There is an appalling distance between here and the countless planets we're discovering around stars other than our Sun. At first glance we can never span those light years. At second glance however...
"The 100-year Starship" is the name of now-culminating project that mustered a handful of scientists and science fiction writers to contemplate how humanity might, over the coming century, realistically develop the ability to escape our Solar System and travel the light years to others.
Participants included scientists such as Freeman Dyson and Martin Rees and writers such as Gregory Benford and Neal Stephenson. The professional futurist in the group was Peter Schwartz, who contributed scenarios playing out four futures of starship ambitions. To his surprise, exploring the scenarios suggested that getting effective star travel over the coming century or two is not a long shot. Even by widely divergent paths, it looks like a near certainty.
Schwartz's SALT talk will report on the exciting work by the 19 participants and spell out the logics of his scenarios. The new book from the project, Starship Century: Toward the Grandest Horizon, will be available at the event.
Peter Schwartz is co-founder and chairman of Global Business Network (GBN), a unique membership organization and worldwide network of strategists, business executives, scientists, and artists based in Emeryville, California.
Established in 1988, GBN specializes in corporate scenario planning and research on the future of the business environment. From 1982 to 1986, Schwartz headed scenario planning for the Royal Dutch/ Shell Group of Companies in London. His team conducted comprehensive analyses of the global business and political environment and worked with senior management to create successful strategies.
Before joining Royal Dutch/ Shell, Schwartz directed the Strategic Environment Center at SRI International. The Center researched the business milieu, lifestyles, and consumer values, and conducted scenario planning for corporate and government clients.
Schwartz is the co-author of both The Long Boom, and When Good Companies Do Bad Things: Responsibility and Risk in an Age of Globalization. Schwartz is also the author of The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World. This seminal publication on scenario planning has been translated into Dutch, Portuguese, and Chinese.
Schwartz also co-authored Seven Tomorrows: Toward a Voluntary History with James Ogilvy and Paul Hawken in 1982, and The Emergent Paradigm: Changing Patterns of Thought and Belie with James Ogilvy in 1979. He has published and lectured widely and served as a script consultant on the films War Games and Sneakers. Schwartz received a BS in aeronautical engineering and astronautics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.