I’m fed up with reading about the world being in meltdown and that there’s no hope for humanity. That simply isn’t the case, and it gets me riled up. Instead of wasting our time streaming hundreds of apocalyptic movies and being thankful we don’t live in that world, let’s actually do something about to it - to ensure we don’t end up there.
The world’s biggest problems aren’t impossible to solve, actually they are well within our reach. For the last 10 years climate change, energy access and our biggest global issues have been framed as impossible and unsolvable. Sadly some of the big companies like Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and Apple encourage us to buy one more product, sign up to a new service, watch a new series and not even bother thinking about the dystopia that awaits us and our children’s children. It’s scary to realise that these corporate beasts and the world’s most powerful governments are happy for us to sit back and be entertained; to waste this generation's greatest minds on solving absolutely nothing.
My take on where we are right now is that we are the most docile and lethargic population the earth has seen. We spend more time watching entertainment than any other generation. Now that in itself might not seem too bad, particularly if automation and computing had shortened the length of an average working day and freed up our time to relax. But we all know that hasn’t happened. The 14 hour work days of the industrial revolution aren’t really a distant memory - and we certainly haven’t proved John Maynard Keynes’ prediction of a 15 hour work week to be true.
We are spending more time than ever on “escapism” activities as I would call them. We switch the news off, disengage from politics or dive into the 100th Netflix drama as we don’t like the reality we are living in. It’s high time we woke up. The future doesn’t have to be filled with global inequality, water shortages, and species after species becoming extinct. Of course it’s extremely powerful to visualise what will happen if we do nothing, but I genuinely think we’ve gone too far. How about some positive images of the world in 2050?
Now what I do believe passionately is that Utopia won’t just fall down from the sky and make everything better, it’s something we should be working towards. If just half of us on earth start to strive for a world where everything is possible, that would be over 3 billion people driven to make Utopia a reality. That’s one hell of a team.
We have the strength, the numbers and the technology to solve irresponsible consumption, poor urban planning, water access and gender and education inequality, it’s about believing we can turn things around. After all we’ve got better education, medical care, transport and communications than ever before, so really it’s just continuing our momentum.
Let’s stop worrying about robots taking our jobs and start planning how we can work with them and how they can make our lives easier. The same goes for artificial intelligence, genome sequencing, cloning, and augmented reality, we can utilise these incredible technologies to turn the world around. The world may not be completely perfect, but there’s power to believing that Utopia is possible, and it’s something we could all do with focusing on.