#Living21: Living in the 21st Century

What’s living in the 21st century? Is it living green? Or winning the war against machines rising and threatening to take our jobs and livelihoods? Maybe it’s optimism that man will beat cancer and even death. What about God? And the other gods like ‘Big Brother’ who trail our scent on the inter-webs. Then with the little bits of ourselves that we live behind, maps our lives. All for taking advantage of our vain desires? We disembowel our writers’ musings, cut out the tripe, skim the fat and get to the nub. This is #living21

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The 21st Century: Age of The 3rd and 4th Industrial Revolutions

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To so bravely fight cancer, as epitomized by the unveiling of iPad2 by ailing Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs is living in the 21st century. Two years into a liver transplant and months away from his death, his presence at the unveiling not only served as a rub meant to spice Apple’s claim of the iPad as revolutionary technology, but was also indicative of the scale of will needed to stand up to the challenge of the times. From Wikileaks to Arab Springs and the unknown phenomenon that was a rapidly growing Facebook. Only in the 21st century …

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The wars of the 21st century will be wars of information. The military-industrial complex that thrived on air, land and sea as it was the case in WW1 and WW2 will only lead to triumph if the information wars are decided.

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The side hustle has become ubiquitous thanks to the tools availed to man by the third and fourth industrial revolution. The third industrial revolution gave us better ways to organize and utilize information. The fourth industrial revolution is about interfacing technology and man – such that technology acquires humanoid features as is the case with artificial intelligence.

The third industrial revolution lead to the rise of the knowledge economy in the second half the last century. It also lay the bed for the creative economy. Various definitions of these two terms may see activities attributed to either economic system overlap. In this regard, the fourth industrial revolution can be said to unify and potentiate these of range of economic activities.

A look at the working of 21st century behemoths such as You Tube revels products from each economic system at play. On one end is proprietary from the knowledge economy( You Tube brand, website and online Ad serving software). On the other, user-generated content (videos) from the creative economy. To make it all make sense, allowing for consumption of the product, You Tube‘s parent company Alphabet utilizes machine learning/ AI to power You Tube search, video recommendations etc.

Given the above, dabbling in a side hustle for the 21st century worker is almost inevitable. A way of life. It’s living in the 21st century. Still, the notion is that a side hustle distracts the employee refuses to go away. It’s an argument possibly informed by the old adage “one cannot serve two masters”.

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21st Century Civilization: Society, Urbanization, Social Justice & Personhood

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Hosting a world cup is like hosting the global economic forum. Only the swankiest locations with matching facilities fit for millionaires get a shot. This is because footballers who play in World Cups are not poor. Only the best fits their tastes. This holds, until the moment when a splash of images, from both the Brazil and South Africa editions, painted in 1000 words, worlds uglier than the backstage of a concert.

The shame of shanties next to multi-million dollar somewhat utilized state of the art stadiums is the story of injustice. Less fortunate members of society live in squalid conditions amidst the obscene wealth of the 21st Century is a reality not alien to Johannesburg, Rio, Mumbai, Lagos, Nairobi or any other city.

It is the fate of cities of the 21st century. UN Habitat estimates that a the majority – more than half of the world’s population – will be living in urban set ups by mid-century. Sadly, it seems most will be living in informal settlements.

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Gene editing and the broader practice of genetic engineering hold the promise of  unraveling solutions to a host of human plights. Especially so in the 21st Century, when new global realities like the 4th Industrial Revolution demand a paradigm shift from yesterday’s solutions.

21st century heroes will therefore be the ones with the verve to venture and  sail uncharted waters. Those driven by a healthy dose of an unsettled spirit. Fellas who yearn to get out of their comfort zones. Yet, all the while remain grounded by a smattering of audacity in their readiness to challenge common truths.

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Today, Nairobi stands tall as East Africa’s economic engine. The City within a game park or is the converse more accurate? Either way, the tensions between Nairobi’s ambitions as a modern metropolis in the 21st century struggling with traffic, congestion and environmental degradation. Alongside the duty to protect its heritage as a sanctuary for both man and beast is ever getting more taut.

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Science Policy

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Linking bench science/ novel scientific discovery to applications in real life remains the holy grail in 21st century science policy. Popular science as presented in mass media can distort the real benefits of science. Nonetheless, it is an important tool in engaging communities in the process of scientific discovery. Stakeholder engagement remains a key strategy of navigating some of the kinks in the relationship between science, technology and society.

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Spirituality In The New Age: Religion & The Business of Virtue Peddling

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Increasingly, there are ideologically Christian leaning churches with secular views on contemporary moral issues. Churches that are liberal on LBGT rights, celibacy among the clergy and even the dicey issue of wealth juxtaposed against the Christ-like life prescribed as one of minimal wants. With all this choice, what then you might wonder, does it mean to commit blasphemy in the 21st century?