Will the Future Get Better, or Will Tippings Points Alter Global Prospects?

Future-of-learning_id2728501_size390 "The future continues to get better for most of the world, but a series of tipping points could drastically alter global prospects."

2008 UN State of the Future Report

We've seen the future ... and we may not be doomed. So said the UN 2008 State of the Future Report that found life is getting better for people worldwide, the current global fiscal meltdown not withstanding, but that governments are failing to respond to critical time-sensitive opportunities.

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Future 'Top 10' Hot Careers in 2012: Space Tourism to Genetic Counseling

Space_tourism_2 In our information-rich society there is an ever increasing demand for workers in the fields of computers, health care, science and space technology—much of it driven by the demands of the retiring baby boomers. If you like to plan ahead, here is sampling of some of the jobs that will be hot in the next several years and beyond.

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Eighteen of the World’s Leading Thinkers Debate the Challenges Facing Mankind

Future2 A gathering of 18 of the world’s leading thinkers to debate the challenges facing mankind is always going to create great reading material.

Convened by the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the group included biologist Craig Venter, inventor Dean Kamen, noted futurologist Ray Kurzweil, Google co-founder Larry Page and Harvard University professor of international development Calestous Juma.

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Seeds From the Four Corners of the World to be Stored in the Arctic “Doomsday” Vault

Ht_artic_crop_070920_ms Bad things will continue to happen in the future as they have in the past. To what extent is unknown. Cambridge phycisist Sir Martin Rees gives humanity only a 50/50 chance of making it through the century. With such unfriendly odds, Norway has given a beautiful gift to the future of the world. No matter what happens to us in the next hundreds of years, our life-sustaining seeds will be kept safe for whatever generations may come.

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Choose your Apocalypse

Shutterstock_6857614 Are you going to: a) be raptured into Heaven by a vengeful Yahweh; b) rendered obsolete by the coming Singularity and after bowing to a vastly superior AI, upgrade your body through cybernetic implants and/or upload your consciousness into a computerized simulation of reality; or c) die childless, along with every other member of the human race in an act of willed extinction?

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"Mind Children": Transhumanism & the Search For Genetic Perfection

Immortality_3_3_2 At the recent annual 2007 World Transhumanist Association's meeting, Marvin Minsky, the artificial intelligence guru who heads up MIT's Media Lab, half-jokingly suggested the world could solve any population problem by uploading the minds of 10 billion people and running them on a computer that occupies a few cubic meters and costs only a few hundred dollars to run.

The thing is, Minsky is not really joking. He firmly believes that once researchers understand how brains work, "we will discover ways to upload our minds into machines." He predicts that our AI descendants (what AI researcher Hans Moravec called our mind children) will eventually leave the planet and spread throughout the universe. "If we are the only intelligence in the universe, then we are obligated to ensure that the universe remains meaningful," said Minsky.

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Dr Strangelove Two? -Cambridge Astrophysicist Gives Earthlings a 50/50 Chance of Making it Through the Century

Onemansdoomsday That’s right, Sir Martin Rees, Great Britain's Astronomer Royal and respected professor of astrophysics at Cambridge University claims in his book 'Our Final Century' that humans have only a 50-50 shot of making it through the 21st century. In some of his proposed scenarios not everyone dies, but either way the odds don’t sound that good.

Also, I’d like to personally apologize to Stephen Hawking for criticizing his idea that we need to get off the planet ASAP in an earlier post. Sorry professor! I’m converted. Let’s get out of here.

Rees explains why stargazers like he and Hawking have the “big picture” when it comes to life on Earth.

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