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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics


Friday, July 19, 2013

Blogs About the Future, Pessimistic and Optimistic


There are two main groups of thinkers about the future: those who are pessimistic and those who are optimistic. The pessimists emphasize problems about the environment, global warming, overpopulation, resource depletion, pollution, and environmental degradation. The optimists emphasize technological progress, and the seemingly endless capacity for man to come up with technological solutions to problems. In this blog I like to strike a balance between optimistic and pessimistic themes. But perhaps you are looking for a blog which is more unabashedly optimistic or pessimistic. Below is a guide to various blogs about the future, divided into two categories: the optimistic and the pessimistic.

Optimistic Blogs

Next Big Future (www.nextbigfuture.com). The Next Big Future blog is one of the most popular blogs of the technological optimists. In the original version of this post (written just after a particularly bad post on Next Big Future), I complained about unalloyed optimism at this site. But in the past six months the site has had a very balanced approach, and has had many excellent posts. Check this site out if you haven't already.

Singularity Hub (www.SingularityHub.com) This blog is basically a collection of news stories about exciting futuristic technological developments. This blog doesn't have much in the way of thoughtful essays. But there is an interesting Debate Central tab, where the blog users comment on any of dozens of future-related debate topics.

Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence (http://www.kurzweilai.net) This site is associated with Ray Kurzweil, who is pretty much the king of the technological optimists. The site features a very cheery set of essays and news stories, highlighting exciting technological breakthroughs on the horizon. The site promotes Kurzweil's idea of a coming technological singularity in which machines become more intelligent than men. The front page features a link to a fun chatbot you can talk to, a chatbot named Ramona who has a face and moving lips. Some of the answers the chatbox gives are surprisingly intelligent.

Pessimistic Blogs

The Automatic Earth (www.theautomaticearth.com) For years this blog has been one of the main blogs of economic pessimism. It features long, thoughtful essays by authors who seem to think that our economic system is a house of cards on the verge of collapse. Similar essays can also be found almost every day at  www.zerohedge.com, which posts more frequently.

ApocaDocs (www.apocadocs.com) This site features news items related to global warming, pollution, ecological collapse, and resource depletion. Those who care to believe that we are headed for ecological doom will find ample supporting evidence at this site.

Our Finite World (www.ourfiniteworld.com) The author of this blog is an actuary who writes interesting, thoughtful articles about upcoming problems that may be caused by mankind overshooting its supply of resources such as oil.

James Kunstler blog (http://kunstler.com/writings/clusterfuck-nation/) James Kunstler is an incisive writer who has a blog that is pessimistic about many things, particularly the ability of our society to adapt to resource depletion without massive upheavals. Each of his posts get many comments. I don't care for the layout of the blog (which only gives you a few sentences of each blog entry).

Collapse of Industrial Civilization (www.collapseofindustrialcivilization.com) For those who like their pessimism full blast, this graphically slick blog should do the job. This is a type of blog called a “doomer” blog, and at times it is downright scary. The author makes no attempt at balance or restraint. This blog features a superb blog roll on its left border, which gives the latest stories from dozens of interesting blogs.