Zurvan for Strategic Foresight: A quick Application
Updated: Feb 27
Zurvan integral model is a holistic method for Strategic Foresight, inspired from Persian Mythology/Theology and deity of infinite time and space. It consists of seven steps to find a range of transformation narratives. Let's have a quick application to a jobless future:
1. Define Scope/Issue: The Rise of Machines and the Prospect of Technological Unemployment
2. List Binary Oppositions:
Employed vs Unemployed,
Busy vs Free,
Rich vs Poor,
Work vs Play,
Scarcity vs Abundance,
Cheap vs Expensive,
Manager vs Staff,
Somebody vs Nobody,
Retired vs Active,
Peace vs War
Slave vs Master
Old vs New
Employer vs Employee
Order vs Chaos
Reason vs Emotion
Profit vs Non-Profit, etc.
3. Categorize into SPBC dimensions:
Social (Power of Institutions) — Smart, Decentralized and Autonomous Organizations, who Owns the Code Owns the World, Shrinkage and Consolidation of the Corporate World, Fall of Demand for Academic Degrees and Decline of Universities, Rise of Philanthropy, Tax the Super Rich, Failed States, Weaker Governments More Protests, Extended Families Re-Emergence to Support the More Vulnerable Members, etc
Psychological (Pleasure for Personality) — Mental Health, Identity Crisis, Leisure and Playfulness, Egocentric Mindset, etc.
Biological (Survival of Bodies) — Universal Basic Free Food & Shelter & Health Cover, End of Hard Labor for Workers, Welfare Economics and Governance.
Cultural (Meaning of Ma’nesh) — Activism by Choosing a Valuable Cause like Saving Ecology, Sustainability, Space Exploration, Aim and Go Beyond Planet Earth, Teach the Uneducated, Unseat the Corrupt Political Establishment, Volunteerism, etc.
4. List Illusory Beliefs:
We can make continuous improvements in the current systems of universities, economies, and governments for the new fundamentally changed world,
Value of people in society depends on their job titles, bank accounts, and expertise/discipline,
Money role in providing and obtaining essential goods and services is eternal,
Banks and economic growth will survive the upheaval,
Human playfulness, absolute free time, lifelong entertainment are problematic for society,
Communities should form around the aim of making money for consumption,
Super rich are not willing to contribute in solving social challenges,
Commercial innovation should have priority for resource allocation, etc
5. Propose Wise Strategies:
Build communities around the new principles or purposes of lifelong learning, lifelong entertainment, lifelong creativity,
Prepare for massive mental-identity and/or family crisis by training professional counselors,
Nationalize or subsidize food, essential nutrients, and shelter,
Use smart machines and citizens data/score to optimize limited shared access to goods, infrastructure, and services,
Shift human and financial resources to non-profit organizations,
Spend more time with your children and invest your energy in them,
Build experience and life-lessons sharing platforms/communities, etc
Tax the super wealthy robots,
Housing projects designed and constructed specifically for extended families to live together in one place.
6. Find Local Hero/anti-Hero:
(Left as an Exercise for you by reading mythology, theology, novels, movies, science fiction novels, stories or even history in your country/language/region)
1. Hint Example: Hero — Abraham Lincoln in the USA history
2. Hint Example: Hero — Apollo and Dionysus in the Western Civilization
7. Develop Transformation Narratives
(Left as an Exercise for you using the above material)
1. Hint Example: Powerful Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is the new modern realization of Lincoln spirit which emancipates workers (slaves) from employers (masters). This will result in a (civil) war between advocates of the old world order and the new world supporters, worldwide destruction and bloodshed!
2. Hint Example: Assuming Apollo to be hero one could make the narrative that after a brief period of disorder and chaos due to full automation, humanity will find a new order in place of the familiar and old order. Or assuming Dionysus to be hero one could make the narrative that after machines take care of all order in society, humanity will have more freedom to flourish its expression of emotions.