Since WWII, our planet has experienced an incredible pace of technological and human development. We landed on the moon, we can wake up in Shanghai and go to sleep in New York, we have access to a huge amount of information all the time, everywhere. In the span of two generations, the world has changed more than in the previous 20,000 years. Globalization, digitization, longevity: humankind has leaped forward, changing the way we do business, accelerating our impact on the planet and shaking the governance models we have known for centuries.
These dynamics have brought great opportunities to humankind. In 1940, 60% of the world's population was illiterate. Today, it is around 10%. In the last twenty-five years, more than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, and the global poverty level has never been that low in history. Within a century, life expectancy has basically doubled: countries like India and South Korea have moved from a 23 years life expectancy to three times that. The world has never been so healthy, wealthy, and in peace, as it is today. That is not to say that it is nearly enough, nor that the state of things is acceptable: we need to end poverty, have complete literacy, and do much more on every front - however, progress has been made.
Great opportunities also brought along grave threats. Since the Anthropocene era, our own survival has never been put into question like today. From nuclear proliferation to climate change, from digital disinformation to the gradual erosion of democratic processes, humankind manufactured tools and provoked dynamics that, if left unchecked, can disproportionately impact our future.
We live in an unprecedented period of change. Every generation might think that: but how many generations could actually experience the feeling of being closer to someone on the other side of the planet than to the people living next to you? How many generations could hope to set foot on another planet, and establish a colony there? How many generations could see the possibility of living more than 100 years as a realistic expectation?
The historical moment we live in has the potential to deliver uncharted, radical changes to our societies.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the most devastating disease that this planet has faced in the last 100 years, has thunderstruck our norms and customs. Social schemes crumbled as people went hungry in the most advanced economies on the planet, inequalities widened with a handful of billionaires experiencing vertiginous growth in wealth while countries’ GDP plummeted, and the world stopped working as we were all used to.
Tragedies fuel change: there is an opportunity to rethink our future and change it radically. This is why Atlas was created.