Write a Future History for Our Sequel
Not long after we (finally) sent our book to the printer, a friend cut through the congratulations we were getting from other friends. She sent this bracing note:
“I hope you have a chapter on mandatory biology classes [so people will] understand the fundamentals of nutrition/agriculture, health/medicine, and the environment/ecology. Biology is as important as learning to read, because how else does one ‘read’ what is going on on the planet? No one in politics is a biologist!”
Paul responded: “We invite YOU to write that biology chapter for the sequel.”
Her response, “I’ll do it.”
We hereby extend that same invitation to you.
Even though we laid out the Laws of Zero and wrote future histories for some key areas—electricity, transportation, health care, climate, trust, and government services—many more are needed. For example, education. Online education, including so-called MOOCs (massive open online courses), hasn’t panned out as many of us had hoped, but there is potential there, and the whole field cries out to be re-envisioned and strengthened as we head toward 2050. Manufacturing, while a diffuse topic—lots of companies and people make lots of things in lots of places—is another fertile area. Rethinking food is a must, and the Laws of Zero create all sorts of options just based on the possibilities of genetic improvements, plus the availability of infinite(ish) energy, water, and transportation. Cities can be rethought. Streets are really designed for cars at this point; let’s redesign them for people.
And, of course, we’ll find more Laws of Zero as we head toward 2050. Nanotechnology holds great promise and could perhaps create breakthroughs in materials science that would allow for whole new classes of devices. And what if Sam Altman is right that AI creates a “Moore’s law for everything”? He writes: “In the next five years, computer programs that can think will read legal documents and give medical advice. In the next decade, they will do assembly-line work and maybe even become companions. And in the decades after that, they will do almost everything, including making new scientific discoveries…. The price of many kinds of labor (which drives the costs of goods and services) will fall toward zero once sufficiently powerful AI ‘joins the workforce…’ [and] we can improve the standard of living for people more than we ever have before.”
In other words, there is no lack of material for many more brief histories of a perfect future, and many of you have expertise that the three of us authors do not. Tell us about what chapters need to be in our sequel. Perhaps even outline what another future history vision for 2050›. Better yet, WRITE a chapter for our sequel. And, we’ll publish it.
Seriously. Send us a note.
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