Ray Kurzweil is a well-known futurist who often paints rosy pictures of a utopian future just around the corner. Unfortunately, while technology changes, humanity remains essentially the same. The problems we deal with today are the same basic problems the ancients dealt with. The stage and the props and the characters and the deities have all been updated, but the same basic plot remains.
Technology, of course, is the new god. It brings a wealth of information and extends human life. In fact, it’s done far more for humanity than any god in history has. Indeed, glowing predictions are to be expected as human knowledge grows. In his latest book, Kurzweil points out that technology is expanding exponentially, and thus linear thinking cannot accurately describe what the future will be like. He may well be right from a superficial point of view.
What technology will not change is bigotry and prejudice, and any number of other negative adjectives that can be used to describe human nature. Conflict will still be present, and the politics will revolve largely around the same basic issues that it does today, though the faces and individual issues may change. America may be supplanted by an up-and-comer willing to take more risks, or it may not be. As always, innovation will be integrated seamlessly complicating and simplifying all at the same time, and this will be normal. While I agree that the coming years might usher in a new era of advancement unlike any ever seen, it will not solve the fundamental problems of society. Nothing will. Yes, it is my firm belief that society will never “fix” itself, only the set and the players on the stage will change.
Science and technology is wonderful, but it will never solve our most basic, deep-seated problems. Human problems.
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