're a digital nomad, you know, move here, that was country countries like Estonia and whatever. Now 75 countries have programs like that, because they realized how important tourism and you know, business travel and just having young people as consumers in their in their economies are for them. So there's a lot of countries out there now that are more and more confident in saying just come here and reside here. And we'll change our entire immigration policy to cater to you. And that's not something you would have thought, again, all the same people who were saying, migration is going to freeze, because of the pandemic seem to have missed the fact that 75 countries decided they want more migrants, right. So it's pretty remarkable shift in attitudes. Now, in terms of countries like Canada is clearly a big winner. We've continued with talent surveys, and from the industry during the pandemic, and they have revealed a really sharp increase in preference for moving to Canada, all over the United States that obviously it coincides with the Trump administration. Germany has gone up in the rankings Japan has got up in the rankings, I could I could list you know, we can talk about the top 10 in order that they appear in the surveys, but let me I'll just highlight Japan, Germany and Canada for now is three of the winners
and who are three big losers.
Well, losing is relative, right, especially if you're thinking of the United States, you know, even in a bad year, hundreds of 1000s of people Move to United States, which is a lot more than move to any most other countries. Right. So and we're already bucking that trend, just to be clear, I'm
and you know, actually when I asked the question, I wasn't thinking just about migration more than he would would government showed they can handle, you know, leading during these times? Okay. You know, these are very complex times like Rubik's Cube type stuff every minute.
Absolutely. Yeah. We didn't do so hot in that department, obviously. Well, so there's the first question might be more broad, but there's a pattern, one pattern that emerges that islands, you know, like, well, governed islands did quite well. So I live in one of them right now happens to be Singapore. You know, you could say Taiwan, obviously, New Zealand, Malta, you know, Iceland. So notice, they're all islands. They're all small. They're all very well governed. They all, you know, sort of show
would be proud.
Exactly, absolutely. So they there. So that was one feature, let's say, but it doesn't apply to a large swath of the world population. Unfortunately, obviously, the US performance speaks for itself, you know, for the whole world to see. But, you know, it's been a very fat I mean, again, I tend to view these things in an evolutionary way. It's not about how well or poorly you did in a particular month or against a particular variant of COVID. Rather, how what did you learn from it? And did you self correct and improve? And if you did, how quickly does that become visible in your policies? And does that get communicated to the world in order for you to prevail in the marketplace for talent, right, so COVID has been declining over remember the Economist magazine, and its year end, double issue declared Italy was the country of the year, because of the way it bounced back over the preceding kind of year and a half from COVID. You know, there was a point in early 2020, when we were just, you know, where COVID, was ripping through Italy, so much worse than than other countries. And obviously, they have a fragile aging population, and so forth. And then by late 2020, to become one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and had a, you know, wide vaccination rate and all of these things. So you know, that those are the short term blips, what I'm waiting to see is which countries build resilient health systems and have more rapid, rapidly responding governments as a result of COVID. Among other shocks, obviously, because it's not, it doesn't, you know, climate change doesn't wait for COVID to be healed before rearing its ugly head. So the broader metrics of resilience are not just health, they're also environmental. And they're also social. And they also do apply to jobs and technology, and so on. So, you know, I look at this in the broader context of challenges that state space, and whether or not they're adapting. So it just goes back to the very, very first point we were talking about. So yes, there's a broader trend of winners and a broader trend of losers, which is to say, ascending and descending performance. And, you know, some of the countries we just talked about are going to are going to learn their lessons, they took their lumps, they're going to learn their lessons, and they're going to be better and stronger and more resilient as a result. Other places we're not so sure we're not so sure if the US is going to come out stronger as a result of this, if, you know, let's say the the healthcare system, and the cost of delivery of basic medical care, and all these other things, if we're going to learn the lessons of COVID, improve, we none of us can say for sure which way it's gonna go.
Great. So, Sandy, we're about to hear a musical interlude. But do you want to react to anything that was just said or, or or compliment?
Or just that? What he was saying about this is just a snapshot is really true, because every country is going through this highly chaotic period. And the question is, is where's it going to end up? And that's not obvious from the sort of local moment by moment sort of changes, US could end up in a great place because we're having this discussion about individual rights versus central rights versus this versus that China could end up in a great place, because while they're in this very authoritarian phrase, perhaps that there'll be reach a much more sustainable method of living. We can't really tell where that happens. On the other hand, you know, the United States has peaceful borders. It's not something where huge migrations will have this sort of damage that you'll see in someplace like India, or Pakistan or Bangladesh where climate change and other sorts of things are going to cause hundreds and hundreds of millions of people want to pick up and move and the places they want to move are going to want to take most of them. So you are going to have I would anticipate really seriously conflicts conflict in, in the subcontinent and in Africa, where people are moving into not terribly well governed places in order just simply to survive. And it may be that in comparison places like the United States look like a wonderful place still.
Great. So this is where and how will humanity survive the 21st century we're 40 minutes in we have another hour and 20 minutes. Max and Caroline if you could dedicate some music you guys are both artists and residents on imagination action we love the music you guys have played over the year max one you go first and Caroline and then we'll go to Esther and then Allison.
Thank you John. Here is an original piece I wrote in the style of Bach Baroque music.
Great thank you Max. very accomplished musician. Definitely follow him. Carolyn, what do you got?
That was amazing. I'm gonna do some Bach actual Bach just the a part of a of a piece the Sonata number two any minor?
Thank you, Caroline, and just so everyone knows Carolyn heard the word Bach, when we all heard the word Bach. And she improvised. So, and our two musicians are about a third to a fourth the age of many people on the show. Prague said, youth are important. So it's great to have youth representing Esther Dyson. What's your question to our Imaginators?
Okay, power. Wonderful to see you or see your picture and hear you. The the two things that bother me most about the world as it is right now are one, the increasing short term thinking of just about everybody, you know whether it's real time stock trading. Nobody forecasts or plans beyond a year COVID Of course is made has made everything uncertain. So that's the first and the second is, it seems like the rich people are going to disappear into the metaverse. and make a huge amount of money. And very little of that money is going to be devoted to feeding clothing, housing or educating the poor. And that's a pretty dystopian view. But I looked at the headline of this session here. Do you see that too? What do you think about it? What can people do about it?
Okay, well, thank you so much for joining
us for that small question.
You with you, is it ever just as volatile, and I cherish even any small encounter we've ever had. So, so glad that you're here and we get to reconnect? I share your two concerns. One, the again, the sort of short term is of most people's sort of psychology, and then the role of the rich and as you say, disappearing into the metaverse, of course, I mean, that does correctly, you know, describe the behavior of some number of people. But we also have obviously, those that are having a attempting have a systemic impact, let's say on you know, bettering the human condition is sort of, you know, whether it's the Bill Gates's, or otherwise in the world, I think, very often we, we don't sufficiently appreciate the I don't want to call it trickle down, because it's a horrible term that we know, is discredited, certainly in domestic, you know, economic systems, but that there is interactions among the behaviors of the wealthy in terms of how and where they invest, and how investments flow and what job creation emerges from that and how technology is transferred. And, you know, basically, I'm just saying the, the barriers between class are not porous in terms of the definition of that class in terms of income. But in terms of the ways in which at a micro economic level, there's interactions among people. And that's an important window into potentially not resolving the challenge that you're putting forward. But to say that, you know, what happens if there aren't enough people to consume or aren't enough consumers? In the let's call it the metaverse marketplace where, you know, billionaires in tech and the metaverse would love to have an infinite number of participants. But if so, if economic inequality remains so stark, and access to certain consumption remains out of reach, you can't really grow your economy much. And that's where the domestic parallel does apply, because the US economy is going to be inhibited in its growth, if it doesn't have enough people. And with the population of the United States having reached, you know, a low the lowest level of net inward migration as a percentage of its own population last year, than anytime since the 1780s. Right, that means that there's looking for a services based economy in which most people, most businesses make their money from doing things for other people in their country. There's real limits, I have friends in private equity, who bide by dollar stores, or own real estate assets. And I say, Why do you support Trump? If, you know, he means low immigration, which means less renters of your buildings and less people going to the movie theaters you've owned and so forth? And obviously, the answer is because of his, you know, waive his continuation of the carried interest exemption for them financially. So they operate in their own day, they make their political decisions based on their own parochial or individual economic interests, not in the interest of their firms. But fundamentally, globally, if you have very high, you know, income stratification, but businesses depend on mass consumption of ever more expensive goods, if those goods are of a category that are more expensive, rather than less expensive, then, you know, there are limits to growth. And I'm saying all of this as a precursor to pointing out that the world population is reaching a plateau. And this was one of the kind of really, for me seminal points of departure for this entire research in the new book, which is to say that, that, you know, in the past, we've presumed because everyone alive today is lived in a world where the world population has been at the, you know, somewhere along the curve of the quadrupling that took place between 1920 and 2020. But that's flattening out way faster than any demographers ever imagined. And we've had two major baby busts in just the last 15 years, the financial crisis and now COVID. So we'll reach what I call peak humanity, a population of just, you know, maybe not even 9 billion people. I mean, this is a whole other tangent, not quite a tangent, but something we can argue about for hours in terms of demographic forecasting, and what has driven those forecasts and what makes them correct or incorrect, or why they've been so wildly off which they absolutely have been over the last 20 years and what the final number that we will settle at is and when will we reach that peak humanity point and what number will it be? My prediction is, you know, nine billion or so are slightly, maybe slightly more than nine, give or take, it's all give or take anyway. And before the year 2040, well, that's effectively tomorrow. In terms of long term thinking and much of the world, pretty much everyone on this call lives in a country that's already at peak humanity that has sub replacement fertility levels, that has insufficient immigration, and were indeed, one major cause of the economic stagnation that we're experiencing is simply as a result of inadequate demographics. So all of this relates to migration, because of course, if you want to inject and infuse economic dynamism, consumption into your economy, if you are a rich person who runs a business, digital or otherwise, and you want to be able to charge people, higher costs for those services, they need to be in a country, or to be able to afford those services. So either they get wealthier where they are, or they move to countries where they can get wealthier and spend more of their of their money on NF T's in the metaverse. And that's not happening at a sufficient scale right now, sure, in a short term way, we see valuations of these companies going through the roof, and you know, lots of investment pouring into it. But if businesses do fundamentally depend on a certain volume of consumption by a volume, by number of people, you will at some point need to invest more in reducing inequality or reducing poverty, and expanding the size of the global middle class, if you want to have not only, you know, a moral civilization, but even healthy economies. And so that's why all of these things do tie together. So I hope that the demographic facts of the world today and the economic facts of the world today will continue to drive, you know, those people who are fortunate and who who do run businesses to see the logic in supporting large scale migration or reduction of poverty.
Parag, something you should know is Esther reaches out to me when she can't make the show. So she's here more often than not. Esther, Were you satisfied with that answer? Do you have a follow up question? Do you want to pin him down? I want to your point.
I slightly Yeah. How much evidence do you see? I mean, it's not like 29.8%. But you, there seems to be a lack of evidence that, you know, the world is actually going to go ahead and do that. It seems to be heading in the wrong direction. Maybe. Maybe we're reaching a peak. And we'll come back. I'm just curious Do do you see some dynamics that will turn this around? Because certainly the United States, it's exactly what you described, rather than Oh, people are beginning to start to think long term?
Sure, look, a couple of things. I mean, one is the global or international Gini coefficient was declining prior to the pandemic, it's obviously widened, hopefully, hopefully, temporarily, as a result of the pandemic. But we all know that the pandemic has had a more severe impact. And climate change is having more severe impact on countries that are already poor. But prior to the kind of climate disasters that we've been seeing with growing frequency afflicting the developing world, and the pandemic, international income inequality was in fact declining. I don't think anyone disputes that emerging markets developing countries were getting wealthier, they're getting more connected to global supply chains and trade. It wasn't just India and China, where you were seeing large scale poverty reduction, it was in much of the rest of Asia as well, and many African countries were progressing and so on. So that was happening. Whereas what you're pointing to, rightly, about the United States is widening domestic income inequality. And domestic income inequality, as in terms of the Gini Coefficient became more severe than international income inequality over the lot, really about 10 years ago. So So you know, these two trends have not not just gone, I mean, they've really gone gone hand in head. But if you kind of isolate or bracket out extreme, the extremes, which is to say, you know, the number of, you know, sort of Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos and so forth, it does relatively stabilize, what has been already again, you know, sort of in defensively extreme income distribution, but you know, it's not as severely worse or as acutely worse, as it was before. It was before. It's really just that at the, at the very, very top, owing to market effects. And well, you know, glomer ation, it looks worse, statistically. But we were already so bad, that it's not really that much worse than how bad it was. Now, let's look at what could be the good news. The labor shortages, owing to low migration, and you know, supply chain disruptions and so forth, have meant that wages have been rising. Right. So this is in terms of the evidence that you're looking for. One is the kind of global stats I was just mentioning to the second piece of it would be this issue around rising wages. So we do know for a fact that you have at the same where you have labor shortages, you have obviously, you know, growing willingness of employers to pay those wages, you also now have the growing political pressure and momentum around raising the minimum wage and so forth. And for those who have seen even anecdotally, some of the wonderful, you know, kind of reflections that people have written about this pandemic versus what happened after the Black Death, there are certain similarities there in terms of people moving into areas of labor shortage and wages rising, and so on and so forth. So there's almost eerie symmetry, you know, in terms of what happened 700 years ago, and today, so those effects I think, will kick in, but there will that will reach its limits, because unemployment is falling again, and we still have labor shortages in so many areas. So you can well imagine that they based both upon the just the stock or the volume of labor shortages, but also from a technical level, the sectoral shortages, so shortage of nurses nurses Doctor. Hello,
I'm not hearing Prayog you know what, until he comes back pre OG, you went on mute. Sandy, I was gonna ask you to try to answer Esther's question.
Well, yeah, I have a somewhat different answer. I mean, Parag is absolutely right that if you look at across between countries, inequality has been reducing up to 2019. In fact, it's, it's the most amazing change and life expectancies and infant mortality, and so on and so forth. Something that was completely unexpected, that it would be this good that big 20 or 30 years ago, when I started working with the UN and building small companies and services, to work on these issues. But within countries, of course, it's gotten worse. I take the view on this, that this is like when the railroads were built, and some people got incredibly wealthy, are probably much more wealthy proportionately than the tech billionaires are today. Just go look at the houses that they live to. You really don't see things being built like that. And then later, you saw the robber barons. And what ended up happening with each of these things is that this system changed. There was a reaction, we got laws, people formed unions, various sorts of things to break these these monopolies up, he said, well, but that'll never happen. You know, let's take the tech companies today, all of the smaller companies, all the non tech companies are infinitely jealous. Not only is it the citizens that are upset about this, but most of the companies are upset also. And there's a very quiet and probably irresistible force, at limiting the power of these tech companies to induce more competition, to have more things that limit them in a more natural way, not just serving the law, but other competitors. And you see countries around the world, for instance, enacting data laws, like localization laws, that mean that you can't be just Facebook, headquartered in Sunnyvale, you have to have the Rwandan Facebook because the data has to stay there, that has to be visible to the government. And yet, this hasn't really happened yet. But I see the pressure is building I see people enacting laws, I see the competitors coming in for the kill. And I really fully expected in a generation, we're going to see less of this gilded age that we currently live in, and much more diffusion of these tech things. And you can call that utopian, and I won't argue with you. But I think those are the forces you need to remember that there are lots of forces in society, not just markets, not not just the things that we focus on, there's politics, there's other sorts of powers that happen, that will, you know, cut the peaks off these things. And through that competition, of course, you get innovation, you get local innovation, which ends up building the skills and economies of the poor nations. So I'm, while we're going through a bad patch, and would argue with that, I think that there's the possibility of turning that into much broader innovation. And what you have to do is you have to focus on ownership of data, not by citizens necessarily only. But that is something where there can't be monopolies on it, you have to focus on the diffusion of AI, so that it's not just a few Uber companies that own the area, but you can use it to make governments better, its audited, etc, just as we did with financial systems, just as we did with railways, just as we've done with other things. It's never perfect, it's always messy. But you can put your thumb on the parts that push back against these big tech companies. And I guess that would be the thing that I would point out, I'm the one or two generation sort of timeframe.
Thank you for cheering us up.
Great, I see PRI argues, is just want to remind people, this is imagination in action, where we have Imaginators. And tonight, it's pre OG and Sandy. And these are people who have been using their imagination and making action happen and driving society. And they're doing it into the future. And tonight, I asked Priyanka to come up with the title for the show, and it's the future humanity. So we're just getting into it. We're one hour in. I'm going to turn to Allison, to ask the next question. But I just want remind, remind people that for the past few years, Sandy Pentland, I had been curating an event at the Davos at the World Economic Forum on this very day. And this year, we cancelled it because the event was an in person, but because it was cancelled last year, I started doing the show weekly. And I want to thank clubhouse for being our platform to do it. I see Kelly stencils in the room. She is been such a great facilitator of supporting the show. We have over 300 Imaginators on our website, all our shows are recorded and these two folks tonight are people that you should write in your diary that you got to hear from tonight. So Allison, I turned to you will actually before I turn to you, Parag Is everything okay. Yeah, I
don't know where I got cut off. I was probably just like, on some soliloquy, but I'm back.
Great. All right. Allison, I turned to you and you could direct the question equally to Sandy and Prayog are directed to Andy editorialized, whatever you want.
Well, first of all, I loved Esther's question, and I'm not sure that Priya, you got a chance to answer it. And Esther, I'd love to hear your thoughts about Sandy's comments. I think it's a really important issue. priyad just before you joined, Sandy was explaining and Sandi Excuse me, please correct if I capture this wrong, but that, you know, each generation we have the equivalent of robber barons, or great technologists like the the railroad Titans, who make extraordinary wealth, and over time, that then gets spread out over the cheese. Yes. And also he pointed out very importantly, the system changes and reacts. And I think Esther was really raising a very powerful question whether AI and the current generation of tech Titans will follow that same model, or whether we'll end up with walled gardens. Metaverse, that not everyone can ant enter. So I mean, Esther, maybe rather than me asking this question, maybe you want to just repeat your question to both. And then after you both have answered, I have a different question.
I'll do my best. It's challenging because there are all these different different things happening. Certainly the the notion that we need to pay workers more is gaining more currency, but it's you know, and so which which one will prevail, it will probably be a mixture as it has been already, but there seems to be yes, there's better Gini coefficient around the world but you also have Kazakhstan you have Hungary you have Poland, you have so many countries becoming run by kind of right wing authoritarians who are creating huge instability around the world. You have Russia and key F you have what's going on in the UK? You know, it's like all the governments are kind of coming apart at the same time. And it's, it's a little scary. And then you read, I thought, Park, this would be really interesting to hear that. This notion that China, the authoritarian governments that are smart, they are listening to their people, they're they're surveilling them. They're not just, they're not just watching them and punishing them, but they're also listening to them and kind of catering to them, but not giving them any power. And
use them. Yeah,
yeah. Go ahead, take over. I just want to. Interesting,
exactly right. So so you know, previously, when we were trying to look for the good news, I was saying, you know, you've got the the contraction of the workforce, and therefore rising wages, you had falling international inequality, you will have more robust domestic or regional economic supply chain systems as a result of countries not wanting to be caught off guard by a future pandemic, or disruption and want to have more domestic capacity. So investing in domestic capacity, whether it's medical equipment, or manufactured goods, will lead to, you know, higher wages and more more technology imports, and job creation, and so forth. So there are positive futures out there for many parts of the world, potentially, if they follow the kind of lessons that emerge from this pandemic experience, in terms of the, you know, kind of, we're throwing, I love this part, where we kind of throw darts at the head, a global nap, and say, you know, are the things that are happening in some places, the authoritarian capitalist strongman systems that aren't bending in terms of political sort of, you know, political pluralization, or democratization. But are there counter examples. And if you look at Chipotle as an example, I was, I was in, like, literally caught in Santiago in the midst of the protests a couple of years ago, where they had the transit fare hikes. And you had you had for the first time since Pinochet, you know, a couple of tanks in the streets. Now, look, they've elected, you know, a sort of left lefty, kind of, you know, coalition government, that is rewriting the Constitution, that's going to dramatically expand social services and so forth. Right. So for every Hungary, there's a QI lay, which is obviously a very good thing. So again, you know, the fact that there are countries that are bad performance, this is actually a really important point, the fact that there are countries that are that set, you know, sort of poor examples in our eyes, is a good thing in that countries that all of the remaining countries in the world operate in this intellectual marketplace, where they get to look around and say, Do I want to be like Hungary? Or do I want to be like, Germany, you know, where even even let's compare apples and apples. I mean, you know, if you look at French immigration policy in German immigration policy, well, guess which country has a dynamic economy with a growing labor force that's absorbing migrants, and that's the engine of Europe. And guess what, everyone? It's not friends, right? It's Germany. Guess which country's new center left Coalition Government is making it easier for foreigners to become citizens than ever before? If we were having this conversation 20 years ago, and I said, hey, guess what, in the year 2020, a migrant to Germany will be able to apply for citizenship within three years, you'd say I was out of my mind. But that just happened. And if you look at Kazakhstan, a place where you've now just had riots in the streets, and Russian peacekeepers, quote, unquote, coming in that particular government, Kazakhstan is the kind of government that's going to learn these lessons and say, you know, we really need to spread the wealth a lot faster, invest a lot more in not just the kind of, you know, tier one cities, we need to spend more on economic diversification and get people out of, you know, these exploitative sectors like just oil and gas extraction, and so on. And I bet that's a company that the country that's going to come out stronger from this experience, rather than succumb to collapse, there will be places that will collapse within there are places that are going to kind of experience that are really just have a wake up call. There's countries that are very much on the fence like Ukraine, you know, I've been going to Ukraine and Kazakhstan a lot over the last 20 years. And Ukraine is a place where I always felt that it's so stupendously corrupt, that it would take only an invasion, would wake those people up to really create a more accountable government. And now they've had invasion. And so now there are since 2014. Now there have been this process of attempting to find a government and they're still having this kind of spin, they're still in a political spin cycle looking for leaders who are less corrupt and capable of making the place attractive, you can unproductive economically, while also strong and independent. Geopolitically, Kazakhstan is way further along that curve than even a country like Ukraine, because the people in power in Kazakhstan even though they've obviously made mistakes, and oversights are genuinely committed to self correcting. So it's a theme now several times in this last hour, like self correction, self correction, self correction, who learns from mistakes. It's not who gets it right every step of the way. Because none of us do. No one does. No company does. No country does. But it's who self corrects and how fast you self correct. And I happen to know, Kazakhstan very, very well. And and they are fully capable of self correcting from this mistake as their other countries whether the impetus is COVID, or or a foreign invasion.
I sure hope you're right on Kazakhstan, that would be amazing.
I know you've been you've been one of their one of their favorite cosmonauts haven't
just trained. But yes, I've been there.
So Allison, before I asked the audience, to stack some questions. Do you have another question you want to ask?
Definitely. This is such a rich set of topics. I'm sure I am the audience have a lot of questions. I wanted to take up two of the points you were saying earlier priyad that were so fascinating. So one is what do you see the best governments doing to both attract the people they want as migrants but avoid sort of being so attractive that their borders get stormed? If you take Canada say, for example. And then I also would love to know if at the end of all these mass migrations, you think that national identity is going to be any part of our sense of self we already have, I think they're called Three country kids where the mothers from Third Culture kids, right, whether the baby's born in a third country, mothers from one father's from another year, probably exponentially bigger than that, but love to just hear those two, I mean, how does a country navigate attracting the people at once not overwhelming its borders, and what happens to identity in the era of mass migration.
You know, there's a famous saying by older speculate, sociologist, he said the only thing worse than being overrun by foreign investment is not being overrun by foreign investment. And, you know, way it almost applies to migrants in this world of labor shortages. And that, you know, ageing workforce and high dependency ratios, and sort of the only thing worse than being overrun by migrants is not being overrun by migrants, here's how I would adapt it. Because again, countries are realizing that they're actually desperate for migrants, if you remember, Mick Mulvaney, who was Trump's chief of staff, among other positions, he actually was caught on some hot mic saying, you know, we're desperate for more migrants desperate, desperate, desperate, and the US GDP will be $1 trillion, less than it is today, unless we have mass migration, that was not exactly Trump's immigration policy. And he was, you know, sort of retired from his position shortly thereafter, but it was true. So you know, the situation you're describing, or the scenario is, would be like a good problem to have, it's just that a lot of countries don't realize it. But those that have actually, sort of, you know, are benefiting from it. So if you look at, but let's remember the barriers to entry to simply get to Canada, it's not easy. So, you know, Canada's problem isn't that it's such a wonderful, idyllic place, that people that there are barbarians at the gate, by the way, for, you know, in the Canadian mind, we are the barbarians let's not forget, and Canadian political humor to the extent that there that there is any, and that it has a cruel fiber, you know, in its in its utterances, you know, is mostly directed at making such slurs that Americans but anyway, you know, they take in 400,000 people a year, but just about all of those people are skilled, and it's, you know, sort of their, their, their they demonstrate in advance they have a very digital system 95% of the Canadian immigration application processes online. So you've got to be have a sufficient, you know, have a sufficient degree of competence or track record that you can provide your certifications of education and, you know, certain, you know, I don't know if you need recommendations, but your bank balances and all these kinds of things that show maybe show a job offer and each of those things is going to get to a point in the system. So, you know, Canada is embracing is doing this, it's embracing its role, it's taking in powerful pound is again a share of its own population. It's by far the most generous country in the world. And it has the capacity for more. It just needs to build more it needs to ensure build more affordable housing. Obviously, you don't want housing prices to get so skewed that there's political backlash, because you're asking a very specific and I think a great question, which is, what do countries do right or wrong and attracting talent? Well, the point at which you get overwhelmed tends to be the point at which your housing prices get too high in desirable places. And then you have a nativist kind of backlash, saying, you know, what, it's all well and good migrants that have more Chinese and Indian food, but you know, I can't afford a rent, you know, I can't afford the rent or to own a home anymore in this neighborhood, or in my own city, I don't recognize it anymore. I'm going to become an anti immigration activist, right. And that does happen, obviously, in quite a few places. I mean, even migrants is interesting phenomenon where even migrants themselves turn anti immigration, it's colloquially known as kicking the ladder out from behind you. You know, and so there's that phenomenon too, but we won't get into that right now. But so so you've got to have affordable housing, you've got to have low taxes, you have to have educational opportunities, because chances are people are coming from countries where they're where their educational systems are obviously not as good as Canada's or America's. So you want to have vocational training. So people can kind of learn learn certain skills at any age, and kind of on the fly. And again, so countries that have those strong vocational systems tend to be adaptable to different categories of migrants that come in, you also want to have obviously, social assimilation policies. So it's something as simple as support for learning the language. And I talked about this in the book and in, in places like Germany and the Netherlands, where there's a lot of investment going into language training, and I can tell you firsthand is one of these third, or you know, seventh culture kids, you know, you'll never get anywhere in a country or I mean, I'm generalizing, but unless you learn the language. And I say this as someone who moved to Germany as a teenager, not speaking, you know, a syllable of German. And today, I get treated like a German, you know, I mean, I'm functionally a German, the minute by plane lands in Berlin, it's, it's, it's, it's, you know, it's my second home. And when I look at the last 25 years, 30 years that I've been going, in and out of Germany, there's been a sea change. And it's not an unimportant country, obviously, it's a huge, you know, magnet again, 400,000 new migrants every year, which is just behind the United States, right? So we're talking about a really important case here. And a country where, unlike America, where, you know, someone can show up from Latin America and function in Spanish, more or less their entire life, you know, they're not going to necessarily become a billionaire without learning English. But in Germany, you're not really going to integrate and thrive economically unless you learn German. And so it's, it's, you know, so simple things like that, like social assimilation policy doesn't cost a lot. But if you do it, migrants will feel more welcome. And they'll be they'll, they'll assimilate better. So there's a long laundry lists, quite frankly, I mean, I view this as I do many other things. It's like a technocratic exercise. There's a long list of very simple, affordable things that countries can do to make themselves attractive. And we've talked about some of them from housing, to skills to language. And what just to briefly comment on your last point, though, we could continue on on this alone for hours about identity. I mean, the thing is that identity isn't this immutable fixed thing. And this is something that I rail against, at length in the book, the idea that there is this thing, American identity, and it's fixed, and it was formed in the 18th century. And it's, you know, going continuous to today and hasn't been modified, is obviously ludicrous. And it's ludicrous for America. And it's ludicrous for purchase about every other country as well, because identity does change. And it changes in particular with this process of generational change. And when you have a generation that thinks about itself, and its values more horizontally and vertically, in other words, again, it feels this sense of global solidarity with its with its own generation, around values, like sustainability, and mobility and connectivity and less around, you know, us versus them. And ethnic identity is the primary defining trait. It's an inherited trait, but not necessarily the defining trait. That's really important to recognize. That's just not that's not just like a throwaway line, the majority of young people on the planet Earth, which is the majority of people on Earth, actually seem to think in that way based upon all of the research that we have. So I take that very, very seriously. And so in other words, countries that do think of themselves as purely ethnically defined and incapable or not even desiring of integrating others or being open to assimilating them, places like you know, Hungary under Viktor Orban, those places aren't exactly going to thrive, given their own low fertility rates and declining populations and high rates of emigration in the next 1020 years. In fact, I again You know, when you look at in the in the geopolitical field, there's been a lot of banter in the last like, five, six years about this idea of civilizational states, you know, strong man regimes, Russia, China, India, under Modi.
And in certain European nationalists who want to define the state or the super estate in the case of Europe, as being, you know, ethnically defined. And one of the things that people always fail to point out when they're not necessarily, you know, celebrating, but certainly trumpeting or heralding these entities is that Wait, let's look at their demographics and their migration patterns. Oh, what do you know, the places with the highest rates of emigration, meaning people saying Get me the hell out of this place? Are the same places that in it from a geopolitical standpoint, people are saying these are great threats? Right, like Russia, or India? Or Turkey is another example. You know, find me and so what I did in the book is I use conscription as a lens. So it's like, if, if nationalism is defining trait for our identities, and it's immutable over time, why don't we look at the single best test and I mean, the absolute single best test of whether or not young people or nationalistic will look at conscription? Well, lo and behold, every single one of these countries actually has mandatory conscription for 18 year old men. Well, let's look at what's happening, conscription, and this was a rollicking ride for me through the data, because I found out that the rite of passage, the number one priority for every 18 year old male, in Turkey, or Russia, or any of these other countries, is to get the eff out, right, and pay whatever bribe is humanly possible is afforded to beg, borrow, and steal, to escape their country. Now, that proves to me that people who talk about so called strongman civilizational states as this, you know, long standing immutable force, are just sitting in cubicles in Washington, because in the real world of those countries, there's no real strong national identity on the back of these authoritarian rulers, and a belief that their civilization is superior. In fact, on the ground, their people themselves know all too well, how utterly incompetent and capable and undesirable their societies are. So again, if we have this marketplace for youth, talent, and migration, and if we were to this is why I advocate opening the gates to Russians, right? If you want to weaken Putin, just allow more, you know, just allow, reduce the friction for young Russians to get visas, and boom, you'll have an exodus. And anytime there have been calm relations with Russia, and visa policy in Europe, or Canada, or America has been slightly more open, we open that Valve ever so slightly. Russians come pouring out right. The same is true, obviously, for Arabs, and, and Indians and so forth. So let that be the barometer of how attractive your society is. Its do young people want to move to your country. And I and this is actually one of the conclusions of the book is, if you want to predict this, the winners and losers in terms of net nations in the 21st century, we can look at hundreds of variables and their complex interplay. And we do do that. But if I have to pick one, from a layman's perspective, that's utterly convincing. It is simply are you attracting young people or not? Because if you're not, you're dying,
Parag. Let me just jump in. Yeah, let me just jump in. What I'm going to do now is I'm going to ask each you and Sandy a question, Sandy, why don't you go first. And then after that, I'd love to get to the audience. And we'll we'll stack questions. We'll have Dan and Marlene and Adler and Todd, and Arjun, and John and Jim, ask a question. And if reorg and Sandy, if you can just write them down. And then you can answer them in whatever order you want, or kind of blend them together. Or you could pass on on a question. But my question to the two of you is, what's a big idea that, that people may not be thinking about or what's uh, you know, when you wake up? What, what keeps you up at night in terms of will humanity survive? And what do you think a big solution could be to ensure that we survive? So this is like thinking big, and then to priyad? If one of the two examples you give, could be about the Middle East, I know you grew up in the UAE. I was there a few years ago, and I was in Doha, and someone said, Oh, we were just goat herders a few years ago, and look at us now. You know, the energy economy is definitely changing there. And I just wonder what the future of the Middle East looks like. So So Sandy, two big ideas.
Well, I can tell you what I focus on. So one is this whole new thing called data information a I mean, this is as person G and China says, this is a new primary means of production. You It's like inventing money. So we just invented something that will be as important as money. And it's going to just change the world unrecognizably. And we want to make sure it does it in a good way. And it's going to be a battle, just like when we invented money or invented official sort of labor manufacturing, sorts of structures. So that's one type of thing. To get that right. The other one that's really worrisome is gene editing CRISPR gene drives, it's now the case that somebody with a couple 1000 bucks in a good education can build things that are far more dangerous than a nuclear weapon. And you can do that anywhere in the world. And, you know, it's just going to be time before people begin doing that. And we really don't keep track of it. We don't have ways of fighting it. We don't have ways of thinking about it even. And that's something if you want to stay up at night. That's a good one.
Great, thank you, Sandy. And when I ask people questions in the room, if you want to direct them to both Imaginators, Parag and sandy or to one of them, please let us know. Priyanka, what are two things and I asked if one of them could be about the Middle East?
Well, let's talk just about the Middle East situation there. It's not a term I I only use the term Middle East in quotes, because it's a sort of, you know, colonial artifact,
thank you for correcting us and do educate us, what should we be saying?
So, I mean, there's the North African region, and then there's the Gulf region, and then there is the Levant region, which is known as the Buczek. Right, and they have three very different faiths. You know, North African societies have a different trajectory in climatologically, economically, their economic composition, their demographics, and then the Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are again, spectacularly wealthy on the back of an oil revenues. And then obviously, the collapsing societies of a sort of West Asian zone, which include Iraq, Syria, you know, Jordan, Lebanon, and so on. So these are three, when we say Middle East, we often literally mean like, all of the Middle Eastern, I mean, we mean like North Africa, all the way to Iran, like Morocco to Iran. But the truth is that the Holy Roman Empire, well, it's geographically non I mean, somewhat contiguous, but meaningless in terms of again, their their longer term, fate, you know, a, Fernand Rodel, the great historian, sociologists spoke about the Mediterranean as a as a European lake. And he meant that, you know, there is this intertwining of the fates of North African countries and southern European countries, and that's goes back to the Roman Empire. And even if you will, the Phoenicians civilization, and you can see with the crossing of migrants, and how easy it is to get across, though how difficult it is to actually come ashore. You know, you can see how the demographically there is some into some some some very deep linkages there that are there reemerging today, and then the Gulf countries are really technically they're West Asia, I mean, they are literally adjoined to the Eurasian landmass on like Africa, will Africa, it was vaguely connected as well. But but so if you think like the West Asian countries, the Gulf countries, they have, you know, their populations, like Saudi Arabia has as a far more people than the UAE or others, but their populations are manageable. 30 40 million people with hundreds of billions of dollars of oil revenue is not a difficult equation to square, I mean, they will be able to buy their way to stability, they should ideally not waste, you know, all their money on these kind of white elephant infrastructure projects. But they can do both. And to some degree, they can they can invest in human capital, and educating women, and, and building kind of more services sector economies, while also, you know, continuously modernizing their infrastructure, and so forth. So you can see that happening in the Gulf countries, and I don't worry too much about them. They can even build air conditioned domes, which they're sort of doing or starting to do. And I talked about that a little bit in the book, I have this kind of chapter on air conditioned nations. So I don't worry too much about those countries, even though it's getting hotter. And even those geopolitically volatile because many of their average adversaries, you know, whether it is traditionally meaning the last several years or last couple of decades, Israel or now Iran, everyone launders their money through those countries. And so they're finding ways to kind of slowly reconcile today. So you kind of go back to almost like an Ottoman Empire era map eventually, even though there's Again, you know, deep hostilities right now. But I would worry severely about the, the Maastricht countries that are literally falling apart, completely falling apart. And they were falling apart even before the last 30 years of Gulf Wars, think about the first Gulf War from 1990 onwards. And now obviously, since the US invasion of 2003, it's now you know, sort of it's over. But, but the state collapse continues, Iran has been, you know, sort of isolated for more than 40 years. And climate change is having a devastating impact on all of these countries. And as many people know, it was the the droughts in Syria and the influx of Syrian farmers into Damascus and their protests against the Assad regime that played some role in in the, in the Arab Spring and how it played out and they're in the Civil War. So, you know, you could well imagine, well over 100 million people from that particular geography seeking to escape and and in the coming over the, you know, sort of, as it will unfold in the coming decades. So I kind of I spend a lot of time in eastern Turkey in the eastern Anatolian region around the Black Sea. And, and in the southeastern Turkish region, which is Kurdish populated as well. And those happen to be I mean, do those highlands of Eastern Turkey are actually the the location of the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. And those are of course, the,
the kind of, you know, the the, the, the waters that gave rise to the so called cradle of civilization that we all learned about in fourth grade, in terms of the flourishing of Sumerian city states, and the Mesopotamian River Valley, and so on and so forth. Anyway, won't won't reprise fourth grade history here. point being that you have about 100 plus million people in the supremely climate stressed region of Southwest Asia and the Arab countries of the mashreq. And you have this perfectly verdant, agriculturally thriving and depopulated region of eastern Turkey that could easily absorb, you know, 100 plus million people. And that's one of the scenarios that I put forward in the book, what happens if, you know the Arabs and the Persians just sort of storm or even just gradually wander and migrate, you know, over the fences that Turkey has put on that border, because Turkey is already today, the single largest, you know, sort of is is is that sort of houses the largest number of refugees of any country in the world right now. Because that's Iraqis and Syrians, it's even Afghans. And there could be many, many, many more. So Turkey is really the frontlines in a way Turkey and Mexico are very, very similar in this respect, because he is, you know, because of the US because of US border policies, not not just building the fence, but even just making migration more and more difficult, a set of policies that Biden has continued in many ways. And as you know, this is a hot button issue right now. But the fact is that Mexico is bearing the brunt of keeping Latin American migrants whether they're economic or, or climate illogical, or, you know, climate refugees, keeping them at bay. And so Mexico right now is home to an estimated three to 4 million migrants from Central America and South America who would like to make their way into the United States but aren't going to. And I think it would make the news a lot more obviously, if they if they were to make it over into United States. And similarly, again, Turkey and Mexico are playing this role as a sort of dam, you know, against those migration tides. So again, just back to the Middle East, I think that it's, you know, three different outcomes. But people ultimately are ending a sandy alluded to this already, we haven't even gotten to South Asia, which is by far the largest source of outbound migrants in the world, specifically India and Pakistan and Bangladesh, which also happens to be the most populous region of the entire world, the three countries of South Asia alone, among the other smaller countries, comprise about 1.8 billion people far younger, far larger and far younger in terms of median age, and the population of China alone. And way more climate stressed than China is and China is quite climate stressed, but nothing in comparison to how bad India Pakistan and Bangladesh are facing it. So, you know, I see that that broad swath in the Mediterranean to, let's say, the Bay of Bengal, you know, as being the most sort of concentrated demographic zone in the world in terms of the number of young people and the most climate stressed at the same time and correcting that mismatch between the geography of young people and climate stress geographies, and the livable societies. You know, the parts like Eastern Turkey, Central Asia, Russia, correcting that mismatch is going to materially impact the number of human beings that actually live in the world 20 or 30 years from now, and we just don't think of it in that systemic way. But we really should.
Great, thank you. So, in a moment, I'm gonna ask for the audience to ask some questions. But Sandy, you know, I love hearing you share what's on your mind, anything else in your mind, you'd like to share this is being recorded and, and will be listened to, and people will act upon what you say.
Oh, but But what Parag just said about the climate stress in, for instance, Bangladesh, which is one of the has the smallest rise above sea level of perhaps any major country, and that being right next to China, and some of the South Asian countries is likely to give rise to war. It's worth remembering that the rivers in that area are controlled, the headwaters of those rivers are controlled by China. And so as you get greater climate change there, you have perfect conditions for war. And, of course, they're all nuclear armed. So something to just sort of think about. And as I said, also, you know, if you were going to think about something in is a nascent technology, which will end up shaping us literally think about gene editing, because that recently has become something that is plausible, something that sticks with these new gene drives, so that if you edit somebody's genes, it propagates. And we need to think what we're going to do with this new capacity to reshape ourselves. And it's not at all clear what should be done now.
Great. Thank you. Esther, I'm just gonna go down the room. Do you have another question you want to ask?
I think I've asked enough. I might come in later if I make but great.
Great. Dan, do you have a question you'd like to ask?
Yeah, I kind of combined a lot of what was just talked about, I get to a specific question for Prague right away. And that is, in his responses, he seemed to imply I, I thought I was hearing him say that the slowdown in population, and the slowdown in economic growth would be a bad thing. And I just want to confirm if that was right, because I'm going to my general question is that the context of climate change, which, of course is driven by population, and consumption and economic growth, which is not going to end? Well, but so that's, uh, I'll just keep going with my question. But maybe just quickly on that when I'm done. And then, and then the general question is kind of just following up with what we've just talked about. There seems to be Nestor said short term thinking. And of course, she's very right about that. But the climate change that's coming is not going to be like the status quo with a little bit warmer, the status quo with some sea level rise, there's going to be all encompassing, and really, as far as we can tell, overwhelming, you know, COVID, was just batting practice for climate change. And we didn't do well on that. And so my question is, with the very recent predictions of things like the shutdown of the Gulf Stream, by mid century, which would turn off Indian monsoon, for example, cut food production in the northern hemisphere. And, and then, by the way, lead to 10 feet of sea level rise, by the end of the century, those kinds of things require dramatic action by world governments, especially those who have missed the most, to do things far in excess of what we're doing today. And so general comment on whether you've been thinking about climate change in that context of that kind of magnitude the century? And is there any hope for world governments to actually wake up and, and act?
Great, thanks, Dan. And we're gonna just, we're gonna stack all the questions. And, Dan, great question. For those who are going after if they can be really concise, so we can get them all in Adler, what's your question?
Yeah, absolutely. I'll keep it short and sweet. So, the hearing a lot of talk about, you know, migration of civilian populations. But, you know, the US government has come out saying that 70 of its, you know, major ports, military ports are going to have to be, you know, revamped or abandoned because of climate change. I'm curious if your thoughts on the movement of militaries, not just civilian populations.
Great. Excellent question. Todd. You got a question. Our June Do you have a question?
Yeah, so Fukuyama talks about adding getting to Denmark right as this ideal almost panacea like state right, Parag, you've spoken a lot about Canada is literally getting to Canada from an immigration standpoint, but in a broader sense, do you think Canada has like a model most countries can aspire to? Because literally, they can't be right and missing the globe loss? Or do you think that is no model? And Canada is just one of many examples to think about?
Great, excellent question. Jim. Always love having your question. Thank you, John. I want to hitchhike
on a question that you asked earlier. And that is to say that there are a lot of a lot of issues that we're dealing with around the world. And what would be if we can't do everything all at one time. So what would be the one or two or three issues that are the most important to work on right now?
Great, thank you, Jim. Rowland, do you have a question?
Actually, I had three, you choose which one you want to answer. So first one, is there a balance to be struck across sovereignty, nationalism, and multilateralism? Second question, what importance Do you see moral obligations having in the search for some sort of equilibrium? And number three, do you think the sharing economy is a response to greed, a tech controlled form of happiness? Thank you.
Great. John, do you have a question?
I do in short, is, how do we engineer digital detente? And the foundation? That question is in how all of these problems and opportunities that we have are increasingly frustrated by the conflict engineered by social media? And where social media has been used to undermine democracy and reinforce tyranny globally? How do we engineer a more civil dialogue, empathy, and have actually have people actually listen to each other so that we can begin to address these problems like climate change, like batting practice? COVID and, and others at scale? It's, it's, it's architectural and structural it? It we're witnessing the failure of dialogue to advanced across all these issues?
Great, excellent question. Kevin, do you have a question?
Yes. I'm going along with some some legends that were foretold for the Southwest area that this area will will be a new shoreline someday. And with that, how are we going to change value systems from money to all life on on the planet? So
great, excellent. And Kunal, super to see you Kunal, has been with so many of our shows, and been just such an advocate and supporter of what we're doing. I know you came in midstream. But do you have a question for Imaginators, Parag. And Sandy?
Yeah, I came in really late. Thanks. So great to see you, John. I guess I'd love to just have the question. Well, how will humanity survive in the 21st century? That is the question that's on my mind as well.
Great. Thank you. Great to see you Kunal. And Dr. Rao, you have the last question, and then we're gonna open it up to our Imaginators. And we'll go with Sandy first.
Yeah, John. I was always presenting how we need a revolution in the consciousness of the humanity, about all the problems we are facing. I wonder he could answer that. Thank you.
Great. Alright. So thank you, everyone, for asking questions. So Sandy, feel free to you know, just take the questions you want to take or, or say a general statement or take them one by one, and then we'll go to Parag. And then as tradition, Allison will summarize the show, and then we'll have some musicians play out the show. But this has been great. So Sandy Pentland, the Oracle of Delphi.
Does that mean I get to breathe in Fuddy gases and have visions? Well, okay, so I have, I can answer sort of, for my vision of things. I can't lie. Of course, I don't know the truth. The thing that we always forget about is the ability of people to innovate, adapt, and come up with new traditions, new ways of operating, it's very difficult to anticipate those sorts of things. But they have gotten us out of lots of things. In the last, say, 6000 years, little more than that, maybe 1000 years, we've undergone What is it 400 foot of sea level rise, we've gone undergone the Black Death to Justinian plague, where a third of humanity died, etc, etc, and, and survived. Now, things change a lot. But I think that the hope is around promoting a multi dimensional sort of dialogue. We've been captured by certain sorts of expertise, like most governmental systems are measured by GDP, what a narrow, stupid way to measure the world. There's many other sorts of things. And one of the things that I'm happy about most happy about is that I was able to help the UN establish criteria for measuring life as a multi dimensional thing. So the sustainable development goals include measuring all sorts of things about human life so that you don't get as narrow a view, that's not the cure, but it's a lot better than just measuring GDP. With that, and then the ability to share the state of the world with all of the people, which again, is part of the Sustainable Development Goals. So that communities can know what's going on today, communities are disempowered. They don't know about infection rates, they don't know about educational outcomes, they don't know about many things. So how can they have a dialogue, it's a meaningful dialogue, if they don't know about what's happening to them and their relationship to others. So this sort of thing where we can have this sort of greater concrete, transparency and accountability. Sounds very old fashioned. But I think that you begin to see it in certain places, certain countries are moving very forcefully on this places like Taiwan, places like Korea, places like India. And they're making some progress. And hopefully, having that sort of more full picture of the world by all of the citizens will lead to better conversations, social media, can be changed. One of the main things to realize is that we don't have to allow them to have that sort of business model, the sort of influencers and things. That's a business, it shouldn't just be free, we need to change the way we think about communication, to be able to be something that is in the service of people, it's human centered, not profit centered. So that sort of human centered technology, multi dimensional, and a focus on innovation, which is a longer term in focus, because I think the only things that we have really going for us, and I hope that we focus on those sorts of things. Take care of business today as we can. But we're not going to be able to really fix a lot of these things, unless we look to the future with knowledge, and try to be creative about it.
Great, as always, thank you, Sandy, and Sandy and I curate imagination action on this state every year at the World Economic Forum, because it was put on pause in person this year, we are not doing it live. And I thought it'd be fitting to have sandy being Imaginator tonight, and we brought someone that is his intellectual sparring partner, who can keep up with Sandy and an add also valuable experience and perspective, pre OG pre argue of, you know, take any of those questions you want. And then we'll go to Allison.
Great, well, I might jump around, but maybe roughly in reverse order of the questions and picking up directly from Sandy's points which addressed, you know, Dr. Rouse questions, and Kevin's questions about individual value systems. And I just want to echo that I do think that we have the capacity to measure improvements in the human condition, based upon at the individual level of a person's you know, well being, rather than aggregating people into these, you know, national abstractions that mask so much inequality and I think that is the thrust of where You know, Sandy has been going with his work and advising the UN and our ability to, let's say, you know, collect data or to deliver services at that individual level. And again, in a world of 8 billion people, not a world of 20 billion people, this is absolutely doable. So let's focus on individual well being in the ingredients of well being and delivering them where they may be, and not thinking in terms of, you know, X country or why country because again, as, as we were discussing with with us there earlier, inequality within countries is so extreme, that national level of data is almost meaningless, in terms of really pointing to, to, to, to to individual level of well being. So I think I just want to echo what Sandy was saying there. And in terms of I think he answered John's question. Let me let me now actually take it from the top Dan's question at the world population, I just want to clarify, because it's so important. I do think it's a good thing. And I'll say it again, that actually, it's part of our own self correction. Young people today not wanting to have children, because of their fear of climate change is part of what is reducing the, the, the the, the sort of the the accelerated Rise of the world population, which became too severe, right. So it was actually in the 1970s, that the United Nations and the the time, the Nixon and Ford administration's, began to worry about global overpopulation as a response to the Club of Rome report in the 1960s, late 1960s. And as a result, we under began to undertake so many efforts that global population control that led to or contributed to the world population sort of stabilizing at the number that we are approaching now. Otherwise, it could have become 1314 15 billion people and led to a Malthusian crisis. So what's the lesson in that when you anticipate a trend going overboard, you start to take measures to prevent that outcome. And that's either the precautionary principle you might call it in political science. It's called the lich fart effect. It's sort of where you again, you overcompensate in anticipation of a potential crisis. And there you therefore prevent that crisis from happening. And I feel like that's what we're doing with population, but we're doing so now in an organic way. It's young people, again, because of economic insecurity or climate insecurity saying I don't want to have more than one child. So that results in a stabilization of the world population. So I'm in agreement with you actually, Dan, that actually, it's a good thing. Because obviously, it also means less aggregate climate stress, even. Although it's still I mean, if everyone that is to today, materially poor, does consume resources, like an American, obviously, will still have climate devastation. In a world of a billion people, we would have a world of climate devastation, and we'll have 4 billion people if everyone starts to live like the average American. But that said, Sandy pointed to as well with innovation and stabilization of the world population, we could we could sustain that level. But again, demographics is very dynamic. It doesn't ever actually stay put. And so the concern that I have is not that, you know, that 8 billion people is a bad thing. It's actually how what rapidly we crash from 8 billion people, because we live, whether we are going to actually precipitously crash, or whether we are going to engineer a more stable glide path downward from, you know, 9 billion people. That's the question that looms, and that is very, very significant, irrespective of what the number actually is. And because if all of a sudden, you know, if your baby boomer mortality will accelerate towards 2030, between 20, let's say 2025, and 2040, you will have the sort of accelerated mortality of baby more so the world population will begin to decline rather quickly, unless you have more children. But if we're not having children, and you know, if our children aren't having any children, that means that you will further more acutely contract, the population decline that we're headed into. So it's not just about the number, it's about the generational balance. And that's where I lay my concern not so much in the number, but are we are we engineering this glide path, and maintaining a stable number of people and an intergenerational kind of balance among those numbers? Because right now, what we have is a world where our northern societies are full of old people and not enough young people. And the developing world is full of young people who are trapped in those geographies. And so what we have is a distributional problem, if you will. And again to bring get to your second question about climate change. That is what makes it all The more
severe and are there, you know, as you say, you know, COVID was batting practice. I mean, of course, not almost no country is really prepared you have even again a rich country like Canada that has been caught off guard. By the scale of the wildfires there, you've had wildfires, of course, across Russia, you have actually a higher incidence of heat related mortality in Scandinavian countries. Because even though they're not having scorching heat waves in the summer, on a relative basis, they're just not accustomed to that degree of warming, and it's having an impact on them. So, you know, you, you wouldn't give any country a very high score right now, you could say that some countries or some geographies are relatively blessed, though, again, on a, again, relative basis. So Europe looks like a climate Oasis, compared to the southwest of the United States, right, in climate models were equally wealthy, but certainly not don't share a common geography. So adaptation is really the name of the game. This is Jim's question, you know, what should be our top priority? And my answer is adaptation adaptation. And if you look at the cop 26 process, it's, you know, primarily focused on mitigation. What will we do to reduce carbon emissions? And obviously, that's existentially important, and we need to put a lot of, you know, energy into that. And, you know, not just billions, but trillions. But according to, you know, various estimates 90 95% of total funding that relates to climate change goes into mitigation, and only that tiny remaining fraction goes into adaptation. And adaptation is what are the things that we do right now to help human beings survive and cope with climate change. And that can include infrastructural retrofits, coastal barriers, moving populations, inland moving populations to entirely different countries. And we don't spend a lot on that adaptation, we need to spend a whole lot more. And just to just a brief point on all this question of military bases, yes, the military scorecard I talked about this in the book, you know, I mean, the amount of the US defense budget that goes simply into retrofitting or relocating bases themselves so that they can remain functional, that eats up a growing share of what is already by far the world's largest military budget. So no, the military is not well prepared, you know, for climate change from From a logistical standpoint. And then obviously, from the standpoint of our own strategic responses to climate phenomenon. So I think the military, I mean, I do know for a fact having worked in the Pentagon and working regularly with with defense entities, that there is a lot more thinking going into this. But as we know, all too well as those of us who are Americans, I mean, it's throwing a lot of money at a problem doesn't necessarily fix it. And that's kind of the phase that I would say we're at with the Pentagon. Let me let me turn to origins question, Arjun is one of my favorite young people in the world, by the way, so follow him on clubhouse, Twitter, or whatever. And let me talk about his getting to Canada question. And I would say, by the way, there was an essay in there that I probably need to write, which is, you know, instead of getting the Denmark getting the Canada
and, and so the the point there is that there's, there's multiple models of success. And we've had a hard time in like Western political theory or political science grad, just simply facing this notion, even like ontologically, that there is more than one, you know, kind of end of history. But the rest of the world is pretty much embrace that already. It's one of the areas I would point to where I would say, Americans are literally behind the rest of the world, give the other you know, one example would be input versus output legitimacy that I talked about at the beginning. So you know, without without throwing stones, though, the point is, there are there are multiple models, there, it's going to be a To each his own kind of world where for some people, it'll be good enough to live in a place where you don't have a lot of political rights and freedoms. But at least you have stability, the kind of stability that you craved, in wherever you were before. Oh, you know, or economic stability in exchange for political rights, or to be in a place that's climate resilient, even if you're poor, rather than being rich in a climate stress place. And so there's many different models. And you know, there's really a marketplace of political models out there. And that is, that is how most people I think view of the world rather than believing that ultimately, you will only be happiest if you're sort of, you know, in America and become an American. And I think again, it's sometimes it's hard for people to accept that that's the case but but it is, um, I probably won't have any time to do justice to to roelens Three questions, but they really get at this idea around reconciling sovereignty with our global responsibilities, which ultimately is also how I wanted to answer Goodall's question about where are we survive and how and the answer to both is what I call kind of civilization 3.0. And without having to use the kind of catchy terminology, what I mean by that simply is that we become a human species, humankind that is a more mobile, so that you can literally do what humans have done for hundreds of 1000s of years to survive, which is to physically relocate to livable geographies, but that we do so in a sustainable fashion. So mobility coupled with sustainability, and the sustainability part obviously has a strong technological component, what are you know, using even just today's available tools, we can have a good life we can, we can eat healthy food that is grown locally, or through hydroponic and aquaponic tools, we can collect rainwater, we can use solar, wind, and nuclear energy, and all of these things, we can actually have a sustainable civilization based upon moving either people to where the resources are, or moving technologies to where the people are. And maybe this will be my final point. And I'll wrap with this, but I really break it down in layman's terms to these two things, you are either moving people to where resources are abundant and sufficient, or you are moving technologies to people and helping them if you're not doing one of those two things, you're not really helping. And again, I over simplify to a fault for reason, just to make put this in, in really colloquial terms, in terms of what agenda lies ahead. So I'll say it one last time, either you move people to resources or technologies to people. That's it. That's the mission, we do that, and we can have a better civilization that lies ahead, despite all of the challenges.
Great. So this has been such a great show. Actually, I see Larry has just raised his hand. Larry, did you want to ask a question?
So, Larry, I'm adding you to the stage are you on? I think you have to accept coming up on stage. Well, until then, next week, we have a great show. She was a reporter for Sports Illustrated in the 70s, she wanted to do with the guy reporters did interview the Yankees in the locker room, and it turned into a federal case. And we're gonna be talking about women's sports. And, and this June is the 50th anniversary of Title Nine, I think 300,000 female athletes were competing before Title Nine, after it's like, in the millions, 3 million, 4 million a year. And we're going to be talking about women's sports. And some of the barriers that had to be overcome, and where we are and where we're heading. But tonight has been about where and how will humanity survive the 21st century. And as always, we have a great summation from Allison. Allison, how are you going to submit this and also note that pre Ogg speaks English, German, Hindi, French, Spanish, and Arabic. So if you want to use one of those languages, feel free to
thank you for that offer. Always kind of you're done. So let's see. This was an extraordinary session brought to you from the Virtual stage of clubhouse rather than the tents from of Davos. It featured two Imaginators priyad kana and Sandy Pentland, and two musicians, Max and Caroline, we were talking about some of the most fundamental shifts of the 21st century and hard to imagine a better way to begin 2020 to Prague spoke to us from Singapore about some of the maps and forces that will shape our future. Sandy joined us from MIT Media Lab. And Sandy pointed out our session focused on both human and technological and infrastructure connections in dynamics of the 21st century system. Very little is going to be linear, apparently, in the 21st century. We started out talking about prions latest book move on the new age of mass migrations priyad pointed out that each century is defined by more people migrating and traveling across borders. He points out this century is the first one in which more than 1 billion people will cross borders in a single year. Traditionally, politics and economics drove more people to cross borders. But starting in the late 20th century, we have economics and more importantly, climate change driving mass migrations, with over a third of today's people displaced as a result of climate change. And obviously, as some of our questioners pointed out, this is only going to get worse. priyad points out the map of humanity isn't settled and adds that every driver of human migration is on hyperdrive right now. You can almost picture the map, then priyad points out, you can't do a book on future demographics without including the youth. That's Gen X, Y, Z, alpha, and 4.2 billion youth almost half the planet. He points out the most unsettled people are always the youth. Today, the youth is the most mobile generation in human history. They're childless, less nationalistic, and economically insecure. So have a much higher propensity to move. He points out a critical question to understand our future is where are today's youth going? He described a type of new global competition where you can see which countries and regions are best attractors of talent, and which regions are going to be abandoned. Full scores are available, I think of his book move, but early winners for attracting talent include Canada, Germany, and Japan, as well as well governed islands like Iceland, Malta, Singapore and New Zealand for any members of our audience looking for where they had. But this is now a global contest. He tells us and 75 countries up from three have programs to actively attract digital nomads, and are willing to change immigration policy to attract even more migrants. He talks about the critical question facing countries, which is how to manage this mass migration dilemma to attract the best talent with Canada as an early winner, attracting 400,000 people a year, almost all of whom are highly skilled. He talked about the long laundry list of simple, affordable things that smart countries are doing to attract the top talent, including having affordable housing stock, low taxes, educational opportunity and vocational training and language training. Finally, he pointed out that in the 21st century, we fear strong man regimes like Russia and Turkey, but they have the highest rates of emigration, not immigration. And youth in those countries, he says have a number one priority to get out and escape their country. Priyanka repeated that the most important question for the future power of a regime is can you attract young people, Russia and Turkey don't seem successful at that challenge. Then next, we had talked about the demographic forecasts and said that the world population now seems counter to predictions to be reaching a plateau, we've had two major baby busts in the last 15 years. So he predicted that we will reach a peak humanity of 9 billion before 2040. And there are three key implications that go with this prediction. First, he tells us that migration will then become essential to inject dynamics into an economy. Young people will remain increasingly reluctant to have kids in part because of climate change. And he tells us a key issue is a generational balance. Will we have a smooth glide path engineering, an incremental balance from old to young as we move into the 21st century, Sandy talked about a core struggle between centralized and centrally between decentralized and centrally controlled regions. He reminded us that distributed systems are more robust, but more chaotic as well. In general, Sandi points out the East tends to have more centralized governments, while the West focuses on individualism. He says a key question for the 21st century is which model will win out priyad pointed out that for governments in the 21st century, it's not just a question of their initial responses to crises. But the critical question is, is there a government that can learn from mistakes self correct and improve? Riyadh points out that with COVID The response for countries like Italy is not about their initial response when they were overwhelmed by the crisis, but more how quickly did they learn and how quickly and which countries could build resilient health systems? Sandy points out that every country today in the 21st century is going through a quite chaotic period, and says it's not yet clear where countries will end up. Seeing the points out that the countries with porous borders are much more vulnerable to climate migrations, and predicts that these could lead to serious wars and conflicts, like on the Bangladesh Chinese border esterase the critical question of how the pandemic has increased income inequality, particularly in countries like the US, and whether that will get rebalanced over time or remain a growing divide. Sandy brought in the audience critical insights on technologies and technological revolutions that may define the 21st century and called out two of them that keep him up at night. First of all data information and AI, which he described as new primary areas of production, and which he said, We'll change the world unrecognizably. He said, it's critical that we put time into how they are governed. And secondly, gene editing and CRISPR, which can permanently change our gene structure and be passed on. And yet, we don't even have systems to track it. Sandy reminds us of the human abilities to innovate and adapt, that have saved us over time, through all kinds of historical plagues and other challenges. And priyad described as civilization 3.0, which offers a promise of combining a more mobile population, able to move to more liveable areas with more sustainable thinking, For details, see his book, latest book from the 2021 called move. And then finally, thanks to John for bravely taking us into long form journalism to explore that only the triumphs of the 20th century and 21st century, but the real challenges that lie ahead, and we thank you as the audience for joining with us every Tuesday evening.
So, you know, thank you for that. So I also want to acknowledge Sandy, you know, I emailed him a few minutes before the show and asked him to join, and so on little preparation, I think he had such respect for pre OG that he said, You know, I'd love to do it. And again, you know, this is the date that Sandy and I spend all year programming for and you know, things change, Priyanka, you know, I, I've counted, you've done hundreds of interviews, you know, Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, you've written tons of articles. How did this experience compared to some of your other past media endeavors? You know, I think we had a about 1500 people in the room. It's not every day, you're on a panel with Esther and Sandy. But yeah, how did what do you think of tonight?
Oh, this was fabulous. I mean, I don't think of it as media as all at all, even if clubhouse is defined as a media tech, kind of, you know, platform and indie I think of it as just a great big conversation. And it felt, you know, very inclusive, which was wonderful, thanks for such such excellent moderation and bringing everyone in, and obviously such illustrious Imaginators and CO hosts and participants, and we all got to do so from the comfort of home. So, so this is actually I'm not as much a clubhouse veteran, as some of you are. So for me, there's still a certain novelty to it. And I enjoyed this immensely. So thank you.
Well, like like Esther, you could let me know when you can't make it. And you're more than welcome to come to all the shows. And it's great. And I'd like to have sandy have the final word. And then I want max to play us out. And I want to acknowledge Kelly, for suggesting priyad for tonight. And, you know, he and I have crossed paths that in various places. And I thought it was just so fitting to have him on the anniversary of of the of the time that we do the event in Davos given his activity in that community. But Sandy, any final words?
Well, it's not Davos, it's not what I would probably like to dump but this was really pretty good. And you're right, that it my participation was last minute, but I hope I held up my end of the conversation. And it was great to listen to Parag,
as always, you exceeded it by a power of 10. So thank you. Man, Max, would you like to play something your Bach piece? Your inspiration from Bach earlier was awesome. What do you what do you got the place out?
Yeah, thank you, John. And thank you to everybody. So in closing, I will play actual Bach. This is the Goldberg Variations variation. Number one.
Actually, Max, you know, just before you play, you know, anything struck you tonight. You're a musician, you're in your 20s. You know, there are a bunch of octogenarians on the on the on the stage tonight. My dad does hear that that's what I'm referring to, but, and I know Jim Young is 58 or 85, but he's one of those. But from your perspective as the next generation, what are you thinking?
Yes, well, thank you, John. I appreciate it. Um, obviously, you know, it's sound, I get the sense that it's a very complex environment in the scope of it. How to deal with so many complex issues in the world. It's very daunting for somebody like me, but I think you know, the more I continue to listen to the speakers and learn about these things on my own, I think I'll, I'm very appreciative for being part of this group and getting a clearer picture. So thank you.