The evidence behind the Big Bang can explain how our universe developed from 10-43 seconds. Anything before “the bang”, however, science has no evidence and its reserved for the philosophers.
Following our own personal ‘bang’ into this world and as we grow as humans, we learn a fact that we spend the rest of our lives ignoring. That being, we all die some day.
But despite this mystery and gift of life, there is another fact that would pay dividends to be more consciously aware. That being, the human species is evolving, like how a stronger lit light fills a room more fully. We take our gift of life for granted, and it’s only when we lose it — ‘it’ being our health — that we can truly appreciate life. Building on those ideas, let me get to the point: the survival of our species is constantly under threat and we have no time to waste.
Meteoric objects that wiped out the dinosaurs are one good historical reason why we need to rush as I don’t think we’ll have much time to plan for it. For me, it’s more exciting: there’s a whole multi-verse out there for us to see.
Whilst we are destined to all die one day, our life shouldn’t be wasted.
We all should contribute to the future of humanity. I believe there are seven broad areas, from my vantage view, that could do with more engagement.
Metric of success: percentage of the population that is able to work in the other sectors I list below. The more, the better.
Automation is a hot topic in industry and government alike, and for good reason: it’s happening, fast. But while industry is focussed on creating the automation, everyone else is fretting about the impacts it could create, which is mass structural unemployment.
Let me focus on why automation matters first. If we can automate any process, we should. The reason is for every human performing a service, we are wasting our collective opportunity by not having those people focussing on building our future (more on that below).
The issue of jobs disappearing is a temporary issue but it’s real. I prefer to call it “friction” as we retrain people to work on new types of jobs. Keep reading.
Metric of success: structural unemployment rate is nil
Education is the institionalisation of learning (but it doesn’t have the monopoly on it). Learning to me is all encompassing, about the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Automation is one good short term reason where we need to rethink how we can retrain and reskill the workforce to reduce the friction. If automation will advance us, which it will, the speed bump will be our educational system and we — and by extension our economy — will only be as dynamic as our ability to learn and relearn.
School curriculas, learning methods, chips that we can implement in our brain and that query the internet. Whatever gets us to learn anything faster, is where we need to be.
Metric of success: we have the ability to terraform another planet and/or can control Earths environment
It doesn’t matter what side of the climate change debate you’re on, logic dictates if it displaces one thing (such as the environment), it will end up costing us in other ways (ultimately our health, or our security!). Our ability to learn how to create sustainable ways of living — eliminating pollution as a by product, new types of food, methods that will allow us to habitate outside of earth— will underpin our ability to survive as a species. What we fine tune now on earth will be the model we can replicate across the universe.
Metric of success: all disease is eliminated. Forever.
If we could eliminate human disease — and I include aging as part of that — imagine how different life would be. There would be less suffering. There would be more knowledge that we retain (by people staying alive) and less opportunity cost (by distracting our focus due to sickness). There would be more “resources” in the form of people working on problems.
Until we achieve this goal, humanity will be limited, like how a car is limited by its fuel to operate (worsened by it’s fuel tank suffering a leak).
We have the means to one day eliminate all disease. There is absolutely no good reason why we shouldn’t (and that includes the arguments supporting disease to solve ‘over-population’: we need as many humans possible to colonise space). Why aren’t we moving faster towards this goal?
Metric of success: we can travel from point A to B, instantly
With new ways of moving humans, we create new lives. When a city implements public transport, new parts of a city become accessible which allows a spreading out of the population and which in turn reduces housing demand and gives more cash in the hands of the communters. It allows different types of people to mingle to promote social cohesion, much like how NYC has more diversity than any other city I’ve seen.
Development of transportation leads to improved methods which reduce pollution.
In the long term, our ability to explore new planets gives humanity a capacity to grow our population and uncover new resources, such as asteroid mining for minerals and beyond, to enrich our society.
Whatever promotes the goal of transportation in this broad sense is arguably one of the biggest activites we can perform to grow the economy.
Metric of success: statistically absent percentages of harm and death caused by other humans
There is a lot of division in humanity. Nation state divisions, religious divisions, and racial divisions to name some of the main offenders. It won’t be until we come into contact with the first alien species, and especially one that threatens humanity as a whole, before we collectively wake up and willingly collaborate as a shared consciousness.
Compassion. Communication. Controlled violence. Power structures that optimise for the utilitarian goal. Whatever promotes social cohesion so as to leverage our collective consciousness rather than divide it, is the activity that will allow us to grow quicker as a force in the universe. To keep with the car analogy, it’s stepping on the accelerator rather than the break, in order to go forward. Technology is after all the faustian bargain: once we know how to do something, someone else will use it against us. The only insurance agains that, is by developing our society to prevent abuse.
Metric of success: the amount of people we have engaged in exploration.
I define exploration of the physical, mental and spiritual.
By exploring our world and our solar system, we create new opportunities for humanity to habitate for our survival or new resources to grow society.
By exploring ideas that lead to scientific answers or philosophical questions, we develop opportunities in the same way, if not more, as physical exploration.
And by exploring the spiritual; by acknowledging our sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell and cognitive capacity is limited in the same way a smaller antenna is limited in what radio frequencies it can capture, we can open up new worlds. Bats can see infrared light but we can’t. What else can’t we see that prevents us from understanding?
I’m not saying if you’re working on something that’s not the above, its not a good thing. I’m just saying you’re wasting our time. This list is not comprehensive, but it’s also fairly broad and encompasses multiple approaches to solving our problems. But it harks back to one idea: what are you doing to propel humanity forward?