Living forever

    The interesting thing about this article is the predictions from forecasters on the website Metaculus. There’s wisdom in crowds, and particularly those who have interest/expertise in a given area.

    There are a million philosophical questions about ‘living forever’ or just humans living for a lot longer than they do now. This article, however, just focuses on the four most promising ways, and their likelihood over different timescales.

    We’re either the last generation to ever die, or the first generation to live forever.

    I’m not talking figuratively here. You, reading this, might have an eternal life.

    Source: The 4 Ways You Might Live Forever | Tomas Pueyo

    Nesta's predictions for 2022

    Nesta shares its ‘Future Signals’ for 2022, some predictions about how things might shake out this year. I’d draw your attention in particular to climate inactivism coupled with quantifying carbon, as well as health inequalities around the quality of sleep.

    Under the microscope this year we look at topics that range from sleep as a new dimension of health inequality to where our food will be grown in future. We ask complicated questions too. Is carbon counting really a tool for behaviour change? How will Covid-related service closures impact families? Our Nesta authors don’t offer up easy answers, but this collection should help you to distinguish the signal from the noise in 2022 and beyond.
    Source: Future Signals – what we're watching for in 2022 | Nesta

    Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.

    Someone I once knew well used to cite Gramsci’s famous quotation: “Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” I’m having to channel that as I look forward to 2022.

    Here’s the well-informed writer Charlie Stross on the ways he sees things panning out.

    Climate: we're boned. Quite possibly the Antarctic ice shelves will be destablized decades ahead of schedule, leading to gradual but inexorable sea levels rising around the world. This may paradoxically trigger an economic boom in construction—both of coastal defenses and of new inland waterways and ports. But the dismal prospect is that we may begin experiencing so many heat emergencies that we destabilize agriculture. The C3 photosynthesis pathway doesn't work at temperatures over 40 degrees celsius. The C4 pathway is a bit more robust, but not as many crops make use of it. Genetic engineering of hardy, thermotolerant cultivars may buy us some time, but it's not going to help if events like the recent Colorado wildfires become common.

    Politics: we’re boned there, too. Frightened people are cautious people, and they don’t like taking in refugees. We currently see a wave of extreme right-wing demagogues in power in various nations, and increasingly harsh immigration laws all round. I can’t help thinking that this is the ruling kleptocracy battening down the hatches and preparing to fend off the inevitable mass migrations they expect when changing sea levels inundate low-lying coastal nations like Bangladesh. The klept built their wealth on iron and coal, then oil: they invested in real estate, inflated asset bubble after asset bubble, drove real estate prices and job security out of reach of anyone aged under 50, and now they’d like to lock in their status by freezing social mobility. The result is a grim dystopia for the young—and by “young” I mean anyone who isn’t aged, or born with a trust fund—and denial of the changing climate is a touchstone. The propaganda of the Koch network and the Mercer soft money has corrupted political discourse in the US, and increasingly the west in general. Australia and the UK have their own turbulent billionaires manipulating the political process.

    Source: Oh, 2022! | Charlie’s Diary

    Fred Wilson's predictions for 2018

    Fred Wilson is author of the incredibly popular blog AVC. He prefaces his first post of the year in the following way:

    This is a post that I am struggling to write. I really have no idea what is going to happen in 2018.
    He does, however, go on to answer ten questions, the most interesting of which are those he answers in the affirmative:
    • Will the tech backlash that I wrote about yesterday continue to escalate? Yes.
    • Will we see more gender and racial diversity in tech? Yes.
    • Will Trump be President at the end of 2018. Yes.
    I picked up a copy of WIRED magazine at the airport yesterday for the flight home. (I used to subscribe, but it annoyed me too much.) It is useful, though, for taking the temperature of the tech sector. Given there were sections on re-distributing the Internet, the backlash against the big four tech companies, and diversity in tech, I think they're likely to be amongst the big trends for the (ever-widening) tech sector 2018.

    Source: AVC