The WikiWorld; blueprint for the future
Dear CEO of Google,
Climate change and finite world resources have triggered a new wave of questioning about our whole society. We all know that we will have to change, and change quickly in order to prevent catastrophic environmental damage and Human suffering. The world is beginning to wake up to the consequences of continuing along our present course.
There are many, many individuals and groups out there who are experimenting with different ways of living [I am one of them] to see if they are possible and sustainable. The trouble is that most of them live and work in isolation from one another and do not have an easy way of exchanging ideas and information in order to progress more rapidly and with greater co-operation. Often they are only known locally, rejected as eccentrics or revolutionaries and eventually sink back into the morass of mainstream materialistic living. It is not easy being different.
There are government think tanks and other fine inter-governmental agencies that come up with scenarios and plans for the future but unfortunately these are subject to strong political pressures which are geared to maintain the status quo, the next elections and international influence through trade, resource acquisition and security. The United Nations are not united, for example. Quite often the advice put forward by progressive thinkers is knocked back by the political establishment, diluted or ignored completely.
There are also thousands of websites which claim to present ideas for a better world but they also function in isolation; presenting solutions for specific issues, being one-sided or having limited access to expert advice. [Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Oxfam etc.etc.] Another problem is that the groups concerned have long been regarded as radical or have the image of voluntary charitable organisations which means they are somewhat sidelined by the general public. As you know, probably better than anyone, internet users tend to gravitate to rather frivolous and entertaining websites rather than the ones with serious issues to discuss, such as climate change or a sustainable and happy future for our grandchildren.
Sooo...how about creating an interactive website where internet users everywhere can contribute ideas which will make this a better world? And these new ideas could be fitted into a readymade flexible framework of the world’s social and natural systems which then adapt to allow for the new. There are already complex modelling tools for certain disciplines [Climate, Economic etc.] which could be incorporated if necessary. [I see the climate tools as being separate though, because I am talking more about social reorganisation based on data already well known from climate change modelling ; the climate is changing and we have to act now. The criteria already exist and will depend on political and social will].
There would be a huge pool of qualified experts in all kinds of disciplines who would be able to analyse and have the authority to select those ideas which are practical, positive and realistic. [I understand that there will be many crackpots out there] But in the “wiki” way there are great possibilities for self regulation.
Ordinary members of the public or obscure geniuses would also have access and the opportunity to contribute; there are some fabulous ideas out there!
The key for this whole project lies in the incredibly complex modelling system required to make it work. New economics, laws, infrastructures, social systems, services, priorities, and so on, would evolve and become practical for application in the real world. Eventually [but I suspect quite rapidly] the best scenario for our future would become clear. Some “Virtual World” games are examples and basic forerunners of this kind of interactive website. Combine a virtual world model with global crowd sourcing.....add to that the influence of millions and millions of website users with serious contributions. [World democracy in action?]
[I admire the websites “Virtual Choir” or “Playing for Change” for giving new meaning to the word harmony. Small beginnings, but with great beauty]
It’s a big ask, I know. Complex? Idealistic? You bet! But an organisation as large and progressive as yours might just be able to carry it off! Your achievements with Google Earth are impressive and you would have the kudos for everyone to sit up and take notice, politicians included. There are already people out there who claim to know the best future for us all, and they have arrived at those opinions using just one human brain. Imagine what a global crowd of human brains could achieve. Imagine the satisfaction and magnificence of creating a working model of a model world [you can use that as a slogan if you like] for the future? At the same time using people power to change the attitude of Governments.
You could argue that we should leave it to market or natural forces to decide our future. Humanity has the proven ability to survive against terrible odds [such as in the 2nd World War]. But unfortunately it has also been seen that Humans only act decisively when their backs are against the wall, they are compelled to act for their survival. In the case of climate change the impact is already being felt by those who are least able to do anything about it. Their homes are being swamped by rising sea levels, their crops have failed in droughts. Those of us who live in developed countries and who do have the means to do something, are not feeling the urgent compulsion to do anything.
So why leave human suffering and environmental damage to chance? We don’t have the luxury of time; Climate Change is here, we can only cushion the blow and go into damage control mode.
A project like this might make changes happen faster, so that there will be less suffering and destruction.
Yours most sincerely,