alan_alda's picture
Actor; Writer; Director; Host, PBS program Brains on Trial; Author, Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself

I find it hard to believe that anything will change everything. The only exception might be if we suddenly learned how to live with one another. But, does anyone think that will come about in a foreseeable lifetime?

Evidence from the past seems to point to our becoming increasingly dangerous pretty much every time we come up with a new idea or technology. These new things are usually wholesome and benign at first (movable type, pharmacology, rule of law) but before long we find ways to use these inventions to do what we do best—exercise power over one another.

Even if we were visited by weird little people from another planet and were forced to band together, I doubt if it would be long before we’d be finding ways to break into factions again, identifying those among us who are not quite people.

We keep rounding an endless vicious circle. Will an idea or technology emerge anytime soon that will let us exit this lethal cyclotron before we meet our fate head on and scatter into a million pieces? Will we outsmart our own brilliance before this planet is painted over with yet another layer of people? Maybe, but I doubt it.