Interview: George Bryant talks about NZ 2050
George Bryant is a prolific author. He has written 24 books and 23 booklets, edited some 50 volumes, and written many articles for various magazines.
He is one of New Zealand’s foremost writers on people in society, based on his experiences as a teacher, preacher, public speaker, politician and social worker.
George talks to NZ Booklovers.
What’s NZ 2050 about?
It’s about the sort of future we are creating for our children and grandchildren. Change is occurring so fast, so what will our society be like in 28 years? How will we live? What sort of people will we be? What values will we hold? What will it mean to be Kiwi? How will education, farming, religion and many other aspects of life develop in Aotearoa? What sort of society are we creating or do we want to create? What will be better or worse than now?
What inspired you to write this book?
I like challenging people to think about life, especially about working to improve our common lot. All my books are about people in society and what they are doing to move us forward.
I guess my interest in the big issues of the moment really got me started on this book – the climate change debate, our inability to solve poverty, the rapid progress of technology, increasing crime…and I wanted to work out where it is all leading.
The question is: Where are we going? What’s the future hold for human beings in New Zealand?
What research was involved?
A book like this requires a lot of research – the reading of any other books written about the future, widespread use of the internet, the analysis of present trends and how they might develop, and what variables might disrupt them.
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
I usually spend two or three hours most days reading, researching, thinking or writing while imbibing a cappucino in the corner of a coffee bar.
What key areas do you look at in New Zealand 2050?
How world events might influence us, how new technologies (especially artificial intelligence) will affect, for example, our health, education and agriculture. I look at what will happen to our environment, the growth of political correctness and ‘big brother’, the decline of religion and the secularization of society, crime and punishment and how we will live.
What are some of the things you believe will be different in society in 2050?
We will have a million more people, and most of them not of European descent. Our economy will be more sustainable. It will be a world of robots, no petrol, electric and flying cars, pocket-size gadgetry of all kinds, greater personal monitoring of health, new crops and foods, and cures for some present incurable diseases. Violent crime will increase and police will carry guns. There will be no cash. We will be more connected with the rest of the world and communication will be instant. Downtown city areas will be transformed human habitats.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?
I hope readers will be aided in coping with future challenges and inspired to contribute what they can to making things better. My final sentence is: Do something today that your future self will thank you for.
What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?
For writing New Zealand 2050 my favourite book has been Professor Toby Ord’s The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity. It is an intelligent, balanced view of what human beings are doing or not doing to our planet Earth.
Generally, my favourite author is John Grisham. This year I appreciated The Judge’s List, for its masterly story-telling and legal background.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
After writing 24 books and many booklets it’s time to have a break but, as my friends insist on telling me, ‘That’ll be the day!’