Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's the essence of the Twenty-First Century?

Imagine being alive in 1910 and trying to predict the essence of the 20th century. Airplanes are a joke. The car has hardly come into its own. Nuclear Fission is unknown, and so is Albert Einstein. There is no such thing as a computer or an information network. Trying to nail the essence of the 20th century in 1910 would be chutzpah.

But ... ... I'm going to take my shot at the 21st century. I favor two possibilities:

The Thirst Century: This is the century in which large segments of civilization will run out of usable water. Concern over water will override everything else, causing wars, mass deaths, and driving whatever politics survives. I'm talking both drinking water and water for agriculture. If by any chance I'm wrong about water, then we will have:

The Information Century: This is the century in which we will drown in information. There will be too much to evaluate, but long before that, there will be:
  • Far too much false information clogging up the information pathways, and:
  • Far too much that we can learn about individuals, and:
  • Far too much that groups can learn about themselves.

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