Here I am once again, stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted from the inability to get a decent night’s sleep. What’s my excuse? What are the causes of my woes? It’s all the things I can’t unsee. For the last couple of months I’ve immersed myself in all things science, space, technology, and systems thinking. I’ve probably watched over 100 hours of videos. I’ve read up on the best physics books. I’ve read countless articles. I’ve been taking a course in my spare time. I’ve been reading books. I’ve been listening to podcasts. My current plan is to change careers in the next five or so years since I have a solid 30+ productive working years left. Why am I investing so much into science and maths? As I said, it’s because I can’t unsee what I’ve seen.
A few things have become abundantly clear to me:
- Human nature hasn’t changed much in the last 10,000 years. People are pretty much the same. We’re doing all the old things in new ways: talking, mating, and growing. Yet, the reinforcing feedback loop of birth rates continues to spiral and the balancing feedback loop (things that keep it in check) have been largely inhibited. 1960 saw 3 billion people, we now have over 7.5 billion people. Our entire planet’s population has more than doubled in size in the last 50 years!
- The very near future will present us with fundamental changes to what it means to be a person. Consciousness, individuality, and meaning are all up for grabs. Human brain interfaces, VR/augmented reality, AI, and “uploads” are just around the corner.
- Large scale unemployment in the next 20+ years. Fundamental changes to our economy and how we do “money.” What’s an economy to do when there are massive gaps of unemployment? Ideas like Universal Basic Income are being popularized as one solution.
- Our climate is rapidly changing due to direct human life. If you want a good explanation of why it’s changing listen to the podcast by Adam Frank on Astrobiology. He approaches the topic in a distinctly unique way by comparing it to other planet atmospheres. If you want to disagree just answer the question, how did we get our current atmosphere?
- The world has become a boring place. Nearly every corner of our earth has been researched, discovered, and charted. Existential crisis lurks behind every face we see. The world over searching for causes to gain some semblance of meaning. People jesting, “I’d love to see a big catastrophe! (so that I’m finally special, important, and needed.)”
- Machines are already better at our jobs or soon will be. We already have cars that drive better than we do. If you think your job is safe, you may be woefully uninformed.
- Space is the not-so obvious but necessary choice. There is plenty of room. There is plenty to do. There is plenty to discover. But the general populace isn’t yet dreaming about it. I’m really hoping #dearMoon helps with that.
I recently bought a couple of SpaceX canvases to hang up in my home. I bought a SpaceX hat and shirts for my kids and girlfriend. I spent a little too much on these items but in hindsight, I’m just trying to make myself feel better about the future. I want to inspire my kids to get into STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and maths.) I’ve included Art since it makes me happy to be alive. I’m very anxious about the future. I’m worried that the general public isn’t caring or interested in what’s coming. I’m worried that the immediate concerns are all that matter, who is elected, what vacation we should take, or how to live the latest granola zen life. And I should be worried because that’s human nature, being chiefly concerned with: the immediate. Let me tell you, it can feel pretty f’ing bleak.
That’s why I’m stressed and not sleeping. I know that if we don’t get involved the future is going to happen accidentally. I’d much prefer creating a future that I want to actually live in, not one handed to me. And not just for myself, for my children, my girlfriend, my friends, and for hopes sake.
But all that leads me back here… I’ve gotten some of my many thoughts down on this digital paper. It’s time for me to take a mental break. It’s time to recharge. I can only handle so much of the burden of our future before I need a good healthy cry. But I do hope this has made you think at least a little about what you might do. And there are things you can do. You can encourage your children to pursue careers that help us shape our future. You can spend money in ways that finance a better future.
You can educate yourself on what’s going on and let that take you straight to the stars.
Here’s hoping for a better sleep tonight.