In 1969, Buzz Aldrin’s historical step onto the moon leapt mankind into an era of technological possibility. The awesome power of technology was to be used to solve all of our big problems. Fast forward to present day, and what's happened?
Contrary to popular belief, not all technology is 'hard' -- physical devices. Some of the most important technological developments of humanity have been 'soft' -- new ways of organizing our collective life. The single most important technological challenge of the day is to re-engineer our failed 'national security system' and build a global collective security system through a world-wide, supranational federation of nations with democratic legislative, executive and judicial powers.
Although many fear that human nature will prevent us from achieving this goal, Jason Pontin describes what is really keeping us from solving such "big problems":
"Sometimes we choose not to solve big problems, [as they require] a political decision with popular appeal... Sometimes, we can't solve big problems because our political systems fail… Finally, big problems sometimes elude solution because we don't really understand the problem… Hard problems are hard.
“It's not true that we can't solve big problems… We can, we must, but these four elements must all be present: Political leaders and the public must care to solve a problem; institutions must support its solution; …and we must understand it… We are left alone with our day, and the solutions of the future will be harder won. God knows, we don't lack for the challenges.”