Former Vice President Al Gore took to the stage at the SXSW interactive festival today to tell a packed auditorium at the Austin Convention Center about the future.
No, really, “The Future,” which is the name of his new book, with the heavy-duty subhed of “Six Drivers of Global Change.”
Among these drivers are — no surprise for him — severe environment damage, as well as overpopulation and changes in biology via technology and all the problems that come with that. Among the other critical issues, Gore also noted money politics, the ever more sophisticated antibiotics for livestock and the reliance on super computers for stock market trading.
Gore told AllThingsD.com editor Walt Mossberg in an interview that some of these global developments were both a “peril and opportunity.”
But, in all, it’s a pretty depressing picture overall that he is painting, despite pointing out that knowing you have a problem is the first step.
“Our country is in very serious trouble,” he said. “But that does not mean I am optimistic.”
Which is right before Gore started reeling off the problematic pressure that money has put on politics. “Our democracy has been hacked,” he said.
“American democracy has never been perfect, but more often than not, the will of the people did drive policy,” he added. “Congress today is utterly incapable of passing any reform of any significance unless they get permission from special interests.”
For example: “The NRA is a fraud,” about the National Rifle Association and its links to gun manufacturers.
“I wish I could get you to be more outspoken,” joked Mossberg.
“The timidity has always been an issue with me,” joshed Gore back.
Gore, who often likes to talk in full and very extended paragraphs, slowly worked through the rest of the list, before he got to the issue of spider goats.
Indeed, spider goats, which are created using genetics to mix spiders and goats genes.
“You can’t farm spiders for a number of reasons, so people are talking the genes from spiders and splicing them into goats,” explained Gore. “They look like goats, then these spider goats secret silk through their udders. ‘Everyone okay with that?’”
More to come …
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