People of planet Earth, unite.
Since the advent of the nation state in the 19th century, human beings have been collectively obsessed with comparing the relative merits of our sovereign entities. Who has the biggest navy and the fastest planes? Who has the most territory and natural resources? Who has the most modern, efficient infrastructure, the fastest broadband, and the best recycling program? Whose educational system produces the smartest workers? Who is the most free, the most happy, and the most innovative? And so on …
But what if we zoom out a few hundred miles and look at the big blue marble. How are we doing collectively, as an intelligent species/civilization?
Posted in Politics, Utopian Speculations
Tagged Bill Gates, Chris Hedges, corporate power, Elon Musk, futurism, Gaia Collective, Libertarian Space-Men, Libertarianism, Naomi Wolf, Peter Thiel, progress, Ray Kurzweil, Utilitarianism, Van Jones, vision for the future
Time to escape the gravity well (on the cheap).
This is the second in a series of three posts, in which I consider which tasks human beings should prioritize within various time frames, in order to improve quality of life for the most possible people. Nothing in particular qualifies me to make these lists — it’s just a topic that interests me. I don’t think enough people are thinking and talking about what kinds of progress *should* be made in the next 100 years. A Google search for “goals for humanity next 100 years” returns scant relevant results. There are plenty of predictions, but that’s a different game. Intention is what I’m interested in. What are we trying to do, as human beings, on this spinning ball in space? An impossibly broad question? Maybe. Impossible to achieve consensus? Of course. There are at least as many legitimate answers as there are people. So my list-making is a thought experiment and a conversation starter, and isn’t meant to be definitive.
I can't wait for the future.
What kind of world did people imagine for their great-grandchildren, circa 1910? In this fascinating article, Michael S. James collected quotes from various newspapers in 1900, considering life at the end of the 20th century. Some seem overreaching, predicting flying cars, the eradication of disease, and the end of drunkenness. Others are spot on, predicting gains in human height, improvements in health and longevity, and progress towards work equality for women. In at least two areas — telecommunications and electronic computation — the predictions fall short of actual advances.
While future technological progress is impossible to predict, it’s largely irrelevant for the purposes of this list. What I’m interested in is what our priorities should be, not how we’ll accomplish them. Continue reading