20 Big Questions about the Future of Humanity

From Scientific American:

2. When and where do you think we will find extraterrestrial life?
“If there is abundant microbial life on Mars, I suspect that we will find it within 20 years—if it is enough like our form of life. If an alien life-form differs much from what we have here on Earth, it is going to be difficult to detect. It’s also possible that any surviving Martian microbes are rare and located in places that are difficult for a robotic lander to reach. Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Titan are more compelling places. Europa is a water world where more complex forms of life may have evolved. And Titan is probably the most interesting place in the solar system to look for life. It is rich in organic molecules but very cold and has no liquid water; if life exists on Titan, it will be very different from life on Earth.”
—Carol E. Cleland, philosophy professor and co-investigator in the Center for Astrobiology at the University of Colorado Boulder

3. Will we ever understand the nature of consciousness?
“Some philosophers, mystics and other confabulatores nocturne pontificate about the impossibility of ever understanding the true nature of consciousness, of subjectivity. Yet there is little rationale for buying into such defeatist talk and every reason to look forward to the day, not that far off, when science will come to a naturalized, quantitative and predictive understanding of consciousness and its place in the universe.”
Christof Koch, president and CSO at the Allen Institute for Brain Science; member of the Scientific American Board of Advisers

4. Will the entire world one day have adequate health care?
“The global community has made tremendous progress toward health equity over the past 25 years, but these advances have not reached the world’s most remote communities. Deep in the rain …

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