Magazine article The Futurist

2020 Visionaries: In This Third Installment of the 2020 Visionaries Series, We Look at the Future of the Global Environment and of Democracy-Two Areas of Concern That Will Increasingly Intertwine in the Next 10 Years

Magazine article The Futurist

2020 Visionaries: In This Third Installment of the 2020 Visionaries Series, We Look at the Future of the Global Environment and of Democracy-Two Areas of Concern That Will Increasingly Intertwine in the Next 10 Years

Article excerpt

Engineering the Physical and Political Future

Over the course of the last century, humans took over the evolution of our species from nature. From huge public works projects visible from space to designer protein species that companies like Maxygen can manufacture on demand, evidence of our escape from the Darwinian imperative is all around us.

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This artificial evolution has proceeded 10 million times faster than natural evolution, according to one scientist with whom I spoke. The results include not only exponential scientific progress and increased longevity and quality of life, but also human-engendered global warming, pollution, deforestation, and the threat of mass species extinction. The eventual collapse of the ecosystem is becoming the overwhelming issue for our time, as the European Commission on Key Technologies first declared in 2005. There are 30% too many people for the ecosystem to support sustainably.

The time has come to evolve the way that we evolve. …

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