It’s a tipping point. A moment in time where something occurs that alters the course of history in an undeniable, incontrovertible way. The Big Bang was a singularity, for instance.
I think we’re at the precipice of a new singularity.
Every day, I find myself astounded at the wonder of our technological and cultural advances. Every day, I find myself astounded at our penchant for ignorance and cultural failures.
We can print objects in three dimensions, with breathtaking intricacy. We’ve created bionic prosthetics that work based on thought. Our genome sequencing abilities have led us inexorably closer to extinguishing disease. You can buy toy remote control cars with hydrogen cells—powered by water. We have wearable technology that ranges from hand-free, heads-up glass displays with full communications and photographic capabilities to bracelets that monitor your biometrics and provide detailed analytics to fabrics that morph their looks based on the wearer’s mood. Internet access has become more affordable than ever. Touch table computers. Big data. Cloud computing. Artificial Intelligence.
And at the same time, we find ourselves embroiled in the struggles of disintegrating liberties. Corporations and private interests wield ever more power in our legislative process. We eat genetically modified foods – designed purely to squeeze more profit than nutrients from their seeds. We have entire American cities crumbling from within, victims of economic destitution. Surveillance is more ubiquitous and invasive than it has ever been. We have religious fundamentalism informing social policy, both domestic and foreign. Reality TV. Fear. Hatred. Intolerance.
The bees are dying.
It’s harder to find more comprehensive definition of the word, “crossroads.” We’re at the intersection of enlightenment and medieval ruin. The potential that lies ahead of us is limited precisely by our own imprudence. We can be so great. We can do so much. And we can be so very, very little.
Though our crystal ball may remain cloudy, it’s clear enough to tell us that eventually, one of these roads will win out. Their paths are too divergent, at too great of odds with each other for them to coexist indefinitely. Very soon, we will have to commit to a path. We will have to choose.
We can either choose to look forward together—to turn our eyes collectively in a direction where innovation, exploration and evolution are our universal goals—or we can choose to remain shackled by the economies of negative scale. We can lead mankind to a future of promise, hope and greatness. Or we can allow the weight of our own ignorance to collapse in on itself.
It’s here, and it’s now.