Human progress is an interesting thing. If we look at a strictly anthropologic/evolutionary view, we as a species have been evolving over the past few million years. From walking upright to developing an enlarged left side of the brain which promotes the use of language to eradicating smallpox and landing on the moon (sorry, it wasn’t a hoax), we as a species have come a long way and survived countless trials.
Yet, despite this amazing history of survival and adaptability, if we listen to some people we’ll be told that we’re not only carving the coffin for the species, but lining it with future generations. At first blush, this topic may not seem appropriate for a tech article but, if the doomsayers are to be believed, technology is exactly the formula leading to our downfall. Whether it’s the threat of nuclear war, global warming/climate change, the emptying of our fossil fuel reserves by 2050, overpopulation of the earth, running out of drinkable water or human enslavement by robots, all our alleged problems ca be blamed on human innovation and invention.
I believe these are legitimate things to worry about (robots maybe not so much) and discuss, but not in such a manner that we become so caught up with the things we are doing wrong that we stop believing it can be made right. What I worry about most of all is that we have developed such inflated egos that we believe we can eradicate our species or somehow “ruin” the earth to the point that it becomes inhospitable. If we can invent ways to destroy the world, how is it impossible to invent ways to fix it?
I won’t drone on about how we shouldn’t fear for the future or believe all the horrible things said about what our technologies will do to us and the environment. I won’t ramble about how we are creating this mess and other pessimistic viewpoints. What I will do is point you in the direction of a few people actually trying to come up with solutions to these problems:
- Solar energy has its failings, but look at what some people at MIT have come up with. As stated in the article, this opens a lot of doors.
- In regards to the nuclear threat, India has been making headlines with a meeting of presidents and changing their tune.
- These guys are looking to not only solve the fresh water concern, but also find ways to eliminate green house gases in one swoop.
These are only a handful of examples where people aren’t throwing their hands up in defeat, but instead giving it their all to continue the million year tradition of human progress and evolution. They are contributing to find solutions to these worldwide dilemmas — as are countless others who are sacrificing their time and effort to continue to make this world a better place. Maybe next time you’re involved in a conversation about the many problems facing our world, you may want to instead focus on resolving them. What is accomplished by continually recognizing the same predicament over and over again while ignoring the possibility of coming up with a new answer?
In that spirit, I’ll end with a timeless quote from that ever-renowned humanitarian, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Perhaps, in the face of all our global problems, that is advice worth taking now more than ever before.
Jon Schwarzmann is a deputy technology correspondent for Rhombus.
Trackback from your site.