What would you do, if someone came up to you in the middle of your day and told you it was the year 2080?
You might look around you, at things like phone chargers plugged into walls, and think, “Haven’t we thought of a better way of doing this yet?”
It seems obvious that certain things will be obsolete in the future. We tend to see today’s innovations as indicators of tomorrow’s progress. While we don’t always know what’s coming next, we know it will be different than before. And we usually think that’s a good thing.
The world’s most innovative and successful companies know this well. Companies like Apple and Google have risen to dominance because of their ability to provide people with solutions that outpace their problems.
Did any of us think, when Apple introduced the iPhone, that we really needed so much power in our pockets? I certainly didn’t. But today, I can’t live without it.
Paul Graham, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investors, says, “Live in the future, then build what’s missing.”
We live in a world where access to Facebook can bring down a government, where a rendition of the Harlem Shake can spread from a college dorm room to a Norwegian army base, and where children in Pakistan can express solidarity with victims of a school shooting in Connecticut.
The future is clearly social. But that doesn’t always translate to the social sector.
Despite the world being more connected than ever before, we continue tackling global challenges by anonymously sending help to amorphous groups of people. We Skype with friends in other countries, but our efforts to create a more equitable world still amount to transactions between strangers.
Connecting people is the future of social change. We’re building Watsi, a nonprofit that enables anyone to directly fund medical care for someone who can’t afford it, because we believe that we can make a big impact on global health, just by connecting people to each other.
Connecting people to expand access to healthcare is just the beginning. The world is well on its way to 2080. We need to think about what we want the future to look like, because it’s up to us to build what’s missing.