State of the Future

The cover of the 2015 report State of the Future. Credit: Millennium Project

The Millennium Project has released its annual report on the State of the Future and it makes for an interesting reading and it stimulates thinking, and hopefully reflection at political level.

The first point that impressed me is the strong belief that science and technology have reached a sufficient maturity that as they stand they are sufficient to tackle the problems that are going to face our spaceship Earth along with its passengers.

Hence a very good news.

On the other hand, the report raises a word of caution by saying that in order to be effective there is a need to act globally, Countries policies coordinating actions. Local solutions are unlikely to be successful, even the agreement between China and US to reduce the CO2 from 400 to 350ppm is not going to be sufficient to avoid a climate disaster, it might just postpone it.

The report makes clear that new technologies, as well as the advancement of present technologies, will bring along significant changes to the way we live, interact as Society and will bring not just solutions but also challenges.

Voices have already been raised on the potential disruption and downside of Artificial Intelligence by though leaders like Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking and concerns can be voiced on several other technologies, like, robotics, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, quantum computing, Internet of Things, Cognitive Science.  Other technologies might not raise concerns at the same level but will surely influence/change our way of living likely causing a dramatic change in the job scenario: 3D and 4D printing, computational science, self-driving vehicles, …

The very success of science and technology is bound to bring tough challenges to the fore: the decrease of poverty, famine, the successful fight on several diseases and the resulting lengthening of our life span will strain the very fabric of our Society, as well as the shift from scarcity to abundance will disrupt the economic equilibrium.

The report points out 15 global challenges that are likely to result from the evolution of our world.

All in all the report makes for a very interesting reading. If you don’t have the stamina to go through the 300 pages you can digest the 15 pages executive summary.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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