19 Jul
2013

The Future by Al Gore

al gore

I just finished reading Al Gore’s book The Future. The book was based on 6 themes or what he refers to as “drivers” of the future: economic globalization, the digital revolution, climate change, dwindling natural resources, shifts in the global balance of power and advances in the life sciences.

I do not care about Al Gore’s political agenda. I honestly don’t know much about it. It is hard to take anyone who owns this house and this house seriously when they are talking about sustainability issues.  He is leaving a massive carbon footprint on this Earth. In addition, it is always smart to question anyone, but especially smart to question people who are discussing sustainability. “Greenwashing” is happening everywhere these days.

That being said, in my opinion, he hired and works with a fantastic research team. While the book was very dry and slow at times, it referenced many powerful books, people, and events throughout the Earth’s history.

The main theme in his book is that “American democracy has been hacked,” that Congress “is now incapable of passing laws without permission from the corporate lobbies and other special interests that control their campaign finances.”

For those who care about future generations, I would like to highlight some of the points behind his six drivers of the future.

Earth Inc- Globalization:
Gore’s opinion is that the Earth is slowly moving towards being one large organization. Globalization has been going on for decades, and each day this world is getting more connected.  Gore argues that over time more people and countries will have equal access. Why? Gore says that the efficiency of out-sourcing, robo-sourcing, 3-d printing, sustainable capitalism, and technology are just starting to hit their strides.

The Global Mind- The Digital Revolution:
The Internet and the power of computers is taking over the Earth. We are living in what he calls, “the new period of hyper-change.” The Internet is slowly becoming “the Earth’s brain.” Democracy continues to expand around the globe through internet access. People in captive states are seeing feeds, pictures, and video of freedom, and they want it. Censoring countries from information and liberty will prove to be extremely hard in the future.

In addition to political relations facing a drastic change, education is improving by the minute with free online education. Health care is becoming much more efficient with everyone knowing how to use and operate a computer. There are downside risks: the world will be at major cyber risk with almost everything being monitored on a computer. Privacy will be limited and market transactions will continue to get faster.

Power in the Balance- Shifts in the Global Balance of Power:

“Over time the US will be in a constant relative decline.” Other countries are catching up and surpassing the United States in many fields. Africa, China and India’s populations are compounding at an incredible rate. While many of the US’s markets are tapped, these destinations have many raw and untapped natural resources.

Outgrowth: Dwindling Natural Resources

Resources are dwindling. City populations are compounding at a significant rate. Hunger and obesity rates are rising. Companies are being marketed heavily using the global mind. Waste and pollution levels are beyond alarming. Topsoil is disappearing. Farming is becoming harder in many areas. Dust storms and natural disaster rates are rising. Freshwater is slowly becoming harder to access. We need alternatives to combat these issues, fast.

The Reinvention of Life and Death- Advances in the Life Sciences:

Health care will continue to get much more efficient. Age levels will continue to rise due to new technology, cures, and better medicine. Cloning programs will expand to levels where humans will eventually be getting cloned. There will be a lot of “artificial life.” Genetic science mysteries will be solved. Knowledge of how the human brain works will expand. Science will allow for the creation of more artificial body parts including hearts and kidneys. Performance will continue to enhance– Humans will keep becoming “bigger, faster, stronger.” Blood doping will evolve and better performance drugs will continue to unfold. Fertility ethics will become more elaborate. Creation of better genetically engineered food will continue. Mutating plant diseases will expand.

The EdgeClimate Change

This according to Gore is Earth’s biggest issue. Renewable energy and alternative energy programs need to be stimulated, now. Temperatures are rising every year while bacteria and viruses are spreading with higher temperatures. Methane and CO2 levels are spiking in almost all areas of the Earth. Sea levels are rising exponentially. Islands are disappearing and will continue to disappear. Gas and oil drilling will continue to become more efficient and we will have plenty of resources to tap in the Arctic Ocean. He argues that we need to “Get real” and decrease greenhouse gases any way we can (especially decreasing drilling for coal and oil). Solar and wind production needs to pick up, now. Most importantly governments have to offer green companies incentives to do this work so that we can move away from the lobbyists controlling the energy sector.

Hope you enjoyed the breakdown. It’s nice to have some knowledge of where he thinks we stand and where we are potentially going.

 

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