Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Jus a quick note before I move on to another subject this morning. A fair number of comments to my list of predictions yesterday suggested that it made for pretty depressing reading. But I suspect that might have been due to my tone more than the actual content of the predictions themselves. There’s a bit of fuzziness here, but here’s how I’d classify them:

  • Basically positive: 1, 2, 5, 9, 11, 13
  • Neutral-ish: 4, 8, 10, 14
  • Basically negative: 3, 6, 7, 12, 15, 16

Obviously there’s room for debate here. For example, I count the development of artificial intelligence (#1) as a positive development, but I do concede that it will either “transform or destroy” the world. (The case for destroying the world is here.) On the neutralish side, you might think that super social media (#8) sounds great, not neutral, and if you’re Russian or Chinese you won’t think much of #14. On the negative side, the stagnation of manned space travel (#12) might strike you as a yawn, and although any kind of biological attack is bad (#16), I pretty much think we’ll be able to contain this threat.

In any case, you can argue about my categories. Still, I think by any fair measure I ended up with a roughly an even mix of good and bad, and that’s just the way the world is. If you made a similar list for 1900-1950 but did it in hindsight, you’d get electrification, mass-produced cars, and penicillin, but you’d also get the Great Depression, two massive world wars, the start of the Cold War, and the invention of nuclear bombs. It was hardly all roses.

I suspect that for most of us alive today, our attitudes are skewed by growing up in the period from 1950-2000. But this is the anomaly: obviously there was some bad stuff during this era, but the good far outweighed it. On a broad scale, it was almost certainly the most progressive and innovative half-century in human history. After all, we might have been bristling with nuclear weapons, but we never ended up using them, did we? And we made massive material and social progress around the globe, but didn’t yet have any big worries about climate change or terrorism. In hindsight, most of our fears turned out to be modest, while our progress was unprecedented. It’s possible that the period from 2000-2050 will repeat that, but at the very least I think the dangers of the next few decades are both real and deserve consideration.

For what it’s worth, though, virtually everything hinges on two things: the development of benign artificial intelligence and the development of clean, abundant energy. If we manage those two things, the world will be bright indeed.

WE CAME UP SHORT.

We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we hope you might consider pitching in before moving on to whatever it is you're about to do next. We really need to see if we'll be able to raise more with this real estate on a daily basis than we have been, so we're hoping to see a promising start.

payment methods

WE CAME UP SHORT.

We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we hope you might consider pitching in before moving on to whatever it is you're about to do next. We really need to see if we'll be able to raise more with this real estate on a daily basis than we have been, so we're hoping to see a promising start.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate