The future isn’t guaranteed to anyone.


There are so many industries, assumptions and pieces of our culture that are being disrupted by software applications and technology, that it feels like a whirlwind. But there is a growing problem.

In the world of technology, minorities, women and other underrepresented individuals and groups in the old economy are even more underrepresented in the new economy.

The future isn’t guaranteed to anyone.

The problem is not the wealth gap, or the inequality gap, or even the person gap. The problem is threefold:

  • Access—this is becoming the driving issue of the 21st century. People who will have access to technology and the ability to access understanding about advancements in technology, (regardless of group affiliation, economic level, gender or nationality) will have access to the virtual/physical integration that mobile technologies and the internet represent. They will also have access to the financial, spiritual and emotional rewards that will flow from this access, first in a trickle, then in a stream, and finally an endless flood. People who won’t have access will be effectively “locked out” of opportunity and advancement and will (to use the line from Braveheart) “scramble for the scraps from Longshank’s table.”
  • Understanding—there are many people (regardless of race) who have no idea, who, what or how the world that is coming is being built. Case in point: We recently had a conversation with a 20 year old the other day who had no idea that the content he consumes on YouTube was actually created by someone. We had to show him some of the behind the scenes stuff that goes on around here at HSCT in order to make all of this happen. Suddenly, he was able to make the connection between “boring” writing and studying classes and developing the discipline to write, research and publish every day.
  • Identity—many people have voted with their feet (and their wallets) in this new economic situation. They use Air BnB, Uber, Yelp, and pay attention to reviews. They book tickets to the movies through Fandango, they use Urban Spoon or Open Table to book a restaurant, and they have multiple applications on their smart phones and move with ease through the neighborhoods that each application represents in the community of the internet. However, there are also still people who shop at Wal-mart and won’t buy an I-phone until it shows up there. Marketers call these people lat adopters, but their identities are wrapped up (their stories, if you will) in being late adopters. Identity still is a driver for a lot of issues.

The future isn’t guaranteed to anyone.

Yes, there are many people who “Just want it to work,” no matter what it is—the economy, their family, their job, their car or their house. They don’t want to wrestle with questions about access, have to get more education to interface with new technology or worry about what their mobile phone choices say about them as a consumer/person. They just want things to work in their lives so that they can interact with a scary, chaotic and disquieting modern world with a measure of control, safety, security and reasonable level of prosperity.

These are the people for whom the future is not guaranteed.

Mediators, social workers, conflict specialists, lawyers, and social scientists have a responsibility to act as ambassadors between these two groups, advocate for the groups that are having identity, access and education issues and make the argument to the technical folks that are building our new economy and new world, that there are people being left behind.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA

Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
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