In the book Imaginable, author Jane McGonical had a description of how to pick an idea and explore it – by asking what’s true about it today, what might not be true about it in the future, and what are some clues or evidence of change that these ideas are plausible and realistic.
More specifically here’s what she wrote:
It’s called One Hundred Ways Anything Can Be Different in the Future. Here’s how it works: First, you pick a topic, like work, or food, or learning. Then you list one hundred things that are true about it today. The simpler or more obvious the fact, the better. Next, you rewrite each fact, one by one, so that ten years from now the opposite is true—no matter how ridiculous, at first, the new ideas sound. Finally, you look for clues, or evidence of change already happening today, that these ideas are plausible and realistic.Imaginable by Jane McGonical
It dawned on me that this might be a fun example to explore in ChatGPT – and it was! My chat session follows below – it’s very exciting to use this tool for this kind of assistance in thinking!
Scott: This series of prompts is called 10 Ways Anything Can Be Different In the Future.
Great! I’m ready to help you explore different possibilities for the future. What topic would you like to explore?
Excellent choice! Let’s explore 10 ways learning could be different in the future:
- Personalized learning: In the future, personalized learning could become the norm. With advances in technology, AI could create personalized learning plans for each individual, taking into account their learning style, preferences, and strengths.
- Virtual and augmented reality: Virtual and augmented reality could revolutionize the way we learn by providing immersive experiences that allow learners to interact with information in a more engaging and interactive way.
- Gamification: Learning could become more game-like and interactive, with gamification elements incorporated into educational content to make it more engaging and enjoyable.
- Lifelong learning: In the future, learning could become a lifelong pursuit rather than something that only happens during the early years of life. Continuous education and upskilling could become the norm to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change.
- AI-powered tutoring: AI-powered tutoring could become more advanced, allowing for more personalized and effective teaching. Chatbots and virtual tutors could provide real-time feedback and support to learners.
- Collaborative learning: Collaborative learning could become more prevalent in the future, with learners working together on projects and assignments in virtual environments.
- Microlearning: Microlearning, or learning in small, bite-sized chunks, could become more common in the future. This could allow learners to fit learning into their busy lives more easily.
- Brain-computer interfaces: With the development of brain-computer interfaces, learning could become even more efficient and effective. Learners could directly interface with computers to learn new information or skills.
- Global learning: In the future, the world could become more interconnected, allowing for more opportunities for global learning. Learners could connect with others from different parts of the world to share knowledge and experiences.
- Biologically enhanced learning: With advances in biotechnology, it could be possible to enhance learning by manipulating brain chemistry or using gene editing to optimize cognitive functions.
These are just a few possibilities for how learning could be different in the future. The future of learning is exciting and full of potential!
Scott: For each of those 10 ways, now rewrite each making the opposite true.
Sure, here are 10 ways learning could be different in the opposite direction:
- Uniform learning: In the opposite future, there would be a standardized approach to learning for everyone, where every individual is taught the same curriculum regardless of their learning style, preferences, or strengths.
- Minimal use of technology: In this future, technology will play a minimal role in learning, and virtual and augmented reality will not be utilized for educational purposes.
- No gamification: The opposite future would not incorporate gamification elements into educational content. Learning would be a serious endeavor without any interactive or engaging elements.
- Limited learning opportunities: Learning would be limited to certain stages of life, and continuous education or upskilling would not be a priority. Individuals would be expected to learn everything they need to know during their school years.
- No AI-powered tutoring: The opposite future would not make use of AI-powered tutoring. Instead, learners would rely on traditional teaching methods with limited feedback and support.
- Individual learning: In this future, learners would not work together in virtual environments. Instead, individuals would learn independently, without any collaborative or interactive elements.
- No microlearning: Learning would not be delivered in bite-sized chunks in the opposite future. Instead, individuals would be expected to learn everything at once, without the option of fitting learning into their busy lives.
- No brain-computer interfaces: In the opposite future, there would be no brain-computer interfaces, and individuals would not be able to directly interface with computers to learn new information or skills.
- Limited global learning: In this future, there would be limited opportunities for global learning, and individuals would not be able to connect with others from different parts of the world to share knowledge and experiences.
- No biologically enhanced learning: In the opposite future, there would be no biotechnology advancements used to enhance learning. Individuals would have to rely on their natural cognitive abilities to learn.
Scott: Now let’s examine clues or evidence of change already happening today that these ideas are plausible and realistic.
Certainly! Here are some clues or evidence of change happening today that support the plausibility and realism of the ideas I presented earlier:
- Personalized learning: Personalized learning is already gaining traction in various fields such as medicine and marketing. Technology is now being developed to provide personalized learning plans to individuals, which can be adapted to their learning style, preferences, and strengths.
- Virtual and augmented reality: Virtual and augmented reality is already being used in various industries such as entertainment and gaming, and it is only a matter of time before it becomes more common in the educational industry.
- Gamification: Gamification has already been successfully incorporated into educational content to make it more engaging and enjoyable. Game-based learning is becoming more prevalent in schools and universities.
- Lifelong learning: Continuous education and upskilling are already becoming more important in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world. Many companies and organizations are offering training and education programs for their employees to keep up with the latest trends and advancements.
- AI-powered tutoring: AI-powered tutoring is already being used in various educational contexts, such as language learning apps, where virtual tutors provide real-time feedback and support to learners.
- Collaborative learning: Collaborative learning is already being used in various educational settings, where learners work together on group projects and assignments.
- Microlearning: Microlearning is already being utilized in various industries, such as professional development and corporate training. Many companies offer microlearning modules to their employees to fit learning into their busy schedules.
- Brain-computer interfaces: Brain-computer interfaces are already being used in research, and they have shown promising results in enhancing cognitive functions such as memory and learning.
- Global learning: Global learning is already happening today, with online courses and virtual exchange programs connecting learners from different parts of the world.
- Biologically enhanced learning: Biotechnology advancements are already being used to treat various neurological and cognitive disorders, and it is only a matter of time before they are used to enhance learning as well.
These are just a few examples of the many clues and evidence of change already happening today that support the plausibility and realism of the ideas presented earlier. The future of learning is exciting and full of potential, and we are already seeing many of these changes happening today.SJL+ChatGPT – May 4, 2023
After writing this post, I came across this article by Connie Chan at A16Z: Embracing the Future: How Chatbots Can Become Great Companions. In a way, that’s how I’ve been using both ChatGPT and Google Bard. Not as search engines to find other websites but, rather, as a thinking companion to explore ideas, learn more about historical topics, etc.
Today’s AI chatbots are able to invoke emotions and provide companionship by asking us probing questions that go deeper into our psyche than chatbots of the past. (In fact, some are finding that these chatbots are better at providing companionship than providing facts.) By pulling information out of us, like therapists, and then having perfect recall of every detail we’ve ever told it, these companion chatbots can pattern match our behavior—and ultimately help us understand ourselves better.