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Future World: ­Utopia?

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Drummond Ltd. Systems engineer Carlos A. Brewer R.

I’ve been watching several tv shows where future world is shown as wonderful and with a plethora of advances.

The idea of these advances (according to many futurologists) is to improve life quality standards and increase the average life expectancy; however at the same time I am watching these shows you can switch between channels and see the reality of death and poverty.

I am not against technological advances that could help improve every aspect of human life, but first of all, how many of these advances are really necessary?, which are just a waste of time and money, and will those technologies be able to reach the entire world?.

One example of these situations is this: what is the purpose of modern growth techniques for carrots and corn if a simple farmer in North Africa does not have the money or resources to buy it? and if at the same his products are displaced by those ones that were produced with such advanced technologies, what this farmer could expect for his life?, obviously this creates a situation where the farmer has to leave his land and increase the marginal areas of big cities in development countries and I many cases he migrates to developed countries creating all kind of problems.

And what about medical advances?, I still remember that movie back in the 90’s called “gattaca” or something, this movie depicted what could happen with the improvements on genetic technology, the writer anticipates a world with a new kind of discrimination: the genetic one. At this moment in developed countries hundreds of couples are going to specialized doctors for a genetic diagnostic for disease in their unborn children, their hope is that maybe using genetic therapies those diseases will never appear.

And what about those families in development countries in situations of poverty or with low salaries and basic medical coverage?, I can see the very first stages of “genetic discrimation” in this situation, and that is simply because while a kid in a developed country with a family with a decent income can prevent many diseases via genetic treatments a kid in a development country barely can access basic medicines for its survival, the way the genetic therapy is advancing points to a world that depend less on medications this is fewer medicines will be produced each year to cure a sick person.

Not only technology affects human life in a direct way, it also affects the environment as well, just to set two examples: DDT and technogarbage, the stories behind these themes is well known by all of us.

Technology has to be accessible for all human kind with no exceptions this is the rule that all of us must remember and follow.


Josef Dietl

Hi Carlos,

I appreciate this reminder. At the same time, I find it practically very hard to constrain this. Where is the "hook" to attach policies to this effect to?
- We can't - and wouldn't want to - keep people from innovating.
- We can't prevent companies from exploiting their assets, and mostly we don't want to because our own lives or at least lifestyles are at stake.
- It has turned out to be difficult at best to put the "knowledge economies" in the development countries on a solid foundation and to accelerate innovation in these regions.

Again, I do subscribe to the goal, but we shouldn't confuse the result of human behavior with its intention. A decade ago, "ABC" (German: Arbeit, Boden, Capital - labour, land, and captital) determined productivity. While labour and land were abundant, capital became the bottleneck resource and to a certain extent it still is. Today, the velocity of innovation is close runner-up to that title, and it is as unequally distributed as can be.
What can we practically do about that?
(And wherever I used the word "we": who is it, and what's his / her / their / our motivation?)

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