In 1990, NASA’s Voyager 1 Space Probe took a photo of Planet Earth at six billion kilometers away. This photo inspired scientist Carl Sagan’s book “Pale Blue Dot” in which he wrote: “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.”

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.

And when we view our home from outer space we experience a cognitive shift in awareness—which is well documented as “the Overview Effect.”

From space, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.

We know we are not unique in having wondered how humanity and Earth will coexist and what purpose do we serve. It is behind this backdrop that we have compiled the research in this special book edition to close a most consequential year.

For more than a decade, our team of futurists at our World in 2050 think tank, have been concerned with the state of the world. Our global convenings have tackled the future of diplomacy, philanthropy, connected cities, jobs and education, and much more. We don’t profess to be fortunetellers. Rather, we embrace the skills, practices, and behaviors of futurists.

As we have discussed previously through this platform, the issues which define the 21st century, are unfolding daily. As populations grow and urban centers expand, humanity’s mutual needs increasingly collide. This year and COVID-19 accelerated all these trends and challenges with mind-boggling speed. The crises confronting every nation in the world today transcend traditional boundaries. Almost every challenge needs to be tackled by a collective and inter-disciplinary approach.

At the same time—for the first time in history—advancements in technology have democratized solution-making. That means that antiquated governance models and top-bottom approaches will simply not do. Solving humanity’s greatest problems is now everyone’s business.

We are excited to present here nine chapters and four special guest editorials on the trends transforming our world today—trends, which if harnessed productively—will shape a better world for the generation taking the mantle in 2050.

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