Think of this as “The Future’s So Bright, Part II.” Part I was occasioned by my watching and reviewing Tomorrowland, so you might want to reread that first. Part II is occasioned by my turning 50. Yup, I crossed the big half-century marker.
And I’ve got to say, the view from here is awesome.
The reasons I am not only hopeful but gleeful? among other things:
“At the end of September, the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyetlitis Eradication convened in Bali and, after reviewing the reports of its member nations, declared Poliovirus Type 2 [polio] eradicated in the world.”
The percentage of the world living in Extreme Poverty has fallen to less than 10%. In the 80s that number was 50% (and expected to climb by the doomsayers), and even as recently as 2000 was above 30%.
While the debate over anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming rages on (despite many politicians and scientists’ attempts to claim “the science is settled”), the actual data appears to suggest that AGW, if a problem at all, is likely to be a minor and manageable one rather than the Green Hell that Gorist alarmists have been (unscientifically) spouting off on for the last couple of decades.
Indeed, due to rising CO2’s effect on atmospheric humidity and plant-growth (it’s a fertilizer), evil evil carbon is actually making the world a greener place. At the same time, new technologies are making the world a cleaner place (just because coal isn’t bringing about the End Of The World As We Know It doesn’t mean it’s not a pollutant).
We are also that much closer to the sci-fi future I always dreamed. The latest milestone is the development of vat-meat. That’s right; animal protean (beef for now) is being cultured in dishes, and within a decade–if not the end of this decade–may be cheap enough to start competing with industrial animal husbandry for giving you that juicy burger. Eventually it will likely out-compete the traditional meat industry (and be much better for the environment).
And before you dismiss the idea of lab-grown beef, pork, and chicken protein with an “ew,” consider that the same technology will grow you a new heart, too. The humanitarian factor is not to be sneezed at either.
Meanwhile the Total-Transparency Society continues to unfold as information technologies make privacy a thing of the past. Why is this good? Because we’re not turning into Big Brother so much as One Village where the police and the politicians are more closely watched than the average taxpayer.
And then there is the continued evolution of Virtual University (and Virtual K-12), which might well provide the ultimate technological fix to our staggering and increasingly dysfunctional dinosaur education systems.
Do we face problems? Yes we face problems; the biggest negative trend I can identify is the increasingly obvious and worsening social ills brought on by the disintegration of marriage in large groups in our society. And there’s always politics.
But the world (or at least our world) is always threatened by something; the truth is, the world isn’t ending. If fact it’s getting better. For anyone who tells you different, well they may be right about specific dangers, but there is an interesting term I recently ran into: the Fallacy of Mood Affiliation.
The Fallacy of Mood Affiliation: The reasoning error of first choosing a mood or attitude (optimism, pessimism, cynicism, etc.), then finding the disparate views which match that mood, and justifying those views by the mood.
What, exactly, does this mean? Essentially it means that if you are a pessimist then you will seek out views which match your pessimism, and justify them by your pessimism. You know the world is going to hell, so you listen to anyone who tells you that indeed it is and he knows why.
The reason this fallacy explains so much to me is I always wondered why the same groups of people chased the same failed doomsday scenarios (global cooling, the population bomb, resource depletion, Y2K, etc), moving from one the-sky-is-falling hysteria to the next. I used to think that they had hidden agendas, like using crisis as a means of social control. Now I think that they are victims of the Fallacy of Mood Affiliation.
Is there any reason for me to think that I’m not also prone to FMA? I don’t know, but having lived through many, many doomsdays, I feel confident in placing my bets on mankind. The things that were supposed to End Us, didn’t. Few problems are as catastrophic as alarmists claim, and whatever problems we create, we usually figure out how to fix. A funny thing always seems to happen on the way Armageddon. We’re clever that way.