By Arnold Kling
When the real world gets you down, it’s always nice to read about technology and the future. So I recommend the latest world question center from John Brockman, et al. His question for this year is, “What will change everything?” One of the answers is from Juan Enriquez.
99% of species, including all other hominids, have gone extinct. Often this has happened over long periods of time. What is interesting today, 200 years after Darwin’s birth, is that we are taking direct and deliberate control over the evolution of many, many species, including ourselves. So the single biggest game changer will likely be the beginning of human speciation. We will begin to get glimpses of it in our lifetime. Our grandchildren will likely live it.
Read all of the answers. A lot of them talk about being able to physically re-engineer ourselves. Is that a real prospect, or is it what a society of aging baby-boomers most wants to imagine?
UPDATE: Another interesting one, from Jonathan Haidt:
I believe that the “Bell Curve” wars of the 1990s, over race differences in intelligence, will seem genteel and short-lived compared to the coming arguments over ethnic differences in moralized traits. I predict that this “war” will break out between 2012 and 2017.
Read his whole answer, and think about it.
The most concise answer comes from John D. Barrow:
A VERY VERY GOOD BATTERY
That would, indeed, change everythingl.