Over a three-year period in places as diverse as Beijing, Shanghai and Helsinki, Brussels and Boston, Paris and Tokyo, Oxford and Margaux, Ci’Num’s organizational team gathered testimonials from 80 or so global personalities. The accounts of these experts revealed a series of hypotheses regarding the future:
- We will have far exceeded the biosphere’s capacity to renew itself. Climate change will have produced large-scale effects.
- The scarcity of several essential natural resources, such as oil, fresh water, and arable land, will have a major impact on human activity.
- Technology that could help us meet the challenges that already exist or will exist relatively early in the timeframe in question already exist.
- Technical progress will continue, leading us to a re-examination of what we mean when we say « natural, » « artificial » and even « human ».
The above hypotheses ask various questions, which in turn are a series of crossroads to encounter in the future:
- Will we have the organizational ability to adapt to or go beyond the new planetary constraints on a global level?
- What will be the principal thing that limits our ability to decide and to act? Resources or Our imagination?
- What is the principal way of organizing major human systems? Reason or The market?
The four scenarios for 2030 suggest answers to these questions. Depending on the solutions we are able to find, the changes we will experience will be what we have called « Collapse », « Imperialism », « The New Enlightenment » and « 100.000 Flowers ».
The four scenarios served as the starting point the Digital Assembly at Ci’Num 2007 used to define the seven challenges and plans of action.