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Last night I drove to the beautiful Saban Theater in Beverly Hills with two friends in order to see Vice President Al Gore (presented by Writer's Bloc). I had seen him a few years ago when he wrote his last book and though he was interesting enough to see again. His new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Local Change, talks about labor/work, communication, power, demographics, biotechnology, and climate change.
Gore spent about an hour talking with Madeline Brand, covering the six aspects of his book. And let's just say the man can talk. And talk. And talk. Obviously this is what he was supposed to do, it was just a lot of information at once! Unlike the last time I saw him speak, he didn't just cover climate change last night. Some highlights:
- We need better security in terms of the internet so that other countries and groups don't continue to breach secure sites.
- "Robosourcing" is going to become an increasing issue and will obviously result in global economic changes. Countries like China and India will decrease hiring people in exchange for more precise robots. Great way to cut costs, but this will mean thousands and thousands of people facing unemployment.
- There's such as thing as Spider Goats. Seriously- the silk spiders produce is incredibly strong, but nearly impossible to farm from arachnids. Scientists have spliced genes and have created goats to produce the silk in their milk.
- Speaking of farm animals, there are cows in Europe that are chipped with devices that can notify farmers when they are in heat via text message. The point- technology is infiltrating animal husbandry.
- Temperature bands in the United States (and world) are shifting, meaning that the country is slowly getting warmer. This of course has a huge effect on agriculture, creating even more obstacles for struggling farmers.
- Gore compared climate change to other controversial issues our country (and world) has faced- slavery, same-sex marriage, etc... It's something that needs support, conversation, and action.
- He credited Obama with some progress but believes that much, much more needs to be done.
- Our government has been "hacked." Special interest groups are ruling our country, which is something we all know. It is scary to think about how much they impact the votes of our politicians, who really represent these corporations, rather than their constituents.
They then opened it up to audience questions, one in particular being interesting to me. Recently, Al Gore and the rest of his investor group sold their liberal news network to Al Jazeera English. This of course raised some serious eyebrows (including my own), since Al Jazeera is owned by emir of Qatar. I'm not going to pretend to know all about it, nor will I put in the time to read tons of articles right now, but I do know that emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and his government don't exactly love America, are huge players in the oil industry, and have some pretty vocal opinions about homosexuals and the whole Israel/Palestine conflict. So, basically, the audience member wanted to know why Gore would find this an acceptable deal when on the surface it seems to contradict what he stands for. Gore answered the question politely, pointing out that it is Al Jazeera English, not the regular Al Jazeera network, which is a big difference. This network actually reports international news all day, everyday, and is going to be hiring many American journalists. Gore was undoubtedly prepared for the question and while I appreciated his answer (by the way, my girl Hilary Clinton supports this network), I do know that the man once was a politician and he still is a businessman.
Gore is definitely passionate about his cause and I wholeheartedly hope that his efforts to improve our environment and improve our society are successful.