It’s tempting to criticize preeminent science fiction author Isaac Asimov as overly optimistic for imagining a future in which humanity ultimately overcomes every challenge to its continued prosperity. But I would argue it’s more difficult, and certainly less productive, to argue the opposite.
In the appropriately titled Foundation Series, Asimov details the travails of characters across many generations who work to mitigate what would otherwise be 30,000 years of chaos and ignorance after the long collapse of a prosperous, Rome-esque Galactic Empire—in part by recording and preserving the sum total of all human knowledge.
We take ourselves a little less seriously, but MentorMob is a experiment that runs very much along the same lines. Because a very futuristic future is quickly approaching—and we’d better be ready.
Though Asimov’s character development may be lacking, his steadfast belief in people’s capacity to overcome incredible odds is catching. In his stories, people are selfish and ethnocentric and frightened of change. But they are also adventurous and brave and capable. And these qualities aren’t just for dewy-eyed characters in stories of the far future—they describe real live non-fiction people using innovative new strategies to make life on earth better here and now.
In fact, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku thinks we’re no more than 100 years from a Type 1 Civilization, where culture, knowledge, and goods flow freely across the entire globe.
“Whenever I open the newspaper every headline I see points to the birth pangs of a Type 1 Civilization. However, every time I open the newspaper I also see the opposite trend as well. What is terrorism? Terrorism in some sense is a reaction against the creation of a Type 1 Civilization. Now most terrorists cannot articulate this. They don’t even know what the hell I’m talking about, but what they’re reacting to is not modernism. What they’re reacting to is the fact that we’re headed toward a multicultural, tolerant, scientific society and that is what they don’t want. They don’t want science. They want a theocracy. They don’t want multiculturalism. They want monoculturalism. So instinctiveley they don’t like the march toward a Type 1 Civilization. Now which tendency will win? I don’t know, but I hope that we emerge as a Type 1 Civilization.”
The full transcript of Kaku’s video is available on Big Think.