The futurist community is wide and fascinating. There’s a plethora of different strands of futurists, but all of them share the ambitious goal of creating a better future. What is a futurist then?
A futurist is a person who is active in the pursuit of creating a better future by thinking about possible future scenarios and following a path towards the best scenarios.
I use a rather wide definition of futurists here. Note that I don’t identify futurists with futurologists or future science researchers. Those just represent the research branches of the wide futurist community. So, which groups can be said to belong to the futurist community?
- Alternative economy theorists
- Basic income advocates
- Decentralization enthusiasts, including those who are fascinated by cryptocurrencies
- Effective altruists
- Future aware and visionary entrepreneurs
- Thinkers proposing radically innovative ideas
All of these communities represent complementary approaches towards a better future. So far, these communities have coexisted in parallel each with their own focus and their own projects. There is certainly a lot of overlap concerning some topics and people belonging to multiple different communities at once, but the realization that all of them belong to an overarching futurist community was more or less lacking. Therefore, the futurist community didn’t fully leverage the possible synergy coming from the possible interactions between the different communities.
Roles of the Fractal Future Network
But the Fractal Future Network is not there to be a merely formal collection of different branches of futurists. It has three distinctive roles:
- The Fractal Future Network is a portal for the futurist community that collects relevant links and resources. It acts as gateway for everyone wanting to explore the various branches of the futurist community.
- The Fractal Future Network is an idea base for the futurist community on which ideas can be collected, shared, and discussed on neutral ground.
- The Fractal Future Network is a project launching platform on which futurists can use the infrastructure of the network to start their projects within protected areas of the network.
These three roles describe the central purpose of the Fractal Future Network. Of course, the network could try to bring together all the different futurist communities in some kind of Round Table, but without a more specific purpose this objective alone wouldn’t achieve very much. In any case, the Fractal Future Forum (F3) is a communication platform that can be used by futurists of all variation to learn to know each other better, and to use the synergy that arises from interactions between the different futurist communities.
The Futurist Portal
Most futurists focus on their own rather specific communities, and some of those have good community portals. However, there doesn’t seem to be a good portal site for the whole of the futurist community. FractalFuture.Net could indeed become that portal site that provides some navigation for the futurist world. People who are curious can join this portal and find out what kind of communities, websites, and organizations are actually out there. That would help to widen the horizon of everyone – even that of the most knowledgeable futurists.
The Futuristic Idea Base
Sometimes you might have an interesting idea that you find fascinating, but don’t know what to do with it. Sure, you could post it on your own blog or on a community blog. In fact, that would be awesome! You might even use this blog for sharing your idea with the world. However, if you feel your idea is not that refined, yet, you might simply throw it into the F3, a place which is more more suitable for discussing or just archiving ideas than Facebook or Twitter.
You might even have an idea that could be turned into a really cool project or business that would improve the world, or at least the lives of some people, but don’t feel inclined on doing it yourself. Fine, that’s a perfectly legitimate attitude to have. Under the right circumstances you might be lucky and some person in the FFN is so intrigued by your idea that he or she decides to actually do something with it. In that case, you get the prestige for having come up with that idea; and the idea might turn into something tangible that provides real benefits.
Ah, but you might object that this is too idealistic and people aren’t willing to share good ideas, because that would allow others to profit from them. Well, total idealism isn’t always profitable, that much is true. Interestingly, the not too far future might provide you with an interesting possibility to profit from having a good reputation alone. In such a reputation economy sharing good ideas alone might grant you a real reputation income! More detailed information about how this system would work will be available on this blog, soon – so stay tuned!
The Future Project Launching Platform
Futurists often have promising ideas, but turning them into projects with real traction is very hard. Often such efforts have failed due to unfavourable circumstances. The mission of the Fractal Future Network is to improve these circumstances by providing futurists with a supportive community and some basic online infrastructure which they can use for the early phases of bootstrapping their projects. The FFN can help futurist projects in the following ways:
- By providing an overview over helpful futurist resources through its portal function.
- By maintaining a space in which ideas are collected, shared, and discussed.
- By extending the reach of project founders in order to recruit the right people for their projects.
- By granting access to this blog and project areas within the Fractal Future Forum.
- More support might be available in the future as the Fractal Future Network grows.
The general idea is that the Fractal Future Network helps new projects to gain traction and find enough fitting people to finally make the project self-sustaining. The Network is supposed to act as catalyst that helps projects gain enough momentum to keep going on their own. However, the Fractal Future Network is not a classical “accelerator” that helps project to find initial funding. What the Fractal Future Network however does, is providing projects with the opportunity of doing an initial “soft launch”, which creates better circumstances for a possible official “hard launch” later on.
How you can get started?
Share your project (idea) in the F3. Or just contact me via email (email@example.com) or in the F3. Currently, I am the one in charge of the online infrastructure of the Fractal Future Network, so I am able to support you, if you can convince me that your project is cool. Please don’t be shy! If you have a serious project idea and are willing to ask me, we will most probably find a good way to proceed.
Current projects within the Fractal Future Network
At the moment there are just a few active “official” projects within the Fractal Future Network. Mostly because our community is just in its infancy right now:
- There’s a sci-fi world building project based on transhumanist and general futurist ideas called Fractal Cosmos.
- The Transhuman Party German is using a hidden area for some internal discussions.
- The Digital Abundance Network (DAN) which I will present soon. It’s a network that aims at establishing a flourishing reputation economy!
- Of course, the FFN and its three core roles could be seen as projects by themselves.
Why is it called “Fractal” Future Network?
This community is a network of futurists, so the “Future Network” part of the name should be clear. The word “Fractal” comes from the idea of a “fractal society”: A fractal society provides a vast diversity of different forms of politics, economy, culture, and values. Ideally, there would be a totally fitting community for everyone, because there would be so many communities that every meaningful and compatible combination of preferences is covered. What unites the whole of the fractal society in this state of extreme “fractalization” is the idea that we should allow experiments with different forms of living, and allow different communities to emerge naturally – as long as they don’t try to suppress this freedom to experiment and diverge. The Fractal Future Network does not explicitly follow the goal of establishing a fractal society, but it might very well facilitate its eventual emergence.
Values of the Fractal Future Network
Because the FFN is still very new, it does not have a fixed set of shared values, yet. Nevertheless, the initial members of the network seem to share some common ideals:
- We want to create a better world for everyone, not just for ourselves or certain groups of people.
- Voluntary engagement is the basis of all our activity.
- Stigmergy is the operational principle that guides our actions: That what attracts and engages people is adopted naturally. What leaves them uninterested is simply ignored. Hierarchies or consensus are not needed!
- Peace: All of us want a place without trolling or flame wars, so these things actually never happened! Moderation just isn’t required (though it’s still a hypothetical option in the case that really bad things happen)!
- Innovation: We focus on creating new systems that make the old systems obsolete instead of fighting the old systems directly.
- Critical thinking: We give each other a chance to express our ideas freely, but we don’t shy back from pointing out potential flaws in those ideas – in order to arrive at even better ideas.
We need your help!
Seriously, we are just a small group of people now. The more people join us, the better can the FFN fulfil its roles and act as catalyst for cool projects that will shape the future! If anything you read here interests you, then please become proactive and join us, so we can help and support each other. You can join us easily by registering in the F3 – if you have a Facebook account you can register with that, so you don’t even need to come up with a password.
Once you have registered (whether via Facebook or directly), you could introduce yourself – or just lurk until you find a topic that you deem worthy engaging with. Of course, you can always suggest changes and improvements to anything within the FFN. The more you help us to find the right path, the more we will be able to help you with your ambitions.
Oh, and one last important note: It’s totally allowed to just have fun within our small network of highly interesting and futuristic people!
Note: This is a slightly updated version of this post, which has first been published on 2015-05-20 on the WordPress blog of the Fractal Future Network.