Tag Archives: futurology

James Burke Predicts the World in 2030

Today’s World this Weekend, on BBC Radio 4, contains reflections by the science writer, James Burke, on the developments he believes will take place by 2030.

Amongst Burke’s predictions is that by 2030 humans will be able to live autonomously, in a location of their own choosing, people will be able to create anything using nanotechnology, we can “forget privacy”, and climate change will be solved by technological developments, for example the production of artificial meat negating the need to keep livestock.

I am no scientist (my degree being in history and politics), however Burke’s view that science will solve all problems strikes me as overly optimistic, and that’s putting it mildly!

Whilst I’m sure that some of the things predicted by Burke will come to pass – indeed some, such as the use of nanotech to solve health issues are already baring fruit – I’m sceptical of the timeframes postulated. Also his implied view that we don’t need to change our way of living to tackle climate change (as science will solve everything) is not one shared by most scientists and I, also am unconvinced by Burke here.

I am a believer in individual liberty and I’m extremely wary of governmental intervention in the lives of consenting adults. However individuals don’t exist in a vacuum. We owe duties to one another and our lives are enriched by friendships and other social interactions. Listening to Burke’s broadcast it is, to my mind to individualistic and lacking in an appreciation for the complex relationships, institutions etc which make it possible for individuals, families and communities to live the good life. His view does, I believe chime with libertarians (of left and right) rather than with the one-nation Conservatism which, broadly speaking shapes my outlook on life.

You can find Burke’s interview approximately 25 minutes into the podcast, which can be found here, https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000cnbw.

Technophilia

It will all end in tears before teatime
And the poet’s rhyme
Has nothing to say to those obsessed
With what some call progress.

The technophiles delight
In maintaining the future is bright
And themselves excite
With a dream
That does seem
To others, to constitute a nightmare
Ending in despair.

The neural net
Has not been seen yet.
A place where man himself entangles
And mangles,
Or maybe he
Is free

We must transform into Cyborgs or become irrelevant as AI takes over the world, Elon Musk claims

This article, “We must transform into Cyborgs or become irrelevant as AI takes over the world, Elon Musk claims”, (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4220202/Elon-Musk-thinks-AI-human-symbiotes.html), prompted me to pen my poem of 13 February, (https://newauthoronline.com/2017/02/13/mans-destiny/).

Crystal Ball Gazing

Will the click of a mouse
In the virtual house
Of the brain
Replace
Nature’s sweet face?
Or can man restrain
The genie who, perhaps already half woken,
His words as yet unspoken,
Holds out visions of heaven and hell.

Will men dwell
In the half light
Where day and night
Lose all meaning
And seeming
And fact become as one?
Has man gone
So far
That we lose who we are?

Can rich variety be reduced
And man seduced
By the girl made up of data?

Sooner or later
These things may come
To pass, but history does run
In strange ways, and the historian shakes his head
At the futurologist, now long since dead
Who said
“It is inevitable, For X must lead to Y”.

Ideas live and die.
The historian sighs
And thinks on why
Man tries to make the world conform to some abstract law.
He has seen it all before
And puts but little store
On those enamoured by neat little rows.
The futurologist may into the future stare
While history’s winding track leads heaven knows where.