While you’re dancing in the flames

The key to managing crises,
is to keep an eye on the long-term,
while you’re dancing in the flames

You may have heard of TED talks: some of the world’s best thinkers (and doers) speak on some consciousness expanding topics. At the 2009 TED Conference, Juan Enriquez made a fascinating presentation on how the convergence of cell engineering, tissue engineering and robots would lead to the next iteration of the human species. If you have a spare 18 minutes, do watch the following and read on afterwards:

The information provided by Enriquez is likely to have caused a mixture of emotions, including fear, amusement and excitement. The same emotions apply to the current economic situation and also to virtual worlds. To draw a longer bow, Enriquez’s vision is hard to imagine without virtual worlds playing an intrinsic role. They are already perceived as a key collaboration tool, and the same technological evolution Enriquez speaks of will ensure that collaboration becomes more productive. Full walk-throughs of organs are available now in Second Life – it’s reasonable to assume that the much more advanced modelling solutions employed by researchers will find their way online in coming years.

In 2009, the virtual worlds industry is talking about the momentum in virtual meeting spaces and the growing work on interoperability. The innovators Enriquez cites are are creating stem cells from skin or robots that can already pass the physical equivalent of a Turing Test. The latter are well and truly the most groundbreaking but the former will continue to play a pivotal supporting role.

Enriquez paints a bleak picture in his presentation of the economic wave that is currently causing so much distress worldwide. He rightly shows a much bigger second wave of technological change occurring. Innovation is undoubtedly key to surviving the first economic wave. The second wave contains a lot of promise but it may also drown a lot of people. Those that it doesn’t overpower may literally be another human sub-type. It throws a whole new light on the term ‘geek’. They may rule the earth after all.

Thanks to Caleb Booker for the YouTube video link.

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