“We’re making our decisions … or so we think. Yet in truth, ignorance, greed, and the scourge of immediate gratification are often the things that are making them. So if we’re going to truly live well, maybe the first thing we need to decide is who’s deciding.”
Craig D. Lounsbrough


All of this goes to show that without the initiative that comes from immediate responsibility, ignorance will persist in the face of masses of information however complete and correct. It persists even in the face of the meritorious efforts that are being made to go beyond presenting information and to teach the use of it by means of lectures, classes, discussion groups.

Results are not zero. But they are small. People cannot be carried up the ladder. Thus the typical citizen drops down to a lower level of mental performance.”



Technology suffers from nearsightedness. Yeah. I said that even as the technology futurists discuss 5G, metaverse, blockchain and more.  The trouble is while we get dazzled by some imaginative fantastical futuristic headlines, the reality is most technology business models are driven by lack of imagination and building toward immediate returns and feeding immediate consequences. What I mean by that is every innovative widget they develop is paid for with algorithms that drive immediate returns and immediate consequences. This is the underbelly of an instant gratification economy in that it is fed by (a) drive immediate engagement and (b) exploit human tendencies to engage. In other words, monetize immediacy. This misguided objective setting is exacerbated by purposefully conflating people’s needs and wants by exploiting the wants <not necessarily the needs> and isolating individuals over the collective <i.e., give me what I want even if it may not be best for all’s needs>.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out this technology nearsightedness is shared by many industry and policy decision-making leadership. As an example, energy independence today means reaching for whatever energy source exists today. In general, decisions are made to meet existing infrastructure not any future possibilities ignoring longer term consequences with labor patterns, environmental structural issues and even the fact today’s dollars are being invested in structure being outdated on a daily basis. In other words, each dollar is diminishing in investment as soon as it is used rather than investing in future structure which actually increases in value.

But I focus on technology today because they are playing mindbender with time frames to cloak unhealthy short-term consequences. It’s almost like the long-term considerations are too remote in the future <or they are naïve enough to believe “problems solve themselves”> to be concerned at the expense of present-day income/revenue.

The problem with this type of time horizon myopia is that technology is an exponential accelerant versus many other additive accelerants. What that means is yesterday’s 10-year time horizon can often become a 10 month or even 1-month time horizon. This means that time horizons have become so radically altered that having an immediate return/immediate consequence business model simply adds gasoline to an existing fire.

It’s a fault, a shortcoming as it were, in their capitalistic DNA. This fault is an impediment to technology being wholly effective or even truly desirable in a total-value-provided view. This shortcoming infects almost everything they do. Every innovation for the future of technology is cursed with this immediate return myopia. So while they speak of farsightedness and future, they are doomed by economic shortsightedness.

To be clear. This isn’t flawed thinking on their part, it’s a fault, a characteristic of how they think. Flaws suggest detracting from completeness <or the best>, fault points to things that actively impair progress from completeness or the best it can be. It is something that exists and inherent to the nature of who they are, what they do and how they think. This fault means technology, and technology businesses, will continuously only offer us empty innovations – empty of real meaningful long-term returns – which will continue to empty, and mar, society as a whole.

Look. They could refuse to think this way. Yeah. Refusal is always an option. It’s just that refusal comes with consequences. If you make a choice, then you’re responsible for the consequences – short & long term – of that choice and they are not willing to accept the consequences. Technology time horizons must be extended but, to be clear, to plan and behave with a more distant future in mind does not mean dictated, prescriptive, strategies and initiatives. I even say that with infrastructure in mind which demands a constructed (efficient & effective) future. Some agility does not demand shortsightedness, it actually demands situational awareness along a continuum of progress points. I would also note that being ‘future-conscious’ is not about having some Purpose. It is actually more likely to contain more transactional elements like integrity to a societal objective and sacrificing some simplistic black & white “cause & effect immediacy” and incorporating some rich & royal hues of expanding thinking and sensemaking.


I believe it was Toffler who stated “every society faces not merely a succession of probable futures, but an array of possible futures, and a conflict over preferable futures.” I would add we should parse this discussion out to ‘want-fit futures’, ‘need-fit futures’ and preferable futures <the latter most likely being some combination of the two former>. In my mind this is not futurism, but rather ‘future-fitting.’ This may sound like I am dancing on the head of a pin, but the truth is we need to fit into a positive possible future and we are more likely to do so if we engage in the belief that getting humans, and humanity, from here to there is dependent upon showing a future they can fit in <a place in which it can feed both wants and needs>.

Regardless. Assessing the possibility, and probabilities, of future states demands assessing all dimensions of the future. What I mean by that is Pace Layering. Leisure patterns are different than geopolitical patterns and energy patterns and, yet, they are all connected <even in some fairly obtuse ways>. I bring this up because if technology focuses solely on immediate returns and immediate consequences, they, well, screw up pacing. This means an asymmetrical world becomes even more asymmetrical. Asymmetrical is actually the norm but the concern on this is that a complete lack of alignment leads to complete dysfunction. So, while it may feel dysfunctional now <society, etc.> the truth is it is most likely simply discordant pacing, not out of whack asymmetrical pacing – but that can change if technology continues to pursue it immediate’ business model.

Circling back, we need to increasingly focus on the interconnectedness of disparate events and consequences and devote increasing attention to the social consequences, to the individual and society, of technology. The mostly negative social and cultural effects of technology are becoming increasingly obvious and while there are likely a myriad of reasons, let me circle back to ‘immediate returns, immediate consequences’ as a mindset.

Look. Business has always been trapped in a short-term mentality and I tend to believe people have increasingly become more ‘immediate return’ focused <by the way, this may be a Halo Effect thing where it a is a looped consequence relationship>. That said. Technology is exploiting this AND amplifying it. We need to change the narrative. Change the mindsets and rearrange attitudes and beliefs. In doing so we can change reality.

In the end, I would suggest the technology elite shortsightedness view of immediate returns/immediate consequences, is a constraint, not just a fault.

As a parallel thought, while removing the constraint within an organization releases value potential/opportunity, the similar is also true in the marketplace itself. Knowledge should always be applied against removing existing constraints in the marketplace and in doing so value is achieved. And, in fact, the higher the order of constraint the higher the possible market value. I would argue, at least for today, an immediate return/immediate consequence attitude is a higher order constraint. This is a big issue and I don’t believe we talk about it in big enough terms. We point fingers, wave hands around and, in general, think of this as some issue too big to get a grip on. It is not. If we grip immediate return and immediate consequence and, consequently, throw it in the trash, we can permit the market, and technology, to pursue a healthier objective and vision. Ponder.


“To learn to see- to accustom the eye to calmness, to patience, and to allow things to come up to it; to defer judgment, and to acquire the habit of approaching and grasping an individual case from all sides. This is the first preparatory schooling of intellectuality. One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Written by Bruce