6 Laws Of Zero Will Shape Our Future. For The Better Or Worse Is Up To Us.

Chunka Mui
12 min readSep 25, 2020
Six key drivers of humanity’s progress are headed towards ZERO cost

“There are decades where nothing happens; and, there are weeks where decades happen,” observed Vladimir Lenin.

The recent weeks grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic certainly fall into the weeks-where-decades-happen category. What’s more, the trillions of dollars being spent on pandemic-fighting strategies might well make or break the decades to come, as I recently wrote.

Take telehealth, the adoption of which has seemingly been on the horizon for decades and suddenly, within a few weeks after Covid-19, achieved near universal embrace. McKinsey estimates that providers are seeing 50 to 175 times more patients via telehealth now than before Covid-19. What’s more, 57% of providers view telehealth more favorably than before and 64% report that they are more comfortable using it. These punctuated changes in perception, preference and practice could vault the telehealth market from $3 billion pre-Covid to $250 billion and, in the process, force the rewiring of the entire healthcare delivery system, according to McKinsey.

The technological drivers enabling telehealth are reshaping every other aspect of the decades to come, too. I previously introduced these drivers as six Laws of Zero that underpin a planning approach that Paul Carroll and I call the Future Perfect. In this article, I lay out the six laws in more detail.

The basic idea is that six key drivers of humanity’s progress — computing, communications, information, energy, water and transportation — are headed toward zero cost. That means we can plan on being able to throw as much of these resources as we need to smartly address any problem. Success in doing so would bring us closer to the Future Perfect. Alternatively, like gluttons at an all-you-can-eat buffet, we could binge in ways that exacerbate societal issues such as health, equity, civility, privacy and human rights.

Our Future Perfect approach, which builds on an approach developed by Alan Kay for inventing the future, projects the Laws of Zero into the future to imagine how vast resources could address important needs in key pillars of society, such as electricity, food, manufacturing, transportation, shelter, climate, education and healthcare. We’ve chosen 2050 as a marker because 30…

Chunka Mui

Futurist and Innovation Advisor. I try to carry out Alan Kay’s exhortation that “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.”