What’s next for humanity?

This spring I read a news story about the oldest person currently alive passing away at the age of 114.  My mind immediately spun into calculator mode to determine the year of his birth, and consider what changes happened during his lifetime.  He witnessed enormous advances in transportation, communication, medical sciences, and the birth of a global economy.  He grew up in an era where people primarily got around on horse or train and passed in an era where blasting into space was a routine event.

I wonder what’s next in my lifetime.  Strangely, perhaps, I wonder if the biggest changes and revolutions won’t resemble anything that has happened in the past century.  I wonder if the next truly noteworthy changes will be societal.  We are moving from a communication media that has always been a one-to-many relationship to a new paradigm of many-to-many, with interactions between the points.  See Clay Shirky’s Ted Talk for an excellent summary.

When the whole world changes the way we communicate, what barriers will come down (language, political, economic)?  How rapidly will new ideas spread, or “go viral?”

Most importantly: how will it change humanity?  I’m an optimist – I think it will reduce anonymity, when everyone’s voice can take the stage.  Reducing anonymity makes it much harder to make a decision and not see the human impact in personal terms, not some unknown impact to unknown, faceless individuals.

Putting my seminarian hat on, I wonder how it will impact our faith lives, and religion in general.  What will church look like?  Will different faith traditions start to realize they have more in common than they differ?  What changes in theology will that bring about?

It is an exciting time to be alive in an evolving culture.

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