The Futurist's View Of The Future: Do We Like Where We Are Headed?

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As I hope you can tell by my articles on WTC, I am a firm believer in the benefits of spreading positive energy into the world.  I work under the premise that focusing attention on negative things only breeds more of them.

But sometimes we have to take a step back and look at things from the 10,000 foot level as ask ourselves “what the heck is going on” or “do I really like the way things are progressing”? 

The purpose of this article is to start a conversation (or add my voice to the existing one) that asks:  what does the exponential growth in technology we are experiencing really have in store for the future of mankind and planet earth? 

The View of Futurists

If you read A Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil (a world-renowned futurist and close personal friend of Bill Gates), he proposes that the future will be comprised of a healthy integration of what he terms biological intelligence (humans) and non-biological intelligence (technology and machines).

The “Singularity” that Kurzweil describes is the approaching point in time where machines will be able to process information at a faster rate than the human brain.  At current exponential projections, this is estimated to occur around the year 2020.

Among a myriad of far-reaching changes, this “event” will produce something called nano-technology which will enable cell-sized machines to roam our bodies and integrate with us at the genetic level to prevent illness and disease. 

This may sound wonderful and positive to you, or it may sound scary and terrifying.  Either way I bet it sounds strange and unrealistic– but did you ever stop and ask yourself how a world-class jet, 50” Plasma TV, or even an iphone would have been perceived by your grandparents 40 short years ago? 

The point is, according to Dr. Kurzweil and other leading scientists, we may be heading down a path of becoming part human and part machine in a very real sense.

[Interesting sidenote: Here is what Wikipedia has to say about nanotechnology: "a number of concerns have been raised about what effect it will have on our society if realized, and what action if any is appropriate to mitigate these risks...longer-term concerns center on the implications that new technologies could possibly lead to either a post scarcity economy, or alternatively exacerbate the wealth gap between developed and developing nations"].

STEP 1:  Become Aware.  Take a moment and think about how technology affects your life at an astoundingly increasing rate. 

Almost every week or month we learn of some new gadget, machine or advance that can change our lives.  Extrapolate this progress over 10, 15 or 25 years and start getting a grasp on how fast things are really moving.

Is This Future Good or Bad, and Do We Have a Choice

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Anymore?

I give Kurzweil credit as he paints an optimistic view of the future.  He claims that we will experience massive changes as gradual improvements as opposed to drastic alterations in our lives.

Regardless if you feel this future is positive or negative, my question is: do every day people like you and I even have a choice anymore?

We have to start realizing that there are a miniscule number of individuals (maybe in the thousands by number) who are creating the cutting edge of technology that is leading us to a future where things like “non-biological” and “biological” integration occur. 

The researchers responsible for this are backed by some of the most powerful people and companies in the world.  In a sense, they are literally determining the future for mankind and planet earth!

Although I do not believe that the individuals involved in this process have bad intentions, as citizens of this planet we ALL have the right to find out if the future they are leading us to is sustainable

STEP 2– Query yourself.  Will you welcome a future fueled by this ”exponential growth in technology”, and do you have unyielding faith that those who are determining it have your most sacred beliefs in mind?

What Does a Bleak Environmental Outlook Really Mean for People

Recently, I read an article in The Times Online (of the UK) which detailed how the UN conducted an environmental audit lead by 1,400 top scientists and concluded that “the speed at which mankind has used the Earth’s resources over the past 20 years has put ‘humanity’s very survival’ at risk”.

OK, so we are all aware of the environmental crisis we are in, but if you take Ray Kurzweil’s hypotheses into account we can extrapolate that in this new future it may not matter what happens to the environment. 

WHAT IF the coming biological + non-biological future implies that humanity is evolving to the point where it may not need the extreme diversity of plant and animal species that we currently rely on for survival? 

WHAT IF the destruction of the eco-system (as we currently know it) and the extinction of species after species does not matter when biological and non-biological existence combine forces, as the new and improved form of man will be able to adapt to whatever conditions are created?

THINK about it– when you apply the exponential rate by which technology is changing the world we live, these realities are not too far-fetched in a 30 or 50-year time span.

I am not trying to be an alarmist here (I promise) but only trying to spread awareness of a conversation that HAS to become more mainstream.  Don’t you think its important to find out if the business and scientific communities which are leading us towards a “singularity” are thinking this way? 

STEP 3– Ask yourself: What if humanity thrives in the future, but at the expense all the natural beauty that has been around for millions of years and which we take for granted every day?

Science Can Save The World, If We Choose to Use it That Way

I am well aware I am painting a pretty negative picture of science’s role in the future.  Again, I am only posing questions.

I also see a potential future where the technology science provides makes a profound and positive impact on humanity and planet earth.  In fact, it might be the very thing that solves many of our global issues. 

But we have to make a collective decision to USE science in this manner, and my “what if” tone is my attempt to stir the pot, offer new perspective, and even provide a wake-up call more than anything else! 

What You Can Do

Whatever your beliefs about the future may be, I urge you to do some of your own research.  You will come to see that many leading scientists and futurists concur with many of the points listed here.

STEP 4– Decide what YOU believe and TAKE ACTION!

If you are like me you want countless future generations to enjoy the natural beauty of our planet, to experience meaningful relationships, and to fall in love with another person without the potential of integration between biological and non-biological intelligence!

Here are five action-steps you can take right away:

1. Send This Article to Others

And not because I am interested in driving traffic to my website, but because YOU believe that mass awareness of these issues is the first step to a solution.  If hundreds of millions of people began seeing the future as our leading researchers see it, a huge swell of support for humanity and the environment will rise.  What we need is critical mass to tip the scales towards a more sustainable, and human, future!

2. Educate Yourself on These Issues

I urge you to not just take my word for it, but do some research about how fast technology is affecting our lives.  The projection of exponential growth played out over the next 20, 30 and 60 years is absolutely astounding.  Become more aware.

3. Take Action

Taking action is different for each of us—for me, it was starting this blog and trying to help people live better and more fulfilling lives.  For you, it might mean volunteering your time to those needier than you, or perhaps you will become politically active.  I can not tell you what specific direction this type of awareness will lead you, all I can do is pose the question:  is there anything more important?

4. Join Zaadz

Zaadz.com is a wonderful community of over 100,000 like-minded people from all over the world who have this type of conversation every day.  Perhaps joining Zaadz is a great first step for you to become a part of the solution?  I highly recommend you giving the community some attention!

5. Check out The Alliance for a New Humanity

This wonderful organization was started by spiritual leader Deepak Chopra and epitomizes the cause for a more sustainable future for humanity.  Check out their website and become involved!

Although I am making some broad postulations in this article, there really seems to be two divergent forces going on in the world today: the “technology crowd” pushing us towards a singularity of man and machine and the “consciousness movement” pulling us back towards a sustainable relationship between man, animal and planet.

I urge you to take a stand NOW and become an active proponent for the future you believe in.  Again, is there anything more important?

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3 Responses to “The Futurist's View Of The Future: Do We Like Where We Are Headed?”

  1. ~C4Chaos says:

    hi Todd,

    thanks for the Zaadz shout out.

    btw, i’m also a fan of the Singularity.
    check out my blog posts about it ;)
    http://coolmel.zaadz.com/blog/tags/singularity

    take care and see you around!

    ~C

  2. Brad Baggett says:

    Interesting article, it sure give us all something to think about. I will definitely check into some of the information that you mention in the post.

    My initial position, with out doing any research, makes me very scared of the possibilities mentioned. My wife and I are firm believers that a lot of the science advances in our food manufacturing, processing, and growing with in the USA has caused an increase in disease and cancer. We are big fans of eating organic and as little processed foods as possible. I have several articles on my blog about how natural and organic foods are much better for the human body!

    http://juiceofchampions.com/home/eliminate-chemicals-eat-organic
    http://juiceofchampions.com/home/antioxidants-natures-fountain-of-youth

    I will be staying tuned for follow up articles. Keep up the good work!

    http://www.JuiceofChampions.com

  3. greg glessner says:

    I feel we need to have think -tank workshops and town meetings to collaborate ideas and stimulate minds inside and outside universities.Also-there should be shortcuts to the patent process that deal with positive change to the environment.As long as bad behavior makes more money than good ,all of this will have a rough road ahead. P.s. like the site !

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