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"This Will Change Everything Book"Yesterday I read the latest survey by John Brockman from the Edge.org. This year, John asked 125 leading thinkers of today one simple question:

“What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?”

Respondents included Richard Dawkins,  Freeman Dyson, Dan Dennett and Brian Eno. Each wrote a few paragraphs describing their vision of the ‘Big Thing’ likely to happen that will be a game-changer (good or bad) for humanity.

The results were fascinating, and well worth reading in their entirety either in Brockman’s soon-to-be-released book, This Will Change Everything, or online at the Edge.org’s World Question Center 2009.

For people who don’t want to wait for the book release later this month, and who don’t have the time to real all 125 essays, I took a couple hours to read and categorize their responses, to get a sense of what big developments the visionaries as a group are expecting to happen.  Here is a histogram of how frequently the contributors mentioned various topics.  There are more than 125 votes since several of the contributors mentioned more than one idea or development.

Edge.org 2009 Survey - What will Change Everything?

The results were pretty surprising. By far the most often cited development that these experts think will dramatically change our lives were advances in brain science and brain-computer interfaces (BCI).  Biotech and genetic engineering came in second, followed by artificial intelligence/robotics.

I had expected climate change to be up at the top, but it was tied for 4th. Perhaps the scientifically-minded participants in the survey figure humanity will get a handle on climate change via a combination of new energy technology & geo-engineering.  Maybe they think climate change won’t be a global catastrophe after all, but more like the Y2K glitch.

My personal favorite, the emergence of global consciousness (perhaps through some kind of singularity transition) was the 7th most frequently mentioned development that could change everything.

For people who don’t want to wait for the book release and who don’t have time to read all the contributor’s essays

Ever feel like you're part of a big machine?

This blog is an exploration of what being part of a collective might mean for each of us as individuals, and for society.

What is it that is struggling to emerge from the convergence of people and technology?

How can each of us play a role, as a thoughtful cog in the big machine?

Dean Pomerleau
@deanpomerleau

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