I'd hold off colonising Mars—but ensure women get heardby Lisa Randall / February 18, 2016 / Leave a comment
Read more: If I ruled the world: Umberto Eco
I’m not exactly sure what it means to rule the world. Come to think of it, I don’t even know where the world (my sovereignty) would end—should I take the usual approach of my fellow Americans and confuse the United States with the world, or should I define it as planet Earth, the solar system, or the entire universe? Ruling the universe would be challenging since without some advanced scientific and technological breakthroughs, I couldn’t communicate with any of the life forms that are probably out there. That wouldn’t be my only scientific goal, however, since science can benefit living beings in a plethora of ways and basic science is usually what drives big changes. In any case, I’m pretty curious about the inanimate objects that populate the universe too.
In the solar system, I would hold off colonising Mars. Not because I’m afraid of Martians protesting, but because it would be a good idea to address our problems on Earth first. Besides, Mars doesn’t seem very pleasant. I’m guessing that in the near future our resources can be more sensibly deployed on Earth.
I’m all for continued space exploration—just with a more realistic view of what’s achievable, which is actually pretty remarkable. I would also encourage a renewed ethic of responsibility that would apply to individuals, businesses and politics, in which everyone, including companies, would pay for rubbish disposal and any residual damage, such as environmental or economic crises that result from their actions. My economic team would be charged with devising growth measures that factor in such externalities.
We would also see a lot more scientists, or at least smart people (defined below) in positions of power. Angela Merkel, who studied physical chemistry, has done a pretty good job, despite her current trouble. I do see room for a more rational approach to governance.…