THE STORY SO FAR
We’re trying to improve the accuracy of our perceptions about the world – not only to better understand how the world has changed, but how it might change in the future.
• We’ve seen how the population has grown, by 2 billion in the last 40 years alone, and will continue to grow – to roughly 9 billion by 2030, and 11 billion by the end of the century.
• In spite of growing population, health and wealth has increased worldwide. Life span has increased. Illiteracy and inequality have decreased.
• We’ve also seen that religious affiliation is decreasing, with more and more people leaning on technology for socialization, meaning, a sense of purpose, and even coping.
• What else is changing?
Juan Enriquez: is a futurist who thinks and writes about profound changes that genomics will bring in business, technology, and society. He was the founding director of the Harvard Business School Life Sciences Project, and has published widely on topics from the technical to the sociological. He is the former CEO of Mexico City’s Urban Development Corporation and former chief of staff for Mexico’s secretary of state. In his TED Book Homo Evolutis (written with Steve Gullens), Enriquez explores the far reaches of human change, and asks: Are we done evolving?
…right behind the financial crisis there’s a second and bigger wave that we need to talk about. That wave is much larger, much more powerful, and that’s of course the wave of technology.
• First things first, why did Juan Enriquez begin by talking about the economy?
• Considering the self-feeding pace of technological development, is it all just too much too fast?
• What future problems might come from the engineering of microbes, tissue, and robots?
• Can our social and economic systems handle this rate of change?
• Or will we see a dramatic increase in cultural lag? (The time it takes for a culture to ‘catch up’ to innovation, causing social problems and conflicts.)
• Who will gain the most, be the first to ‘evolve’?
• Will we see a greater divide between the rich and poor?
• Why might the wealthy already be evolving differently than the poor?
• Will only the wealthy evolve into this new species of hominid – and the poor will… what?
• Remember this woman from Hans Rosling’s population documentary?
• Will she have the same access to all of the coming advances in technology as you or I?
• Will she and/or her children have greater opportunity because of these advances?
Ian Goldin: is an economist and development visionary. He is the director of the 21st Century School at Oxford. Through his research and collaboration he is creating powerful new, cross-disciplinary means of envisioning future global problems.
We need to understand that the governance structure in the world is fossilized. It cannot begin to cope with the challenges that this will bring. We have to develop a new way of managing the planet, collectively, through collective wisdom. -Ian Goldin
Optional Homework: Please watch Hank Green’s highly entertaining 10 minute explanation of Epigenetics on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kp1bZEUgqVI
Keep the conversation going! Please leave additional thoughts and comments below.