A week ago, I attended the inaugural annual meeting of the Future of Life Institute, a group that aims to promote and protect the “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” (in the words of its founders) that the United States is currently on track to lose to climate change.
The event, which was held in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, was filled with the usual crowd of techies, futurists, and philosophers that the American tech industry is known for.
The agenda included a discussion on “how we can create a world that is more human, inclusive, and connected,” and the idea that we can now achieve our goals if we work together to build the world we want.
“Technology is the engine of the future,” the group’s keynote speaker, Dr. Andrew Gelman, said, in a presentation that was filled to capacity with presentations from a number of the world and American tech giants, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Intel.
“I want to thank the Future Of Life Institute for hosting this event,” the organization’s founder, Dr William Green, said in a press release.
“We’re excited to see what the future holds for the world.”
A few months earlier, Gelman had also given a speech at the event, where he outlined how we can transform the way we do business, and in particular how we interact with the tech industry, by using technologies like blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin.
I was particularly struck by the way Gelman discussed how the “internet of things” could allow us to use blockchain technology to streamline the process of getting new products or services to market.
“The internet of things is a revolution,” Gelman said.
“What it allows us to do is streamline all of our supply chains so that they’re distributed throughout all of the factories and all of those people who produce those products and services, so that we’re all on the same page about where we’re at with the supply chain.
And that’s going to be extremely valuable to us.”
The internet of devices, in other words, could enable us to build “smart cities” that are distributed, automated, and secure, which could be used to facilitate the creation of autonomous cars, for example.
And, of course, there are the “smart factories” that use blockchain to automate the production of goods, like the one I visited in the city of New York City.
“As technology evolves and the supply chains evolve, we’re going to need to find new ways to use these new technologies to improve the quality of life for millions of people around the world,” Gelmans remarks in his speech.
“And the future of this is going to have a lot to do with how we manage that, because this is what we’re up against.”
But it’s clear that this is just the beginning.
The Future Of Technology Institute has a long history of advocating for the protection of human life, liberty and pursuit.
In fact, its founders have worked to protect human life in a number a ways.
In 2012, the group hosted a panel discussion on how the US should “move from a technological-driven society to one that is driven by the wellbeing of all people, and all the people are a part of the wellbeing.”
“Our goal is to create a future where our children will have a chance to live and thrive in a world in which technology is the foundation of all our lives,” Gelmen told the audience.
“Our mission is to help you find that future and build a more humane, prosperous, and sustainable world.”