Population + Innovation

A few facts you might find interesting: the Earth’s population has doubled since the mid 1970s. Though the rate of population growth has almost halved since its peak (2.2%) in 1963, it still averaged a robust 220,988 new Earthlings every day in 2009. China and India account for nearly 40% of the world’s population- compare that to the U.S. which is about 4.5%, and Europe about 12%. Nearly a third of the world’s population is under the age of fifteen. Projections differ greatly, but some experts predict that we’ll hover between 9 and 10 billion by mid century.

In what Thomas Friedman calls an increasingly hot, crowded and flat world, population and innovation are closely linked. Where will 21st century’s world-changing innovation come from? And in what form? Some predict that nations will matter less than cities, regional hegemony far less than global collaboration. Ideas now travel at the speed of light, and access to information and technology grows by leaps and bounds.

Andrew Revkin writes in his recent post on NY Times Dot Earth,

As the human population heads toward nine billion and simultaneously becomes ever more interlaced via mobility, commerce and communication links, the potential to shape the human journey — for better or worse — through the sharing of ideas and experiences has never been greater. (My own sense is that the upside will dominate.) From Darwin through Havel, there’s been a vision of breaking down tribal and other barriers and enveloping the planet in what some have called noosphere.

While some old tools for disseminating information, the nightly newscast and morning front page, are suffering, it’s clear that the thirst for community and communication is stronger than ever.

But language remains a barrier to having a truly global conversation, or perhaps I should cast that in the past tense now.

As some of you certainly already know, and I’ve just learned, that future is already sketched out, in the form of Skype Translate, MeGlobe and similar experiments in instantly translated text chats.

  • Tags: Facts & Figures, People, Places
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  1. [...] Population + Innovation | LoveTomorrowToday lovetomorrowtoday.com/2010/02/08/population-innovation – view page – cached In an increasingly hot, crowded and flat world, population and innovation are closely linked. Where will 21st century’s innovation come from? And in what form? [...]

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