Old-Thinker News | Feb. 23, 2009
By Daniel Taylor
The Technological Revolution
“Although technological powers will be vast and progress will likely be made, the normal level of social resistance and political stalemate is likely to oppose change. Thus, it may take an occasional environmental collapse, global wars and terrorism, or yet unknown calamities to force the move to global consciousness.” — William E. Halal, Emerging Technologies and the Global Crisis of Maturity
The technological revolution that will re-shape humanity and our world is well underway. A cacophony of crises, both real and manufactured, are being heralded as birth pangs of a new global order. Some analysts say that we can no more fathom the political, technological, and social world that will emerge as “…chimpanzees in the forest can comprehend what goes on among humans in a nearby village.” 
We witness piecemeal examples of the steady buildup to this catalyst every day in the media. However, they fail to connect them in a coherent picture to demonstrate their interwoven nature. The “big picture” gets lost to many. We leave it to the “experts” to interpret these events and developments, but they often present solutions that come directly from the establishment.
To begin, let’s take a look at the technological revolution. Nanotechnology, biotechnology, information science and cognitive science (NBIC) are converging to form what has been called the largest leap in technological progress in human history. The Transhumanist movement is eagerly anticipating this revolution. Some foresee the fusion of the human brain with computer circuitry as leading “…to a truly revolutionary upheaval for the human race.”  Brain-machine interfaces; cloning; genetic engineering of food, plants, and animals; artificial intelligence; nanomaterials; these all stem from the NBIC convergence.
Some countries are currently serving as testing grounds for technologies that are expected to be implemented globally in the near future. For example, South Korea’s “U-city” or “ubiquitous city” called New Songdo – hailed as the city of the future – is nearly fully functional. The city is wired from the ground up with RFID sensors and other advanced computing devices to automate traffic, surveillance and e-government. The marketing campaign for the city is heavily focused on consumer convenience aspects of the technology, reminiscent of the sci-fi thriller Minority Report. The U-city model, being tested in New Songdo, is anticipated to be exported world-wide. There is a reason this technology is being tested in South Korea. As the New York Times reports,
“Much of this technology was developed in U.S. research labs, but there are fewer social and regulatory obstacles to implementing them in Korea,” said Mr. Townsend [a research director at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California], who consulted on Seoul’s own U-city plan, known as Digital Media City. “There is an historical expectation of less privacy. Korea is willing to put off the hard questions to take the early lead and set standards.” 
Some believe that ubiquitous computing technology, also known as the “Internet of Things”, is heralding the beginning of a “unified global intelligence.” This global intelligence will consist of a vast network of places, things and people that have been given a virtual representation in a computer network. William E. Halal, professor emeritus of science, technology and innovation at George Washington University writes,
“Even with the turmoil that is sure to follow, this will mark the serious beginning of a unified global intelligence, what some have forecast as the emergence of a “global brain” – a fine web of conscious thought directing life on the planet.” 
The current and ongoing technological revolution has – as shown with the above example – a whole array of implications attached to it. Advancements in brain-machine interfaces provide one of the most startling examples. Fred C. Ikle, former undersecretary of defense for policy under the Reagan administration, and author of The Ultimate Threat to Nations: Annihilation from Within, is anticipating the development of advanced brain-machine interfaces. It is this development that Ikle sees as the most revolutionary. He writes,
“In my judgment, the greatest, most profound transformation of the human condition will not derive from the prolongation of life, or from the anxiously debated – and probably vastly overrated – possibilities of human cloning and “designer babies.” Instead, I see an effective synthesis of the computer with living human brains as the agent that will lead to a truly revolutionary upheaval for the human race.”
These interfaces, Ikle writes, could spark a race between superpowers to create a super-advanced think tank. This brain-computer symbiosis would come from a group of individuals connected to a central computer.
“Its purpose would be greatly to enrich and expand what advanced computers can do by creating a symbiosis between, on one side, a computer system designed for this purpose, and on the other side, the judgmental capacities and essential emotive functions of the human brain. The contribution of the living human brain would probably not come from one individual “hooked up” to a computer, but from computer linkages to an expert committee or group of policy advisors. Such a symbiosis would be far more advanced than the latest brain-computer links.”
Brain-machine interfaces lead us inevitably to the Transhumanist movement, which sees technologies like this as heralding a new era of human enhancement. Most researchers anticipate these technologies to be developed at first to serve a medical purpose – such as restoring sight, allowing paralyzed individuals to move robotic arms using their minds, etc. The initial focus on providing aid to disabled individuals is giving technologies like brain-machine interfaces public acceptance and support because of its benevolent nature. Eventually, however, these technologies will be used for enhancement purposes and not out of any specific medical necessity.
The June 2002 conference Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance, organized by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Commerce, discussed this NBIC (Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information science and Cognitive science) revolution. The lengthy report demonstrates the intense attention that is being given to these rising technologies. The report calls for the training of a new generation of scientists to aid in the coming convergence.
“Education and training at all levels should use converging technologies as well as prepare people to take advantage of them. Interdisciplinary education programs, especially in graduate school,
can create a new generation of scientists and engineers who are comfortable working across fields and collaborating with colleagues from a variety of specialties… education projects need to be launched at the intersections of crucial fields to build a scientific community that will achieve the convergence of technologies that can greatly improve human capabilities.” 
The Knowledge NBIC Project, funded by the European Union, is conducting research into the political and social implications of the NBIC convergence. One of the project’s recent reports details the potential applications of these enhancement technologies,
“…people may come to think of themselves as ‘always already disabled’, that is, on the verge of falling behind in a social world where regular neurochemical upgradings are expected as a precondition for adequate performance. The first stirrings of this general problem have already entered public view in controversies concerning the use of drugs to enhance competitive athletic and academic performance. The political responses so far suggest that this… agenda may well be subject to considerable regulation but it is very unlikely that its advance will be stopped altogether.”
The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense report DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036 is also anticipating the use of this technology.
“By 2035, an implantable information chip could be developed and wired directly to the user’s brain. Information and entertainment choices would be accessible through cognition and might include synthetic sensory perception beamed direct to the user’s senses. Wider related ICT developments might include the invention of synthetic telepathy, including mind-to-mind or telepathic dialogue. This type of development would have obvious military and security, as well as control, legal and ethical, implications.”
The RAND corporation has its sights on this technological revolution as well. RAND’s 2001 report, The Global Technology Revolution: Bio/Nano/Materials Trends and Their Synergies with Information Technology by 2015 covers these issues. Among other trends, it foresees expanded globalization, reduced privacy and potential societal unrest as a response to revolutionary technologies.
“The results could be astonishing. Effects may include significant improvements in human quality of life and life span… continued globalization, reshuffling of wealth, cultural amalgamation or invasion with potential for increased tension and conflict, shifts in power from nation states to non-governmental organizations and individuals… and the possibility of human eugenics and cloning.”
The Scientific Planners
“Man’s conquest of Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men. There neither is nor can be any simple increase of power on Man’s side. Each new power won by man is a power over man as well.” — CS Lewis, The Abolition of Man
The influence of wealthy and important interests in shaping current and past events cannot be ignored when studying what the future may hold. Elites have always sought to project their dominance into the future, and this modern world is no different. Trends can either be products of an organic process or a deliberate method.
As we progress into the future, prominent analysts see a trend toward global government and a “global consciousness” as a natural, logical, and organic process of evolution. What these experts often fail to mention is the fact that it has been a prime directive of institutional schooling to prepare and condition youth to accept world governance for decades.
In 1954 the Reece Committee, chaired by Carroll B. Reece, produced its findings regarding the influence of tax-exempt foundations in the field of education. The Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Carnegie Foundation and others were discussed during the Committee hearings. A predominant theme in the Committee’s findings was the desire of the foundations and those behind them to create a system of world governance. The use of propaganda and social engineering were identified as the means to achieve this goal.
The Reece Committee cited a report from the President’s Commission on Higher Education, published in 1947. The cited report states,
“In speed of transportation and communication and in economic interdependence, the nations of the globe are already one world; the task is to secure recognition and acceptance of this oneness in the thinking of the people, as that the concept of one world may be realized psychologically, socially and in good time politically.
It is this task in particular that challenges our scholars and teachers to lead the way toward a new way of thinking. There is an urgent need for a program for world citizenship that can be made a part of every person’s general education.
It will take social science and social engineering to solve the problems of human relations. Our people must learn to respect the need for special knowledge and technical training in this field as they have come to defer to the expert in physics, chemistry, medicine, and other sciences.” 
Futurists and government analysts often point to global warming and terrorism as defining crises of our time, as a natural part of the “global crisis of maturity.” Today, these issues are often presented as a justification for a system of world governance. William E. Halal writes,
“Intercultural conflict, weapons of mass destruction, and threats of environmental collapse are likely to force the move to some form of global community as the best means for managing such nagging problems.” 
Again, what we are not being told is that these issues were identified by powerful interests many years ago to serve as a pretext to prepare the way for “global solutions.” In a 1991 report titled “The First Global Revolution”, published by the Club of Rome, we find the following statement:
“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…. All these dangers are caused by human intervention… The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.” 
In order to gain a deeper perspective, let’s take a look at the earlier 1976 Club of Rome report “Rio: Reshaping the International Order” which details a strategy to create a system of economic and world governance. The report states,
“At the highest level, the level of world affairs, international institutions must form the prime movers of planned change.”
“The achievement of this global planning and management system calls for the conscious transfer of power – a gradual transfer to be sure – from the nation State to the world organization. Only when this transfer takes place can the organization become effective and purposeful.”
Halal continues in his Futurist article, praising the Club of Rome for its anticipation of these events,
“The major conclusion from this analysis is that the world is facing a global crisis of maturity, the most salient example being the near-collapse of the global banking system in October 2008. Warnings of massive transformations have been anticipated for decades by the Club of Rome and many others. Today, however, the acceleration of change seems to be producing a mounting series of severe global disruptions – energy shortages as oil supplies peak, impending climate change and environmental decline in general… continuing terrorism… as globalization inexorably strains old systems to the breaking point.”
As these crises develop amidst the rising technological revolution, we are entering an “Age of Transitions” in which the elite of society – who have foreseen, and in many cases manufactured these crises – hope to emerge on top.
The Great Transition
“It will be necessary to replace today’s cumbersome social systems, religious dogmas, heated emotions, partisan ideologies, and other commonly outmoded forms of thought and consciousness that now form the major obstacles to progress.” — William E. Halal, Emerging Technologies and the Global Crisis of Maturity
There are several futurists, think tanks and high level government analysts that are both eagerly anticipating and warning that there will be great social conflict during this “great transition”. They are nearly uniform in calling for a casting aside of “outmoded forms of thought” to pave the way for a new era. By holding on to “ancient ideas” of government and religion, people are holding back the progress of the great technological revolution and a resulting “planetary civilization”. Some have compared the potential impact of this transition to the social and political impact of the Industrial Revolution. This new revolution, however, is on a much grander scale.
Some call it the “Age of Transitions”, others the “Global Crisis of Maturity”. Zbigniew Brzezinski called it the “Technectronic Era”. However it is labeled, it brings with it major change and upheaval to humanity. Fred C. Ikle, author of The Ultimate Threat to Nations: Annihilation from Within, sees a widening gap between the “two souls” of society. One is dedicated to the scientific outlook that has been freed from religious and political bindings, while the other clings to the “stubborn past” of tradition and religion. Ikle sees this expanding gap as a great danger to all governments world-wide. Ikle writes,
“This widening chasm is ominous. It might impair the social cohesion of societies, and of nations, by drawing the human psyche in two directions: to the personal and national identity that resides in acquired beliefs, memories, and traditions of the past; and to the promise of greater wealth and power offered by untrammeled technological progress… In the scientific sphere, we are neither emotionally tied to our cultural and religious heritage, nor pining for a final redemption. But when animated by the world’s old soul, we seek to protect our identity by clinging to ancient artifacts from our ancestors and hallowed legends from the distant past.”
William E. Halal stated in the March-April 2009 edition of The Futurist that, “Some new form of global order is needed to avert disaster.” He continues, “The transition could happen anytime, but it is hard to conceive of a future in which today’s systems could survive much beyond 2020, let alone 2030.” Halal writes,
“It will be necessary to replace today’s cumbersome social systems, religious dogmas, heated emotions, partisan ideologies, and other commonly outmoded forms of thought and consciousness that now form the major obstacles to progress.”
Halal cites prominent pollster John Zogby’s new book The Way We’ll Be as he discusses the rise of a new “global generation.” His description of this generation fits current economic trends that point to dramatically lower standards of living, but frames this as a “sustainable” lifestyle. The “First Globals” as he calls them will be “…intent on living sustainable lives in a unified world.” Zogby writes,
“…we are in the midst of a fundamental reorientation of the American character… away from wanton consumption and toward a new global citizenry in an age of limited resources.” 
Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist and futurist, believes that the globe is moving towards what he calls a “Type 1” civilization. This civilization, according to Kaku, will be technologically superior and constitute a world-wide system of governance, a global language, culture, and global economy. The transition may not be smooth, however. As kaku has repeatedly stated, there will be resistance to the rise of this “Type 1” civilization. In a 2006 interview Kaku stated,
“It’s the most dangerous of all transitions because there are some people who don’t want to be in type 1. They instinctively in their gut know that a type 1 system will be a system of different discourses, of different ideas and clashes of ideas and so on and so forth and these people who don’t want this transition are the terrorists.
In their gut, the terrorists know that we’re headed for type 1. They can’t articulate it, they don’t know the larger outlines of it, but in their gut they don’t like it.”
In an earlier 2005 BBC interview Kaku said,
“…look at the economies. NAFTA, European Union, Trading blocks, the birth of a new economy is taking place.
Now there are people who don’t like this transition, who feel in their gut feel more comfortable being in a Type minus 1. They’re the terrorists. They in their gut realize that a Type 1 civilization has flowing ideas, challenging orthodoxies, new bigger, wondrous ideas popping forth. That’s Type 1.” 
As the world faces unparalleled economic turmoil, America’s decline is marking a historical geopolitical time period. The re-ordering of the globe is underway. The “Global Crisis of Maturity” – as envisioned by the elite – is ushering in a new world order as advancing technologies dramatically alter society.
It is vitally important that everyone, especially young people, gain their own understanding of what we are facing. The school system may prepare you for the future, but only in a manner that is self-serving to the establishment and kept within safe confines to prevent organic change. This study must involve not just a study of potential technological developments, but an understanding of the nature of power and the elites that wield it. Social engineers and opinion molders will be working overtime to shape society during this “Age of Transitions” as societal norms are broken and reshaped, and the political battlefield is thrown into chaos.
The Technological Revolution:
[1.] Ikle, Fred Charles. The Ultimate Threat to Nations: Annihilation from Within. Columbia University Press, 2006. Page 33
[2.] lbid 1, Ikle.
[3.] “Korea’s High-Tech Utopia, Where Everything Is Observed.” The New York Times. October 5, 2005. Available at: <http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/05/technology/techspecial/05oconnell.html?_r=1>
[4.] Halal, William E. “Emerging Technologies and the Global Crisis of Maturity.” The Futurist. March-April 2009.
[5.] lbid 1, Ikle.
[6.] lbid 1, Ikle. Page 32.
[7.] Mihail C. Roco and William Sims Bainbridge, National Science Foundation. “Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance.” Arlington, Virginia 2002. Page 21. Available here: <http://www.wtec.org/ConvergingTechnologies/1/NBIC_report.pdf>
[8.] Project coordinator: Nico Stehr Ph.D. F.R.S.C. “Knowledge Politics and New Converging Technologies: A Social Science Perspective.” Available here: <http://www.converging-technologies.org/docs/Knowledge%20NBIC%20D1.pdf>
[9.] “DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036.”
[10.] Philip S. Anto´n, Richard Silberglitt, James Schneider. “The Global Technology Revolution: Bio/Nano/Materials Trends and Their Synergies with Information Technology by 2015.” RAND Corporation. 2001. Available here: <http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/2005/MR1307.pdf>
The Scientific Planners:
[1.] United States. Cong. House Special Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations. 1954.
[2.] Halal, William E. “Technology’s Promise: Highlights from the TechCast Project”, The Futurist, Nov-Dec 2006.
[3.] Alexander King & Bertrand Schneider. The First Global Revolution. New York: Pantheon Books, 1991. Page 115.
[4.] Jan Tinbergen. RIO: Reshaping the International Order: A Report to the Club of Rome. 1976. Page 100.
[5.] lbid 2, Halal.
The Great Transition:
[1.] lbid 1, Ikle. Page 16.
[2.] lbid 2, Halal.
[3.] lbid 2, Halal.
[4.] 2006 interview with the Conscious Media Network. Available here: <http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=641879988>
[5.] BBC Hard Talk Extra. Gavin Esler interviewing Michio Kaku. April 22, 2005. Available here: <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/4483221.stm>