How coronavirus changes global society
By Trond Arne Undheim, Ph.D.
The first book on the long-term impact of the pandemic is a tour de force of contemporary social science written by a futurist at the forefront of technology and change.
The book offers five ways to look at what happens next, crafted as scenarios, based on the author’s study of the forces of disruption that brought on the pandemic. It offers suggestions to remedy its consequences, or even enable segments of society to thrive on it.
The first portion of the book is non-fiction. The second portion is a scenario-based novel, the book charts new territory by interweaving the grim reality of 2020 with a first-person exploration of the next decade as if we were already in it. The five scenarios considered are: Borderless world, Nation state renewal, Two worlds apart, Hobbesian chaos, and Status Quo.
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Check out the retail sample below. Audiobook available for purchase on June 1
About the author
Trond Arne Undheim is a futurist, speaker, entrepreneur and former director of MIT Startup Exchange, based outside of Boston. Trained as a social scientist with a career in technology and innovation, he is the CEO and cofounder of Yegii, a search engine for industry professionals, providing collective intelligence. A former MIT Sloan School of Management Senior Lecturer, WPP and Oracle executive and EU National Expert, he writes for Fortune and Cognoscenti, and has been featured in print media and television. He holds a PhD on the future of work and artificial intelligence and cognition. Undheim is the author of Leadership From Below (2008) on Lulu Press, Pandemic Aftermath (2020), and Disruption Games (2020), both with indie publisher Atmosphere Press. His next book will be Future Tech (2021), to be published by leading independent global publisher of business books, Kogan Page.
Praise for Pandemic Aftermath
The informative narrative is well-rounded and well-researched, and the conversational style is easily understood despite the technical jargon of the academic discourse (see FULl review)US Review of books
a read that provides a bounty of information and certainly a large dose of ‘food for thought’ (see FULL Review and author interview)feathered quill
essential reading for anyone concerned about what that world will look like in the pandemic’s aftermath, and how to operate in today’s environment and survive it (see full review)d. donovan, senior reviewer, midwest book review
a riveting account of the scenarios facing the post-corona society. i’m amazed at the way trond undheim combines a deep dive into our dystopian reality with optimism if action is taken.gary epler, m.d., harvard medical school
trond undheim is that rare genius who builds the future even as he is predicting it. this is the book the world in lockdown has been waiting for.sir john hargrave, bestselling author of mind hacking and blockchain for everyone
a professional editor and owner of a publishing company, […], I have come across many books discussing the pandemic and COVID-19. However, this is the first one that challenges the reader and discusses it in so much detail. It isn’t a quick read, but it is well worth it. (see book of the day)Dr. melissa caudle, author and screenwriter, Dr. Mel’s message (blog)
Thought Provoking Book Presents Various Intriguing and Frightening Alternate Future Scenarios (see Full review)Julie Sara Porter, Bookworm Reviews
What he has to say should give you cause for concern. (see interview)Chloe Demrovsky, Forbes
The book is fascinating, imaginative, experimental at the same time, but also [has] a realism to itScott e. burgess, healthcare 360 podcast
a well-thought-out and well-researched book [mixing] facts, stats, and future scenarios – at times the book sounds part dystopian, and many a time it looks like a futuristic book (see full review).Kevein Book Reviews
What People Said about Trond’s previous book, Disruption Games
I CANNOT THINK OF A BETTER GUIDE TO THE DISRUPTIVE WORLD THAT FOUNDERS AND EXECUTIVES INHABIT.JAMES MAWSON, CEO AND FOUNDER, GLOBAL CORPORATE VENTURING
THE PARTNERSHIPS TROND FACILITATED WHEN HE RAN MIT STARTUP EXCHANGE WERE INSTRUMENTAL TO OUR LAUNCH AND SUCCESS.NATAN LINDER, COFOUNDER OF FORMLABS AND TULIP INTERFACES
A BLUEPRINT OF PRACTICAL WAYS TO JUMPSTART SUCCESSFUL INNOVATION THROUGH EXAMINING FAILURE.BRENT HOBERMAN, COFOUNDER, FOUNDERS FORUM, LASTMINUTE.COM, MADE.COM
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Scenarios for the future
Why already ponder what’s next? The world is, arguably, still in the middle of fighting the virus and its impact. What could possibly be said about the future? Well, the truth appears to be that if we don’t already start planning for the next virus—or even just for how to live with the current virus long term—we will face even more earth-shattering negative consequences.
Responding to this need, I have drawn up a few immediate scenarios—new ways to think about the future. Scenario thinking is usually a way to prepare for an imagined future. Instead, I would argue, these sweeping societal changes will happen much faster. I have drawn up five. In this case, each of the scenarios are quite near term; in fact, we are living in versions of each of them right now. Crafting solid scenarios can help us, as citizens, policy makers, or business leaders, decide which path we want to chart for what lies ahead. Or, as it were, distilling key facets of the reality we are already living, we might learn to live with it a bit better. Leaving aside the details, let me also state that different parts of the world seem to respond differently to this crisis. Therefore, the potential is that we will shatter into regional or national worlds.
Broadly, I see five scenarios for our post-coronavirus future. The five scenarios considered are: borderless world, nation-state renewal, two worlds apart, Hobbesian chaos, and status quo.
In Borderless world, an expert-led world federal state where leaders are able to fully implement globalization and strategies to fix health systems. Yet, the cost is a synthetic world, where nature and the elderly, are both abandoned.
In Nation state renewal, with enormous virus death tolls, borders close down and people stop traveling huge distances. This is the decade of intermittency, cycles of opening up society is followed by cycles of closing down, repeatedly and physical distancing is needed throughout the decade. China, Scandinavia, Singapore, Qatar and Germany thrive, whilst formerly “great” nations like US, UK, Russia, Brazil, and India struggle.
In Two worlds apart, with a failed vaccine the top 0.1% of population separates from the 99.9% in entire new walled-off financial districts plus a set of islands purposefully constructed to avoid contagion, filled with the world’s most expensive real estate, governed by their own laws.
In Hobbesian chaos, all vaccines fail, no protective state lasts beyond a year, rule of law ceases to exist, and terrorist groups (Boko Haram, the Mafia, al Qaeda), clans and ideological movements sweep through the earth with constant struggle and fight for scarce resources as a result.
In Status Quo, the vaccine works, the world is still a tri-polar order (US, China, Russia rule in each hemisphere) and after a period of readjustment, society and the world economy, on most dimensions, will not be significantly altered by this pandemic experience, although remote work is now a real thing.
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