The pace of human enterprise is not constant. Change is so fast that policy makers and governments are way behind the curve. Climate change is only one example. The result is that we’re overwhelmed. John and Jane Doe are grasping to find any form of security in their lives. The result is alienation, polarization and cynicism — none of which contribute to social continuity.
The global population has grown exponentially since the industrial revolution. If we apply the law of exponential numbers, there are more geniuses alive today than have existed in the combined history of our species. That would suggest that the human potential has also increased dramatically. There is solid ground for hope.
Today the sum-total of human knowledge is not doubling every century or even every decade; but every 13 months. According to IBM and “the internet of things,” we will soon reach what Buckminster Fuller called the “knowledge doubling curve” every 12 hours. EVERY 12 FREAKING HOURS!
How do we worker bees keep up with that? I’m still trying to learn basic functions on my new cell phone. No sooner do I master the basics than it beeps that there is another upgrade to install.
We should be optimistic about our ability to solve the obstacles to a promising future. At the same time, we are far less optimistic about humanity’s willingness to address those obstacles. Most of us just want enough tranquility to enjoy life and pursue happiness without having to play “catch up” all the time.
Just where the hell is all this taking us? Where are we going? These are dangerous, confusing and frustrating times. Herman Wouk wrote in The Caine Mutiny (1951); “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” That was insanity.
It is our failure to dream of a future we want that inhibits us from achieving it.
The closest we can come to predicting the future is to invent it. We aren’t doing that today. Perhaps if we looked farther down the road we might be able to steer more comfortably with fewer surprises. If we work toward the best scenario, much of that bad will take care of itself.
Let’s take a look at a few things that should bring that future into clearer focus. The following is a list of real things that are taking place in science, technology and the business community today.
- Permanent repair or replacement of any organ in the human body.
- Public transportation between continents at over 700 mph.
- Ability to grow enough food to feed 100 billion people.
- Direct interconnectivity between human brains and/or a computer.
- Cure for all inheritable diseases. See the new gene science (CRISPR Cas9).
- Slow, stop or even reverse mental deterioration.
- Extend life expectancy well past 100 years and potentially indefinitely.
- Discover life on other planets and solar systems.
- Colonize planets and celestial bodies within our solar system.
- Affordable housing.
- Automation that does not replace humans but contributes to human wellbeing.
- Domestic robotic companions, educators, health providers and helpers.
- Remote professional medical diagnosis and treatment in your home or office.
- Universal and affordable health care for everyone.
- Electric vehicles that go over 250 miles on a 15-minute charge and accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in under 3 seconds.
- Clean, inexpensive and sustainable energy sources that distribute energy through an efficient, resilient and dependable grid.
- Reduce major crime to half what it is today within a decade.
- End war and the necessity for wars.
- Total and autonomous fulfillment of human females in all areas of society.
- Universal, affordable education.
- The elimination of poverty.
- The elimination of human trafficking.
- Consumption that remains within the carrying capacity of the planet.
- A sustainable environment and resource availability for future generations.
- Adaptable and resilient governance based upon authentic monitoring and analysis.
It’s hard to get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going. Anywhere but here is not a destination.
What is the world we want? Allow your mind to dream and imagine a world filled with the things listed above. You may be surprised how universal those dreams are. In those dreams is the common ground to end the petty bickering. If we look ahead instead of at the insults of the past, then we can set a better course toward a future we can all believe in.
Science is the tool that will capture the future we all want. Science doesn’t yield to insult or emotion, but constantly seeks to clear the path into the unknown.
Science is the dream catcher.
Join the March for Science on April 22nd, 2017.