I think we’re going to be ok. Am I kidding myself?
I’ve been working on my slide-deck for the Next-10 conference. It’s a deep dive into the current state of tech, where we’re going, and what it all means for real estate.
It’s been fun. A lot of fun.
Maybe it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m having a ball.
And you know, we all know that things are moving quickly and it’s an amazing age to be alive, but it’s not until you stop and take stock of where we’re at that you’re mind really starts to boggle.
I set myself the goal of looking at where we’re at on a number of human fronts – from communication to energy to our fundamental understanding of the physical world – and doing a stock take of just what we’ve achieved in the past twelve months.
And seriously? It’s mind-blowing. Like staggering.
Did you know we discovered 4 new elements in the past twelve months? The periodic table has been a pretty static affair for decades, but then bam! 2017. 4 new elements.
And that’s not even the half of it.
It truly is an amazing time to be alive. I can’t actually think of a time that was better… or at least more exciting. If you wanted to live in the most dynamic, most exciting time in history, this is it.
Congratulations to you.
This is the point where the aeroplane of human civilisation lifts off the tarmac.
… of crashes into the marshes beyond the runway.
I was chatting with Jon Giaan about it the other day. He was wondering if this deep dive was affecting my outlook for humanity. Isn’t it scary?
And look, it is scary. Hurling down the runway you do have to wonder if we’re actually going to get off the ground.
There’s killer-drones, terrorist viruses, robot-soldiers, hostile A.I. If you wanted to make a dystopian movie about a technology-driven apocalypse, there’s everything you need.
I could give you a dozen scenarios off the top of my head where cockroaches jump to the top of the food chain.
But, these risks are balanced with the promise of reward. There is an end to scarcity. There’s an end to disease. There’s an end to work. There’s the promise of immortality.
And I’m not dreaming here. These trends are in full effect right now.
Researchers in stem-cell therapy increased mice life expectancy by 30% this year! And made their fur shinier.
So we stand at a cross-roads. Into the great blue beyond, or upside down in to the swamp.
Which way will it go?
I’d be lying if I said I know. No one knows. There’s just too much happening too quickly.
So what am I basing my optimism on? That’s what Jon wanted to know.
And the truth is, nothing.
I’ve got no idea how things will pan out.
But I chose to believe that things will be awesome.
Doesn’t that make me a little naive? Doesn’t that make me Pollyanna in a field full of Terminator machines?
Look, there are so many situations in life like this. Situations where the complexity is just too much for any human mind, or all human minds, to get a hold of.
The outcome is unknowable. I’ve looked into it and made sure that it is one of these situations (it’d be naïve to skip this step), but I can say for sure that it is. It is definitely unknowable.
And faced with an unknowable future, we have a choice. To get excited about the promises on offer, or get anxious about the threats that are coming.
Each posture is as ‘rational’ as the other.
And regardless of which posture you choose, it has pretty much zero impact on the outcome.
Stressing about something won’t fix it. Getting excited about something won’t make it happen.
The only thing that changes is how you feel about it. The only thing that changes is your mood.
But that counts for a lot. When you’re excited, you’re open, you’re ready, you’re energised and you’re a lot more fun to be around. Those things will get you places.
So that’s why I’m a technomist. I feel the thrill as much as the next person. But given the future is unknowable, I choose to be excited. I choose to be energised. I choose to share my excitement with others in a make-sure-you-don’t-miss-one-day-event.
It’s just how I chose to live right now.
So come along to the Next-10 conference. I promise it’s going to be amazing, and I promise to give you something to get excited about.