John Battelle is currently embarking on a new book, titled What We Have Wrought. In it he is attempting to write a narrative of the perspective in 2040, a generation ahead who is looking back on the last 30 years of progress back to today. As he describes our situation, I stumbled upon this and fully agree with him:
I believe we are in a critical moment in our civilization’s development, one where we will face a number of fateful decisions about how we interact with each other, with business, and with government. The decisions we make during this period will frame the kind of world we’ll leave to future generations. Who will control the data we create? What access will we allow citizens to the machinations of government? What kind of people will we become when every single one of us is deeply connected to a socially aware platform like Facebook? Are we building systems – in healthcare, energy, finance – that are too complicated for any of us to understand, much less control?
In short, can we handle what we are creating? Thirty or so years from now, will we be questioning ourselves – “Lord, what hath we wrought?” Or will we look upon what we hath wrought, and be pleased? I think the answer lies in exploring where we are, right now, and laying out the implications of our actions today.
A longer post from me on these thoughts will follow, but go ahead and ponder those words for a moment.