Monday, July 31, 2006

The future according to the futurists

So, after 3 days of discussing the future at the futurists conference, what does the future look like? Well, not too inviting, I’m afraid.
I’ve been looking at the future for a couple of decades now, and I can’t recall that there has been such a sense of gloom concerning the coming years. You can go to session after session and people will be discussing global warming, epidemics, singularities leaving us in the dust, terrorism... You are incessantly confronted with exponential curves leading us to what looks like hell on earth – at accellerating speeds.
The only hopeful scenarios – those where continued technological progress manages to stave off the various problems of ressources, environmental degradation and health– all seem to take us into a very different existance as radically enhanced fusions of man and machine in societies with very different values. And that doesn’t look too tempting either.
Worse of all; all the well meaning solutions that people suggest; global governance, legislation and treaties, a new consiousness, various think tanks... it all sounds so totally inadequate, naive and somehow just plain boring. Maybe we can dampen things a bit by holding back, but frankly I doubt that you can get sufficient traction among the global masses of consumers and corporations.
I find that the things that do offer hope tend to be very concrete, practical action-based projects that prove that it’s possible to live a fullfilling life outside the logic that we seem to be stuck within. Often they are very local projects, but something like GEs Ecomagination efforts are inspiring too.

In conclusion: The shits seems to be hitting the fan for real – but, a lot of smart people have become acutely aware of this recently.

No comments: