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Why We Should Remain Optimistic in 2017

On this week’s episode of The E.R., David Rothkopf speaks with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman about his latest book, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations.

At an event hosted at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Rothkopf interviews Friedman about his research for and conclusions in his recent work, and together they make the case for optimism in our increasingly turbulent world. Friedman argues that technology, globalization, and climate change are three factors that have rapidly accelerated global disruptions over the past two decades. He talks about the massive technological boom, namely in 2006 and 2007, when Apple’s iPhone was introduced, Facebook expanded its reach, Twitter launched, and a host of other major technology and data platform models went live.

But have they all been forces for good? And how do we, as a society, adapt and navigate through these major changes to our collective lives in such a short period of time? How do we hold on to the idea of human experience when computers such as IBM’s Watson have the ability to think faster than a human?

Friedman’s latest book serves as both an explanation of the state of our world and a guide to navigating and surviving these changes. Rather than struggle against them, he recommends “being late” — taking the time to both reflect upon the scale of these disruptions and appreciate this watershed moment in history.

Thomas L. Friedman is a columnist for the New York Times, writing about foreign affairs, globalization, and technology. He joined the paper in 1981, and has served in numerous leadership roles, including Beirut bureau chief, Jerusalem bureau chief, diplomatic correspondent, and White House correspondent, among others. He is the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and has written many international best-selling books, including his latest, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. Follow him on Twitter at: @tomfriedman.

David Rothkopf is the CEO and editor of the FP Group. Follow him on Twitter at: @djrothkopf.

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