“Our moral responsibility is not to stop the future, but to shape it... to channel our destiny in humane directions and to ease the trauma of transition.” ― Alvin Toffler
Bridge Becoming a Citizen Futurist answers an echoing call for a beginner’s guide to foresight. Drawing from her decades of experience in high-tech, April Reagan presents an array of historical information, tools and research to guide readers through an educational journey.
Bridge Makers is designed as an easy read that aims to spark an interest in every citizen to find agency in their anticipation of the future. This is done by painting the past, present, and future with optimism, while still encouraging all to maintain a sense of urgency to act, in order to avoid dystopian futures. If you have ever asked Bridge Becoming a Citizen Futurist should be added to your required reading list.
April Reagan is a futures-thinking veteran of the high-tech world. She has worked for Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, and Fjord Design and Innovation (part of Accenture Interactive), among others. She has worked with clients across retail, financial services, consumer products, wireless communications, and digital media, as well as collaborating with non-profits.
April loves attending the Consumer Electronic Show each year, seeing the latest and greatest innovations, and being surrounded by thousands of other future-optimists. Motivated to bring increased awareness to the phenomena, she started her company, Palm Trees and Robots, to guide companies, communities and students in preparing for the future in an uplifting and proactive way.
The idea of a citizen futurist was something I hadn't taken time to consider before, although I am an optimist about how innovation can make the world a better place.
The book "Bridge Makers: Becoming a Citizen Futurist" takes time to identify what that is, why we need it, and how to become a better citizen futurist. It's looking at our responsibility to improve the world around us, identify trends, and maintain optimism about possibilities. The author, April Reagan, drives home the point that the goal of companies and researchers don't necessarily align with societal goals--rather, they're usually building products and pursuing research. This means that our technological advancement can include unintended consequences.
I agree that we can support innovation as long as we remain diligent in advancing our notions of responsibility at the same pace we advance the tech. Sometimes, that gets overlooked as the pace of advancement is sometimes breakneck. As the author says at the end of Chapter 2, "...we do need a better system for discussing and creating a set of values that can be used for organizations to plan and make decisions that reflect what the people want." Reagan, April. Bridge Makers: Becoming a Citizen Futurist (p. 44). New Degree Press. Kindle Edition.
The author brushes on fields that are likely to provoke change, like AI and Bioengineering, but the point of the book isn't to say whether an advancement has value or explore the risks. Instead, it's to convince the reader that they're an active participant in the inevitable innovations to come. Our part includes such tasks as to step forward, identify what might be useful but overlooked, redirect what is harmful, find channels to be heard, and influence policy.
While I would have preferred fewer Merriam-Websters definitions, perhaps they were necessary to ensure we were on the same page with concepts that aren't mainstream, yet. Overall I found the book a thought-provoking read that pulls together some familiar ideas that I hadn't attached to each other before.
[Note: Just to be above board, I should mention I share mutual friends with the author.]