New Modality Catalyst:
Ben Aldern, eyes on the 100-Year Horizon
Ben Aldern is an entrepreneur who has long been a huge supporter, a key advisor, and a Catalyst for The New Modality.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My main interests are centered around how the biosphere flourishes over the next 100 years and beyond. I explore technological, cultural, individual, and collective solutions, and ways of thinking that will get us there from where we stand today. This started with the blog Wait but Why and Nick Bostrom's book Global Catastrophic Risks, and I've been down that rabbit hole ever since.
My background is in mechanical engineering, data science, and entrepreneurship. These are useful lenses through which to view the world, but far from the only ones. As far as I can tell, humanity is still searching for the clearest lenses and has been for quite some time. I'm hopeful that The New Modality can document some of this effort.
What's a current cultural edge you're excited to see people pushing?
I'm constantly inspired by the movement towards thinking on a global and long term scale. It seems like this kind of thinking has been growing recently, with the acceleration of that growth picking up quite a bit in 2018. More and more people are realizing that building a positive future for humans and the biosphere is a team sport. That's a great foundation for the next wave of cultural innovation.
“More and more people are realizing that building a positive future for humans and the biosphere is a team sport.”
What’s your biggest, most out-there dream of a better world?
I'd love to live in a world where it's hard not to make sustainable and regenerative choices. Currently, the average citizen in a developed nation doesn't have a lifestyle easily available to them that consumes less than their fair share of resources. As long as sustainability is opt-in, we're going to lose the war no matter how many battles each individual wins. Imagine a world where every default choice leads to more long term flourishing!
What's a relatively small, highly achievable dream of a better world that you sometimes think about but haven't done yet?
Only small in context of the previous question, I dream of more transparent supply chains. In the absence of opt-out sustainability, if we could create really, really, really easy opt-in sustainability — that would get us some of the way there and could be a fraction of the work.
What are your favorite links that will help our audience learn about you, your life, your work, and your values?
New Modality Catalysts
The New Modality is about experiments in culture — and the people who do those experiments. NewMo Catalysts are people who do things we admire and want to celebrate. They also help us stay accountable to our values. To learn more about NewMo Catalysts (or nominate someone to be a Catalyst), check out the Catalyst FAQ.
This profile was edited by Katie MacBride. Katie is a writer and a co-founder of Anxy magazine. More about Katie at her NewMo profile
The information in our Catalyst profiles usually comes directly from the subjects, and we usually don't fact-check them. You can learn more about The New Modality's fact-checking and epistemological ideas by reading the page about our process for truth and transparency.