Emotional and Digital Intelligence (EDQ) are Crucial for Navigating a Brave New World Together

As the 4th Industrial Revolution heats up in the midst of rising geopolitical tensions, a raging pandemic, socioeconomic problems and unparalleled technological and scientific innovation, everyone confronts a myriad of challenges and disruptions to navigate in ever narrower time periods.

Humanity and everyone from politicians, to business leaders and influencers are confronted with all sorts of challenges. We are all confronted with the same sorts of challenges and I believe there are 2 components that will determine the success of both individuals and collective groups (from governments, corporations, businesses to entire nations and societies).

These 2 components are emotional and digital intelligence which collectively I am coining the acronym (EDQ).

Emotional Intelligence is becoming the hottest life and business skill in the 21st century. Emotional Intelligence or EQ is the ability to navigate one’s own mental landscape successfully and to foster creativity, emotional resilience, grit, passion, self-awareness and many other human traits.

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Why this is so critical is because people with higher levels of EQ have greater purpose, passion, and connection to themselves, to the world and to their place in the world. Many people are feeling greater levels of dissatisfaction, disconnection, anxiety and anger today admittedly. Without introspection, purpose, passion, connection, people will not be able to navigate today’s or tomorrow’s environment at all however.

Because the world is changing at an unimaginable pace in all angles, and it is widely understood between many business leaders, technologists, philosophers and futurists that these changes are getting faster and faster. Much of this change relates to technological change that is sweeping the world and causing record levels of societal and geopolitical upheaval in record levels of time. It is getting harder and harder to recognize the world we live in anymore.

Think about it, Donald Trump, the rise of populist world leaders, Artificial Intelligence and Exponential Technologies that are changing the job market, automating many roles and creating a new world of work entirely different from the paradigm we had, record volumes of data, information and misinformation on the internet, protests that are ravaging the nation because we still are in conflict with each other over basic human rights and dignities, wealth inequality that is growing exponentially, and a pandemic that is wrecking the globe. 

Things are not looking very good for humanity right now, but we also see shades of good in the world also. Business leaders looking to do more on matters of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors, social justice, etc. We also have many technologists and scientists working on making the world a better place, and using exponential technologies such as Biotech, Genomics, Big Data, Cloud, AI and Software to find vaccines for Covid19 and to help us work remotely. We have entrepreneurs who are inspiring and motivating others constantly as well through these troubling times.

We also have politicians and thought leaders who are trying to figure out the path forward and how people, and businesses should navigate forward in this new normal and brave new world we are entering.

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Disruption is here to stay and it is only going to accelerate. To navigate a fast changing world, to thrive in it, while solving problems that seem way bigger than us and over our heads is a daunting task. After all, we are all struggling individually with our own problems and life in general and now we are expected to help pitch in to solve other problems, all while keeping a cool head under increasing amounts of pressure, stress and disruption.

This brings me to my second point, we need Digital Intelligence (DQ) also. In an increasingly digital world where we have an abundance of digital technologies, volumes of information, just keeping up with new developments is a daunting task and we are suffering from burnout, information overload at record levels today. However, digital literacy and digital intelligence is vital for success today. The technologies we have are our greatest chance at addressing many of the problems that are plaguing our society for the first time in human history. If we can use these exponential technologies in a way to create new companies, markets and to disrupt old, legacy ones that benefits the collective than we will be doing some good for the collective rather than just individuals.

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Advances in exponential technologies and digital infrastructure such as Nanotechnologies, Biotechnologies, Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, 3D Printing, 4D Printing, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Assistants, Genomics, CRISPR-Cas9, Digital Biology, Synthetic Medicine, Quantum Computing, Neuromorphic Computing, Brain-Computer Interfaces, Materials Sciences, Additive Manufacturing, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, Robotics, Autonomous Vehicles, Flying Cars (VTOL), 5G Networks, 6G Networks, Trillion Sensors, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) are converging and the rate of acceleration is itself accelerating in the age of digital transformation and the 4th Industrial Revolution.

This change is all happening at once and that is what makes the 4th Industrial Revolution so significant and misunderstood. Every industry is being digitally disrupted and transformed at the same exact time. What this means is that our tools fundamentally as humans are getting far better, far faster and far cheaper than we can even process or imagine properly.

Humanity will witness perhaps 300 years of change in the next 10 years and 1000 years of change in the next 20 years. People are biologically unable to process the nature of exponential change. Exponential change is what brought us to where humanity is today. We are at the juncture of profound technological change where the way we live and the lives we live will change at an accelerating rate of change as these fields start to intersect themselves and we start to build smart cities, smart homes, and a smarter more connected world. As our exponential digital technologies transform our society faster and faster, we transform faster and faster and our desires transform faster and faster along with our companies and institutions as well.

A highly sought after Futurist, Matthew Griffin, the CEO of the Deep Futures thinktank — 311 Institute has plenty of content ranging from keynotes available on his YouTube Channel to blog posts on hundreds of exponential technologies that he tracks, and the transformative impact they are having on our society, our lives, our companies and the future of everything from work, corporations, content, entertainment, commerce and governance. He is so confident on the massive levels of technological disruption society is facing that he says that we are entering what he dubs as the “Techno-Jurassic Era”.

For example cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could be the thing we need for creating a new monetary and economic system and disrupting older, legacy institutions such as monolithic technology megacorporations which are saddled with bureaucracy and are becoming (surveillance capitalistic corporations). Bitcoin and other peers can also disrupt or at least weaken older financial and monetary institutions and middlemen such as Central Banks and Governments which have created an unsustainable system of record levels of debt. Biotech can move us from sickcare to healthcare, and Artificial Intelligence can create a profound world of abundance if leveraged by the right parties. But decentralized economic models and new paradigms of business and economics can also make us a more resilient society able to cut friction, move faster to solve problems and become wealthier. We also need to incorporate stakeholder capitalism which rewards businesses which prioritize ESG metrics and have a larger purpose serving people and the planet over pure profits and shareholders.

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We need the willpower to help each other and give back. And there is no better thing than to give back to each other. It’s the only way we can make it as a species in the 21st century.

311 Institute | One Planet. One Species. One Destiny.

We need to carefully balance our exponential technologies and digital transformation with our humanity, and prioritize stakeholders including people, planet and our purpose over profits to have sustainable growth. But we need to realize that we are living in an exponential and highly disruptive age that is not decades away, but already here. The future is already here and we need to not only adapt to new paradigms, but lead in creating a brighter future with potentially multiple paradigms because how the future plays out is ultimately up to us in an age with exponential choices.

A leading Futurist Gerd Leonhard speaks more about how humans can become more human in the digital age and leave the heavy lifting up to the algorithms and robots, but where humans need to lead in emotional intelligence and wanting to constantly create a better future for all of us in tackling the most pressing issues of our time such as climate change, sustainability and becoming more human in the digital age.

Futurist Gerd Leonhard has talked at length not only about the pace of change we are going through in regards to technology, but also about the problems that modern capitalism is creating from climate change to wealth inequality. He also says that we need to move our system from just short-term focus on Profits to the prosperity of people and the wellbeing of our planet in a more holistic sense and the only way to do that is to shift our thinking towards more wisdom. We can’t just think about profits anymore or shareholders, we need to think about all stakeholders and we need to very seriously think about our collective future and wellbeing as one human species.