Friday, September 19, 2008

The End is Near

We are approaching the final days of ancient history. Fifty years from now, the gulf between us and those living then will dwarf the gap between us and Bronze Age tribes. We are seeing the birth of Modern Man.

Certainly, there will be subsets of the global culture that will hang on to the "old ways"; isolated tribes in the Amazon and New Guinea currently live in a Stone Age culture. The majority of our species, though, will live in a manner that we will not accurately imagine, a manner that we cannot accurately imagine.

The task we face is choosing among the many possible futures. We are undoubtedly going to change, and change at a frightening and ever-accelerating rate. The choices we make now will have irreversible effects.

We are surfing a tsunami of technology; every nano-shift of weight and balance will shoot us blindly into a different future. We desperately need two things - some way to see into the various futures, and methods to guide our culture into the "best" of these outcomes.

Neither task will be easy, nor, I suspect, possible. I cannot help but think, though, that even our feeble efforts are preferable to clinging in terror and ignorance to our surfboard and getting flung willy-nilly into the future.

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