“You couldn’t pick a better time to be born!”
This cheering statement was among the conclusions presented by Juan Enriquez, Activate Networks’ Board member and Managing Director at Excel Venture Management , during his keynote talk and discussion at the TEDx Silicon Alley held in December in New York City.
It’s good to start the New Year with a smile, right?
Both Enriquez and Ray Kurzweil, the other TEDx keynoter, agree that the exponential growth now taking place in the generation of data, and in our ability to convert Big Data to knowledge, is transforming life — even mortality. These “constant revolutions” in technology and knowledge will result in changes that are both surprising and good.
During the discussion following the two keynote talks, Enriquez comments, “It’s really important that you worry about a lot. . . but it’s also really important that you celebrate. . . because there’s no better period to be born. . . . This is a really neat time to be around — in terms of the incidence of violence, in terms of calories consumed, in terms of peace in the world, in terms of ability to work in different technologies. You know there’s a whole lot of challenges, but the instruments that all of us have to play with, the playground, the possibilities. . .put a smile on every face. . . This is a very good time to be working. . . We’re very privileged.”
Kurzweil agrees. “We do, in my opinion, have the opportunity to overcome age-old problems of poverty, disease, intolerance, violence. . . [In fact, Steven Pinker’s new book shows] this is the most peaceful time in human history. . . Human life expectancy has doubled in the last 200 years. . . Read Charles Dickens or Thomas Hobbes as to how disasters- [and] poverty-filled, disease-filled human life was. . . just a few centuries ago. We have the opportunity now to make rapid strides in all these areas.”
To know more specifically why you should be glad you were born now, you can watch the hour-and-a-half video of these two TEDx talks and the discussion, available on the All Things D website. You’ll see the impressive examples and predictions made by these two futurists relating to such current phenomena as the machine-human interface, and the intersection that’s occuring between biology and Big Data.
Note that, while Enriquez and Kurzweil are indeed superbly qualified as successful ‘futurists,’ they point out that — right now — we have achieved the technology, and therefore the ability, to shape the future that’s already taking place, all around us, with astonishing speed.
Their message is truly breathtaking, and also heartening.
More than ever, the future is now!