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A Future without Precedent

JERUSALEM – In my nearly nine decades of life, I cannot recall a time in which the past was so irrelevant to policymaking. All of today’s significant developments went unpredicted by anyone. Experts studied the past, but, constrained by old paradigms, they could not discern the future.

Today’s dynamic complexity, in which a science-based, fast-changing global economy makes so many more phenomena interdependent, prevents us from foreseeing the future through linear extrapolations of the past. The only certainty is that the future will be defined by scientific progress and innovation, which cannot be known ahead of time.

As a result, the traditional power of states and leaders is declining; in today’s global economy, innovators, not politicians, wield the most influence. The globalized economy affects every state, yet no single state can determine the outcomes, because science and technology are borderless. Global companies wish to do business worldwide, eroding not just sovereignty, but also racism and prejudice, as well as significantly weakening nationalism.

This transformation has placed the world in the hands of a younger generation, more technologically savvy than their parents and connected to one another through social networks that are not confined by territory, language, or government. The young leaders who created Facebook and Google have had a greater global impact than many statesmen and generals.