I’m going to add yet one more wrap-up list to the long end-of-first-decade of the New Millennium lists. (To the surprise of some, our world has survived to read these lists.) I invite visitors to offer their own notions of what the most significant developments have been—those with the greatest potential to transform our lives.
As a starter, but not necessarily in the following order, I’d propose these:
– advances in nanotechnology
– digital social networking, wikis, etc.
– research in qubital computing
– start-up of the Large Hadron Collider
– growing popularization of certain ideas in the general population, e.g.:
* this planet represents, on one level, a single ecosystem for which we are all equally responsible;
* this ecosystem is in imminent crisis
* “the singularity”;
* machines will eventually evolve “true” intelligence;
* standard Darwinian principles only account for part of the evolutionary story, and that “creative emergence” (as opposed to creationist theories) presents a real phenomenon meriting scientific, social and political consideration;
* life is radically opportunistic, and quite possibly ubiquitous—both terrestrially and extraterrestrially; and
* our “universe” may in fact be, in some sense or senses, only one of many.
One important development stands outside this list. The vast majority of the world’s population is unaware of or uninterested in these developments, and their attitudes are being shaped by other ideas, including the notion that their fundamental values and interests are in important ways opposed to those of the materially and informationally privileged minority who do think these developments are very important. And that’s a stodgy mouthful, by God.
I could spin more, but I’d rather hear your ideas (including comments on my shortlist).