2000: Visions of the Future
The 20th century came to an unexpected ending. For a long time during the Cold War, two evenly balanced blocs appeared to be confronting each other, but suddenly the communist empires collapsed, at the same time as capitalist societies introduced a revolution in information technology, the further consequences of which we can, at present, only guess at. Meanwhile, the outlines are appearing of a genetic engineering revolution which is probably going to change the world even more than the IT revolution has done already.
There have been other periods in history when people have felt themselves faced with steadily accelerating changes, but never, it seems, has that feeling been more justified than today. We have a profound crisis of orientation: everything that used to be solid is evaporating. The old patterns of interpretation are weighed and found wanting. What economic, political, and technical opportunities and problems lie ahead of us and by what values and norms are our actions to be governed? The unexpected ending of the 20th century reminds us of the unpredictability of future developments, but without asking questions of this kind we will be less prepared than ever for the complex issues with which we are going to be confronted.
The world that is now taking shape as we enter the 21st century seems different in many ways from the world we have been accustomed to. What kind of society awaits us? What role will be played by the nation state and what lies in store for political democracy? What counterpoises will there be to global capitalism? What will the working life of the future be like? How will science and technology develop? What kind of wars and conflicts will we see?
What is the import of being human if we are able to take evolution into our own hands, and what would be the political and cultural implications of such possibilities? What will become of our collective and individual identity in a world so changeable and devoid of frontiers? What will become of imagination and artistic narrative in a culture where opportunities for virtual experience and interactivity are so great and in which reality itself is tending to become more and more virtual?
Harold Bloom: The Invention of the Human; How to Read; The Western Canon
Professor, Yale University and New York University, USA
Michael Maccoby: The Changing Sense of Self
PhD, Maccoby Group, USA
Robert Jay Lifton: The Protean Self: A Future of Many Shapes and Trickledown Nuclearism
Professor, the City University of New York, USA
Saskia Sassen: Cities and Globalisation
Professor, University of Chicago, USA
Johan Rådberg: The Role of Architecture
Professor, Lund University, Sweden
David Kimche: The Future of War and Conflict
PhD, Israel Council for Foreign Relations, Israel
Rolf Ekéus: War and Politics
Ambassador, Chairman of the Governing Board at SIPRI, Sweden
Martin van Creveld: The Future of War
Professor, Hebrew University, Israel
Robert Shapiro: A Global Perspective from America
PhD, United States Department of Commerce
Allan Larsson: A European Perspective
Chairman of the Swedish Television, Sweden
Jeffrey Rosen: The Eroded Self: Information and Knowledge in Cyberspace
Associate Professor, George Washington University, USA
John Ziman: The Globalisation of Science
Professor, University of Bristol, UK