The Future Golden Age
Washington, DC- April 8, 2013- David Brin, a world–renowned science fiction author and the first speaker for Bold Ideas speaker series at the Potomac Institute, brings a different prospective when looking at the future, or as he refers to “the golden age”. Brin firmly believes that technology and science will help solve a majority of life’s hard problems, but humans are holding back because of a “crisis of confidence”.
Brin reminded the audience that today humans have powers that many believed centuries ago only gods possessed, such as light with a flick of a finger and flying in the sky. Humans have changed the structure of society from a pyramid arrangement, where a few ruled, to a more leveled field, from clans and tribes to multi-organization networks. Technology is the “game changer” for the future. Achievements, such as led lights and medical advancements, show how technology has enhanced the way of living. According to Brin, this is the “age of amateurs”. Humans educate themselves using technology, making it where they do not need professionals or experts for every problem that is faced.
Brin stated there are endless possibilities for the future. The future could consist of world destruction by environmental carelessness and nuclear war, or humans could be become more technically advanced than could ever be imagined. Societies will always have foes, it is only a matter of time till one breaks in, but that is why humans need to anticipate what can happen in the future. An example would be 9/11, where an enemy did the unimaginable. Everyday American citizens were the heroes saving each other’s lives.
Brin addressed that humans should not be afraid to take risks. Humans set laws that limit them, thinking they are protecting themselves, but in reality it is banding technology for the future. Laws should be used to monitor competition, to level the playing field so new players can emerge. Brin expresses that, instead of humans being afraid of what the government sees they should be more interested in adding light: most information age dilemmas are solved by more light, not less, Brin said.
As we continue in the 21st century, problem solving will require four elements. The first two are already happening: art (visualization, simulation, games, openness) and anticipation (analytics, modeling, data gathering and accountability). The other two are what is needed: resilience (agile communication, self-organization, transparency, dispersed expertise) and discourse (analytic tools, dispute resolution, better interface).
Humans have a hard time adapting, but in the long run they always adapt, Brin concluded.