TED Conversations

Sharon McCann

TEDCRED 10+

This conversation is closed.

Can we invent our way out of our coming crises?

In his talk: The Future is Abundance it is posited that we will or al;ready have invented all that is necessary to meet the needs of the future in terms of food, energy and water shortages that we currently face.

The statement that he made that really caught my attention was "demonetizing".

I fear that there are two problems with inventing our way out, first, scarcity is profitable and there are those who do not wish to lose that profit regardless of what scarcity costs humanity. The second is that humans are slow to adapt. We are an incredibly adaptable species, but we do fight it. I think the retreat to religiosity that is gripping nations from Iran to the US is a reaction to swift technological change.

So, is he right? Can we invent our way out of the crises we face in energy, food and water?

Topics: energy food
Share:
  • thumb
    Mar 9 2012: I think we already have all the solutions thought out. Time to implement, market, develop,... the tools (together).

    Though we are over-using the planet, we can have more abundance and less over-use.
    We need to implement our way out of the crisis... and some people will not be happy when their factories and business or economic models go down with it...
    • thumb
      Mar 9 2012: As far as putting centralized manufacturing out of business, have you ever asked yourself why good 3D printers cost so much? It has already been shown that objects, circuits, displays, foods, and even organs can be printed. Join the 3D bandwagon for a better world. It will change the economy. It will change education. It will change medicine.

      What happens when a youth in Uganda can manufacture oscilloscopes or computers or hamburgers or vaccines at home?
      • Mar 9 2012: 3D printers are amazing wonderful technology. But, they are not made of nothing and they do not print from or with nothing.... They still require resources. Whatever the plastic is that they are printed from, the equipment itself which utilizes rare earths and energy.....
        • thumb
          Mar 10 2012: If you investigate you will find that the rarest available natural element on earth divided equally amongst earth's 7 Billion people would provide each of them about 12 tons. Not enough for you? Then trade some other elements for your portion of that ( if trade still exists). Are we not talking about more billions of minds being applied to our problems than ever? I don't see the worry.
      • thumb
        Mar 9 2012: Damien,

        I was not thinking of putting all factories out of business, only those that contribute to current problems (i.e. a whole lot of combustion engine products for example).
        • thumb
          Mar 10 2012: I'm not sure combustion is the problem. I think once we start making everything out of carbon from the atmosphere we will be raising a fuss that we have to increase burning of unused appliances and constructions to make carbon available for new constructions and to keep the planet from freezing. No the #1 effort should be making lots of solar energy available to everyone.
        • thumb
          Mar 11 2012: Maybe "it is" because so many have lost themselves in the material world?? They no longer seem to know who they are so filling the self with things and stuff becomes a temporary bandaid, which in the case of a new car may last a few months!
          There does not seem to be any balance in the way we exists. I would not call it living for most people!
      • thumb
        Mar 11 2012: Great point Damian,

        If that would be possible, we would indeed solve a big problem and have great resources at once.
        If we could take tweak the carbon-capture method from plants for example, we could do some awesome CO2 harvesting.
      • Mar 27 2012: Damian, there is no reply button on your comment about rare earth minerals and the vast volum of some of them that exists. The reason theya re called rare earths when many of themn exist in abundance is because they have enormous extraction costs. The ROEI on most of them is horrible. Some not only require enormous energuy input to be extracted, but cause horrific levels of pollution (cesium 13 is a by product) these costs must be taken into account. You may have these rare earth minerals in your fron yard but I doubt you are willng to allow their extraction. This also applies to things like Oil and frakking fo natural gas......
        • thumb
          Mar 27 2012: Well, that certainly may be the case, but the truth is that there's so much produced that we throw it away. How many electronic devices have you tossed out in the last ten years? What portion of perfectly functional chips were on board? I can tell you that even the poorest American throws away enough functional chips to supply 3dPrinter controllers for himself and a dozen others.
          As an exercise I built a 3dPrinter exclusively from stuff picked from dumpsters. Each 2d printer tossed out has stepper motors, drivers, voltage controllers, power supplies, guide rails, nuts and bolts, wires, limit switches. People dispose of working computers (with their hard drives full of personal information!) and tools and things to use as heater elements and glues.
          as far as "available print materials" one can almost print with anything. Here's an example Markus Kayser - Solar Sinter Project https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptUj8JRAYu8 So try to stay optimistic. Keep an open mind and think of the possibilities, not the impossibilities.
    • thumb
      Mar 15 2012: a wee bit too late! This summer will be the hottest ever in recorded history and the melting of glaciers will be beyond anyones wildest dreams.
      No I do not want you to believe me :)
      We can't talk our way out of this.
      Yes we do have ALL the solutions: We all know who is stopping "us" from implementing those solutions and why. Yet all we do is talk about it instead of doing something about it.
      Only a few gutsy people had the "right ideas" Protesting. Now the laws have been changed so that it is illegal to gather: (read: protesting where "they do not want you to and if they don't like your ideas)
      Wake up World. By the way that is an enlightening site :)
      • thumb
        Mar 27 2012: Lisi Hoff you say, "Maybe 'it is' because so many have lost themselves in the material world". I don't know what you mean by 'it is', but my perspective has to be on the long range and I wish to see human life survive the ultimate demise of earth. This planet is doomed and will be uninhabitable for humans long before it is engulfed by the sun. We seem to be the only species available to even have a chance at rescuing earth's flora and fauna from that imminent demise. How can we do that if we remain mud sucking bottom dwellers? Tiktaalik brought us from the ocean to the land. Is it not our duty and place to bring life from land into space? There is the potential for this whole solar system to be effectively one huge greenhouse. I don't see disposable razors as a sign of the problem, I see them as one small aspect of the advance and march of technology that should inexorably lead us to the only sane decision.
        • thumb
          Mar 27 2012: In answer to your question Sharon: NO

          Damien: "It is": The unwillingness of the majority of people to give up Any comforts or new toys.
          Are we really meant to be consuming robots without conscience?? Are we meant to continue to rape the earth in order to attempt to satisfy a seeming need for novelties and unusual experiences?? A need for novelties that keeps up unhappy and constantly searching for THE toy that will finally make us happy??While we continue to poison our environment.
          Happiness can never be bought! Consuming are a temporary bandaid at best.

          We already have the technology to solve many problems I just wonder what good it will do when we allow companies like Monsanto to poison our food supplies.
          In order to regenerate the depleted soils so we can grow healthy foods, we need to stop using GMOs, pesticides et cetera. They are also temporary bandaids and will only aggravate the food problems we are facing. They also poison our waters.

          I think we know what the issues are. I am not saying anything you don't already know. My only hope for humanity is: What are we going to do about it????

          Technology by and in of itself can do absolutely Nothing! It is how we humans use the technology that matters. Any technology can be used to help heal the Earth and it can be used to destroy the Earth.

          PS:Damien, just what do you mean by "the only sane decision"? And "sane" to whom?
  • thumb
    Mar 2 2012: In the UK we have a movement called "Transition" which aims to help communities to become robust enough to withstand the escalation in oil prices and eventually the reduction in oil and oil products. One litre of petrol costs around £1.36 in the UK - 70p of which is government tax. So the crisis is already with us.

    Firstly, Transition is about helping people to understand how dependent we are on oil and oil based products e.g. for energy, transport, plastics, fertilizers, synthetic materials etc. Transition then enables people to develop new skills, such as growing food locally without oil based fertilizers, and to change their lives so that they make different choices -using less oil based products. For example, when you realise that a jumper made from wool is warmer, more breathable and less smelly then a nylon knitted jumper you'll buy wool in future. When you feel the bone warming heat from a wood burning stove you'll use your gas fired central heating less. When you understand that wood sourced from coppice woodland is a renewable, low carbon, resource that has positive benefits for biodiversity you'll enjoy that wood burning stove all the more.

    It’s a head change - if scarcity generates price increases (supply and demand) - work towards stopping or reducing the purchase of that product. But we need time to re-educate people about ways to live well without the level of oil we've become used to. We are living in a transition time.

    For those interested, the web site http://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/

    Books:
    E F Schumacher (1971) Small is Beautiful: A study of Economics as if People Mattered
    Linda Breen Pierce (2000) Choosing Simplicity
    Carl Honore (2004) In Praise of Slow
    Tom Hodgkinson (2006) How to be Free
    Nick Rosen (2007) How to live off-Grid
    Stephen Harding et al, (2011) Grow Small, Think Beautiful
    • Mar 2 2012: This type of movement is not unknown, and it has counterparts elsewhere. But, it also has some alter ego movements. Many of the "prepper" movements have their own genesis in the idea that peak oil will bring about profound societal change and they are preparing for the loss of technology. I wonder sometimes if the groups are not somewhat similar in their intent to survive, which could manifest in a rejection of new technology or even sabotage?
      • thumb
        Mar 3 2012: Hi Sharon,
        From what I know of Transition they strongly value new technology, and look to it for finding better ways to generate electricity, save on travel and to provide easier communication.

        I don't think Transition is about survival in a post apocalypse - back to the stone age - stand by your gun sense... It’s about finding new ways to live our normal lives without being so dependent on oil. The world’s population needs to reduce consumption of oil based products to eak out our dwindling resources. We all need to play our part. I believe we can invent our way out of future difficulties - but that invention will be a mixture of technological innovations and social reorganisation.
        • Mar 4 2012: I am not disagreeing with you Heather, just positing that the alter movements have their own agendas which may not be conducive to technology advancing our way out,
      • Mar 8 2012: How about the fact that a lot of these “shortages” are not natural limitations but environmental regulations that are putting more and more resources off limits? The green movement is creating a self fulfilling prophesy that flies under the radar. Oil prices have gone up because of the vast restrictions to drilling, especially in the US. Known oil reserves double about every ten years but the media and others suppress this fact. Food prices jumped tremendously hurting the lower billion because 30% of the corn produced in the US is now being used to produce ethanol. Rain forests are being bulldozed to put in palm oil trees to make bio diesel. After draconian limits to logging in the US was imposed in the 70s world wide illegal logging increased dramatically. Who is causing all of this? Blank out, no mentions, no cognition.

        A symbiotic golden mean that would allow the greatest resource abundance as well as protect the environment is not being discussed and is never allowed. There is an apocalypse coming and it is being artificially created!
  • thumb
    Mar 24 2012: Sharon,

    Several factors are converging that make what he posits somewhat plausible.

    The first is disruption, the second is innovation.
    Third: in many ways is informed, undermined and abetted by both: information.

    The ubiquity of information parallels the distributed effect of so many crises. On the one hand we know more. On the other, we are squandering more. Including much of our knowledge.

    For example, we have irrefutable knowledge that monetary systems have fatal flaws that are accelerated by the massive prioritizing of monetary systems. Thus, their failures have catalyzed a world-wide disruption in the monetary systems and their methods.

    With this knowledge and the same accelerating effect modern knowledge (thanks to technology and media) has on information, we are also uniquely equipped to engage equally accelerated "inventions" or solutions.

    If money is the prevailing problem, such solutions must logically consider non-monitary solutions.

    Thus innovations that somehow mimic the "indoctrinated" profit system but adapt maximum humanity by measuring and incentivizing non-monetary profits not to win-lose equations but shared abundance should be seriously entertained..

    There are nascent supportive systems for such in the works.

    Among them, in some US states, are new For-Benefit Corporation status businesses may choose. With it, both shareholders and stakeholders outcomes are considered fiscal priorities. Making such companies a hybrid of non-profit (ostensibly measured by success achieving positive stakeholder impacts, which include non-monetary) and for-profit (measured by success of increasing shareholder value, which are almost always monetary).

    Its fair to Q if we can sustain and grow such "for the greater good" methods. And particularly non-monetary efforts. None the less, it is also fair to acknowledge, times are ripe for such innovations.

    Andrea
    • Mar 26 2012: Andrea, I like what you are saying however, I would posit that if money is the problem your problem is humans. Money is simply a means of transfer, they come and go and are hugely important, do't get me wrong. However, humans currently put huge faith in money as a measure of their own value. Currency solutions seem to small to get at the human inability to adapt their way of thinking rapidly enough to make good use of the innovations that already exist to help get us out of this. I think we can invent solutions to every problem we currently face. I fear that we will not implement it quickly enough because humans cannot grasp the danger, cannot grasp how giving up some of their world view can save them, cannot release mythologies that hinder vision.
      • thumb
        Mar 26 2012: Sharon--

        Yes, agreed. If the problem is money the problem is humans. I'd develop your point by adding human's problem with money is deeply related to human's inclinations towards transactional solutions.. So is the solution humans.

        Where, when and if humans choose in greater and sustained measures to see that linear transactions (like money) undermine, rather than maximize their long-term "return-on-investment" they can experience rewards and success that far exceed what money can buy.

        Andrea
        • thumb
          Mar 28 2012: To me, the worst thing about money is that it reinforces the notion that this is a zero sum game. It reinforces it almost constantly such that people are hard pressed to stop and realize that it is wrong. If it was a zero sum game we would have a population of about a 30 million and all be living in huts.
  • W T 100+

    • +1
    Mar 22 2012: What I don't get is that already, for many many years there has been a crisis with energy, food and water. Children and adults alike die each and every day, all over the world, and nothing is being done.

    Who exactly needs to suffer in addition to those suffering now in order for something to be done about it?

    He that is faithful in the least, is faithful in the most.

    If humankind cannot, or better yet....WILL NOT, feed a few today, do you really expect humans to solve a major crisis in energy, food and water in the future??

    I find it hard to believe that humans will solve the issues plaguing mankind.

    Maybe we need divine intervention?

    Just my humble opinion.
    • thumb
      Mar 24 2012: hi Mary,

      We may find that the end of the Mayan calendar is signaling the very divine intervention that we need. There are signs of the times, there are signs in the heavens, and there are ancient signs all leading to an event that no one really knows how it is going to all play out. The Mayans referred to the return of Quetzalcoatl. Jesus spoke of the return of the master. The book of Revelation predicts the final triumph of good over evil. I don't believe that we can do this alone, and I don't believe that we are going to have to do it alone.
      • W T 100+

        • 0
        Mar 25 2012: Roy, let me ask you this: In your conversation on the Mayan calendar, you mention a war...what war are you referring to? The book of Revelation mentions two different wars.....

        Also, the master that Jesus spoke of as returning, is said to be happy at the faithful slave who is providing food at the proper time to Jesus' sheep.....who is the slave, and who are the sheep? Do you have any idea?

        I am not familiar with the Mayan calendar, and do not put faith in doomsday predictions....seen too many....noone knows the day or hour.....
        • thumb
          Mar 25 2012: Hi Mary,

          The war in heaven is between the carnal verses spiritual centers of the mind. The carnal are the forces of darkness where the animal passions rule. The spiritual are the messengers of light where we come to understand the true nature of the cosmos and are able to work in harmony with it.
          The master of deception personifies all the misconceptions that exist in the mental field. We compute decisions based on what we know. When our knowledge is plagued by lies and deceits, our answers are all going to be distorted and twisted. To cast the master of deception down, is to expose all those lies and falsehoods so they no longer have an effect on us.

          There are those who seek money and power. They will fight anything that stands in their way. These are the ones that will bring the war in the mental field to play out on earth. They will not give in to "Christ", rather they will play the game until it is finished and they don't care who they hurt in the process.

          The slave is among the oppressed that continues to do his/her job in reaching out to others. They share in love to one another without seeking power or greed. The sheep are the ones who know the shepherd, which is "Christ Jesus". They are willing to follow the shepherd, as opposed to goats, in which the word was chosen because goats are stubborn animals and will not be led, thus it refers to those who have to have their own way no matter what.

          The Mayan calendar is not about doomsday, it is about transformation. The end of one age will lead into the one that follows. The calendar ends because things will have changed from what they are now. As the scriptures say, look for a new heaven and a new earth, for former things will have passed away. It isn't the earth that will pass away, it is only our current way of seeing things that will pass away. We will have a new vision to follow, guided by the creator and not the created.
      • W T 100+

        • 0
        Mar 27 2012: Alot of what you say is reasonable.....I will have to think about it.
  • thumb
    Mar 22 2012: Hi Sharon,

    If we are going to succeed, we need to get religion on board. But the return to religiosity has pros and cons. The pros are the humanitarian efforts that come from a well organized religious body as well as the creativity that spirituality fosters. The cons are all the misconceptions that modern religions are teaching, leading to psychosis in the religious body. The misconceptions are going to need to be dealt with, otherwise, you will have a fighting force that will sabotage what technology can offer. Getting rid of religion is not an option, unless you intend to set the world on fire by extermination, in which case, you will have your population boom dealt with.

    The biggest misconception is religion's definition of God. They present God as a person, not a life force. Quantum fields are everywhere. They are invisible. They are the source from which all things come and back to which they go. They are what is doing the creating. They have all the qualities attributed to God because that is what they are. We are made in their image because they are a part of us, and our understanding of them is what allows us to come up with the inventions that we do.

    The second biggest misconception is religion's concept of damnation. They teach that we are all sinners and not worthy of God's love, and only in the afterlife can we come under God's grace. What they don't understand, is that the afterlife is not what happens to you when you die, it is what happens to you when you wake up to the truth (become enlightened). As a human animal, we can offer nothing positive as religious holy wars attest. As an enlightened being, we can do all the things that technology allows us to do. That is what "born again" means, and most of you are.

    I am one of many that are trying to deal with the misconceptions. They distort how we think and act. They distort how we compute solutions. They undermine positive growth and rational thinking.
  • thumb
    Mar 8 2012: First lets address food and water. Food: As an example Phoenix AZ was surrounded by crop land for years. That land represented a immediate cash profit to develop housing and malls. There was no study completed to examine how the city would be impacted. The dollar for the moment superseded the need for the future. Water: We can eliminate one plant ( the Tamerisk ) from the Southwest and save millions of gallons of water a day. Environmentalists will not allow the use of the chemicals that would resolve the invasive Tamerisk envasion. The Mexican Spotted Owl has stopped the lumber industry in Arizona even though its habitate is over six states and all of Mexico and is not endangered. The reason I bring all of this to the table is to demonstrate that we know what has happened and do nothing to reverse the trend or to stop it from future occurance. We do not need to revent the wheel we need to under stand why it no longer works. We need smarter management and less intervention.

    We need energy effency. There are ways to make cars more efficient and the patient was bought up by biig oil. The money you discussed earlier plays a key role in all of these arenas. When the inventor can market his invention for use for as much as those who wish stop it .... some of this will cease.

    The third and most important point is that we, the people, are responsible for buying into all of this and allowing it. When we stop accepting and buying crap products and demand quality, when we stop allowing government intrusion, when we protect resources, and when we get involved in the real issues then the need to invent our way out of situations will go away. Sorry to lecture. Good luck. Bob
    • Mar 9 2012: RObert, you make some very good points which tie into Craig's points below, however, you leave an issue open that I'd like you to clarify. You say we need energy efficiency and most emphatically we need "smarter management and less intervention". Who will do the smarter management? Under what paradigm will business practice smart resource management? I reference the tragedy of the commons.
      • thumb
        Mar 9 2012: I wish I had a quick easy answer but I do not. The last paragraph above hints at the answer. When the consumer/voter raises enough holy ned then SOME things will change. We will never be free of poor management or government (EGO) intervention. However, when we begin to be better informed and make informed decisions then businesses and elected officials will take note. The power has always rested with the citizens but they are unaware of how to put it to work for the common good. Best of luck. Bob
  • thumb
    Mar 6 2012: Population crashes are quite normal in nature. It may be viewed as a crisis also. The fact that there are so many people on Earth means that at some point, no matter how many checks and balances Homo sapiens comes up with, we will eventually have a a large population crash. The fact is that many so called "thresholds" or "tipping points" have been invented is a signal that natures intellect is being ignored. Inventions have a part to play in softening the peaks and troughs of population fluctuations. But they will never be a soothe-all for humanities woes, and misgivings. We should worship nature: it's the only invention we wont master.
    • Mar 8 2012: I think you may mean that tipping points have been averted.... If those natural interventions which could (or perhaps should) have significantly eroded our population have been averted successfully in the past, what makes you think they will not continue to be averted for the foreseeable future?

      The population alone is a crisis of its own.....
  • thumb
    Mar 5 2012: We can, but the type of invention that is required is, I think, rather different to the picture that one might form from Peter Diamandis talk and has little to do with Moore's law. We have got very good at making computers faster and smaller and "cheaper", but to what end? Is the primary purpose to liberate the voices of rural african farmers, or is it to provide an additional medium for selling products and services?

    While cell-phones and the internet certainly have incidental benefits to African farmers, the context that has driven their production is one that continues to drive the growth in carbon emissions that Paul Gilding refers to and whose impact on rural africans vastly outweighs the benefits of smartphones. It is all very well to speak of abundance in terms of computing power, but it chimes less well with the lived experience of ordinary americans and even less well with the experience of ordinary africans (I keep referring to africans because that is my context).

    It is becoming increasingly clear that the critical issues facing us in the 21st century are twinned: equity; and resource constraints. For large numbers of people to escape hunger (which is the world's number one health threat http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats ) we have to address these two issues.

    This is not just about poor Africans, though. Looking at the current state of US politics it is very clear that equity is the elephant in the room. And as resource constraints tighten, it is an elephant that will become harder and harder to ignore.

    The sort of invention we need is social. We need to find ways of de-linking economic growth from resource consumption. When Paul Gilding talks about economic growth being impossible, he's talking about economic growth that is linked to resource consumption. I think part of the challenge is in placing real value in our humanity, and in human lives. The internet has a role to play here, but it is our hearts and minds that must lead the way, not gadgets.
    • Mar 9 2012: > We need to find ways of de-linking economic growth from resource consumption

      I've been considering this issue for a while. After listening to both Gilding and Diamandis... a critical factor in the answer to the problem of us bumping against the boundaries of our planet is as you say, a reconsideration, a rethinking of the concept of economics.

      I came up with three ideas/metrics to modify the way we measure the nature of economic growth...

      1. Sustainability Bubble - indicates energy and resources that we have available to us that can be reused, regenerated, recycled without degradation in quality or utility. Basically, the larger the 'bubble' is, the more actual (as opposed to fleeting, temporal, illusory) material welfare we have.

      2. Experiential growth - is a focus on improving experiences for all people, decoupling it from the idea of material growth. With modern technology, we have successfully decoupled things like books and movies and music from physical objects, redefining them as much cheaper to distribute and reproduce bits and bytes on machines, which are also more effective. It's not to dismiss the positive experiential factors of 'authenticity'... but rather to champion the positive experiences in themselves, irrespective of where they come from. The focus on the metric allows us to develop measures of experiential quality to material/energy effectiveness, and allow us to focus on that metric as a factor of 'economic growth'.

      3. Freedom from coercion - entails how much freedom we have in opportunity and resources to pursue our passions. The reason this is important is because it relooks at economics and equality. GDP per capita is not an adequate manner of assessing quality of life - freedom from coercion OTOH is a much more succint summarization of that.

      These ideas are in their nacency - but will be further developed by myself. Hopefully, even in this early stage, they can still serve to inspire paradigm changes in thinking.
  • thumb
    Mar 3 2012: Shouldn't it be Water,food,energy.
  • thumb
    Mar 3 2012: We will invent our way out its what way and what parts of the world we save and sacrifice thats in question, I would hope that we look for a way to move ourselves to a mass colonization of the moon and mars using laser launched ships that could be the new covered wagons. I think that we have underestimated to number of people willing to risk everything for a future of wealth for themselves and their families. I will post a poll about it and see what happens.
  • thumb
    Mar 30 2012: The short answer is no, or at least not until we are capable of creating matter out of nothing. All kinds of commodities/products and most definitely the scarce resources need to be translatable into universally recognised mediums. This is the function of all types of currencies in the world and it took mankind almost three millennia to come to a point where there are essentially very few currencies representing a much wider array of social formations, which in effect is one of the forces driving the globalization of economies. We may try to establish a universal currency and attempt to equalize prices at a global level, but I remain doubtful that this approach would be pursued by our greedy Western World.
  • thumb
    Mar 30 2012: [smile]

    I say We already have invented Ourselves out of the crisis, but that the real question is: Can We get Our hands on the technology hidden from Us?

    See My conversation here: http://www.ted.com/conversations/10401/call_for_the_release_of_electr.html
  • thumb
    Mar 28 2012: Indeed, but you would need a fairly good chip lab to be able to recreate the quantum cascade laser. I don't wonder though that it was shelved due to the potential for it's use as a weapon. You could literally drill through anything despite it being low power by changing the molecular configuration of the material to something explosive or at least highly reactive.
  • Mar 28 2012: If we share all we have there is nothing more that we need to come out of crises.
  • Mar 28 2012: I believe we can definitely fulfil this mission but a lot of hard work must be done in order to accomplish it. The people willing to help will be the ones creating the future. Our united voice should be earth shaking loud. EVERYONE needs to know, wether they feel like it or not.

    Our voice should be heard and spread all over the WORLD. Not leaving it to the wish of luck but to the cause and effect law. We must work a lot! Very hard!! Give OUR best!!! Bring awareness to the world is the best solution.

    We all need this change. At the same time, as we know, some POWERFUL people don't want the change, being that a matter of ignorance that we can only fight together. If we can bring awareness of the advantages of a new world, for the best of ALL. If we allow people to enjoy the view of a global perspective with roots on love, peace and education. If we could only tell the people who they really are and how powerful we can be all together. If we could expose all the truth with a very well planned strategy that allows everyone to hear us.

    If we could once again believe in ourselves and not the rest of them , it would be easy to never face a crises after the last one ever again.

    If 2012 is the year that was chosen it is the best year to start building the beginning of ourselves again. To allow us to learn from each other and show who we really are. NOT for personal benefits but to benefit OUR WORLD, planet Earth, shouldn't we be grateful about it? Let's take good care of it and together make a better place for the upcoming generations, for our children and everything that comes after them. WE ARE THE WORLD!!!! LETS GET TOGt ETHER AND GET IT DONE!! !!! the people that have been trying to keep us separated.
  • Mar 28 2012: Excluding luck, is there any other way, other than inventing our way out of a problem?
    • Mar 28 2012: ABSOLUTELY! Technological advances are not the answer to all problems. Most of the world's problems are related to human behavior. I say we need to learn and grow and mature our way out of many of our problems.
      • thumb
        Mar 29 2012: Yet so much of human behavior is closely tied to our evolutionary past. Just look at the well described very well known problem of population that people have the hardest time trying to deal with despite knowing how severe the problem is the reproductive imperative has 750 million years of advantage over our will. Can we use technology to overcome our evolutionary baggage?
  • Mar 28 2012: When have we not pulled through?
    Might be tofu, might be robots.... who knows?
    All that matters is that 'we' have always found a way, and this will continue.
    Historically this has meant pushing what were thought to be limitations to our existence, this is likely to continue as well.

    ..just sayin'...
  • Mar 27 2012: • It never ceases to surprise me at the infinite capacity of the human mind to resist the introduction of useful knowledge
  • thumb
    Mar 27 2012: On the topic of "there are those who do not wish to lose that profit": Again I see 3dPrinters as the safest path to getting the world acclimated to decentralized manufacturing before the eventual (hopefully inevitable) Star Trek™ replicator that can make anything that it is possible to make. And just like the RepRap open sourced 3dPrinter has widespread interest and use so will any nanoscale manufacturing system be open sourced and available despite the hue and cry of corporate interests.
    We are only seeing the beginnings of what people can do with this novel manufacturing method (akin to the PDP11 stage of computers). The system will shift with each new capability of printers. First the corner paper print shops closed. Next it will be the makers of plastic nicknacks and widgets. Eventually industry will be limited to those that make printers.
  • thumb
    Mar 27 2012: A poison is just a resource that is improperly utilized. Sane is not being dependent on a single planet or a single sun to host your civilization. I view earth as the egg we develop in. Our destiny is out there colonizing other planets, other solar systems.
    It's true what you say that it's how we use technology. Should we be terrified of publicly available molecular manufacturing? Our society has grown up under the umbrella of scarcity economics and the public/corporate mindset has fully embraced what it can expect from what it calls reality... but it's all wrong! One huge problem is how do you transition the entire population of the world from thinking it's all a zero sum game run by scarcity economics to one that sees very little difference between bits and atoms.
    My question to you is what will this earth matter after it gets eaten up by the sun?
    • Mar 28 2012: None of it matters that far out to some degree. Carl Sagan once said that we were here so the cosmos could know itself. I genuinely believe that intelligence evolves around the cosmos regularly. But, given the vast quantities of space and timeintelligent species never cross paths. They live and die out.

      Humans are remarkably intelligent, but we are far from wise. If we do not have a significant increase in our wisdom soon we will end. I don't find that idea frightening at all. The thing I find frightening is that I have children. In the short term the "ending" if we fail to find some level of wisdom will be hard and may be sooner than people think. Like most parents I wish my children to have easy, happy lives. And it is this wish above all that may very well be part of our problem.
      • thumb
        Mar 28 2012: The situation is somewhat like the mideast where no matter who you are or what you do you will be stepping on somebodies toes. I can't think of any answer but providing people with the means to be independently self-sufficient via advanced nanotechnology.
        I do not understand what we are waiting for. The programmable catalyst which lay at the heart of a perfect nano-construction system has already been demonstrated with femtosecond conditioned laser pulses. Bell labs produced then shelved the quantum cascade laser which could easily and cheaply produce these femtosecond conditioned laser pulses on demand.
        • Mar 28 2012: Damian, this whole discussion is really about "what are we waiting for." We already have the technology. Humans are simply emotionally and mentally not ready to make the next step so they allow powerful people, emotional manipulation and fear to stop them. The individuals who can and are ready are over ruled by the masses of easily manipulated, frightened people.

          When steam locomotives were replaced by diesel everyone blamed the powerful labor unions for trying to keep the advance from happening in order to save their jobs. And they were right. But, the people who stood to make the money and who had the pwoer pushed the advance through in order to make more money. The advances we need now would cause those people now to lost their grip on the things that are keeping money in the hands of a few. Most advances are kept form the people. Most people have no idea how many technologies already exist that could address our energy problems (not solve them but certainly help) that are kept off the market. It snot a crazy conspiracy theory, it is market reality. Scarcity is profitable, need is rofitable, panic and deprivation can be not only profitable but a wonderful opportunity to consolidate power.
  • Mar 27 2012: Sharon !

    Thank you for asking !
    Developing new strategies, technologies... finding the solutions...whatever.. is only superficially helpful. The greenhouse effect( for example), a result of planetary pollution, is a direct consequence not so much of a rapacious commercial culture as of the attitude that makes that culture possible. The direct consequences of the me-first competitiveness of the ego-self. The only way to reverse this planetary degradation is to break down the barriers that wall us from nature and each other. Such aphorisms like "the brotherhood of man" " we are one" are not romantic nonsense or mystic/religious preaching cliches but practical patents for survival.
    • thumb
      Mar 27 2012: The crisis concept could be a different reality in diverse people or countries. The same staus in Us is completly different in Siria or in Mexico....so we dont have to think in "crisis" in just one way. This multiverse is so rich in paths and practical solutions. "The brotherhod of man" is no more than a elducorated phrase.
      • Mar 27 2012: Jaime !
        Any phrase is 'edulcrative' by definition...it's our job to make it dense, if we choose to :)
        The illusion that our world is big and we are different is the first illusion we should part with. Cultural diversity doesn't suggest different paradigm, I believe we share the same.
        And whatever the face of the crisis, we'll suffer or even perish together. I truly believe we are one... it depends on the scale of observation.
        That's what I think, you may think differently and it's OK
        Thanks for the response !
        • thumb
          Mar 30 2012: Natasha

          Beyond the scale, I realize that we all are in the same planet but not in the same level of crisis....I dont believe in the way out method....maybe its better to confron the crisis from inside...the community or the individuals...the same

          the"crisis paradigm" for me is the crisis enigma.

          CRI...from sanscrit : cry .....in greek means: the very first cry from a newborn baby....

          So if we want to translate crisis, is just a wayout from some point to other....the crisis in itself have the way out, we cant invent anything to do the same...is already done.
      • Mar 31 2012: Hi, Jaime !
        Thanks for the etymology of the word " crisis" it's deep and communicates its meaning fully !
        In the very end there is a beginning. You believe that life is self regulated. And problem is always a part of the solution. If that is your point, we are on the same page here.I don't believe in grandiose plans either. " The crisis in itself have the way out" by pushing us to change towards greater caring, a lessened regard for material things, a desire to be of service to others, a more integrated awareness : we are not two with nature ,we are one. The rest will come with. Maybe it's the face of the baby , we are labouring together to bring to birth ?
        Definitely " Love your neighbour as thyself" needs resurrection.:)
        • thumb
          Mar 31 2012: Natasha surely the transformation from "I" to "we" , The "we" sense is lost in the middle of a ego storm . When the society concept was invented (XVI century) the community begun to loose the meaningfull values and adopt a new name "society". If we see the other pole of the society axis, is "person" and person signifies "mask" in latin used for the teather...PER-SONARE (to sound o speak), thus the society is no more that a lot of masks to defend our egos and show our misery. The person mask is wide use in the social life (whatever means that) and inside of that mascarade we lost the real sense of community and the deep meanin to be individuals (from latin: without division) IN DIVIDERE. So the resurrection of the second commandament is waiting for real life.
      • Mar 31 2012: Jaime !
        It's brilliant ! ! !
        Through Etymology the human history is seen in 3D image + Time. Historical facts are only surface the history, let alone that there is no such thing as an uninterpreted fact, so History is a highly manipulated and tricky subject. Language, on the other hand, is the reflection of the human psyche and 'words' reveal undisturbed/uninterpreted history in its real cause-effect flow. Inspired by your comment I googled the word "society" and found this :
        Adam Smith wrote that a society "may subsist among different men, as among different merchants, from a sense of its utility without any mutual love or affection, if only they refrain from doing injury to each other."
        Any comments ? Mask has been glued to face irredeemably, no "mutual love or affection" required .
        Jaime, what can I say ? Thank you very much for opening me to this !
        Anything else to share ? I'll be delighted !
        Thank you !
        • thumb
          Apr 1 2012: Natasha the human history is just a lot of words...no more. No lenguage equal no history.

          Thanks for the 3D metaphor....plus time is Multiple D......
          Time in history is more than chronological line....is a flexible net with multiple dimensions, if you see behind the words (the history raw material) we can discover that multiple dimensions.

          The mask is made from words,,,,the glue is all the credos and beliefs. Smith is just an example of desintegration in words and facts. In the XVIII century they all(philosophers included) invented the "Horror House" where the immigrants from the country side spend a lot of weeks tight unchained to a pole in a dump full of water un to their their mouths while all pedal a pump to avoid drawning. After that reeducation they start to obbey everything from a new kind of alimentation (artificial nurturing) to sexual prohibitions, except the procreation. The new industrial system need more slaves. (in Smith words "to produce a lot of pins). And they dont have any way out from any crisis. As today. (sorry for my english)
      • Apr 2 2012: Hi, Jaime !

        "the human history is just a lot of words...no more."

        Maybe you are right, but i am not quite ready to absorb this idea. :) Too radical for me.
        And talking about crisis, I'd like to share with you this revelation :

        WE ARE NOT IN CRISIS, WE ARE CRISIS.

        Here it is ,everything included , "why" and "how" bound together as they should.

        Thanks a lot for this conversation !
    • thumb
      Mar 27 2012: I don't think you are going to eradicate "me first" mentality. I'm certain the best you can hope for is to make conservation and ecological awareness APPEAL to the ego. Many people see it this way and lead very green lives.
      • Mar 27 2012: Damian !

        Thanks for sharing, I agree with your mild approach, it does work already for many and it's good !
        You are right, I am not going to eradicate...anything... "me first" mentality included :) It should die peacefully through awareness.
        Adam Smith was wrong saying, that what is better for you is automatically better for the community. We are now in the mid of the mess, created by this industrial age mentality.
        Nash came later with different assumption : what is better for the community is eventually better for you.
        Now thinking 'quantummechanically' we are ready to ask " Who am I ?" Even educated guesses make "me first" mentality redundant.
        That's what I am hoping for :)
        • thumb
          Mar 27 2012: Was that Nash or Marx? (just kidding). I also hope more and more people can think like Nash. I don't see it fitting very squarely with commercialism. That means I think advertizing executives simply shelve the notion of buying product X for the sake of possible future benefit in the "unworkable" category even though lottery sales continue unabated.
        • Mar 28 2012: Are we talking about the same Nash? The Nash of game theory? Please clarify because that is not the way he is taught at all.
      • Mar 27 2012: It shouldn't bother you how it's fitting with commercialism. Don't beat a dead horse ! : )
        "I'm very proud of my gold pocket watch. My grandfather, on his deathbed, sold me this watch."
        ( just joking )
        • thumb
          Mar 28 2012: I was just thinking of how the free market system relies so heavily on advertizing and we know advertizing works, so it raises the prospect of "If we shift the mind set of the advertisers to sinking their efforts into selling green products and charging extortionist prices for those things that could get the advertiser in hot water then we might obtain a sea change in what people buy and how they think."
      • Mar 28 2012: I see... you are trying to find the way to alter the system ( which doesn't want to change !) by means available inside the system. Is it how US government dealt with a bank crisis ? Did it work ?
        I don't know, but something prompts me that it didn't. Sorry, but I don't see any possibility to shift the mindset of the advertisers. Advertising is part of the system, it can thrive or die with it. It doesn't have a destiny of it's own. I've come up with only one solution so far, .. BE that change you want to see in the world. Is it enough ? I don't know, but it's what we have, all of us.
        • thumb
          Mar 29 2012: I'm definitely there with you on "Be the change you want to see the world become". I don't think it matters if it is enough.
      • Mar 28 2012: Sorry for hijacking your reply button, Damian , dont see any other here .

        Sharon !
        We are talking about the same John Nash whose theories are used in market economics.
        Adam Smith stated that the optimum in society occurs when everybody works in their own best interests. John Nash’s Nobel prize winning dissertation in economics states that society works best when we work in our own best interests and in the best interests of society as a whole.
        Frankly, I don't have my own opinion here, I am not an expert, that's what I was told. If it's false I would appreciate your clarification :)
        • thumb

          R H 30+

          • +1
          Mar 29 2012: Thanks Natash. I followed your responses and am grateful for your fundamental approach that only the change within and our approach to each other will directly save us. Our 'miracle creations for the benefit of mankind' throughout history have not yet done the trick, I'm hard pressed to see how these new ones will unless we change our approach to how we value each other concurrently. There is currently no love, just success and power in the big picture. I need to see what incentives will be produced to change those who have the power and are successful to include all. Let's all keep working on it. Thnx again.
      • Mar 29 2012: R H !
        Thanks for your support and understanding ! It's hardly possible to be convincing suggesting "the change from within" as '' a way out of..."
        But I believe that it IS a way, simply a way.
        Thank you !
  • thumb
    Mar 27 2012: I really hope for our children's sake that we are inventing our way out of crisis right now. Those people that do not wish to lose profit...they are the biggest problem...
  • thumb
    Mar 27 2012: As you say "we" of who do you think, Sharon.
    Do you think there's someone that can orchestrate the world like a music conductor?

    Technology wouldn't be the problem to put things in the right order for a happy future it is the masses of ignorance around the world that allows power to those that follow their self interest.
    To inform the people over the globe will help to get some good thing done here and there and if it's enough the disaster will be limited in the end. However change will happen and we have to cope with that, we being those that's left of us humans. Maybe they're the same few that now profit from the destruction of nature and which can buy the right technology to safe themselves.
    • W T 100+

      • 0
      Mar 27 2012: "However change will happen and we have to cope with that, we being those that's left of us humans. Maybe they're the same few that now profit from the destruction of nature and which can buy the right technology to safe themselves."

      Let's hope not Frans...........I personally do not think they will be the ones left......

      "Wisdom along with an inheritance is good and is advantageous for those seeing the sun.
      For wisdom is for protection the same as money is for a protection; BUT the advantage of
      knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners." Wise king Solomon at Ecclesiastes 7:11-12
    • Mar 27 2012: Frans, When I say we I egnerally mean humankind. Is there some one who can orchestrate the world? Absolutely not. But, history has shown us repeatedly that there are ideas that can. People, oft times one person can plant the seed of an idea that chan change the dominant ideology of an entire society and change the direction of it like a ship tacking in a new direction. I think that is what we need. I believe we already have the technology we need, what we lack is the willingness and intelligence to use it appropriately.
    • Mar 27 2012: Hi, Frans !
      Honestly, I don't envy those "few" :) What is the world they'll find themselves in ?
  • thumb
    Mar 27 2012: Yes, I strongly believe we can invent our own way out of the crises.
    • Mar 27 2012: If you believe so "strongly" then what of the questions I posit regarding profitability and human behavior? How do you think those will be overcome?
  • thumb

    R H 30+

    • 0
    Mar 27 2012: I would have to offer that no, we cannot 'invent' our way out of the 'coming crisis'. I start with the question: In what ways will more inventions, such as: genetic 'farming', A.I. singularity, and nanotech, change the market? Mr. Diamandis basically uses the 'rising tide floats all boats' theory of economic expansion and equilibrium. But using his statistics that we are 'x times more wealthy than ever and prices are exponentially so much cheaper - on average!' than they were 'a hundred years ago', we still have nearly half of the world's population livning on less than $75 per month. I would then say that some of the 'boats' must have sunk, and others turned into airplanes. The 'average' income rise around the world is grossly distorted by the immense growth of wealth by the top 1-2% of earners. These new 'inventions' do not have an accompanying invention on how are we going to regard each other. Every single person. There is no accompanying invention eliminating the need for thousands and thousands of 'social service' agencies, human welfare agencies, environmental protection groups, health volunteers, trade and employee unions, and a myriad other 'service agencies' that only exist because of our poor regard for each other and our planet (I'm not even including if these efforts were no longer necessary because we had adequate regard for each other and the planet, that the millions of 'human resourses' and multi-billions of dollars devoted to these efforts could then be directed towards more 'productive' efforts than the 'repair of deficiencies'). I feel it is not our inventions that will get us out of the coming crisis - although they could help - It will be our actual, concrete, demonstrated, inclusive regard for life and each other, and the accompanying agreement on what that is.
    • thumb
      Mar 28 2012: RH said, "These new 'inventions' do not have an accompanying invention on how are we going to regard each other."

      Really? Mature nanotech means the emancipation of every individual. How can that NOT have an effect on how are we going to regard each other? It means 100% recycling and the end of poverty for everyone. How can that NOT have an effect on how are we going to regard each other? It means DNA repair and the end of cancer (at the very least) and ultimately negligible senescence.How can that NOT have an effect on how are we going to regard each other?
      • thumb

        R H 30+

        • 0
        Mar 28 2012: Sure. Those are legitimate questions. My comparison is that many of the current solutions (mass education, job opportunity, availability to the miracles of healthcare) are not available to nearly half of the world's population today because of market realities. I don't see how these new inventions will change those market dynamics and will 'get us out of the coming crisis'. If we have 'mature nanotech', how does that automatically trickle down to those who cannot afford to pay for it? We have found the cure for many diseases (not cancer yet), but so many still do not have access to those cures. How will DNA repair get to those same people? If we, the rich, have '100% recycling', how does that mean poverty ends? We've often thought, in the last 100 years of 'miracle' discoveries, that we would end the associated malady. Yet they still exist often in greater numbers because of population expansion. I attribute this to market forces that are determined by our regard for one another. I don't understand how A (inventions) get to B (everybody) without a change in the market of delivery. Thanks for responding.
        • thumb
          Mar 28 2012: "If we have 'mature nanotech', how does that automatically trickle down to those who cannot afford to pay for it?"

          This question exemplifies this whole problem of how do we teach people what a difference this difference makes. There is no "can't afford to pay for it" in the above scenario. The universal programmable matter assembler is among other things universal. This is, it can make a copy of itself. They can become in very short order cheaper than air and everyone will be able to use them to make anything that can be made. The rest of your question illustrate that you misunderstood they all pertained to the development of mature nanotech (the above mentioned universal assembler).
          After that inventions go from inventor to the world directly through the internet for whatever passes for currency (if anything)
      • thumb

        R H 30+

        • 0
        Mar 29 2012: (in response to "...mature nanotech...") Thanks again Damian. Regarding universal assemblers, I understand there is much critiism to their self-replicating capability. (Please understand I am not your enemy here.) But if they are 'regulated', then who decides? If they are unregulated and universal, then what is the incentive for someone to spend years of study producing the effort and knowledge to create and maintain this system? In other words, what do they get out of it? A peaceful world? An understanding that their contribution to the 'whole' is their necessary satisfaction? I would say that communism has tried that and failed. Although our new creations can help us usher in a new world of more equitable and considerate regard for each other, I still see that we need to re-incentivise and define how we're going to do it, and that our tech creations in-of-themselves can't do it for us.
        • thumb
          Mar 29 2012: if cells can do it why not artificial life?

          "What do they get out of it? A peaceful world? An understanding that their contribution to the 'whole' is their necessary satisfaction? I would say that communism has tried that and failed."

          "our tech creations in-of-themselves can't do it for us."

          I disagree. Generally, people WANT to do things. What stops them is the problem. Incentive is only required to overcome the problems that are mostly associated with evolutionary baggage and NOT what a person would prefer. Otherwise positive incentives wouldn't work. Given the evolutionary baggage that motivates us to conserve calories by being lazy is probably the number one hindrance to people "getting out there and doing", I'd say that a sensible cure for that problem could be a high priority. Negative incentives like threats work to push people to do what they do not want to do. In a post nanotech world where everybody is autonomous, has whatever they want, they will still have their desires to do things but they won't need incentives to do them. They will simply have removed the disincentives to do them. one way to do that is to alter the genes that push us to conserve calories by being lazy. LOL, can you imagine a planet full of type A personalities?
  • thumb
    Mar 26 2012: Mankind has been inventing its way out of crises over hundreds of thousands of years. We are the survivors of innovations that succeeded; untold (and silent) multitudes picked the wrong inventions or technological fixes and are gone. The human race is -- and always has been -- an endangered species. The only way to know how long it has is to have the (impossible) ability to 'drop in' every 50 years to see how it's going. It's a bit arrogant to think that we'll make it as long as the trilobites or the dinosaurs or the mammoths did. What's certain is that civilization (a cultural artifact) will vanish before humans do. An intriguing thought, if packs of humans survive for hundreds of thousands of years more, what will out descendants become. (I can't help thinking of salamanders in caves who have lost the ability to see since vision has no survival value in total darkness.... and then there are tapeworms....)