Because life runs up, not down, syntropy is a cosmic kitchen, not a cosmic wrecking yard. But we have to scramble to keep up.

At this hour, the world now stands on the verge of yet another great technological revolution. It has been mainly been gathering steam since the 1980s. Each day brings us closer to a time when a Star Trek-like economy may be possible. In fact, as the days go by and the breakthroughs and advances pile up, it is less and less a stretch to suggest that the looming next great wave of technology—Wave 4—can provide us with the very technologies that could solve our greatest problems if used properly.

We are speaking of swiftly developing technologies like biotechnology, bioengineering, nanotechnology, macro-robotics (in contrast to invisible “nanobots”), machine cognition, exotic energy and new materials science. The spin-offs of these extraordinary new era of tool-making could provide any number of artifacts that could change the game completely:

• Age reversal
• Human lifespan increasing to hundreds of years
• Download of human consciousness into a robotic shell
• Space exploration and the discovery of intelligent alien life
• Downloading knowledge directly to the human brain
• Eliminating disease
• Reclaiming the planet and restoring the ecosystem
• Eliminating the need for money
• Providing the basics for a comfortable life for everyone for free
• The end of war
• Invisibility
• Sentient artificial beings
• The creation of new forms of biological life
• Any injury rendered temporary
• Super-sensory capability
• Intelligent environments that respond in a customized way to the user
• Local auto-fabrication of hard products
• The shift to local market economies
• Space travel available to everyone
• Colonizing and terraforming of other planets

This could lead to a world that engenders almost universal freedom, prosperity, liberation from slavery or near-servitude or the need for people of even modest means to work at all. A world where all mindsets—carp, shark, Aquarian carp and the dolphin varieties—and worldviews could prosper in socio-economic-political systems where the highest status is assigned to those who provide for the common good. (The sharks could continue to compete for celebrity and recognition, but this time, they would be rewarded for finding new and better ways to improve universal quality of life, not for how often they win.) In ways that to now have been the province only of utopian thinkers, science fiction writers or sunny-side-up Pollyannas, and only in their imaginations, we humans could begin to think of ourselves as truly free from many of the dangers, hindrances and irritations that currently still beset us.

Now, your author isn’t ignorant of this vigilance-commanding reality: technological advances are double-edged swords. As an extension of who we are, our tools can be used for good or ill. Biotechnology can be used to create devastating new biological weapons. Intelligent robots can be used as slaves or as soldiers. Nanotechnology can be used as a weapon or evolve on its own into a grey goo that eats the planet. Life extension and age reversal can end up being offered only to the wealthy and powerful. The characteristics of babies allowed to be born can be inhumanly manipulated. The terraforming of other planets could ignore the needs of indigenous species. And on and on .… This is why every great jump in technological capability creates new issues, big issues. Issues that cannot be adequately addressed by the institutions that created them (“Einstein’s paradox”). The emerging Wave 4 lineup of world-class challenges literally cries out for a great “insight” awakening to address the changed environment and our enhanced capabilities. The new issues are going to dictate the need for profound changes in a people’s current social, political and economic systems.

But there’s one thing we must never forget. Great technological achievements don’t tag along after significant, game-changing political, cultural and spiritual awakenings. Instead, they precede them! That is, technology shifts first!

It is the toolmaker who is civilization’s trendiest game-changer, trooping ahead of the politician, the psychologist, the priest, the rabbi, the imam and the ethicist. As the late Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert W. Fogel explains in The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism: “It is the lag between technological transformation and the human capacity to cope with change that has repeatedly provoked the crises that usher in profound reconsiderations of ethical values, that produced new agendas for ethical and social reform, and that give rise to political movements to implement these agendas.”

Being a part of a new “insight” awakening is a reoccuring theme of my latest book, LEAP! How to Think Like a Dolphin & Do the Next Smart, Right Thing Come Hell or High Water. Essentially, my argument is this: The most effective thinkers in the new technological wave that is emerging are going to be those who are open to and equipped to use what I’ve sometimes called “good gumption” powers and skills almost automatically, consistently and relentlessly. Among those skills are these:

• The confidence to confront. And then, if possible, to include.
• An automatic aversion to incompetence. And shortly afterwards, a game plan.
• Wonderment, then exploration, then activation. Just because it’s your nature to be a designer.
• The judgment of the merciful & the passion of the justice seeker. And the wisdom to know the difference.
• Resilience, so you can always find your way back.
• The super-glues of self-healing, raised to a whole new level.

For more information, on this and all my major “thinking skills” works, please go here.

Bookmark and Share