Improving On-Line Connectivity

In the 21st century we are witnessing a rapid growth of all things related to information technology - and soon we'll be establishing our identity biologically. Thumbprints and retinal scanning, even facial expressions, will be enough for us to cross borders between countries or to be unequivocally oneself - the possibilities of artificial intelligence are, well, mind-blowing. Vehicles (except perhaps for rockets) will run on natural gas or electricity and at last, we'll see a downturn in our use of fossilized fuel. Instead of oil rigs, we'll see vast fields of wind-driven turbines and thereafter, a whole new culture anxious to squeeze the last ounce of energy from anything that moves or gives off radiation, Many such devices already exist although we may not be aware of their permeation of our lives. Already, already children are adapted to computers whilst the elderly, whose lives have only recently abutted against the new kind of digital technology which they find unintuitive (unlike children) and difficult, if not impossible, to use efficiently. The change for some will be much more painful than for others, but many will find their old lifestyles gone forever.

While these developments are inevitable at this point, they will have a variable influence on peoples lives. The poor will have limited access and many will still attempt to go on living in the old way (a way, incidentally that was not all bad) but eventually this will become impossible. When energy is plentiful and cheap (assuming we can avoid nuclear war), it would be a simple matter technologically, to raise all out of poverty. But will we? Today, many think it appropriate to destroy the lives of the poor in order to become richer than entire countries - a thing of dubious value. The new scientific age will make possible things that were previously impossible - it has always been so, but the distances traveled in terms of digital technology will be far greater than anything seen before. A great danger is that this dramatic progress in scientific understanding may be used by some against their enemies; it may, for example, create an inherent selfishness, a lack of charitable actions (why help the poor when you could be helping yourself and new dangers as digital technology permits pinpoint destruction of those who stand in the way of creating more wealth - albeit, money as such will disappear, and new ways of distinguishing the super wealthy from the moderately wealthy will need to be found. New myths will be needed to justify plundering the poor and keeping them outside the Garden of Eden, and trust - except in the context of the new God, money - will essentially disappear, further breaking down the concept of a human society. Wars will be won or lost according to the power of the new digital weapons. Empathy seems all but lost to the new wealth titans, and caring for those with illnesses will be valued only in the context of wealth accumulation I the context of health markets.

How much this will affect the wealth of nations remains unknown, but governments have shown no sympathy for the sick, and have continued to support policies that favor profit over cure, and with new techniques for modifying genes in vivo, and for understanding the formation of tumours, there will be no shortages of mechanisms for making money. Can we avoid our basic instincts, or will the accumulation of massive wealth lead to the end of the human race?

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