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Manifesto for a future civilisation World Technology Network - James P Clark

Summary talk

The next 20 years will see bigger changes in our civilisation than have occurred over the last 1000 years. Sadly we are on the wrong path. The expertise we use to put machines on Mars has not been applied to solving world poverty.

He calls this a “phase” change which can be violent or sublime.

Paints a glowing picture of technical fixes for health, solving ageing, inserting nano-assemblies into the brain. Printing individual molecules, wiring smart phones directly into the human brain etc. We can manipulate date like never before. We can and we must begin to colonise space and mine the extra resources we need from asteroids.

We all must participate in this change – we have no choice.

But our present path is WRONG. It is unsustainable (whatever that means!) and morally wrong.

Our food is totally processed. We deforest the planet to grow meat. We cannot deal well with our waste. Our homes and lifestyle waste energy on a grand scale. Our medicine is reactive (profits for drug companies) rather than preventive. Our education system simply tries to prepare people for the culture that dominates our lives today. It should be training people to question it. The result is that capitalism is triumphant by default – it always proceeds by creative destruction. But today we see technology replacing labour when we have no idea how future employment will be created.

Our systems are making billions suffer at the same time as they threaten the life support systems of the planet. This is morally indefensible. How are we going to change the system?

Regulation systems are not working and our politicians are mostly ignorant of the true situation. We have those who give charitably but as their right hand gives their lifestyle and activities are creating the very problems they wish to solve!

The current political system simply preserves the status quo. This also applies to the established religions. Majority rule with representative democracy simply keeps those at the top in power. They will certainly fight to retain this power – we cannot expect change to come from them.

In the end people will demand a new type of poltiics. But the truth is that no one is actually in charge – we are in the grip of a system and we do not know how to control or change it. As a result we never deal with the real problem.

JPC sees a new perspective in his systems linked Decagon representing human society (this mirrors the permaculture ideas promoted by David Holgren). The ten sectors are all linked together – you cannot change one without looking at the effects on the other 9. We are talking about such sectors as education, food, arts, science, money, health, politics and government......

JPC has hopes for:

  • lifetime education preparing people for the changes needed

  • arts becoming a normal part of daily life

  • social networks allowing more points of view to be expressed

  • more leisure time

  • complex new barter systems

  • new currencies

  • new politics based on smaller democratic units – protects the poor, children, the elderly, the environment, animals and generally treats people with dignity.

The new politics is a necessary condition for the new era. People should be required to participate in this.

Facebook is perhaps one model for the new type of community that could spread all over the Earth. But we have to learn to understand the effects of our policies on the environment.

JPC sees a great future for mankind in colonising space to find the resources needed to continue our economic growth. Looking after health will also be a central part of the new civilisation.

JPC believes we should move away from traditional religion towards a more enlightened spirituality. Escape from dogma.

We will find new ways to obtain energy that avoids global warming.

This is vision and he believes that even the smallest right spark could change everything! We have consciousness and we must realise that we can make our own history. We have no choice but to realise that we are all involved. But how do we engage?? If you allow yourself simply to continue your job that perpetuates the present system then you are part of the problem. You have to change – the boat is being rocked already. Get off the present path and search for new ways.

Rohit Talwar Another talk from Fast Futures

Wisdom is essential as we look towards the future. People are afraid to ask the big questions – such as what jobs our children are actually going to find to do! This is a true challenge given the effects of advancing technology on work (a point made by JM Keynes 80 years ago!)

There are simply amazing potential technological developments which will go ahead without any thought for what their social and employment consequences might be.

Google is planning to offer complete downloads for everything you remember in your brain.

We already have driverless cars which are safer than human control.

We can expect mobile devices to be implanted directly into the human body.

McDonalds already uses car recognition technology to allow its waiters to serve you more quickly – they are 80 percent sure already of your order before you make it!

There are major developments taking place in medicine, including the possibility of curing death itself!

We simply do not think through the personal and social consequences of these potentially significant changes.

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