Becoming future proof:

Becoming future-proof :


We are living in a fast changing world. What happened over centuries earlier, now happens over decades, and what happened over decades now happens over years. And we saw recently in the case of chatGPT and similar technologies that what used to happen over years now happens over months. 

To make the challenges even harder, rapid progress is taking place along multiple directions concurrently, for example AI, Quantum Technologies, room temperature and ambient pressure superconductivity and controlled thermonuclear fusion. Some futurists even predict that we will soon be witnessing a singularity. 

All of us have to plan our future activities, based on some expectations. While it may not be feasible to anticipate or predict the future with precision, we can do some broad generic preparation. In this program, I have created 4 weekend courses : MegaTrends, First Principles and Scientific Temper, Preparation for a long life of 100 years and the ability of Critical Thinking. 

With these triggers, the learner will acquire an ‘ escape velocity’ that will enable the learner to equip oneself with the knowledge and skills to flourish and thrive in whatever future scenarios occur. 

BFP01: MegaTrends


All of us have to plan our future activities, based on some expectations. While it may not be feasible to anticipate or predict the future with precision, it is possible to anticipate broad global trends, or MegaTrends as they are often called. Some of these MegaTrends are also ‘ global threats’. 

In this weekend course, we make the participants aware of 10 MegaTrends that will shape the coming decade (2023-2033) and directly or indirectly affect all of us:

Day 1: Technological MegaTrends

1.1: AGI is ubiquitous and all around us

1.2: Era of humanoid robots and avatars

1.3: Autonomous and flying cars

1.4: Global Gigabit Connectivity—Connecting Everyone & Everything, Everywhere, All the Time.

1.5: The trillion sensor economy: the future of IoT

Day 2: Demographic and Social MegaTrends

2.1: Rapid Global Urbanisation 

2.2: Increasing Lifespan 

2.3: Climate change 

2.4: Disinformation and synthetic media

2.5: Synthetic Biology and microbiomes

BFP02: FAST: First Principles and Scientific Temper

FAST: First Principles and Scientific Temper

First Principles is a framework for deconstructing complex problems, applied by Elon Musk for his enterprises, and inculcating a Scientific Temper is a Constitutional duty cast upon all of us under Article 51A(h). 

In the NEP2020, the phrase is mentioned at 4 places: on pages 5 and 6, on pages 16,34 and 38. 

Elon Musk has said that if he hadn’t used first principles thinking to advance Tesla technology, he would have been stuck in the horse-and-carriage stage of the transportation revolution. The real power of first-principles thinking is moving away from incremental improvement and into possibility. 

The two together help in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, and are essential to flourish, thrive and prosper in an unknown and uncertain future. This course is perhaps a rare effort to make these concepts accessible to a large number of interested learners, simply through WhatsApp on a mobile device. We elucidate what are and more importantly what are not ‘first principles’.  We also share strategies to enhance our scientific temper. 

In this era of availability of large number of digital learning resources, it is even more important to become aware of the importance of first principles and training the youth in it. 

The next edition of this weekend course is on offer on Saturday May 7th and  Sunday May 8th. Thereafter it will be offered on the first weekend of every month. 

The structure of this weekend course is as follows:

Day 1 ( Saturday): What are first principles?

1.1: Philosophical Origins

1.2: Elon Musk on the importance of first principles and its applications

1.3: The step-wise approach to first principles thinking 

1.4: What is not a first principle? Barriers to First principles thinking

1.5: First principles in marketing strategy, in law and in daily life

Day 2( Sunday): Developing a Scientific Temper

2.1: Origins of the phrase: mentions in the NEP

2.2: Directive principles of the Indian Constitution 

2.3: The Scientific approach : Science and pseudoscience

2.4: Asking Questions : the basis of Science

2.5: Science as public knowledge 

BFP03: THYL: The 100 years Life

There have been several triggers to me designing and offering this course.  The first was a chance perusal of a Book by Carl Jung, where he drew attention to the need for a ‘ School for the 2nd half of life’.

The 2nd one was the cover story in the Time magazine edition of February 21st 2011, boldly saying 2045…. the year man becomes immortal. 

And in the year 2014, in a book by Anne Karpf with title “ How to Age” at Chapter page 153 begins with the following statement “ Since 1951 no one in the USA has died of old age. This was the year old age was deleted as a cause of death from death certificates; from then on you could only die of a disease. 

Now in 2022, as AI and allied technologies further drive our understanding of ageing and provide many solutions to the problems traditionally associated with old age, it becomes very important to engage in a meaningful conversation on the topic. 

The last years with the Corona pandemic, made it a bit incongruous to talk about a long life, in the midst of this ‘ dance of death’ and I was tempted to drop the idea of this course. But then “ this too will pass” and the questions raised and discussed here will again become important. So here’s to our future.

Day 1: Saturday:

Understanding the Ageing phenomenon 

1.1: Drivers of increasing longevity 

1.2: What Science says about ageing? 

1.3: Lifestyle to promote healthy ageing

1.4: Positive Ageing  

1.5: About death and dying 

Day 2: Sunday :

Your action plan : making old age a blessing not a curse

2.1: Becoming a lifelong learner gives you a longer life

2.2: Finding meaning and purpose in your life ( your Ikigai)

2.3: The 7 tasks for the 2nd half of life ( Karl Jung) 

2.4: Interviews with 100 year olds

2.5: Wrapping Up: Developing your Lifestyle plan

BFP04: Critical Thinking


In popular listings of skills in demand in future ( critical thinking appears very close to top. Formal education actually discourages critical thinking, and imparts a lot of value to authority. 

In the future of large amounts of data and ease of expression, it seems that critical thinking would almost be a survival skill. 

This introductory course that can be pursued on a weekend is to create an interest in developing the skills of critical thinking, which according to one definition is “ thinking about thinking to improve your thinking while you are thinking”

The planned flow of the posts is:

Day 1: What is Critical Thinking?

1.1: Critical Thinking is not criticising someone, but is about thinking clearly and rationally on the basis of available evidence (data).

1.2: Reasoning: inductive and deductive

1.3: Critical Thinking in the 4th Industrial Age

1.4: Fallacies: ‪Ad hominem‬, Ad ignorantiam, False dilemma,Ergo hoc propter hoc, Non sequitur 

1.5: Bertrand Russell’s 10 Commandments of Critical Thinking

Day 2: Critical Thinking in everyday life

2.1: ‪How do I know ? Where the information came from and how it is presented.‬

2.2: Ponzi Schemes 

2.3: Examining assumptions/ taking a position : the Devil’s advocate 

2.4: Thinking about your thinking, while you’re thinking, in order to improve your thinking

2.5: Critical analysis of political speeches : 15 logical fallacies in 3 minutes :Donald Trump’s speech

To know more, please send a WhatsApp message to Prof MM Pant at + 919710073724