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Yolanda O. STERN – Head of Mission 2018
President – One World Institute; Founding President – and Chair Emeritus, FPACC
After trumpeting the title for a few years now, another careful look at the Atlas of the Complete History of the World helps with a vital picture of what was before, what is here now, and what will come. A relative comparison and view of factual timelines running side by side in the World Map is one sure way to form opinions about current events, with a visual aid to help true perspective give roots to anticipation.
Is the world different today? Yes and No. Much have changed since 5 million years ago until the spread of modern humans 200,000 years ago. From the Ice Age, to the farming age 8000 to 4000 BC and the first cities of Southwest Asia 8000 to 4000 BC and the beginnings of civilization in the Eurasian World, 3500 to 1500 BC to the early empires and cities of Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, the Near East, South American and the Caribbean, Mesoamerica, North America, China, Korea, Indian, Minoan and Mycenean civilization, some rulers forged and divided regions with their Kingdoms and Empires. The Age of European Dominance was threatened by the rise of the Dominant West until the Age of Global Civilization. Two Word Wars and the re-alignment of the world’s borders and regional alliances are by far the most interesting changes to observe as it continues to happen before our eyes. Countries and rulers do rise and fall and natural disasters continue to impact the prisoners of geography whose borders are porous to migration; invasion; lack of water; brutal rulers; illiteracy; disease; natural disasters.
The three industrial revolutions that brought about massive impact on the world were – the steam engine; science and mass production; the rise of digital technology. The fourth one is here and evolving fast – digital technology that will also have the biggest geopolitical impact on the world and every human being on this planet. In 20 years, we shall have new overlords and the one that leads the race to mass produce artificial intelligence (AI) on steroids, will rule. The Industrial Revolutions changed the world by replacing human muscle, the fourth one will have the brain in the smart robots so they can run themselves. In this contest, the winners will be the next hegemons of the universe, the ones who see through a long lense, the ones not driven by fear.
In an article written by Kevin Drum for Foreign Affairs, he writes of the different impacts that I am compelled to quote:
“Jihadist terrorism will and has already become a victim of dumb drones, massive databases and machine analyses and the constant stream of threats against US safety can be easily detected 2) Warfare will become machine driven 3) Liberal Democracy which is under stress due to general anxiety about jobs and anti-immigrant sentiments will be impacted. Within a decade, long-haul truckers may be replaced by driverless trucks (2 million jobs) and will do other jobs by themselves.”
Predicting job losses is hard when different experts have different numbers, but Drum mentions an auditing Firm PwC predicting that 38 percent of all USA jobs are “at high risk of automation by 2030”. So, do we Rally against the change as the robot lords take over every aspect of our lives? Can we convince the world’s reigning wealthy to restructure their corporations so that capitalism can produce goods and services at more equitable allocations? Can we get out from under the long dark shadow cast by 9/11 and develop human capital from around the globe to become archangels for changes to benefit the human race? How will today’s populist leanings influence world leaders and world events?
The complete changeover to the Fourth Industrial Revolution will take time and it will not be possible to stop it, but we must understand what we have now, what is coming, and be as prepared as we can be.