Inspirational highlights from my closing speech and subsequent interview with the press on our collective responsibility to the future—as our technologies converge and we take our next steps outward to the stars—delivered to the full assembly of distinguished international delegates at the recent Global Leadership Forum, taken up and published by nationally-acclaimed Souls of San Francisco, reaching out to inspire hundreds of thousands around the world.
" We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on."
– Richard Feynman
|From early childhood, I set out to convey a profound and positive impact on the long-term future of humanity, to make the world a better place for the generations yet to come. As we continue forwards in our collective journey, scaling the cosmic ladder of evolution, progressing onwards, expanding our reach outwards to other worlds, and other stars, in the transition to become a multiplanetary species—Earth comes into view as a destination, no longer limited as a point of origin. We stand on the shores of a vast cosmic ocean, with untold continents of possibility yet to explore. From early on, I committed my life purpose to the singular objective of ensuring that integrity, balance and ethical responsibility hold paramount importance as priorities, in both scientific research and in principal government leadership, as we're collectively propelled forwards as a species. With unprecedented leaps and bounds of progress in our scientific understanding—enabled by the development of converging and expanding exponential technologies—newfound, unexpected discoveries await, just over the horizon.|
Rapid advances in fields such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, molecular nanotechnology, neuroscience, renewable energy, spaceflight, supercomputing and quantum technologies—each enabled by the rapid technological progress of Moore’s Law doublings in computer processing power, speed and complexity—will soon converge to confer radical changes to our society over coming decades, as we move forward in the collective transition towards the dawn of a post-scarcity economy. The future is unbounded. The responsibility falls upon us to ensure that its limitless potential is filled with dreams of hope, happiness, freedom and fulfillment.
I began my scientific career at a Deep Future, multidisciplinary research institute—Starlab—located deep in the serene and secluded forests outside Brussels, Belgium. Our research institute, co-founded by MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte and established in partnership with MIT, Oxford and Ghent University, was created as a "Noah's Ark" to bring together the world's most brilliant and creative scientists to work on far-ranging projects that hold the potential to convey a profound and positive impact on future generations. Our artificial intelligence project at the lab was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2001 as the "World's Most Complex Artificial Brain." I lived and worked at the institute, taking up research collaborations with the principal scientists of our NASA and USAF-sponsored time travel division—profiled in a prominent Discovery Channel Special—in work that was widely published, featured in a Discover Magazine cover story, and continues to this day: we just completed a chapter contribution to a Springer academic volume on Spacetime from Quantum Topology.
When our laboratory came up short on research grants, I personally went to the President himself to request $1M in additional budget from funds allocated through Clinton's 2001 National Nanotechnology Initiative. For my contributions to the program, I was selected by the US Government as one of three graduate students most likely to impact the future of the field at Salishan, sponsored to attend conferences and senior administrator briefings at national agency headquarters outside Washington, DC, attended the World Technology Summit in London, was an invited delegate to the French Sénat to provide testimony on the future of technology and how it will transform our lives over coming decades—and more.
That was my first job out of college. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, I volunteered and was subsequently elected to serve as Chairman for a UN Disarmament and International Security Committee, leading more than 500 diplomats to address and combat the threats of international terrorism, global and regional nuclear security, and information warfare.
|My Chair Report to the General Assembly on the promise and perils posed by the rapid acceleration of unpredictable advances in converging technologies was read by the UN Secretary General, at the Executive Office of the President, by National Security Advisors, at Presidential and Prime Minister's offices around the world—was instrumental in building political momentum and influencing Congressional policy to establish the foundations for US Cyber Command—and was subsequently recognized with the 2004 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Policy.|
That's when things started to get exciting.
– Christopher Altman
* Special thanks to Pete Worden for insight and inspiration. Photos from Starlab and spaceflight training at NASA Ames, Johnson Space Center and commercial providers around the country, 2009 - present.
About the Astronauts | Christopher Altman
Quantum Astronaut | Quantum technology, commercial spaceflight