With open eyes into the dark.

Why is it, that humanity steers knowingly towards its own exctinction and the destruction of the planet?

Do you know how much CO2 you are releasing into the air each year? As a Swiss around 5 tonnes, as an American more than 20 tonnes. If you're living in Burundi, chances are that you aren't producing much more CO2, than from the air you breathe. Despite there being still some fools, idiots and profiteers proclaiming the opposite, man made climate chance is a scientifically proven fact. Our planet is heating up because we release carbon dioxide and other gases, that were formerly in solid or liquid state (mostly as coal or oil), into the atmosphere. Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal. To still question or deny this is about as absurd as denying gravity. 

Global climate change will have profound implications for the quality of the life of hundreds of millions of people and it will globally increase conflicts as well as mass migrations. On top, it will diminish our flora and fauna; many scientist already call it the sixth mass extinction in the history of our planet. About a quarter of CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, leading to severe acidification of the seas and resulting in the destruction of coral reefs and having a dramatic effect on calcifying creatures like plankton. Unfortunately these creatures are the foundation of the oceanic food chain. When shelled organisms are at risk, the entire sea life as we know it is at risk. Other effects will likely make matters worse: There are indications suggesting that climate change could lead to the destabilization of (solid) methane hydrates in the oceans and to the release huge amounts of methane gas - a much more effective accelerator of climate change than CO2 - into the atmosphere thus accelerating climate change even more. Also, melting glaciers and polar ice reflect less sun, again speeding up the warming of our planet.

So, we know.... we know (!) that our planet is heating up because we emit far too much CO2 and other gases with similar effects. And we know (!) it will lead to the destruction of our nature, to global conflicts and ultimately to our own extinction. Also - just to remind you - there ain't nowhere else to go. I know, Elon Musk wants to go to mars, but its not particularly pretty there either, and any further destination would require interstellar travel, and we are not even close to that.

So Earth it is. And because we don't want to stop flying around, stop using our gas guzzling cars, stop producing energy with coal plants, stop eating meat - in short - because we don't want to change anything in our behavior on a personal or global level - no carbon tax, nothing - we will all die or live our lives in misery, hiding from war and carving for a sip of drinkable water.

The sun produces more energy on our planet in a day than we would need in a year. Still we prefer to burn up fossils like there is no tomorrow. Well, if we continue like that, looks like there won't be a tomorrow.

Sincerely yours


Who Wants to Live Forever

“I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying." - While Woody Allen might only achieve the former, many younger people rightfully aim for the latter: Not dying. At all. Or at least not for next two or three hundred years or so.

It has been a human desire for as long as we can think of, but now, it seems that this vision is within reach. And while I don't want to go into scientific details about the progress of slowing death or indeed achieve immortality (you can start exploring the discourse here, here or here) I think it's important to talk about the implications of not dying.

There is of course a financial impact. Already pension funds have trouble providing enough money for a rapidly agening population. The lifespan of people that have stopped working but aren't dead has grown remarkably in the last 60 years. Those peoples savings will have to last for many more years and most of them have a lifetime pension, guaranteed by the state. If they don't die, that’s going to be very expensive. And even if those who only have a limited pension don't die, what’s going to happen? Are they all going to live in poverty? "Altersarmut" or poverty among the elderly will be a term we might use much more often in the future.

But probably, the ones who cannot afford to live forever will eventually die. That leads to an even scarier outcome. It is save to assume that the medicine and treatments for extending ones lifespan will cost a lot of money. So who will live forever? The rich and the powerful. The one percent that already owns half of the world and is getting richer by the day. Death, the most important constant of life, will not apply to those who have. And it will prevent them even more to share their wealth with others. Money and power will not be naturally redistributed after the death of even the mightiest and richest despot. They will be keeping it to them selves and they will stay in charge. Of their companies, their governments, their organisations.

So before we celebrate the medical breakthroughs that will certainly be substantial - with the raise of artifical intelligence, gene editing (think of CRISPR) and personalized medicine - we should consider what it means. Living in an society where people don't die might just be less fun than we think.

Sincerely yours,





Data will become the money of the poor and the controlling power of the rich.

Use Gmail for free and give all your data to Google instead. Have a crashbox in your car or wear a health wristband and you’ll get your insurance cheaper. Have a smart device analyze your home energy consumption and reduce energy costs.

And why not leave your GPS, camera and microphone of your smartphone always on? Siri and Cortana can help you much more reliable and faster. And of course — for free!

Data is already big and will evermore unlock huge business opportunities. Smart algorithms and AI’s like IBM’s Watson will analyze social and individual patterns and offer tailor made products and solutions.

The rich and well educated may choose to opt out. Already there are luxury hotels offering digital free zones. To disconnect and have more time to spend with your children, dog or just to go hiking is the new status symbol of the upper class.

They can afford to pay for their newspaper, heating, navigation and insurance. And the are able and willing to make their own individual decisions.

The unskilled masses who’s jobs will be increasingly under threat by computers and robots however, will be glad to share their data to reduce their bills. And they will also be glad to consume products that are made to entertain them, because they are based on their individual customs and behaviors. They’ll get cheaper and better services, just for sharing their everyday data.

What a brave new world.

Sincerely yours,