Our guest in this episode is Ramez Naam, computer scientist, futurist and author of five books, including The Nexus trilogy and The Infinite Resource. We discuss intersections between blockchain, energy and transport, taking responsibility for the use of technology, and creating a positive future.
Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Future
We often hear the sentiment that things are getting worse in the world. Yet, if we look at the data, we are living in the best time in human history. The world has become significantly better when it comes to factors like poverty, hunger, literacy, warfare, violence, democracy, and life expectancy. Although people are typically more responsive to bad news, Ramez argues that the numbers tell a different story.
One of the most common fears regarding the future is that technology and innovation would destroy human jobs. While some jobs will definitely go away, Ramez is not convinced that total employment will go down. He argues that society should prepare and experiment with different things, such as improving education and job training or developing a proper social safety net such as a basic income.Learn to learn. Learn to teach yourself. Don't expect the world to teach you. - @ramez Click To Tweet
The Innovation and the Human Capital
As renewable energy is becoming cheaper, it is becoming more accessible. The pace of technological advancements in energy and transportation gives a real hope that we can de-carbonize energy production and stave off the worst of climate change.
Another technology that Ramez is hopeful about is blockchain. One of its most important transformative benefits is transparency. This can help prevent censorship and reduce corruption.
Ramez emphasizes that the pace of innovation relies on the human capital. It comes from educating and empowering people, enabling them to come up with new ideas.
Bringing People Together
Every technology ever invented has as many negative effects as positive ones. Ramez argues that we have to experiment with a lot of tools in order to override some of the basic tribal instincts of humanity. Technology can help us connect to other groups of people, and increase our ability to understand them.
While the polarization on the issue of political party identification is an all time high in the U.S., Ramez states that the tolerance and empathy has significantly gone up on all the other axis (when it comes to ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc).
What excites Ramez most about the future is bringing billions of people out of disconnection through technology. He encourages people to get immersed in technology and master it. He also emphasizes the importance self education for the future of our society.It's clearly the best time ever to be born on Planet Earth today, and if trends continue, it will even be a better time 10 years from now. - @ramez Click To Tweet
In This Episode of Future Thinkers:
- Why now is the best time to be alive on planet Earth
- Why we should not fear automation
- Human empowerment through technology
- Technology helping to bridge social divides
- Can we override tribalism?
- Raising empathy and bringing people together in a meaningful way
- Learning how to learn
Mentions and Resources:
- The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet by Ramez Naam
- The Nexus Trilogy by Ramez Naam
- Existence by David Brin
- The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell
More from Future Thinkers:
- FTP024: David Brin – Building Future Societies with Transparency and Freedom
- FTP047: Jordan Greenhall – Why We Need Collective Intelligence During Global Collapse
- FTP052: Guy Standing – Making Basic Income a Reality
- FTP009: Self Education – Finding Your Life’s Work