I used to think the next major revolution would be ushered in by AI and robotics or perhaps by a green shift fixing the substantial planet-destroying negative consequences of the industrial revolution by creating new technologies, new jobs and eventually a new earth. I was wrong. I now believe it will be an ideological revolution.
At the start of the 19th century we collectively left the fields as farmers to go work in factories and so we collectively started the industrial revolution - feeding the ever-hungrier capitalist machine. A machine we have worshipped since by sacrificing sustainability to get growth back.
The journey to the factory was not always a voluntary walk, but nevertheless, a necessary one that ultimately reshaped all of humanity to the extent that we touched the universe above by walking on the Moon and started dreaming of Mars.
Now, I used to think the next major revolution would be ushered in by AI and robotics displacing the workforce yet again, but unknown to where this time around, or perhaps a green revolution fixing the substantial planet-destroying negative consequences of the industrial revolution by creating new technologies, new jobs and eventually a new earth.
I was wrong. First thing first.
2018 convinced me that neither AI, robots or green tech will be the next paradigm we need to cross the chasm over to. 2018 showed us that we, the world, fundamentally disagree on ideological positions and tactics. The western-orientated agreement cemented after two world wars, on how to advance society, is no longer shared by enough, or strong enough, people to be the only given way forward.
I do concede that some, if not all, of these ideological differences have been here for a long time already and have only now been surfaced by the rise of social media. And yes, social media has certainly had many negative consequences for humanity, but showing us how divided we are might be one of the biggest blessings in disguise.
Still, the chain of consequences to enlightenment is not as important as the fact that 2018 displayed the divide as very, very real. And that we can’t move forward and up before we are reconciled.
Much has been said and written about the Trump presidency and Brexit, two recent world-altering events that have shown an unfortunate, and potentially dangerous, inability to drive the world forward and up as we remain stuck in an ideological swamp.
These are interesting events for sure, and much more will be said and written in the years to come about them, and more events alike, but I propose we need to look deeper to understand why and how these came to be – and as a precursor for a needed ideological revolution.
Yes, we touched the universe on the arched back of the industrial revolution but before we can rise higher, we must first look down back to earth – to ourselves.
Let’s start down here.
The industrial revolution was, in fact, the result of an underlying more important revolution, the scientific revolution, that started centuries before. Science liberated us from immediate conclusions, like thunder stemming from the hammer of a thunder god (small cap is deliberate), to facts being verified, or falsified, by scientific peers. In my mind, this is the greatest accomplishment of woman- and mankind. So far.
However, we must not forget that science was merely the correctional tool that evened out the human always-present desire to explain personal experiences with personal experience. Again, as with the point above, technology has equally empowered scientist to connect over geography and culture as it has for those looking for easier answers.
In a time where everyone can be an influencer, the human desire to influence has surpassed our ability to fact-check if that influence is based on the scientific principles that have built all of the modern wonders - that ironically has given influencers a platform to speak from. Or rather, the platforms we have built to empower influencers, fuelled by the ever-hungrier capitalist machine, remember from the intro, has chosen not to invest enough in fact-checking mechanism to keep facts fact.
The ideological revolution will require that we use the political and commercial power of the people to enforce a re-discovery of facts and the scientific process. We must fact-check in real-time as words are spoken and as words are written and the deliberate lie must become the ultimate sin.
Will companies be hurt and potentially broken up in this process? Yes. Will that be for the good of society and all us? Yes.
Due to an embarrassing colonization heritage, stemming from in a hindsight unimportant race to control global assets first, we have a dominating western-world order today. The two first world wars, pun intended, made this world order even stronger and for a while it seemed that nothing could upend it.
In our self-gloating, we forgot that our world-view was based on trampling other world-views down. But the down-trampled never vanished. Oh no. They were dormant and hiding, building step by step.
Remember, at core there is no one right or wrong in the advancement of a species, or in the universe as a whole. That leaves us to fight for the values and ideologies we believe in. And other parts of earth believe advancements comes best from other ideas than democracy.
As an example, the rise of China and other state-controlled societies, exemplified by China’s newfound social score, is an important signal that we are in a global battle of the minds and that we are no longer winning that battle because of historical advantages.
The ideological revolution will require that we remember that democracy is crazy for most of the people on this planet and that we can and should no-longer take our world-view for granted but as a something we have to battle minds for. Based on facts.
Somewhere along the road, between the professionalism of politics, the fallacies of democracy, and the human thirst for power, politics became less for people and more for politicians themselves. It is no-one’s fault really. It’s more a natural evolution and the culmination of a system that has taken us far but can’t take us all the way - not in the current form at least.
Any effective system will seek to perfect in each iteration and therefore become more professional for each generation. When it comes to politics this becomes a problem, the problem, since the system itself was created to speak for the amateur – the people itself. And so, as the delta between the original intent and the built-in betterment of the systems increases so does the ineffectiveness of modern politics appear.
And, democracy, in all its beautiful glory, has a built-in death-star missile canal hiding in plain sight. Democracy is built on a logic from a time when people couldn’t be individuals due to immature technology and was best served to and from blocks of people.
Under the narrative of democracy, because democracy is the best we have, we have for too long thought of ourselves as in such blocks while technology has matured to a state where it can represent the individual individually for the first time in a scalable way.
This delta is about to overshadow the light of democracy, and we see it in more and more governments across the western world being formed by minority parties trying hard to create a common platform that does not exist.
Mix of all this with the innate human thirst for power, the very drive that pulled us up from the oceans way back when, and we have a system that is heading into the sunset.
The ideological revolution will require a political system that is handed back to the individual where political power is not an asset that can be earned, stored, and wielded at will - often as lies. It will be again borrowed, blockchained and trusted, and with surgical precision implemented at need.
I predict it will get worse before it gets better. But it will get better. Through trust, effective democracy, and the politics of the people.
I predict that we at the start of the 21st century increasingly collectively leave the factories as workers to go to work on ourselves and thus we start the ideological revolution.
And after that, let’s find out how AI, robots and green tech will push us forward and further, in a sustainable way. So that we can stop dreaming of Mars – and start walking on it.
The strengths of humanity may lead us to colonize space. The weaknesses of humanity might destroy us all. That’s the tragic beauty of humanity.
But first thing first.
And the ideological revolution