James Burke on the end of scarcity
In our current world climate, it's easy to despair. It's easy to see no future ahead for us hairless apes. Wars and rumors of wars. The environment is collapsing. Hatreds abound. The world is spinning out of control.
Or is it?
One of my pastimes is reading up on coming technology. I'm not talking about the next iteration of the iPhone. I'm talking about technology which will change the very meaning of being human. From the "impossible" Em Drive which could put the stars within our reach, to fusion energy, we are on the cusp of monumental changes.
But nothing will be more monumental than the technology which promises to end our economy as we know it: nanotechnology. If even half of its promises come to fruition, we will very well see a Star Trek future, where humans want for nothing, as every person will have to ability to create all that he or she needs at the touch of a button.
Sound like science fiction? It's not. It's already happening. Even now there's technology which can coat any surface with solar cells, turning windows and doors into solar energy collectors.
James Burke, noted science historian, lays out what to expect within the next few decades. It's both exhilarating and daunting. Can a species which has been wired into economies of scarcity deal with an economy of abundance? Maybe we should start asking those questions now. Give a listen.
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