What will the future be like?
That depends on who you are talking to. One person who has spoken and written of the future at length about the future is Al Gore and his book ‘The Future’ is riveting to say the least. He speaks of his hopes and dreams regarding the ever expansive information age and also sounds a warning about unsustainable growth. His famous tipping point, citing global degradation like global warming and acidification of the oceans and much more, has now become part of the language.
Some people used to give Gore credit for inventing the Internet and even if that is fanciful he is still an avid promoter of what has been an unparalleled success. Yes people are becoming interconnected at an ever rapid rate and you only have to look at the popularity of the iPhone and other communications technology to see that. Social media and ‘digital ecosystems’ have also exploded and people of all ages and backgrounds are participating by sharing photos, information and much else. Just ask anyone on Facebook!
Gore roams over a large area in his big book including what he calls Earth Inc. and the Global Mind. He speaks of linear versus exponential change and the acceleration of change and many other relevant issues. Granted much of the technological change is a force for good yet this Noble Prize winner and former US Vice President sounds a warning about capitalism encroaching on Democracy. He points to the present political system in the US where elected officials do the bidding of big business interests, while ignoring the people and the electorate. This is not just a problem in America but it is especially acute there and the blow-back and cost inside and outside that country is enormous. The disparity between rich and poor is widening, so for example, the top one percent now receive almost 25 percent of all US income annually. That is a huge increase from 12 percent just 25 years ago. Gore also speaks of human beings as a force for evolutionary as well as geologic change. We change the environment in ways that was inconceivable in the past.
I would recommend The Future to anyone interested in our own near and far future. I have written about the future in a fictional sense with my recent novel Gaia Redux. With regards to science fiction Gore mentions that ‘The prophecies of Jules Verne were replaced by those of Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, H.G. Wells and popular movie from the ancient past…and malevolent robots from the distant future or distant planets all seemingly future humanity’s future.’ Even though The Future only touches on that aspect of possible futures it is books like this, the result of years of research, and thought that have helped me gain a vision of what is to come. Here’s to a brighter future!