Only “Game Changers” Will Help
It is human to be conservative; it has helped us survive for millenia. But, if we don’t radically change the way we currently do things, ie: technological disruption”, fast enough, the late 21st century and early 22nd century will be miserable, possibly fatal to humanity and the ecosystem supporting it.
The world’s human population will reach 10 billion sometime during the next century. Before we get there, there will have to be a whole lot more of tearing down of current ways of doing business, replacing them with new technologies that can only be described as “game changers.” Half measures won’t help.
I have lived in New York City and Tokyo and have visited Hong Kong and Shenzen, China mostly when I was in my 20’s and 30’s and these are some of the larger and fastest growing cities in the world.
Being middle-aged, I think my tolerance for crowded places, rowdy people and waiting in lines is deteriorating. I hate to say it, but humans increasingly remind me of “rattus rattus”. But please don’t take this the wrong way. The simple fact is that we do share some characteristics with our hairy four-footed brethren: we eat ravenously, we mate continuously, even when we’re not trying to procreate, leading, of course, to prolific procreation.
What will it be like if a significant portion of these 10 billion people drive cars, own TVs, and carry smart phones that they trash for the latest version every year. Imagine these people adopting a Western-style meat eating diet. And imagine if a significant portion of these people create as much garbage, including plastic bags, containers, pens, teeth cleaners, etc. as Americans do today.
Well you get the point. As I think happens nearly always with older folks like myself, the approach of the second half of life and eventually death is a kind of release from having to deal with the pain, confusion, and challenge of what tomorrow’s society will bring for children and grandchildren.
I imagine a world, if things are not changed radically, in which the entire world will choke on smog like Beijing. Air pollution literally asphyxiates millions of people year who can’t breeth because of airborne pollutants.
Today we learned that the Rockefeller family, which produced the world’s first billionaire in 1916, with the current net worth of $10 billion, ranking them 24th on Forbes list of billionaires, has decided to divest its charitable foundation of all fossil fuel related investments.
This is a small step and is nearly meaningless if it is not followed by others of similar wealth and influence. Polluting the world in pursuit of profits can no longer be excused for whatever reason.
Reports are that the top multinational companies in the world are on board with the alternative energy revolution, are investing heavily in it and are embracing new technologies that will waste fewer resources is also a sign of hope.
But if humans don’t change fast enough, disruption will come from environmental catastrophes and diseases which could amount to a terminal illness for humanity.
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References and related content:
- Disruption (2014) – Top Documentary Films
- Disruptive technology: Dead companies do tell tales | Computerworld
- Idea: Disruptive technology/innovation | The Economist