The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast

18. The Art of the Future with Dr. Claire Nelson

The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast
18. The Art of the Future with Dr. Claire Nelson

In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with Dr. Claire Nelson, the Founder and President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS). Per Forbes, Dr. Nelson “is a strategic thinker, change agent, keynote speaker and innovator,” and is listed among that publication’s 50 Leading Female Futurists. Dr. Nelson is also Ideation Leader of The Futures Forum and Sagient Futures LLC, which provides strategic foresight and development futures consulting. She is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the World Futures Review and The Journal of Futures Studies, and is an emerging voice as a Black Futurist.

In today’s podcast, Dr. Nelson discusses a smart futures approach to forecasting, technologies and science in small island nations, and positive impacts on the future:

  • Everything is a system. National challenges can be viewed from a systems approach by breaking them down to the sum of the parts and then adding them back up. You have to pick the right tool for the problem you are trying to solve.
  • Future technology is often presented as utopian. But we need to filter that idea through the smart futures lens. What happens when the technology fails, is compromised, or hacked? There must be forethought about the legal and ethical systems and processes. All of these aspects must be part of the framework.
  • Our brains oftentimes can’t negotiate many and varying opposing forces as mathematical equations. But if we translate engineering and mathematical concepts into a story, our minds can more readily assimilate, accept, and understand these complex concepts. Similarly, if we break complex and interconnected systems of systems down into characters in a story, we’re better able to connect with them and solve their related and intricate problems.
  • We shouldn’t blindly gather metrics for metrics’ sake. Metrics should specifically address the nature of the problems we’re trying to solve and should be tailored to the specific system that they’re measuring. The language of the transportation system will be different from the language of the military system, and they don’t necessarily cross over or translate proportionally.
  • Space is humanity’s common heritage, but there are very few concrete laws and policies in place. Access, equity, and awareness will be paramount to the future of sustainable development. Smaller and island nations will need to access this domain to monitor climate change, forecast weather, manage disasters, and ensure food and water security.
  • Small island nations can serve as a laboratory or testbed for pilot projects to showcase efficient resource and infrastructure management. With indigenous populations and significant bio-diversity, small island nations offer considerable untapped knowledge, such as thousands of years of seafaring experience from Pacific island nations or access to unique flora and fauna for pharmaceutical research.

Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next podcast with Dr. Aleksandra Nesic, co-founder of Valka-Mir and Visiting Faculty for both the Countering Violent Extremism and Countering Terrorism Fellowship Program at the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), USSOCOM, and the U.S. Army JFK Special Warfare Center and School, on 17 Sep 2020!

Brought to you by The Army Mad Scientist Initiative of The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast