How to Survive the 21st Century

Of all the dif­fer­ent issues we face, three prob­lems pose exis­ten­tial chal­lenges to our species. These three exis­ten­tial chal­lenges are nuclear war, eco­log­i­cal col­lapse, and tech­no­log­i­cal dis­rup­tion. We should focus on them.

Performing States

We have now in twen­ty years moved half the world’s pop­u­la­tion, give or take, to one city. And we all live in one city. And we keep walk­ing out into the street and get­ting past­ed by trams. And we don’t even under­stand what the trams are. We not only do not know how to live togeth­er online, we don’t even real­ly under­stand that it’s a prob­lem.

The Internet of Agreements

I was look­ing for the tools that you could use to solve glob­al prob­lems in an envi­ron­ment when the nation-state has turned out to be a very very inef­fec­tive set of machin­ery at all. So I’m going to talk a lit­tle bit about the tech­nol­o­gy. I’m going to talk a lit­tle bit about what it does and where it’s going. And then I’m going to try and tell a sto­ry about the kind of glob­al long-term pic­ture that we could get if this stuff actu­al­ly works.

Parag Khanna on the Ideal World

For most peo­ple on an indi­vid­ual lev­el most the time, their future still feels very dif­fer­ent from that of oth­er peo­ple. We live in a world, for exam­ple, of enor­mous income inequal­i­ty, right. So even though there is a glob­al econ­o­my, it cer­tain­ly does­n’t feel like one’s sort of day-to-day fate or des­tiny is linked to those of peo­ple around the world, even if it is in very invis­i­ble kinds of ways.

Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin

I think the obvi­ous thing to do with one com­put­er per plan­et is fix cli­mate change before it destroys agri­cul­ture and leaves bil­lions of peo­ple to starve. That seems like a fair­ly rea­son­able kind of an objec­tive. You know, there are all kinds of lit­tle opti­miza­tions you could do with these things, but fun­da­men­tal­ly the big unsolved chal­lenges that human­i­ty faces are cli­mate change and resource scarci­ty.