New Year Wishes

The image below was taken by Spaceship Voyager 1 in 1990. It was 6.4 billion kilometers from us. It’s called the pale blue dot in honor of that little blue pixel you see in the center of a ray of light. It inspired astrophysicist Carl Sagan, who wrote the following:

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

Let me use cruder words.

The pale blue dot doesn’t give a shit.

We’re facing an array of global challenges and we have to fix this ourselves, we have to fix this together, and we have to fix this now. We wont fix anything if we wait for the singularity to emerge and save us all. We wont fix anything if we sit back and hope for someone else to fix it for us.

We’ll fix this if we roll up our sleeves and find a way to work together. To understand together what is broken. To go back to the basics, to the tools we have for probing reality and understanding what’s broken. To science.

We need to use science to write stories of hope and wonder. Beautiful stories that get people to regroup, no matter where they come from, no matter what they look like, no matter what they believe in.
And we can do this. We have the tools to do this. Not in a hundred years, but today.

We’ve got the tools, today, to embrace the complexity in which the world thrives.

Here’s to a New Year where we do this, together, a bit more.

(Adapted from a keynote I gave at Element AI a few years ago.)