Will Accelerating Change Take Us in 21C?
is engaged in a grand, accelerating adventure. Leading thinkers
are now asking fundamentally important questions relevant
to our historical record of accelerating social and technological
change. Many answers and models are conflicting, controversial
and poorly testable, at present. Yet their implications are
profound, and their insights so valuable they can be used
in virtually every decision of our daily lives.
dedicated to building a community for ongoing discussion of
these fundamental and future-important questions. If present
trends continue, we will witness more scientific, technological,
and even social learning and change in our own lifetimes than
that seen since the birth of science.
physicists of the very small structures in our universe (Steven
Weinberg, Leon Lederman) and of
the very large (Stephen Hawking, Martin
Harwit) have proposed that we may soon capture much
of the essence of these two domains in our accelerating and
increasingly powerful scientific instrumentation and simulations.
that may leave only the middle zone of the very complex as
our final frontier (Ian Stewart, Paul
Davies). This suggests to some that artificial intelligences,
if they emerge in the 21st century, will be engaged in "hard
problems" such as the physical basis and larger meaning
of the origin of life, the emergence of language, thought,
emotion, consciousness, and spirituality, and the future trajectory
of local intelligence.
is of course only part of the journey. How do we help our
sociotechnological systems to strengthen our common interests,
to create a continually better, cleaner, safer, and yet more
creative world for all the minds that inhabit it? Such goals
as improving ethics, compassion, interdependence, resilience,
security, risk management, and immunity from potential catastrophes
may be a function of physical intelligence, properties that
are statistically highly likely to emerge in our coming networks,
as long as we use caution and common sense.
still early in asking the big questions about the accelerating
future, and in wisely guiding acceleration in our modern lives.
But the more we give ourselves permission to carefully consider
these issues, the better equipped we will be to create the
daily personal and collective futures, consistent with unavoidable
accelerating trends, that we truly desire.