Accelerating Change Meme Hits the National Stage

August 27 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Government   Year: 2008   Rating: 5 Hot

If you think there’ve been dramatic changes in the world and in technology over the last ten years, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The race is on, and if you watched the Olympics, you know China’s going for the gold. – Mark Warner, last night at the DNC

The accelerating change meme finally hit the national stage last night at the Democratic National Convention when former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, who earned his fortune in the cell phone industry, framed the current Presidential contest as a “race for the future” that “won’t be won with yesterday’s ideas”.

This marks the first time in recent memory that any candidate for national office, barring of course Future Blogger favorite Jack Uldrich , who incidentally has been calling for high profile politicians to start debating the future , has directly appealed to voters on a national level by articulating the fundamental concept of accelerating change that most everyone on this site takes for granted.

I had been biting my nails during and after the primaries, hoping that the future, science and punctuated change would at last become election issues. And now I am relieved that this meme has finally infected enough minds to enter the popular debate. Whether you’re a transhumanist, singularitarian, trans-systemist, neo-luddite, or anything else inbetween, it’s essential that we as a society begin to tackle the reality of runaway techno-info-social change, first by acknowledging its existence, if we are to control our collective destiny in any meaningful way.

Now, I’m not sure that Warner or Obama will be able to deliver on promises to begin building “100 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrid vehicles right here – with American technology and with American workers” in two years time, but it’s certainly not impossible. Such future-forward initiatives must be spearheaded by the likes of Presidential candidates like Obama and McCain lest another 4 years of opportunities pass us by as we journey deeper into the acceleration era.

Carpe Postremo.

Photo credit Mark Warner, CC 2.0 license.

Comment Thread (4 Responses)

  1. Maybe we’ve taken for granted that we produce the most Nobel Laureates of anyone else and we’re soon being passed by. I don’t know if even Obama will change anything as promised, but I guess we can hope. At some point we all have to get our sleeves dirty (raising taxes, putting religion aside for science, etc) but who knows if that time is now. More than likely it’ll have to get a whole lot worse before we as a people decide to change our ways.

    Posted by: martymcfly   August 27, 2008
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  2. I’m happy that accelerating change has finally hit the mainstream and is being acknowledged, but Obama hasn’t won the presidency just yet, so I am not ready to start celebrating.

    Posted by: Covus   August 27, 2008
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  3. martymcfly: More than likely it’ll have to get a whole lot worse before we as a people decide to change our ways.

    I tend to agree with that. Punctuated change is the norm, though we intuitively expect smooth, steady progress.

    @ Covus – While I would love either candidate to pick up the change baton, I do shudder to think what sort of policies McCain would back considering his computer/internet illiteracy:

    So I agree that Obama is the preferable candidate. But whoever wins, it’s going to take a braod systemic shift, probably spurred on by crisis to truly adjust to acceleration.

    Posted by: Alvis Brigis   August 28, 2008
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  4. @ Alvis – Yeah and that is why I am not throwing my arms up in fanfare because even if Obama is elected, that does not guarantee those shifts will happen with any immediacy.

    Posted by: Covus   August 28, 2008
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