For a change of pace this summer, I'd like to do a little foresight. Recently I turned in a competition project on the following theme:
"Exactly fifty years ago, in 1972, the Meadows report spoke of the finitude of resources and the limits to growth. Despite some attempts to theorize an "end of history" (which never happened), we can only helplessly verify that the pace continues to accelerate and our dependence on raw materials and energy increases, plunging us into a succession of upheavals (climatic, health, political and humanitarian).
In this context, we can no longer hope to create and preserve immutable, perfect, "finished" objects and landscapes. The finitude of resources implies the non-finiteness of processes: time is now the raw material of the project. How can we establish an open culture of the built environment that is continuous, collective, and capable of constantly adapting its forms and functions?"
This topic proposed by the Swiss Biennial of Territory 2022, immediately appealed to me. I have been an editor for Thot Cursus for several years, I have received international recognition in educational management but, above all, I am an architect by training and I define myself as an urbanist. Urbanist of territories, social urbanist and technological urbanist. What does it mean to be an urban planner? It's having a meta vision on things, on communities. It's like a philosopher doing applied planning.
The topic directly appealed to me because it touches our limited physical world. It touches on the populations that are the users of this physical world, but also on the technological crossroads that the world is experiencing that complements our finite world with infinite digital worlds. I'm talking about Web 3.0 and the metaverse.
Navigating on sight
Why am I talking about it here in this forum? I bring it up to draw attention to the fact that the educational world has missed the crossroads of innovation. Our physical, terrestrial world is in trouble and yet which schools can boast of having trained operational experts in the field? Or to have made their students aware of the right time? For the past 20 years, we have been riding a wave of technological evolution and, apart from the founding geeks, who is trained to run and guide this new world? The needs are not reaching the 20% satisfaction and schools, universities and others are still training for obsolete jobs.
Evident demographic dips and peaks are coming, yet no one seems to be anticipating them. Within 10 years, 80% of farms in France will be short of farmers. A school has just been created in France as a matter of urgency, but more than 100 are needed. Where are they?
The world seems to move forward by crises. Is this normal? Who says crises, says misery, traumatic shocks, social inequalities... Why always go through the regression box before making leaps that will leave so many people on the sidelines? I don't find this normal.
Sometimes with my colleagues, we feel quite alone. My specialty is social repair, that which is necessary when trust between citizens has disappeared. When that trust disappears, then the worst atrocities appear. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, we deal with cities, with territories that have such complex problems that everyone gives up: banditry, mass crimes, poaching, illicit trade, child exploitation... The origin of these phenomena is associated with the appearance of major crises that change the local social norm.
The expected normality
What is a social norm? It is a social consensus that is voluntary or imposed by law or force. Watching people drown in the sea without having an emotional reaction is a norm. Getting used to hearing bullets whistling over your head in some parts of the world is a norm, a normality for people who live in an ecosystem where you are not sure you will get home at night. Anything that is socially accepted or suffered without having any action or influence on it is social norm.
But, just because a norm exists in a society does not mean that it is acceptable for all that and that it must be accepted. This is why, among all these local normalities, the concept of normality of Peace and harmony is to be posed, in Wikipedia and elsewhere as in classrooms. For this normality, which is my normality, is no longer so in many places of the world. And, it is a knowledge that is also a subject of teaching.
Especially since we are creating lots of new worlds as I write this article. Some of these new worlds are based on sex, violence, gambling and will have millions of users. Where will the children fit in if we are not careful? Of course, this is the first wave; after that, the corporate world will follow, and then, perhaps, those of family and peace. But it is not yet the trend of the day, especially if no one asks for it and the economic value is low. Even basic research is mostly funded by corporations and is not so much oriented towards the good of humanity as it is towards profit.
I have been thinking about these topics for quite a few years and this is the conceptual proposal I sent for this contest. The entries are closed. I can discuss it with you.
Five years ago I imagined a set of technologies for governance of large communities, at the same time I was doing innovation in learning and collective intelligence with Denis Cristol and other colleagues at Thot Cursus and at the same time I collaborated a lot on Ukrainian projects of virtual reality, collective and artificial intelligence philosophy for worlds operating on new models... And from there was born the ANTAVERSE project ("Thanks to Virtual Reality worlds").
Technologies either precede or follow deep social changes; decentralization is one of them. Today the school still operates on the hierarchical model. Anticipating the next step becomes urgent, otherwise students will have to go through the unlearning process to learn something else.
This decentralization induces 2 phenomena: empowerment and self-determination of human-sized communities. Today the human size for a community is the city. For some years now, certain cities in the world or certain small states have been seceding from government decisions. This is far from being anecdotal. We are facing a major change in community governance. This is why I am proposing PARKs projects.
"The ANTAVERSE project, a digital PARKs project, is a frugal METAVERSE for large community governance. RÉGÉNÉRATION MATRIX group (RMX) develops PARKs projects with large beneficiary communities.
A PARK corresponds to a community grouped on a territory or several territories that develop common interests in terms of laws, governance, tools, management of its security, urban security, humanitarian, climate, political, nature protection and management of its natural resources.
RMX also develops digital community management tools.
Our proposal is to create a physical door displaying the semi-digital, or semi-real world of ANTAVERSE in the beautiful park of Villa Saroli in Lugano."
Why frugal? Frugality is the opposite of gluttony. Tomorrow, the digital world will appropriate a large part of the world's resources to exist. Let's think about sustainability. But, if sustainability is not taught in schools, then who will do it and especially at the right time? Schools have a great responsibility in shaping the world of tomorrow.
It is the place where the future of humanity will be played out.
Pixabay image source: Ronymichaud
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