The 21st century may well lead to the pinnacle of our evolution as human beings and may include the creation of inorganic computer-based lifeforms.
Events shown in the timeline focus on four major areas of influence:
- Global Warming
- Population Changes
- Technical Milestones
- Social Milestones
Risks to our species cannot be overstated. The first two points above Global Warming and Population Changes have the potential to impact our development and perhaps completely negate positive outcomes.
My usual message remains constant, “There is hope. Change is possible.”
There can be no doubt that the climate is different than before the industrial revolution. There can be no doubt that climate always changes – this is by definition. And there can be no doubt that this is the first time we have documentation of the earth hosting such a large population.
The Alchemist has often recommended, “Do as little harm as possible.”
I believe this statement ought to be our first principle regarding how we address global warming. A recent news article reported on a study of the rates of pollution caused during the time of ancient societies and those of today. In many cases they were just as bad, if not worse than what we have today.
Many parts of the more developed world have taken steps to reduce pollution and these efforts can be countered by countries building new industrial centers were environmental awareness is not as great.
To counter this, each of us must actively participate in the reduction of activities which contribute more than they ought to the pollution of our planet.
Am I suggesting we should sell our cars, throw away all our electronic devices made by a oppressed workers in far-off lands, or have everyone plant gardens? No! Something like hat was tried during the Cultural Revolution in China and is estimated to have cost about 500,000 lives between 1966 and 1969. One estimate says that perhaps overall 1.5 million people died.
A similar experiment was tried in Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge destroyed modern technology, sought out the week and the intellectuals, and ultimately killed somewhere between 1.7 to 2.5 million people in the Killing Fields of their countryside..
We cannot go backwards. There are too many of us.
What I am suggesting is that we become aware of the impact of our buying decisions and the little decisions we make throughout the day. Instead of making multiple shopping trips – try planning ahead and visiting more stores with fewer trips. And those wonderful portable devices we all use? Just be aware of what is being done in the process of making them. If the manufacturers are involved in human rights abuses or high levels of pollution, then take part in activities designed to cause change for the better.
Developed countries are seeing a projected reduction in their population growth. My country, The United States of America, shows continuing growth through the 2050’s. This is in no small part due to the number of people attempting to immigrate. Without immigration our numbers could actually decline.
As countries become more prosperous and their people become more educated, opportunities to self limit the number of children and families have appeared to happen almost on their own.
There are however, projections showing the potential for major loss of life due to food shortages, lack of clean water, flooding of low-lying plains in the less developed regions of the world, and resulting mass migration to escape regional strife. Losses could be measured in millions.
What we have to do to mitigate the above is encourage governments and private nongovernmental organizations to mitigate risk and establish basic human services which would include education and health.
Here it is worth remembering that, from before the time of Julius Caesar to the American Revolution and Thomas Jefferson, the primary modes of transportation were by sail, by foot, and by horse. Since that time we had seen a cornucopia of products and services available to average citizens which were unavailable to the wealthiest people in earlier times.
With the approach of The Singularity, which you see in the image as occurring in 2045, we have no way of estimating the impact of what will happen when the rate at which we develop new knowledge and the rate we can apply that knowledge are virtually the same. It will no longer take 15 or 20 years to adapt research results into commercial products. It may happen overnight.
In many ways, the milestones listed on the timeline are suggestions that merely hint at what might be possible. Imagine if it were possible to bring Julius Caesar or Thomas Jefferson into the world of today. How would they react?
The changes that are coming in the 21st century will be no less as dramatic – if we survive.
Imagine your child or grandchild being born this year. If you look at the bottom left side of the timeline you see a small yellow box indicating the birth of a child. There are markers every 10 years to indicate how old that child will be when the events on the chart are set to occur.
What will that person’s life be like?
What would you want for your child, your grandchild, or your great-grandchild?
There is hope. Change is possible.
– Jeffrey A. Limpert
By Jeffrey A. Limpert
NYC 9/11/11 How does this all end? Quote
By World Can’t Wait (Debra Sweet)