Written by Marc Demar
I ran into an old schoolmate of mine the other day, someone I hadn’t seen in ages. We talked a bit about our lives and when I explained him about my fascination with spatial technology in general and the Somnium Space platform in particular, he look amused and said: ‘Ah so you are one of those techno-optimists’. That made me think.
Am I a techno-optimist? Is that why I embrace Somnium Space and believe in the future of the Metaverse? Do I see the world through rose-colored glasses that make me believe that because something is new it is good and amazing per definition?
A techno-optimist is someone who is generally optimistic about the current state of technology and its potential future. Techno-optimists believe that technological developments will do more good for humanity than harm and that our technological future is very bright. Technology will solve major crisis and enable humanity to reach new heights.
In the other side of the spectrum we have techno-pessimists. Those people generally believe technology is harmful and ultimately will destroy us.
We live in a techno-optimistic climate, no doubt, but it hasn’t always been like that. In the aftermath of the second world war, the Cold War, techno-pessimists were way more common. But decades of development and problem solving has tilted us towards a much more persistent optimistic philosophy.
It Is Easy To Be Optimistic
At large, technology has been pretty kind to us. That’s one reason for being optimistic. Apart from that, being optimistic is just more fun and it’s what we’ve learned. We are bombarded with messages about progress, new technology, from ever more advanced tooth brushes to self-driving cars and shiny new space ships.
There is optimism all around us, and it is happily fed by smart marketing companies. If you are optimistic you feel more happy, and if you are more happy you are more careless, and if you are more careless you tend to spend more.
Is There An End To Progress?
Have you heard of Moore’s law? It was an informal rule that speculated the number of transistors on a chip would be able to double every two years due to advancements in technological precision and cost-efficiency.
This doubling would cause exponential technological advancement. Every two years, we’d have faster, better computational technology. This is not far from the truth at all.
Think about how much development we have seen over the last 30 years. Now extrapolate that to the next 30 years. In another 30 years, our modern view of the Internet will be entirely obsolete. We will have something entirely new. A full blown Metaverse if you ask me.
But some experts say that the days of exponential growth may be over. There will still be innovation, but not at the same rate.
Yet growth is not the same as development.
Back To Me And Somnium
Back to the question whether I am a techno-optimist and see everything through rose-colored glasses.
I would argue that I am a development-optimist. For me it is not about technology as such, or the number of transistors you can fit on a chip. Sometimes we discover that ancient knowledge can solve modern problems. We also find that new discoveries and developments will fix our old problems.
Both are priceless and considered development and progress. And it often takes ‘eccentrics’ on the entire pessimist-optimist spectrum to drive humanity further. We need both optimists who are relentlessly pursuing uncharted territory and pessimists who question the need and warn us to the dangers of certain developments.
And you can be both. You can put all your efforts in technological developments and be totally aware it needs to be steered in the right direction (like with AI).
For me Somnium Space, the Metaverse, blockchain technology, is not about limitless faith in the more transistors we fit on a chip the better off humanity will be. I am not running around with rose-colored glasses at all. I do believe they represent developments that will fundamentally change the way we will socialize, play and do business and have the potential to seriously challenge the data driven business models of Big Tech. Again, that has nothing to do with transistors on a chip. If anything, it is about using existing technology in a new fashion, a desirable change of direction. That’s progress as well.
- Techno-optimist? Not quite, call me a development optimist instead
- Techno-pessimist? I wouldn’t say that either
- Optimistic about Somnium Space and the Metaverse? YES!
Oh and by the way, I ran into my old schoolmate in the Metaverse.