Looking back and looking at the 2018, you can call it good or bad? Most likely, your perception of the year includes treating all the global and personal problems that he brought. Each year we review the previous year as “one of the hardest” and I hope that next year will be more interesting and fruitful. But in the broader context of human history, the year 2018 was extremely positive. Every year the progress is getting better and better.
What made the science behind 2018
Before we dive into the main points of human progress in 2018, let’s get one thing straight. There is no doubt that our species faces many global challenges. From climate change to growing inequality in wealth, our problems will take us away from utopia.
However, it is important to recognize that the media are disproportionately focused on negative news. Let’s try to move away from the disproportionate and talk about the good. About how mankind has pushed the boundaries of science in 2018.
We become an interplanetary species
We often forget how far we have come since then, how the first people came from the African Savannah, populated the entire planet and has got a powerful technological abilities. Our desire to explore the unknown have shaped the course of human evolution and will continue to do so.
In the past year we have continued to push the boundaries of space exploration. The fate of humanity among the stars. We are born to be Wanderers of the cosmos and the eternal unknown.
SpaceX has conducted 21 successful launch in 2018 and completed this year’s successful launch of GPS. The last test flight of Virgin Galactic also became an incredible milestone, as SpaceShipTwo officially touched space. Richard Branson and his team expect that space tourism will become a reality in the next 18 months.
Our understanding of the cosmos have also moved forward, thanks to the continuous breakthroughs in astrophysics and astronomy. One notable example is the MARS mission InSight, which uses advanced tools to study the internal structure of Mars and even gave us the first recordings of sound on Mars.
We understand and are struggling with the disease
Thanks to advances in science and medicine, we live longer, feel better and live a fuller and healthier life than people from any point in human history. In fact, for most of human history life expectancy at birth was about 30 years. Today it is over 70 years worldwide, and in developed parts of the world — more than 80.
Brilliant researchers around the world strive for new records in the field of medicine. This year we saw promising methods of treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and even the flu.
The most deadly disease of all — cancer — also does not remain without attention. According to the American Association of cancer research, last year it was approved 22 revolutionary cancer treatment, and adult mortality is also reduced. Achievements in the field of immunotherapy, genetic engineering, stem cells and nanotechnology — all powerful resources to combat the deadly disease.
A breakthrough psychotherapy
Although more clean energy, access to education and a higher level of employment can improve quality of life by themselves, they do not guarantee happiness and inner peace. According to the world economic forum, mental health problems affect every fourth person in the world, and in many places they are significantly undervalued. More and more people are beginning to realize that our mental health is just as important as our physical health, and that we should take care about your mind as about the body.
We are seeing a growing number of applications that put mental well-being in the center. Breakthrough advances in genetics allow us to better understand the genetic structure disorders such as clinical depression or schizophrenia, and pave the way for personalized medical treatment. We have also seen the growth of increasingly effective treatments for anxiety.
Gaining momentum and the so-called area of psychedelic therapy. Earlier this summer, the FDA gave the green light for the treatment of PTSD with MDMA after several successful phases of clinical trials. Similar studies also showed that psilocybin (a component of some fungi) in combination with conventional therapies increases the effectiveness of treatment of depression and anxiety.
Moral and social progress
Innovation is often associated with economic and technological progress. However, we also need leaps of progress in our morality, values and politics. For 21st century people have made significant progress in protecting the rights of women and children, civil rights, LGBT rights, animal rights and others. However, with this in many parts of the developed world, the rise in nationalism and xenophobia. This yet to master.
In January 2018 Iceland adopted the law on equal pay, ending the gap in pay for men and women. On 6 September the Supreme court of India decriminalized homosexuality. In December, the European Commission released the draft guidelines on ethics for reliable artificial intelligence. These are just a few examples of positive trends.
We have also seen the rise of the global social impact business. New startups are no longer evaluated simply on the basis of their level of profits and income, but also on the basis of the level of positive impact that they have on the world as a whole. Leading innovators are asking the question is not “How to get rich?”, and “How to solve this global problem?”.
Becoming more and more evident that we are living in the most exciting time in the history of mankind. Moreover, in 2019, should be watched with optimism.
Let’s not forget that in space-time the whole life of our species, including the entire history of mankind, it is only a blink of an eye. The probability that we exist as an intelligent species and as individuals, are so amazingly small that it can be considered a wonderful coincidence. Let’s acknowledge this and use this amazing opportunity to pave a great path forward.
How do you assess the year 2018?