Philosophical Society of Washington

The Next Billion Years

Joseph N. Pelton
George Washington University

2102nd Meeting Abstract
Friday, March 05, 1999 at 8:15 PM


The 21st century is more than the start of a new millennium. It is the time wherein the survival of the species will be decided. New approaches to planning, education, health care, economic production and consumption will be needed for homo sapiens to last an eon. Our potential is now enormous. We might terra-farm Mars within another century or two or even colonize our Galaxy in a mere 50 million years. But the dangers of global warming, the ozone hole, changes to the ice-cap albedo, and desertification threaten our bio-sphere and current economic systems do not highly value survival of the species. Our educational systems are ill-equipped to cope with information overload, interdisciplinary teamwork, or even the issue of "deskilling" as occasioned by expert systems and artificial intelligence.

About the Author:

Joseph N. Pelton is a Professor with the Institute for Applied Space Research at George Washington University where he heads several international research studies funded by NASA and international space and telecommunications entities in Japan, Europe, France and Canada. He is the past chairman of the Board of Trustees and dean of the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. He is the author of some 16 books and over 400 articles including "Global Talk" which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

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