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Notes From the Future


Ben Hammersley speaking with students, Marina Powell

The future is both two minutes from now and 20 years from now, and Ben Hammersley wants students to think about what they want their future to look like.


“We want to think and sort of discuss why we are bad at thinking about the future in general,” Hammersley said. “If you can’t think clearly about the present, you certainly cannot think about the future.”


Hammersley, a prolific writer, popular speaker and futurist, presented a Well-Core seminar on Sept. 19, about the importance of clear futuristic thinking and encouraged students to practice awareness in everyday life specifically when it comes to culture, fashion, technology, environment, governance and infrastructure.


“The culture in general sees massively fast-moving and changing in one of these layers and freezes in panic and freaks out about it. And they forget that everything else is moving as well,” Hammersley said.


“We have to think about all of these things…and how they interact with each other to create the future.”


Currently AI technology is the fast moving object.


“Just as much as people don’t know what they're doing when they’re talking about the future, the vast majority of people don’t know what they’re doing about AI.”


Fears about this "intelligent” technology are due to confusing the difference between intelligent tasks and intelligent people, Hammersley said.


AI can perform intelligent tasks, but only because it was programmed to follow specific commands.


“There’s no reasoning, there’s no thinking, there’s no intelligence happening,” Hammersley said.


Equating a machine that performs tasks only an intelligent person can do with an actual intelligent person is a “mistake,” and one that Hammersley sees a lot in his line of work.

Hammersley’s encouraged students to reevaluate their actions, and do them with a more efficient, forward-thinking approach.


“The future is exclusively made up of people for whom today is the past,” Hammersley said. “People really love to hold themselves in the past as much as possible, especially when they think about the future.”


Jamison Costolnick, a creative entertainment industries major and public relations minor, attended the session to see how future-forward thinking would relate to her studies. What she came away with was clearer thinking about how it affects her life.


“Everything that he talks about re-solidifies the fact that you need to have clarity in the most chaotic moments,” she said. “The present is the most chaotic thing you can try to navigate in.”

Costolnick plans to create intentional awareness in her everyday life.


“I’m really just working to be aware of how I’m viewing the world around me,” she said. “Just keeping that clarity and re-solidifying that.”


Jen Onate, a music business major, said she learned about how bias affects futuristic thought.

“Sometimes we get so triggered by like, certain political statements that we don’t fully think through things, and we are kind of led by our emotions,” she said.


Hammersley encouraged audience members to think deeply, but also not to fear.


“Think about the future by thinking very, very clearly about the present, and everything will be alright,” he said.


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This article was written by Marina Powell

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