The “State of the Future” is a comprehensive annual overview of the present global situation and prospects for humanity. It integrates forecasts, trends, and judgments of thought leaders and scholars from around the world, sharing important future possibilities to improve strategies today. Led by Jerome Glenn, the Millenium Project sponsors this collective intelligence endeavor.
Good and bad news
The report shows that the world is improving more than most pessimists realize. For example:
- People around the world are becoming healthier, wealthier, better educated, more peaceful, increasingly connected, and living longer.
- Child mortality rate has dropped 47% since 1990, extreme poverty in the developing world fell from 50% in 1981 to 21% in 2010, primary school completion rates grew from 81% in 1990 to 91% in 2011, only one transborder war occurred in 2013.
- Nearly 40% of humanity is connected via the Internet, and life expectancy has increased 10 years over the past 20 years to reach 70.5 years today.
However, the report also warns that water tables are falling on all continents, intrastate conflicts and refugees are increasing, glaciers are melting, income gaps are increasingly obscene, coral reefs are dying, ocean acidity is increasing, ocean dead zones have doubled every decade since the 1960s, half the world’s topsoil is destroyed, youth unemployment has reached dangerous proportions, traffic jams and air pollution are strangling cities, $1–1.6 billion annually is paid in bribes, organized crime gets twice the money per year than all the military budgets combined, and half the world is potentially unstable.
Situation overview and prospects
“The 2013-14 edition is the richest array and synthesis of data, information, and intelligent insights that The Millennium Project has ever assembled,” says Glenn. Werbos has called it “The most influential annual report on what we know about the future of humanity.”
The Executive Summary of the “2013-14 State of the Future” provides an overview of our situation and prospects. It offers suggestions for building a better future, includes an annual World Report Card of where we are winning and losing, and the 2013 State of the Future Index, a graph showing the world’s progress.
The report updates and improves insights about 15 Global Challenges that provide a framework for understanding global change, with infographics. It share international assessments of the causes of and solutions to the increasing problems of hidden hunger, vulnerable natural infrastructure in urban coastal zones, “lone wolf” terrorism, and individuals making and deploying weapons of mass destruction. And and section on the Millennium Project’s Global Futures Intelligence System offers potential strategies to improve humanity’s future prospects.
Examples of recommendations include:
- US–China 10-year environmental goal to reduce climate change and improve trust
- Growing meat without growing animals to reduce water demand and greenhouse gases
- Seawater agriculture for biofuels, carbon sink, and growing food without rain
- Global collective intelligence systems input for humanity’s long-range strategic plans
- Tele-nations connecting brains overseas to the development process back home
- TransInstitutions for more effective implementation of strategies
- A global counter-organized-crime strategy
- State of the Future Index as a better alternative to GDP for measuring progress
Quick introduction (2 minutes):
VIDEO of the Launch at Wilson Center (1 hour 30 minutes):