Welcome to 2013! A few posts late but what the hell, I’ve been busy trying to invent creative new years resolutions that will fail royally and choose a few real goals that I figure I need to achieve in my last year before the big 4..oh. crap I’m old. On a less introspective note, at least the Mayan calendar clicked over into its next B’ak’tun and we did not end up as atomic elements for the next dominant life form. Strange how people thought that a man made calendaring system (impressive though it may be) would somehow predict the cosmic end of the world. Which brings me to the topic of this post: What does the future hold for us mere mortals? Time to drag out the old runes, dust off the crystal ball, shuffle the Rider deck, brew some tea and… wait, no, lets agree not to do the entrails bit shall we.
I got sent an infographic today (my wife knows I love them), this one from the BBC about the future entitled Tomorrows World. It’s quite an arbitrary collection of possible futures but still pretty interesting and reminded me of an old Wired magazine article I read some time back about the future and the likelihood of our grandchildren living beyond 100 years – all thanks to advances in medical science. The BBC collection is from various sources (check the link for detail) so it makes for an odd assortment of ideas, like Facebook being eclipsed as the biggest social network in 2016 – I thought the Chinese knock-off was already bigger? Then it has things that are far more fascinating (to me anyway) like Fusion power by 2022 and more than 50% of Americans with tracking devices embedded in their bodies by 2025 – “and the clocks were striking thirteen.” anyone? I love the Chinese claiming the Moon in 2030 and a 10km high building by 2050. Pity I will not be alive to see some of these remarkable events in person but hey, maybe if I make it to 2024 I can upload my brain to a computer. Always wanted to live forever and genies never interpret the wishes the way you want them to. Arghh.
The more I read through these, the more sci-fi novel & short story ideas sparked in the old synapses and I decided to see what else was out there for the future. You will be amazed at all the educated guesses and loony predictions people have made and put out onto the ether for us to peruse.
Take “The World of 2088” compiled by Tom Griffin from the University of Washington Columns Magazine in 1998 (old but still interesting). The technology section says we will have Internet-connection implants and be able to record and cross reference our entire lives (wish I could remember that guys name – now I can!). Even real Holodecks near the end of the 21st century – damn I wish I could have been around for that… It’s one of my favourite trekkie inventions of all time. The medical section also contains a few choice ones… Bloodless painless surgery, genetically engineered kids, ‘eat-whatever-the-hell-you-want-and-dont-get-fat” pills – thought you might like that – wonder if we can Kickstarter that one early?
Now those I have listed are the positive things and as usual there are plenty of negative things predicted for our future. Not enough food for everyone, population reaching the carrying capacity of the Earth. Environment gone to pot in 100 different ways and the start of a new Ice Age. We may have cured the big ones by then, but new diseases and super bugs mean we will still be as mortal as we are today. It seems that with each new advancement meant to improve our lives we will create something new to reign it in. I suppose such is the nature of us homo sapiens. One prediction suggests that we become the single greatest threat to the Earth – I figure that’s true right now.
And what about little green men? Interestingly very few of the future predictions have anything to say about first contact. Sure would throw the predictions a loop if we had to pull a ‘V’ colonisation or survive some chest bursting worms. I do like a base on Mars, but lets face it, we should already have a launch base on the Moon so what are the chances we could holiday on Mars in our twilight (god, that movie really ruined the word) years.
Future Timeline also seems to be an interesting site – far too big to quickly explore, but just reading the 2013 entries (known facts and guesses) tells me that the rest should be a wealth of ideas for any budding sci-fi junky stuck in trying to fix a replicator in stardate 2231.234. I like the Far Future entries (2300 A.D. to 10 000 A.D.)… we all get to have superpowers!! Whoo hoo!
So, yes, in answer to the ultimate question from Queen: I DO! Who would not want to live to see the amazing things in our future? As a close second choice, I’d settle for a banana skin powered Delorian.