I have long had a soft spot for scenario analysis, but also a heavy dose of skepticism as unpredictable the future always is. And it was with both that I joined what ended up being one of the most interesting and provocative gatherings I have attended.
In fact, the lesson, if not irony, escaped none of us as we wrapped the extraordinary first 2023 Aspen Foresight gathering last winter. At my prodding, we put two of our future scenarios anonymously into what was then ChatGPT3. All participants were impressed that, in substance and in prose, the output pretty much matched and was even additive to our own.
For a few of us, this was our first encounter with generative AI. And it was a humbling reminder that examining deep into the future (we were tasked to look out impossibly 20 years) can naggingly be set off course by the present. As the saying goes, technological revolutions, while often overestimated in the short run, are invariably underestimated in the long run.