The Way Forward

Charles Mueller

The United States needs a new way forward or it is going to collapse.

This isn’t one of those hollow, bold claims that is meant to create gossip, this is a claim meant to excite action. We need a new way forward because without one, we will be written into the history books the same way all world powers of the past have been. Our current path forward is leading us to an inevitable failure. Leaders are meant to lead and when they can no longer lead they are replaced by those that believe they can. The United States is the world’s only real leader and today, if we want to remain as this, we need a new way forward.

There are times when it is okay to remain static and times when you must be dynamic. The environment of the world and its challenges control this, not the beliefs of man. The world is a more integrated and complex beast than at any other point in human history. As a result, we need to lead on the fronts of tomorrow, today. The world is in a transition state to a higher place and advancements in S&T are catalyzing this transition exponentially. Everyday we move closer to fully unlocking the secrets of the brain, to developing machines that can learn and to being able to engineer ourselves into the beings we “want” to be. We cannot continue to lead in a world the way we have traditionally done. Being a leader in this new world dominated by S&T issues requires a new way forward.

Many of the failures of the future will be predictable and avoidable. The lesson of the past is that good leadership and governance requires wisdom of the people, the environment and the relationship that exists between them. Failure to do this almost guarantees bad policies, bad actors, and bad uses of technologies, all things that set society back. Our forefathers warned us we would face this certainty of failure if we refused to update our way of governance to reflect the current times. We have the ability to understand the world in ways no other people can, we have ways of learning from our people to ensure we get policies right, we can create appropriate boundaries that ensure S&T brings the good and mitigates the bad, but it will require change. It will require a new way forward.

The new way forward will be revolutionary, tumultuous, and difficult, but it will be worth it. Just as the Cold War diverged from traditional notions of geopolitical competition, this new revolution can be achieved without the traditional chaos of change. What is needed are the right leaders and the ability to get those leaders the tools and resources they need to make the hard choices they will have to make. This is why this new way forward must be led by the S&T community, those who not just help make S&T policy, but also create the S&T that pushes humanity forward. Our future leaders need to be fluent in the world of S&T. This new way forward will require us to lead in the ways we have before, but also in ways and in places where leaders have never existed.

The future leaders of the United States have to evolve the United States. They must evolve our form of governance to deal with the new world S&T is creating. We need a new way forward where S&T drives our policy and our policy is driven by S&T. This is the reality of our future and what refuses to evolve with the future inevitably dies. The United States must embrace S&T like it never has before because in all honesty, it is our only way forward.

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