Grassroots Commentary

World Future 2013, Part 2

Debra Rae · Jul. 26, 2013

Over the course of two and a half days, starting July 19, some 900 futurists are expected to gather at the Chicago Hilton for the World Future Society’s 2013 convention. With a view toward the 22nd century, visionaries will explore humanity’s “next horizon.” More than sixty sessions, workshops, and special events will feature future studies, as well as reports of progress toward achieving a coveted, one-world order. Eager attendees will enjoy a series of compelling presentations aimed at modeling and, then, forecasting (toward implementing) preferred scenarios deemed suitable for turn of the next century.

All bases will be covered – geopolitical, socio-economic, and religious. Former Danish ambassador and adjunct professor Joergen Oerstroem Moeller will flesh out an appropriate geopolitical model – one that manages “big data,” transcends economic obsession with the social justice model, and pulls anchor out from under the presumed-to-be defunct nation-states paradigm. Stephen Aguilar-Millan will address the provocative question, “Will We Still Have Money in 2100?” With a religious mandate to save Gaia-Mother Earth, science fiction writer Brenda Cooper will call participants to “step backwards into Eden” and take personal responsibility for “gardening the world” by attending to climate change, finite fossil fuels, disappearing forests, dwindling fish and freshwater supplies.

• Future-proof Mindset (Human Choice)

Since forecasting can succumb to outcomes that are “self-fulfilling,” “self-negating,” or “judgmental,” W.F.S. prognosticators hold that future events are determined by human choices, not external forces. Case in point, chief executive officer of the Jefferson Area Board for Aging, Marta M. Keane will explore how technology increasingly supports human choices to live longer, better, and more independent lives.

Israeli director of the Center for Strategic Futurist Thinking Tsvi Bisk will address a broad range of venturesome forecasts – e.g., food production via vertical urban agriculture; recycling carbon dioxide via artificial photosynthesis; enabling energy autonomy via nanotechnology; and converting human waste, garbage, and trash to gas via depolymerization units. His progressive mindset is promisingly future-proof.

• Future-plex Mindset (Augmented Human Intelligence)

Drawing from his forthcoming book, The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? Patrick Tucker will address the dangerous future of humanity’s greatest would- be “invention,” the future itself.

Biblically speaking, humans have been granted the power “to will.” Nevertheless, exercising a future-proof mindset cannot “will” the future into existence, as visionaries would have us believe. Doing so requires more than mere human will and choice. Rather than acknowledge need for God, however, prognosticators elect instead to surpass a “future-proof” mindset with an intelligence-augmented, “future-plex” one.

Futurists posit that, in order to address grand challenges, it’s necessary to create and, then, use new information geared to solving big problems. Inspired not by the Holy Spirit, but rather by science fiction writers, Dr. Marvin Minsky and his ilk seek creative ways to enhance brainpower – e.g., by means of a brain co-processor that allows two-way interface of a machine working alongside the human brain.

To keep pace, one must apply exponential technologies toward mapping/electrically shocking the brain, harnessing the subconscious for accelerated performance, detecting emotions, fashioning virtual realities and synthetic genes, refining futuristic robotics, and equipping humanity to flourish in space.

Identifying as “humankind’s best investment” the pairing of futures technologies with cradle-to-grave, learning-by-doing, Ray Kurzweil started the Singularity University. Its mission is to educate, inspire, and empower global leaders to overcome humanity’s most perplexing obstacles. A forecasting advisor at Singularity University, conference presenter John Smart will suggest a twenty-year strategic horizon, coupled with useful leadership skills, for key areas of technological change inclusive of nano- science/technologies; resource/information/ engineering technologies; health/ social/ educational/cognitive technologies; socio-economic and security technologies.

But here’s where the real fun begins: Futurist and self-proclaimed cacophonist, Heather Schlegel will explore the intersection of technology and culture – specifically, the impact of technology on identity creation and complementary currencies transactions. Given “‘Heathervescent’s cacophonistic flair,” attendees are promised “a wild romp through the future.”

Humanity’s “Bright, Happy [Manmade] Future”

Purportedly because of exponential growth of technology, life expectancy, wealth, and education over the last two hundred years, Kurzweil predicts for humanity a bright, happy future.

Cosmic humanists believe that a mass quantum leap (global transformation) will mark a new age of group-conscious enlightenment. This misguided notion is promoted to the public by eco-occultists, illumined progressives, and futurists. To the undiscerning, the right use of energy among intuitive friends united by earth stewardship, sustainability, collectivism, and illumination sounds like the real deal; but it isn’t.

Vice president and senior futurist at the Institute for Alternative Futures, Eric Meade looks to the 22nd century for a “wisdom web” of enlightened overseers who, by means of “virtual” models, formulate visionary goals and, then, realize goals by compassionately placing global citizens in positions that best suit the needs of local- and/or global- communities.

Known in many circles as the hierarchy, wise men (also called the Elder Brothers) presumptuously claim to have evolved to the point of godhood and thereby qualify themselves as guides over less gifted underlings. By design, humanity’s “preferred future” will feature a self-appointed “wisdom web” of mega-managers, empowered under headship of a “free-world supra-national political being” to enforce totalitarian rule over a trans-federal “democratic” dictatorship. Utopia? I think not.

Conclusion

Yes, remarkable techno-vations greatly enhance modern life but, unless guided by grace, human knowledge is but folly. The young Solomon1 understood that reverential regard for God is “the beginning of knowledge.” Discerning what’s right and, then, responding with good judgment are hallmarks of true knowledge. Notwithstanding, upon wresting the reigns from God, strong-minded, progressive futurists are destined to produce a wilderness of “stony waste.” Fantasy of a one-world, wanna-be utopia is just that – fantasy subject to “sudden destruction.”

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