Two Perspectives on the Future
Will the future be a beautiful adventure, where we constantly progress and learn, where we master the dark sides of our humanity and mature as a species? Or is the future a dangerous nightmare, where we fall back into the ignorance and fear of the dark ages with all the violence and injustice that chaos brings.
Two recently recorded TED talks about the future explore this question. One was from Peter Diamandis called “Abundance is our Future”, the other from Paul Gilding was entitled “The Earth is Full”. While both speakers contemplated the world of tomorrow and the impact of technology, their outlooks could not have been more different. Diamandis presented a rosy abundant future where we could expect technology to solve our problems and take care of us, while Gilding presented a very dark future full of scarcity, with an impeding world economy collapse. He concluded with an impassioned call to action, asking all of us to work hard and sacrifice to prevent this.
Both talks were presented at the TED 2012 conference
“I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems — climate crisis, species extinction, water and energy shortage — we surely do. [But] ultimately we knock them down.” – Peter Diamandis
“It takes a good crisis to get us going. When we feel fear and we fear loss we are capable of quite extraordinary things.” -Paul Gilding
I think it is fair to say that I was more impressed with the talk by Gilding. I found Diamandis’ focused far to much on the glamour of technology and the magic of social media. He ignores the fact that without profound change, these contributions are nothing but a few drops in the pan.
While Gilding’s talk predicts worrisome future events, I found he also made a strong case for action. I agree that we should be careful depending too much on technology to solve all of our problems. We need to change our attitude towards our own existence and our purpose on this planet if we really want to turn things around.
In essence, we need a completely new philosophy.