Exploring the Intersection of Technology and Dignity: Scenario Planning for the Future

Kan Yuenyong
11 min readFeb 9, 2023

The rapid advancement of technology is transforming our world in unprecedented ways, and it is increasingly important to understand the potential implications of these changes. In this report, we will explore two driving forces that will shape the future of technology: “convergent science” and “dignity dialectic”. Through scenario planning, we will consider four possible futures that emerge from the interaction of these two forces, each with its own unique opportunities and challenges. Please note that this is only our experimental work and should not be cited in public.

The Four Quadrant Scenario

This week, we scanned and gathered 99 issues of weekly trends in our scanning radar. We asked the AI to perform the double iteration scenario planning technique. However, the suggested driving forces remain unchanged from last week, with technology and geopolitical tensions leading the way. To delve deeper into the driving forces, we asked the AI to perform additional analysis. As a result, we uncovered “convergent science” in the technological aspect, and “dignity dialectic” in the geopolitical tension. So, actually this is a triple iteration scenario planning technique. We will now elaborate on these findings in more detail.

99 issues in our weekly trend radar

The first driving force is “convergent science,” which is defined as follows:

Convergent science refers to the convergence of multiple fields, including medicine, bio- and nano-technologies, robotics, IT, and cognitive sciences, brought about by advancements in each of these areas which can be called MBNRIC. The growth of the medical and biotech industries has led to innovative treatments and advancements in healthcare. The advancement of nano-technology has made it possible to manipulate materials at a microscopic scale, resulting in the creation of new materials and products. The growth of robotics and artificial intelligence has led to the automation of tasks and the development of cutting-edge systems and machines. The transformation of information technology has changed the way we communicate and access information. Finally, the growth of cognitive sciences has deepened our understanding of the human mind and paved the way for the development of technologies that enhance human cognitive abilities. The convergence of these fields is shaping the future of technology in unprecedented ways.

The second driving force is “dignity dialectic,” which is defined as follows:

The Hegelian dialectic of “dignity” and sublation, or Aufhebung, is a philosophical concept developed by German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. In Hegel’s system, the dialectic is a process of development that occurs through the interaction of two opposing forces or ideas: thesis and antithesis. The synthesis that arises from this interaction is the sublation, or the resolution, of these opposing forces, resulting in a higher-level understanding that transcends and includes both of them. In the context of geopolitics, this dialectic can be viewed as driving the development and evolution of geopolitical structures and institutions as different forces and ideas interact and result in new ways of organizing and understanding the world. The concept of the Hegelian dialectic of “dignity” and sublation serves as a fundamental driving force to generate a political architecture at the international level that promotes the equal dignity of all human beings. This idea is rooted in the belief that individuals should be treated with respect and their worth and dignity should not be diminished or subordinated to others. By incorporating this principle into political structures, it can help to create a more equitable and just society where everyone’s rights and interests are protected, leading to greater stability and prosperity at the international level.

Now, based on the two driving forces provided, the AI can generate the following four scenarios:

  1. Dominance of Convergent Science and Subordination of Dignity Dialectic: In this scenario, rapid advances in the MBNRIC technology fields drive society forward, with efficiency and practicality taking precedence over dignity and equity. The result is unequal access to cutting-edge technology and medical treatments, with the wealthy having much greater access than the poor. Political structures and institutions struggle to keep up with the changes brought on by convergent science, exacerbating the divide between the haves and have-nots.
  2. Dominance of Dignity Dialectic and Subordination of Convergent Science: In this scenario, the Hegelian dialectic of dignity drives political and social developments, leading to a focus on equal treatment and protection of individual rights and dignity. However, advancements in the MBNRIC technology fields slow down as resources are redirected to address social and political issues. While the emphasis on dignity may result in a more equitable society, the slower pace of technological progress may result in a relative decline in prosperity compared to other scenarios.
  3. Convergence of Convergent Science and Dignity Dialectic: In this scenario, both driving forces are integrated and inform each other, resulting in a balanced and harmonious future. Advances in the MBNRIC technology fields drive economic growth and improve quality of life for all, while the focus on dignity leads to a more equitable distribution of benefits. Political and social structures evolve to accommodate the rapid pace of technological change, leading to a future that is both prosperous and dignified.
  4. Conflict between Convergent Science and Dignity Dialectic: In this scenario, the two driving forces come into direct conflict, with neither able to fully dominate the other. This leads to a future characterized by tension and instability, as different groups and nations prioritize either the benefits of technological progress or the protection of individual dignity and rights. Political and social structures struggle to keep up with the rapid changes brought about by convergent science, resulting in conflict and a lack of stability.

These are four potential scenarios based on the two driving forces according to the providing information. The ultimate outcome will depend on the choices and actions taken by individuals and institutions in the years to come.

Now we’ll elaborate into each scenario in detail. The first scenario has a new title, “The Disruptive Future”.

Narrative: In the “Disruptive Future,” advances in the MBNRIC technology fields drive society forward at an unprecedented pace, but with a focus on efficiency and practicality over considerations of dignity and equity. The world is transformed by cutting-edge technology and medical treatments, with the rich having much greater access to these advancements than the poor. The gap between the haves and have-nots widens, as political structures and institutions struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change. In this future, the drive for efficiency and practicality overrides concerns for dignity and fairness, leading to a world that is highly unequal and disruptive.

Drivers:

  • The rapid pace of technological change in the MBNRIC fields, which drives economic growth and improves quality of life for some but exacerbates existing inequalities.
  • The focus on efficiency and practicality in the deployment and utilization of new technology, which prioritizes immediate gains over long-term considerations of equity and dignity.
  • The inability of political structures and institutions to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change, leading to a widening gap between the haves and have-nots.

Inhibitors:

  • The lack of investment in ensuring that the benefits of technological progress are distributed equitably, which exacerbates existing inequalities and undermines social stability.
  • The failure of political structures and institutions to prioritize dignity and fairness in their response to the challenges posed by convergent science, which undermines trust and legitimacy.
  • The absence of a strong, unifying vision for the future that prioritizes dignity and equity, which makes it difficult to mobilize action to address the challenges posed by the Disruptive Future.

The second scenario’s new title is “The Dignified Future”.

Narrative: In the “Dignified Future,” the MBNRIC technology fields advance in ways that are guided by a vision of dignity and fairness. Political structures and institutions are able to effectively incorporate the Hegelian dialectic of “dignity” and sublation into their decision-making, ensuring that the benefits of technological progress are distributed equitably. This leads to a world that is both technologically advanced and socially just, where individuals are treated with respect and their dignity is not diminished. The Dignified Future is characterized by stability and prosperity, as the focus on dignity and fairness contributes to greater trust and legitimacy in political structures and institutions.

Drivers:

  • The incorporation of the Hegelian dialectic of “dignity” and sublation into political structures and institutions, which ensures that the benefits of technological progress are distributed equitably.
  • The commitment to ensuring that technological progress is guided by a vision of dignity and fairness, which prioritizes the interests of all individuals and contributes to social stability.
  • The effective management of technological change, which helps to mitigate potential negative impacts and ensure that technological advancements are beneficial for all.

Inhibitors:

  • Resistance to change, especially among those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo, which impedes the adoption of more equitable and dignified approaches to technological progress.
  • The lack of political will to prioritize dignity and equity, which undermines efforts to ensure that technological advancements are beneficial for all.
  • The inability of political structures and institutions to effectively manage technological change, which results in unintended negative consequences and undermines the realization of the Dignified Future.

The third scenario’s title is “The Uneven Future”.

Narrative: In “The Uneven Future,” technological progress in the MBNRIC fields continues to accelerate, but without a clear focus on either efficiency or dignity. This leads to a highly unequal world where access to the benefits of technological progress is limited to a small subset of the population. The lack of attention to dignity and fairness exacerbates existing inequalities, while the rapid pace of technological change contributes to social and political instability. The Uneven Future is characterized by a divided society, where the benefits of technological progress are not widely shared and trust in political structures and institutions is low.

Drivers:

  • The pursuit of efficiency and practicality over dignity and fairness, which leads to a narrow focus on technological progress that does not take into account the needs and interests of all individuals.
  • The inability of political structures and institutions to manage technological change, which leads to unintended negative consequences and undermines efforts to ensure that technological advancements are beneficial for all.
  • The unequal distribution of access to the benefits of technological progress, which exacerbates existing inequalities and contributes to social and political instability.

Inhibitors:

  • Efforts to prioritize dignity and fairness, which could help to mitigate the negative impacts of technological change and ensure that the benefits of progress are widely shared.
  • The recognition of the importance of managing technological change, which could help to ensure that technological advancements are beneficial for all.
  • The development of more equitable and inclusive political structures and institutions, which could help to ensure that the benefits of technological progress are distributed equitably.

The final scenario’s title is “The Harmonious Future”.

Narrative: In “The Harmonious Future,” the convergence of MBNRIC fields and the dialectic of dignity are prioritized in a balanced and harmonious manner. This leads to technological progress that is both efficient and equitable, resulting in a more stable and prosperous world. The political and social structures of this future are inclusive and equitable, and trust in these institutions is high. The Harmonious Future is characterized by technological advancements that are beneficial for all and that are integrated into society in a way that does not undermine dignity or the protection of individual rights and interests.

Drivers:

  • The prioritization of both efficiency and dignity, which leads to technological progress that is both efficient and equitable.
  • The integration of dignity into political and social structures, which helps to ensure that technological advancements are beneficial for all and that individual rights and interests are protected.
  • The recognition of the importance of balancing the MBNRIC fields and the dialectic of dignity, which helps to ensure that technological progress is harmonious and leads to a stable and prosperous world.

Inhibitors:

  • The prioritization of efficiency over dignity or the subordination of dignity to efficiency, which could undermine the harmonious balance of technological progress.
  • The neglect of the dialectic of dignity in political and social structures, which could result in the protection of individual rights and interests being ignored.
  • The unequal distribution of access to the benefits of technological progress, which could undermine the stability and prosperity of the harmonious future.

Among four scenarios, I’ve found “the disruptive future” and “the harmonious” future are the two most interesting scenarios, so I’ve asked the AI to investigate them in detail. Here are the results:

General Comparative Study

“The Dignified Future” prioritizes the dialectic of dignity, which leads to the development of political and social structures that protect the rights and interests of individuals and promote equality and justice. In this scenario, technological advancements are made with dignity in mind and are integrated into society in a way that respects the dignity of all individuals.

“The Harmonious Future,” on the other hand, balances the prioritization of the dialectic of dignity and the convergence of MBNRIC fields. This leads to technological progress that is both efficient and equitable and is integrated into society in a way that protects individual rights and interests and does not undermine dignity. This scenario is characterized by a harmonious balance between technology and dignity, which leads to a stable and prosperous world.

In comparison, both “The Dignified Future” and “The Harmonious Future” prioritize the importance of dignity in technological progress, but “The Harmonious Future” goes a step further by balancing the prioritization of dignity with the convergence of MBNRIC fields. This leads to technological advancements that are not only dignified but also efficient and integrated into society in a harmonious way.

Both scenarios have their strengths, but the choice between them will depend on the values and priorities of the society in question. Ultimately, both “The Dignified Future” and “The Harmonious Future” aim to create a future that is more equitable, just, and stable, but the balance between efficiency and dignity may vary between the two scenarios.

Possible Social Problems in both Scenarios

In both “The Dignified Future” and “The Harmonious Future,” there may be some social problems that arise as a result of the integration of technology and the prioritization of dignity.

In “The Dignified Future,” there may be difficulties in ensuring that technological advancements are made in a way that respects the dignity of all individuals, particularly those who are marginalized or vulnerable. There may also be challenges in integrating these advancements into society in a way that does not undermine dignity. This could lead to social inequality and conflicts between different groups as some individuals or communities are left behind.

In “The Harmonious Future,” there may be similar challenges in ensuring that technology and dignity are integrated in a harmonious way. The balance between the two may be difficult to maintain, and there may be conflicts between those who prioritize efficiency and those who prioritize dignity. There may also be difficulties in ensuring that the benefits of technological advancements are distributed equitably and that they do not reinforce existing social inequalities.

In both scenarios, there may also be ethical and moral dilemmas that arise as a result of the integration of technology into society. These could include questions about privacy, autonomy, and the use of technology in decision-making processes. It is important to anticipate and address these social problems in order to create a future that is equitable, just, and stable.

Possible Future Career and Technological Breakthough in Both Scenarios

In both “The Dignified Future” and “The Harmonious Future,” new careers and technological breakthroughs may emerge as a result of the integration of technology and dignity.

In “The Dignified Future,” careers related to the development and implementation of technologies that respect the dignity of individuals are likely to emerge. This could include roles in the fields of ethics and governance, as well as experts in the use of technology for social good. Additionally, there may be new career opportunities in the development and deployment of technologies that enhance cognitive abilities and human potential, such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

In “The Harmonious Future,” new careers and technologies may emerge in the fields of efficient and sustainable resource management, such as smart cities and renewable energy systems. There may also be new career opportunities in the development and use of technologies that promote human well-being, such as health and wellness technologies, and virtual and augmented reality. Additionally, there may be new technological breakthroughs in the fields of cognitive enhancement, such as the development of brain-machine interfaces, and the use of technology to enhance human potential and creativity.

In both scenarios, it is likely that new and emerging technologies will have a profound impact on the workforce and the labor market, leading to both new opportunities and challenges. It is important to prepare for these changes and ensure that individuals have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the new technological landscape.

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Kan Yuenyong

A geopolitical strategist who lives where a fine narrow line amongst a collision of civilizations exists.