I am planning to start an institute (world2050.org) that will use the ideas in my book, Thought++, to help find fresh ways of addressing some of the central challenges of the modern age – risks to our ecosystems, risks to the stability of our financial and political systems, risks that will arise with the widespread introduction of new forms of artificial intelligence.
At this stage, preliminary results are very encouraging: Part II of the book serves as the first testing ground for this new approach, and it shows how thought++ (my new strategy for orchestrating thought) can help stimulate fresh ideas about ways to help ensure a livable human future. But the real leverage, the real prospect for change, will only come as thought++ is applied more widely, as potential solutions get tested, extended, revised, and used on a global scale.
Over the years spent developing these ideas and writing the book, I’ve been lucky to have the help of many wonderful friends and colleagues (acknowledged more fully in the book). Now, I’ll need a larger, full-time team to help continue this work, and I’m preparing to set up this institute as a five-year experiment that would be designed to test:
1) Can a new cadre of thinkers be trained to use these tools for thought++?
2) Do these methods for thought++ provide real leverage across a full range of challenges for the modern age, allowing insights that would not be accessible in any conventional “think tank”?
3) Can these new approaches be automated in a way that will let us take full advantage – as a force for good – of the recent advances in AI?
4) Can these new ideas and this new approach gain public acceptance and public support in a way that leads to rapid, real-world change and helps address some of the central challenges of the 21st century?
I’m optimistic. I think that answers to the questions above will be: Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. But this new stage of work will require a larger team, with a Board of Directors, with donors, and with founding team members who have the vision and imagination and courage needed to see the world from a new perspective. This project will require about $20 million of support for a five-year, full-scale test of these new strategies. On one hand, it’s obviously a lot of money, but – on a larger scale – it may be a small price to pay as we work to develop fresh hope for the planet, fresh hope for the human future.