Can our species survive weapons of mass destruction, the threat of terrorism, the danger of an oppressive 1984 style surveillance state, and out-of-control genetic engineering? Can we in fact direct our future? These are the questions posed in a new series of radio talk shows entitled “The Next Chapter” to be broadcast nationwide over Maine shortwave radio station WBCQ.
Hosted by award winning journalist and Waterville resident Roland B. Hunt, the program will look at current trends in science and technology and how these fields may be used in the future by governments and groups to save life or to take it, to enlighten the human mind or control it.
Hunt believes we live at a turning point in history. “The recent revelations about the NSA spying on every aspect of our lives is just one more indication that programs originally intended to protect us could, in the wrong hands, also be used to suppress political expression and dissent.” Hunt adds, “To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never in the course of human affairs have so few been able to do such great harm to so many.”
Based on the latest scientific data astronomers now estimate that as many as 500,000 planets in our galaxy alone could support life at least as intelligent as we are if not even more advanced. “If species more intelligent than us do exist,” Hunt says, “then they must have solved the Strangelove Paradox.” Inspired by the famous Cold War motion picture “Dr. Strangelove” the Paradox states that the more advanced an intelligent species becomes the more likely it is to destroy itself. “If other species solved the Strangelove Paradox,” says Hunt, “all we have to do is figure out how they did it.”
The Next Chapter looks at future scenarios for humanity and how these may affect our chances for advancing beyond the very dangerous age we find ourselves in today. Hunt believes that even deeper problems will challenge us in the near future, among them the use of advanced genetic engineering to all but halt the aging process, and the end of work as we have known it as computer controlled automation continues to eliminate all but the most menial of jobs.
“How will we cope with the population pressures we already have when people begin to live for two or three centuries or even longer?” Hunt asks. “Some leading scientists believe we are only a few decades from such a breakthrough. Will we have to start requiring licenses to have a child? If work as we have known it becomes unnecessary for the vast majority of people, how will we keep them occupied and avoid the danger of species decline because of dependency on government and a lack of challenges?”
“These are problems that much of the media would prefer to ignore,” Hunt says, “because they are so alarming in their implications for our future as a society. My position, however, is that you cannot solve a problem until you are willing to face it squarely and honestly.”
Hunt believes that the two national political parties are trying to use outdated ideologies to shape the debate over how to solve unemployment, for example, when the true causes are far deeper. “Much of the political class wants to believe that automation only displaces workers temporarily, that in the long run automation creates more jobs. Just because that may have been true in the past does not mean it will always be so,” Hunt says.
“We really are moving toward a very different world unlike anything in human history,” he adds. “The sooner we are willing to face up to that fact the sooner we’ll be able to find a new path for the full expression of human potential.”
Hunt believes the key to finding that path is think of ourselves as Team Humanity and to never lose sight of the fact that we are all on this journey together. “We as a species have come a long way since the savannahs of East Africa,” he says. “The best is yet to come if we can adopt a common vision of freedom, wisdom, and kindness. Truly coming together as Team Humanity will be our greatest challenge but also our greatest triumph as a species worthy of the name Homo Sapiens, intelligent humans.
‘The Next Chapter’ is part of a larger project called Radio Alexandria which envisions a shortwave radio station located in the central Pacific that will broadcast programs about science, technology, and the future of humanity to listeners throughout the Pacific Rim.
‘The Next Chapter’ can be heard Wednesdays at 7:00 pm EST on 7490 kHz over shortwave station WBCQ in Monticello, ME beginning December 18. The program is also streamed live on the internet at www.wbcq.com. Additional information about Radio Alexandria is available on the web at radioalexandria.net.
Roland B. Hunt spent thirty years in radio and television including a stint as an executive producer at a national network, winning an Emmy Award, Armstrong Award, and National Endowment for the Humanities journalism fellowship along the way. Later he launched his own consulting business, serving as an international communications consultant to the US State Department, USAID, the UN, NATO, several large international corporations, and a refugee aid organization. Now retired, he lives with his wife and daughter in Waterville, Maine.