Marques D. Anderson is a cyborg with an RFID chip implanted inside him. An innovator from the inside out, the founder of the World Education Foundation is on a mission to connect the dots of what is possible – to develop new ways of living and learning that ally with the goals of creating a regenerative world.
Since launching the Foundation in 2009 Marques has traveled to over 81 countries and developed on-site programs in 21 of those countries. During this time, he has gained a wealth of knowledge, insight and expertise at the nexus of indigenous wisdom, modern technology and future communities.
“Sometimes in the academic space, we have all of the theories, all of the theses, all of the dissertations but sometimes that information stays in the ivory tower. So how do we actually co-create with those knowledge centres to really start to mobilise that information to where it can be very valuable in places around the world? That’s what the World Education Foundation is really honing in on,” explained Marques. “It’s bridging the gap between academic knowledge, modern technology and really looking at localised solutions, and taking that and developing it in a customised way, so it’s beyond just numeracy and literacy – it’s really about development. What are the things that are already there? And how do we actually transfer other things and mould other things into that, to create this co-emergence of something new. So that’s what the World Education Foundation spawned from and that’s what really drove this educational aspect of that work.”
On his travels, Marques discovered more synergy than separation in the relationships he saw flourishing between humans, and between humans and technology. Which led him to write a PhD proposal in 2017 focused on cyborg anthropology, which explores the interplay between technology and humanity from an anthropological angle. Marques subsequently accepted an invitation to participate in the Global Solutions Program hosted by Singularity University and NASA; and created Urban Matrix One, which utilises satellite technology, unique data sets and machine learning to provide actionable insights to climate challenges.
“Looking at the patterns I was recognising when I was travelling, I started to see that there were more things that were bringing us together than separating us,” he said. “And I saw that in not only a human aspect but a technological aspect. I saw this rise of this kind of co-mingling between humans and technology. As humans, we’ve always been around technology – fire is a form of technology, shoes are technology, shirts are all elements of technology in our daily lives, but what I started to see was that there was this exploration that I was interested in through the intra-connections between humans, living systems and technology – so cyborg anthropology is really around this framing.”
I think that transformation starts with the self, with individuals.
With an RFID chip internally implanted, Marques is a cyborg with a deep passion for ancestral, indigenous wisdom, recognising intersectional patterns and creating personal and communal transformation in sync with natural systems. His expertise in these fields has led him to co-found ism.earth with Adah Parris, a previous guest on Inside Ideas, where they are developing a Co-Lab/Venture Studio and several businesses around artistic expression, emerging technologies, regenerative futures and rethinking policy.
The road Marques is now on is a departure from the path he was following as an elite athlete in the NFL, demonstrating there is no set route anyone has to accept. His journey, which has embodied resilience, a pioneering spirit, sacrifice and discipline, has given others the belief that anything is possible.
Marques added: “I think that transformation starts with the self, with individuals. And I think as each individual becomes more sovereign within their own agency, then they can start to build out within this collective kinship that then starts to branch out into this larger organism.”
I am delighted to welcome Marques as my guest on Inside Ideas today, to learn what he is learning about how humans and technology can work in harmony to solve the most complex challenges of our time.