What is your outlook?

Question: Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about the way the world is headed?

Peter Rojas: Actually I’m generally pretty optimistic. You know it’s when I think about stuff like global warming, and I think about how screwed up the political system in this country is . . . You know, a lot of the poor decisions we’re making about . . . about the economy. The government _________ developing policy and things like that, you know it . . . it makes me . . . you know it makes you very pessimistic. It makes me very pessimistic. You know it makes you like really frustrated. But then you look at like a lot of the great things that have happened in spite . . . I mean despite George Bush being a pretty lousy president, you know this . . . there’s been this flourishing online. It’s almost been despite everything. It’s almost you know . . . If you look at everything that has been going on with . . . with the Internet and Web 2.0 – I hate to say “Web 2.0”, but you know it’s good shorthand – it seems like there . . . there . . . there’s been this . . . There’s this . . . this flowering of . . . of new ideas, and new platforms and, you know, more people getting involved, more people creating, and it being broadening and reaching more people at a time than it ever did. And you know we still have a vast majority of humanity to get online and to reach. But like we’re getting there, and it’s moving forward. And you know I kind of . . . I guess I ultimately feel like things do work themselves out and . . . and I feel like in my own life I’ve been very, very fortunate where, you know, even when things . . . like in, you know, when things seem like they’re falling apart or not going the way I want them to, like things don’t tend to . . . to work themselves out. And so I try to be . . . I tend to . . . I guess I am fundamentally optimistic, but I think we will find solutions for our problems, and then we’ll have all sorts of new problems to deal with. Like you know that my hope is that . . . with global warming that we’ll find, you know, new technologies. And that is, you know, maybe one of the most pressing issues, you know, facing us as a . . . as a species is how do we deal with global warming? And I’m sort of optimistic that . . . and maybe overly optimistic that technologies will emerge that will help us solve those problems. That it’s not just about getting off oil, but it’s about finding new ways to . . . to remove carbon from the atmosphere and to . . . to help, you know, bring things back into balance. And that someone will create something. And there’s definitely got to be the financial incentive to do it, right? And that we’ll be able to solve those problems. So I guess I’m optimistic – fundamentally optimistic that . . . you know that we’ll figure it out if for no other reason than I see so many . . . I mean there’s so much creativity and so much intelligence, and you know the Internet has made it possible for people who are intelligent, or who have . . . who are creative to . . . to actually interact with the rest of the world now in ways that they couldn’t before; that we’re tapping into so much more, like, human talent. The human . . . human capability than we . . . than we would have been able to 10 or 15 years ago. And so I think when I look around the world . . . when I look at like the world . . . the little mini world I live in and like on my . . . Web . . . online media or whatever, that it’s so competitive, and so much innovation, and so many ideas coming out, and so many people trying to . . . to outdo each other that it’s hard to imagine, you know, a species that is constantly trying to outdo itself with innovation isn’t going to be able to solve these problems. It’s really just a matter of . . . of us always innovating and always working hard. And you know innovation’s a word that gets tossed around a lot, but you know it . . . it . . . you know you do see it . . . You know it is happening, and it’s happening a lot faster than it used to, and people are evolving, and trying to outdo each other, and trying to build better things. And I think that’s great.


Recorded on: 10/2/07



Rojas points to new technologies, and their ability to change human life for the better, as a source of great hope.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

10 reasons to be optimistic in 2019

Rwanda is pioneering the regulation and use of drones - such as delivering blood

Politics & Current Affairs

Even the optimists among us would have to admit 2018 was a challenging year. The fractured world that became the focus of our 2018 Annual Meeting a year ago came under further pressure from populist rhetoric and rising nationalist agendas. At the same time, the urgent need for coordinated global action in areas such as climate change, inequality and the impact of automation on jobs became more intense.

Keep reading Show less