I recently finished reading Physics of the Future by Dr. Michio Kaku. After countless hours of time spent with the smartest scientists on earth, Dr. Kaku's book chronicles predictions for the coming world between now and the year 2100.
We have all learned about globalization and seen its effect over recent years. It is now clear to me, though, that human progress will not simply stop at various nations getting along. As we work up the Kardashev scale toward a Type 1 civilization and leave behind current Type 0 civilization a shift beyond world peace could happen in the next few generations. Eventually, around the year 2100 or shortly after, the existing nation borders could actually dissolve away. Society could become a planetary civilization in the next few centuries. This is an exciting and scary proposition, especially considering the world is currently predominately driven by capitalist economies that benefit from competition in the markets. This future that Dr. Michio Kaku lays the framework for will be a major shift from our current society. While reading Physics of the Future one thought seems to keep reoccurring: We have to get this "better future" right. The stakes are high and there is not likely a second chance for society if we mess the future up on a global scale.
Over the past century, society has already begun the transition from a working economy to an information economy. Now, as the early stage proliferation of the Internet continues to mature, we are beginning another transition from an information economy to a newer wisdom economy.
The quality of information and not the quantity of information will be the focus in the future.
Mass data collection continues to constantly grow in the background and needs to be digestible. As big data continues to get bigger and bigger, a new product focus on wisdom will be the only way to drink from the fire hose of information we are dealt on a daily basis. In order to cross the gap into the future, society will need to be responsible with not only the environment but also humanity across borders. By shifting from an information economy to a wisdom economy and overcoming the challenges associated with that shift it should allow society to level up on the Kardashev scale.
The thought of failure of this challenge can be haunting at times while reading Physics of the Future. However, Dr. Michio Kaku had an answer for this haunting thought that was surprisingly incredible. Nothing sums the solution to this rough transition ahead more than the quote that Dr. Michio Kaku closed the book with:
"The Roots of Violence:
Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice,
Politics without principles."
- Mahatma Gandhi, 22 October 1925
I found Gandhi's wise words to be invigorating and almost 100 years after he said them, still refreshingly accurate. They will be more important than ever as society approaches a time, for example, when work the way we know it may not be as necessary due to future robotics and computers. A few of the characteristics defined by Gandhi will change and while they do it will be the responsibility of individuals to keep in mind the character built by them.
Personally, I cannot wait for the future ahead of us. It will be one crazy ride. We can let this ride terrify us while we will fight it, or we can embrace it and enjoy it. Either way, the fact is we cannot make the world stop and stand still where it is. Progress will forever be marched forward by others in the world around us. Therefore, I suggest the latter. So, while we enjoy the ride up to the year 2100, let's try to remember those words Gandhi spoke almost 100 years ago.