Monday, February 18, 2008

Challanges for Humanity

Reading a recent article from BBC, challenges for humanity, the US Academy of Engineering has identified 14 challenges facing humanity, these being;

  • Make solar energy affordable
  • Provide energy from fusion
  • Develop carbon sequestration
  • Manage the nitrogen cycle
  • Provide access to clean water
  • Reverse engineer the brain
  • Prevent nuclear terror
  • Secure cyberspace
  • Enhance virtual reality
  • Improve urban infrastructure
  • Advance health informatics
  • Engineer better medicines
  • Advance personalised learning
  • Explore natural frontiers

These challenges of course can not be met by societies that do not respect knowledge, by superstitious societies. These are great challenges that will make life better for humanity. Affordable solar energy would be end of most energy problems, fusion would end energy problems, we are constantly in the need of better medicines and nobody wants nuclear terror not just a nuclear terror, but the use of a nuclear bomb in any form.

These are seeming imperative goals, but only stable societies will be able to participate. For other societies, the goals will remain as usual, feeding the population, creating enough power now to keep the economy rolling, respect for human rights because that eventually is what creates economic growth, getting people employed. It is a pity the leaders in for example post colonial Africa are not of the same caliber as the ones the colonizers had to destroy, these ones do not need to be destroyed, they have destroyed Africa without any help. Africa knew no hunger until post colonialism, before colonialism there was no hunger, there where few wars, greatly exaggerated by colonial propaganda that people where fighting for thousands of years, people only started these horrific wars during and after colonialism when they where forced to exist together in countries purposefully created so that there would be ways of dividing and ruling.

One electricity supplies can not be guaranteed, one can not envision such a society for example even attempting to get involved in reverse engineering the brain, they have lesser problems to deal with, guaranteeing power. When a society can not feed itself, it hardly has the time or the ambition to explore natural frontiers let alone involve itself in the science behind virtual reality.

When the aim of people is to have their political freedoms, they hardly have the desire to improve urban infrastructure. When so called leaders are interested in nation building realizing that this process must take place because they do not exist in real nations, they hardly have the time to engineer better medicines, even if their people are having deadly epidemics, they will call on others to save their people.

For a society that is breaking down the middle they hardly have the time to manage the nitrogen cycle, that seem so out there.

If one produces oil, they should not run out of petrol, if one produces coal, there is no excuse to run out of electricity, how does an infrastructure collapse if there is a government that cares, it looks like these fourteen challenges will be met by the USA, Europe, Japan, China and India, pity the rest of the world for not respecting knowledge.

You need a system that respects one of your own, that is the reality of the world.

Bhekuzulu Khumalo

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Bhekuzulu Khumalo

I write about knowledge economics, information, liberty, and freedom