In the beginning
we came from Africa, dreaming,
traversing the savanna and desert,
imagining the bright light on the hill.
We migrated through the heartlands of Europe,
traversing the mountains and plains.
We settled down,
tending our animals and crops,
and our learned men invented science
ignited by the bright light on the hill.
They gave us energy and machines,
and the gods and kings were pleased.
We’ve walked on the powdery moon
and cured almost every ill
as we followed the bright light on the hill.
DNA and AI both threaten and glitter
as the populations roil and simmer.
and the gods and scientists began to slumber.
Ever more me-people buzz in their urban hives,
and curiosity and hope and imagination are dwindling.
Oh! The light is wavering! The dreams are fading!
And the rich become the refugees
escaping to another land,
and Nature will regain the upper hand.
(c) 2018 Larry Kilham
See all of Larry Kilham's poems on this site here.
President George Washington knew that invention and innovation were key to American growth. He urged Congress to pass a patent statute where "there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than the promotion of science." In 1790 the first patent statute was passed and the United States leadership in industrial innovation began.
Almost two centuries later, President John F. Kennedy said in an address to the Irish Parliament in 1963 "The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were."
See more about vision and invention here.
Larry Kilham is a Sloan School of Management graduate from MIT, received three patents, and has founded two high-tech companies. Many of his product designs required innovative use of computers, and as early as the 1960s he was researching artificial intelligence (AI).