We’re asking each of the participants in The World Transformed to give us their thoughts on one major coming transformation. Here Brian Wang considers how and why technological progress needs to accelerate:
If you were to pick just one current or coming transformation (does not have to be the one we discussed) that you would advise people to focus on, which one would that be?
Change attitudes and plans for faster technological development. If we consider human civilization stuck on earth as a teenager living in his/her parents basement. We have to hurry up and grow up and develop the solar system. Move out and get a job and achieve ambitious things.
What should we be doing about it?
- Fund projects with technological risk (things that can fail) but which would change the world if they succeed. DARPA and the old x-plane and skunk work projects worked before. Use x-prizes and other funding methods.
- Do not be scared of funding what is controversial – The big technological transformations are mainly controversial in some way or another. Mainstream people do not believe they can happen or there are those who do not want them to happen or they dispute various specifics.
- Extreme life extension (SENS) – dispute the goal and the feasibilityCold Fusion (Rossi/Focardi, Piantelli, Brillouin, Brian Ahern, Arata etc…) – a lot of claims of fraud or bad scienceRegeneration and tissue engineering Nuclear fusion (General fusion, Helion Energy, EMC2 , Tri-alpha energy, focus fusionQuantum computers (dispute of the quantumness of Dwave Systems, lack of openmindedness to faster non-academic paths)Molecular nanotechnology (criticized feasibility and yet no shift even when experiments show feasible)
What’s in it for us if we get it right?
We get better technology sooner that can help speed the transformation.Currently we have 55 million people dieing every year and we are still stuck on earth. If we did things right in 20-30 years we could be flying the solar system as easily as we fly around the world today and have lifespans and health that are radically better. The transformed world would be better and more of us around now would live to see it if it happens sooner. If it happens in 2081 instead of 2031 then 3-5 billion more would have died before it happened.