Below you can watch the presentation by Paul Hawken on Fora.tv in The Long Now Foundation section. His latest book - Blessed Unrest - is already a bestseller.
Without any doubt this has got to be one of the best presentations I have seen so far. Style, form, content, originality of video inserts, it's all there. Inspiring and recommended ! The Q&A part is also very interesting due to questions on singularity, communities, natural capitalism and growth limits.
Take-away: right now there are more than two million separate environmental-social justice organizations around the world with 100 million people dedicating their lives to humanity. WOW ! More on the website WiserEarth. Soon I will be actively involved in one of the key Dutch initiatives to boost sustainability. So expect me to post more on environmental issues coming months.
Prospect Magazine invites 100 thinkers from many fields to give their views on this century in this post. It concerns many views on politics, economics, sociology, environmental issues, religion, technology and science.
Below a quote from Brian Eno which resonates with me as it points out that underlying importance of technology (mainly biotech and IT) on this century. "Globalists vs nationalists
How prepared are we to allow national governments the freedom to make
decisions which may not be in the interests of the rest of the world?
With issues such as climate change becoming increasingly urgent, many
people will begin arguing for a global system of government with the
power to overrule specific national interests.
Communities of geography vs communities of choice
At the same time, some people will feel less and less allegiance to
“the nation,” which will become an increasingly nebulous act of faith,
and more allegiance to “communities of choice” which exist outside
national identities and geographical restraints. We see the beginnings
of this in transnational pressure groups such as Greenpeace, MoveOn and
Amnesty International, but also in the choices that people now make
about where they live, bank their money, get their healthcare and go on
Real life vs virtual life
Some people will spend more and more of their time in virtual
communities such as Second Life. They will claim that their communities
represent the logical extension of citizen democracy. They will be
ridiculed and opposed by “First Lifers,” who will insist that reality
with all its complications always trumps virtual reality, but the
second-lifers in turn will insist that they live in a world of their
own design and therefore are by definition more creative and free. This
division will deepen and intensify, and will develop from just a
cultural preference into a choice about how and where people spend
Life extension for all vs for some
There will be an increasingly agonised division between those who feel
that new life-extension technologies should be either available to
those who can afford them or available to everyone. Life itself will be
the resource over which wars will be fought: the “have nots” will feel
that there is a fundamental injustice in the possibility for some
people to enjoy conspicuously longer and healthier lives because they
happen to be richer."
In March I focused on the classic article by Bill Joy (the future doesn't need us). Now it is time for another classic or landmarc article called God Is The Machine (again from Wired Magazine). This time by Kevin Kelly - also one of my favorite thinkers and writers - published in december 2002. The main thesis is that the whole universe is based on information and computations in its essence. That the virtual and real worlds are equivalent. This reminds me of the great book from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann called The Quark and the Jaguar. Interestingly, the below quotes based on Tipler seem to resonate with near-death experiences of many people. The implosion of a single human being into singularity and reliving all key emotional moments from its now closed life. Omega Point as a form of death? Anyone?
scientist John Archibald Wheeler (coiner of the term "black hole") was
onto this in the '80s. He claimed that, fundamentally, atoms are made
up of of bits of information. As he put it in a 1989 lecture, "Its are
from bits." He elaborated: "Every it — every particle, every
field of force, even the space-time continuum itself — derives its
function, its meaning, its very existence entirely from binary choices,
bits. What we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes/no questions. Probably the trippiest science book ever written is The Physics of Immortality,
by Frank Tipler. If this book was labeled standard science fiction, no
one would notice, but Tipler is a reputable physicist and Tulane
University professor who writes papers for the International Journal of Theoretical Physics. In Immortality,
he uses current understandings of cosmology and computation to declare
that all living beings will be bodily resurrected after the universe
dies. His argument runs roughly as follows: As the universe collapses
upon itself in the last minutes of time, the final space-time
singularity creates (just once) infinite energy and computing capacity.
In other words, as the giant universal computer keeps shrinking in
size, its power increases to the point at which it can simulate
precisely the entire historical universe, past and present and
possible. He calls this state the Omega Point. It is a computational
space that can resurrect "from the dead" all the minds and bodies that
have ever lived."
"More recently, DARPA [creator of the Internet] has shifted its focus from delivering better tools for soldiers to changing the soldiers themselves with biotechnology, making them more powerful with a new metabolism. They are working on vaccines against pain. They are working on drugs that allow soldiers to go on for seven days without sleep and drugs that allow soldiers to go without food, living off their own body fat. The same 'enhanced' human will be relevant within sports, eldery people and others."
Interesting high-level overview of our past four centuries and this century from Global Business Network. More in this link for the complete PDF document. This document ranges from religion, enlightenment, science, GNR technologies, ethics, changing economical powers to politics. Interesting comments on the rise of China and India as economic superpowers this century and their focus on open source en open technologies and how they relate to Africa and South America as growth markets. I totally agree. Marc Faber (one of my favorite authors) also has a very interesting view on the decline of the US as an economic superpower this century. See his landmark book called Tomorrow's Gold in which he clearly exposes the rise and demise of all key hegemonies since the Roman Empire (Spanish, Dutch, Britain etc.) and analyses the fall of the US power. Concerning the biotechnology issues as quoted above I recommend the book from Fukuyama called Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotech Revolution. And this also resonates with the concerns raised by Bill Joy (The Future Doesn't Need Us).