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Tomorrow is good.

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 07.51.59In a weekly column, alternately written by Lucien Engelen, Maarten Steinbuch, Carlo van de Weijer and Daan Kersten, E52 tries to find out what the future will look like. All four contributors are – in addition to their ‘normal’ groundbreaking work – linked to SingularityU The Netherlands, the organization that focuses on spreading knowledge about technologies that can provide solutions to the problems of our time. This Sunday, it’s Daan Kersten‘s turn.

By Daan Kersten

SU Daan Kersten

Tomorrow will be better!

That’s almost impossible, I think as I write this column. The air is fresh, the sky is a deep blue, and 40 centimeters of fresh snow sparkles in the sun on this clear morning in France, where I’ve come for a week’s snowboarding and skiing with my kids. A week to clear my head. In fact, it’s this unburdening of my mind that will allow tomorrow to be better.

All of us are constantly occupied with work, school, private obligations, family matters, sports, and everything else. All these things spill over into one another, connected by exponential technology growth and the inescapable (social) media that’s always “on”. We get up every morning, read emails and messages from across the world, continue doing that throughout the day, and then answer one last message before going to sleep. We feel productive, and we are indeed effective in responding to external stimuli. But where we feel productive, our children do not. They are growing up with even more communication channels than we have, and have learned to leave out what’s not absolutely necessary. For example, you don’t have to use a person’s name when you send them a message – they already know it’s addressed to them.

But it’s important to remember to take a break from all the technology. Give it a rest: Close all communication channels and purposefully do nothing. Clearing your head makes space for other things. Space for real contact with your loved ones and with yourself, even. Space for new perspectives and ideas. That’s not something we need a new program or app for. It requires discipline though, because it’s pretty tempting to “just check those emails”. It almost feels like giving up if you do nothing while the rest of the world seems to be working. But if you can get past that, a wave of peace eventually washes over you. If you make it a point to do this regularly, you’ll experience what I’m feeling right now: A sense that tomorrow will be a good day.

With that, I hope you all enjoy a beautiful, quiet Sunday. Tomorrow, let’s get back to work on making our tomorrows even better.