Book Review: “The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change” by Al Gore

The six drivers of the future according to Al Gore are:

1. Earth Inc. – a deeply interconnected global economy that operates as a fully integrated entity. Robosourcing and technology-induced job losses.

2. The Global Mind: the increase in interconnected world that produces “intelligent beings” that surpass our intelligence. Our brain capacity got extended by the Internet that benefit the democracy movement worldwide. Pitfalls of the internet including education, security, privacy, and frauds.

3. Power in the Balance:shift of economic and political power from the east to the west and to the large corporations. In the west, he warned about the power of the corporations and their lobbyists.

4. Outgrowth: unsustainable growth of human population and resource consumption. Growth of mega cities from the exponential growth of population means more hunger and obesity, mass marketing, waste and pollution and longevity, which contributes to the growing pains that include migration, refugees, endangered ground water, top soil, and over exploitation of ocean.

5. The reinvention of the Life and Death: breakthroughs in materials science and biological and medical advances may redefine how we evolve. He argued against patenting of genes, human cloning, antibiotics usage in farm animals. And he touched on the upcoming technological singularity, creation of new body parts, fertility, lifespans or “healthspans”, GMO and etc.

6. The Edge: our new relationship between human civilization and the Earth’s ecological systems – the environments. As expected, Al Gore goes through lots of details on global warming, CO2, methane gas under the icecaps, and it’s depressing, coral reefs for fish habits are dying. He goes into the politics of global warming which is very insightful. He warned about the danger of fracking. He advocates cap and trade.

Key points:
1. Love the mindmap in the beginning of each chapter.
2. Lots of history if you enjoy it. In a way, he’s extrapolating the future from the past/history.
3. Depressing state but hopeful.
4. China’s determination to become the superpower in application of genetic and life science analysis.
5. Call to the US to lead the world.

Overall, it’s a pretty good state of the world now and his projection of the future may well be true.