If you read my Random Thoughts posts you know that I have often spoke about the future of humanity among many other things. Although my outlook is rather grim, somewhere deep down I still have hope for our future.
I often write about that at some point in our future there will be something that will either make or break our civilization. I have never had a name for it but recently I was on a long run and it came to me, The Catalyst. At some point in our future there will be an event or even a series of events that will shape our future. Something that will set in motion a series of events or event that will have a major impact on the future of our civilization. The problem is that it is near impossible to see these events while they are transpiring.
I believe that in the next 10 to 50 years something will happen that will begin either our next phase of evolution or the downfall of our society. There are two ways to look at this. Either this Catalyst will be a giant event like a world war, a global pandemic, or a total economic collapse that will set our civilization back tens maybe hundreds of years. In my eyes I think it is more likely that this Catalyst will be a series of small events that we will not see coming. I think throughout history this is more often the case. There seems to always be a buildup of a lot of small things that eventually explode into something big that has a dramatic impact on civilization. Rarely is there a giant stand alone event that will have a large impact on human history, other than a natural disaster. I will say that this is not out of the realm of possibility. With global warming I do think that that scenario is a very real possibility.
The most likely scenario I believe will be something like extreme weather all over the world causing droughts and famine. These aspects give terrorists organizations more power to recruit and overthrow their respective governments, as they will be able to seize power. That also goes for anyone in those countries regardless of their terrorist affiliation. The interesting thing is that some of this is happening now, mostly in Africa and the Middle East, where new regimes pop up almost daily. I think in the coming years more extreme weather could drive the revolutionaries in that part of the world. The real question is how will those things effect the first world countries, mainly the US. I do not have an answer for that, as it is easy to speculate on those countries that are teetering on the edge of disaster as it is. For all our negatives I still feel the US is stable and could withstand almost anything nature or the terrorist of the world could throw at it. What happens when both of these things arise at the same time, that could be too much for our national resources to handle.
With all these negative aspects it is easy to get bogged down and think that the end is near. Most scientist believe that in the same timeframe I mentioned above some sort of AI will have emerged. If that is the case then I think we will undoubtedly taken a step in the right direction to our salvation. I am not that optimistic about AI, but I am not ruling out that possibility. There is way too much debate on the subject in my mind to really get a good idea of when or what will happened in that field in the near future.
I think that our future will have a mix of both aspects. I think there will be a series of small events that will star to create a global awareness that states we have to change what we are doing, followed by some event, Catalyst, the straw that breaks the camel’s back, if you will.( In some aspects I think the awareness on global warming is a nice start and shows how we are effecting the planet.) After that it will be up to us to decide where we will go from there. I would like to think that these events will be enough to change us and our ways, but I am still not that optimistic. Some part of me also thinks that some of these small events have already been set in motion and are too small for us to notice. They are laying in wait and will do so for many years before making their next move.
I am of the same mindset as the scientist, played by John Cleese, in The Day The Earth Stood Still, when he is talking to the alien, Klaatu. He says something like, it is only at the precipice that civilizations change, basically when they are on the bring of destruction is when they will revaluate themselves and change. The problem is that I think by then it may be too late for us and way too easy to take that ever so small step that will send us tumbling over the edge.
There are way too many moving pieces to accurately predict our future, but I am a believer that in the next 50 years something, a series of events, a Catalyst, something will begin to define how future generations, if we make it, will define us. As always I believe we are in a race with our technology. Will we and our destructive ways out run our technological advances? Stay tuned, time will tell…