News of The Future This Week: February 8, 2019

“A finite world can support only a finite population; therefore, population growth must eventually equal zero.”– Garrett Hardin

 

We’ve been there before.   Gloom and doom predictions of explosive population growth.  And while estimates have been greatly toned down from those from the 1960’s and 1970’s, there are still dire warnings out there.  But what if there is an extreme alternative veiw to Garrett Hardin’s tragedy of the commons?  A radical new proposal is out, and depending on your point of view, the reason for it may or may not surprise you.

While you’re reading about all this week’s future-related  news, don’t forget that you can subscribe to Seeking Delphi™ podcasts on iTunes, PlayerFM, or YouTube (audio with slide show) and you can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Future Demographics–A new book takes issue with UN projections of massive population growth in the coming decades.  According to Canadian journalist John Ibbitson and political scientist Darrell Bricker  in their new book, Empty Planet, world population will stabilize and start to decline in 30 years.  They also say that once the decline starts, it won’t stop.  Seems to me they are substituting one linear scenario for another, though.  If things shift once, they can shift again.

Future Driving/Autonomous Vehicles–With all the hype, you’d think our streets will be bustling with self-driving cars within the next couple of years–if not a few months.  Not so fast, says Tom Krisher, writing for the Associated Press.   He cites five sticking points, not the least of which is consumer acceptance.

–If the above isn’t discouraging enough, a University of California professor has a warning.  Self-driving cars might actually make traffic worse, rather than better, if they are not managed properly.

Artists conception of a generation starship next to a Saturn V rocket. Credit: Adrian Mann

Space exploration/colonization–How big would a generation starship need to be to support human survival for hundreds or even thousands of years?   Hint:  according to a new study reported on by Universe Today, it would make the Saturn V that launched astronauts to the moon look like a Mini Cooper.

–Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk keep up their relentless charge toward the final frontier.  Musk’s ambitious plan to send space tourists around the moon by 2023 was also reported on by Universe Today,  while Space.Com focused on Bezos’s vision for reusable spacecraft.

Biotechnology–CRISPR genetic editing may have come a step closer to becoming the reliable “DNA word processor” it has been hyped to be.  Researchers at  UC Berkeley–one of the pioneering institutions in CRISPR–have identified a new protein that may render the technique safe enough for human experimentation.

–While not initially focused on radical rejuvenation therapy, a $100 million Longevity Vision Fund has been launched to spur aging research.  The enterprise is the brainchild of Sergey Young, who in turn cites the inspiration of Peter Diamandis.  Look for more on the related subject from next month’s Undoing Aging conference in Berlin, Germany.

Coming next to the Seeking Delphi™ podcast–Your Personal Future, with Verne Wheelright and a preview of the 2019 Undoing Aging conference with Aubrey de Grey.

Seeking Delphi™ podcasts are available on iTunes, PlayerFM, or YouTube (audio with slide show) and you can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook 

4 thoughts on “News of The Future This Week: February 8, 2019

  1. If we can only pull together as a civilization, and stop the 1% from destroying everything, humanity may earn the right to travel to the stars.
    We have the genius to do it.
    We have the creative and intellectual genius do it, along with the resources and bravery. Now if we can only stop repeating history and stop the very small minority from enslaving us, politically, militarily and financially, we can get on with the greatest adventure of mankind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I dont believe that we can pull together, as a civilization, to combat and change those few individuals that constantly divide us and tear nations apart, for their own avarice and addiction to power.
      I also do not believe that religion can be of any help in this endevour; they are all too egocentric and self-absorbed to be of any use, as a whole, to mankind.
      Spirituality and the pursuit of higher concepts of existence, which has been quashed and denied for so long, may be our only hope. This will not sit well with the current masters, and the various religions.
      Maybe someday.

      Like

      • As a futurist, I try to maintain some level of cautious optimism. The viewpoint you state is hard to disagree with. But if we stop trying and give in, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is still hope. But even if humanity does eventually get to a much more preferred future, it is well within reason that it might happen only after recovering from a massive collapse. The next twenty years or so are criticial.

        Like

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