As we start a new year, I had an interesting thought. What would the future of humankind look like? I was watching Dune (a spectacular movie), it said the year was 10191. Frank Herbert’s view of the future was/is stunning. If you take into account George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry’s view you can see a future full of space travel, political unrest and ultimately change. Many have dared to dream and even plot out our course through science. SO! With my vast knowledge of Sci-Fi, comics, science theories and using some imagination here are my top 5 future outlooks of humanity.
We kill ourselves off
Sorry to start off so bleak but let’s be real. Carbon emissions in the atmosphere are always rising. Causing clean air to become less and less on earth. Movies and books are already out about how humanity will start charging for air and it will be worth its weight in gold. The other renewable resource that is slowly disappearing is water. The planet could go the way of Mars and lose all its water dooming humankind. Oh, and who could forget our pollution issue. Which could have numerous negative outcomes on the planet.
Ok so if the resources are still there, we could literally blow ourselves up in WW3 over resources or political unrest. There are so many issues we have not dealt with as a people and eventually it will boil to the surface. Any one of these issues could lead to violence.
If that doesn’t float your boat, then we could always rely on a silent killer. We are currently crawling our way out of a pandemic. Not the first and it won’t be the last. Death by disease goes back to biblical and prehistoric times. Today we have the intelligence and capability to make worse viruses. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. War can be now fought on many fields. One being in your body. A bio bomb or pure negligence can wipe us out and we wouldn’t even see the end coming.
If not a war, disease, or resources we could just get taken out by a stray meteorite. We are in the center of a solar system full of floating rocks as small as a grain of salt and as big as a state. At any time one of these rocks could get knocked into us and life on this planet would start over. It would not be the first time we have already been through 4 or 5 extinction level events. It would be just another book in the history of the earth.
We leave the earth
Exploration has always had a hold on the human condition. We are a curious lot, and we tend to always push the boundaries of discovery. There will come a day when we have fully explored our planet, and something will pull us off world. Impending doom, exotic resources on another planet (this is the most likely reason), or the pure quest to explore the stars (the utopian reason). Something will cause us to venture off the earth and when we leave, we will take with us our culture, knowledge and traditions.
Once on another planet we will, of course, establish colonies, and start new traditions. We will change over generations in the way we talk, think, and possibly look. As a whole people it is not in our nature to stay stagnant. Today billionaires are already putting millions into researching space exploration. This could spark a revolution in exploration and who knows where that could take us.
Imagine this, we go through our growing pains as a society. After we get past our petty issues, we chart the stars. Develop new technologies. We go to other planets and adapt using our technology. In time the earth will be more like a museum and less of a planet we inhabit. We would be Venusians able to live in extremely hot weather and survive low oxygen levels. Martians who are tall intelligent people who have established a society mostly underground. Titans who are thick skinned (literally) and have denser muscle mass. Trapist who mirror life on old earth but most of the people have a dark complexion. Keplers who have dense bone mass but also resemble the people of old earth.
Leaving the earth has been part of our science fiction entertainment for decades now. So much that it has influenced a generation to imagine it and even put in the research to see how far we can go as a society. Today certain telescopes’ sole purpose is to find solar systems that are like our own and a planet that could hold life, an exoplanet.
We clean up our act
Society has always teetered toward destruction and change. It constantly goes back and forth. BUT! Let’s say, one day we get it right. Usually it takes a cataclysmic event, one where we just barely survive, and it takes out a nice sizable amount of people. If something happened in a foreign town today it would be on social media in seconds. A lot of factors have to play into it but, let’s say it got us moving in the right direction.
Time passes and we are a clean society. No harmful emissions and 5% carbon footprint of the world combined. We have cars that can already produce water vapor as a byproduct. We also have the option of biodiesel or electricity. We have the technology of building giant air filters, converting salt water to clean water, 3D printed houses, and many more green alternatives for the things that are killing us.
“But J, you know how much money that would cost?” Yea, if I’m working on building this stuff, and you provide me with food, housing, education for my kids, transportation, and the main conveniences for my living (electricity, food, water, internet, etc…), what do you really need to pay me? Think about it. If all these things are provided, for free, or given to me because of my work, then do you really need to pay me? I still say yes. But not in the way you are thinking.
With all those things provided all I would need is a small sum for me to just buy things for my hobbies and other things.
With a society using clean energy, not polluting, educating the people, and not relying on financial gain we would live in the closest idea of a utopian society.
We develop something new
We are constantly developing new technology. Like I said before, I study a lot of pop culture. Like Ghost in The Shell or Cyberpunk, we could have a boom in cybernetics. People able to get new and better limbs would be a gold mine. It would also push the research of funding medical, A.I., and robotics. Personally, I think the idea of it is very far off. Looking at the current attention those fields get we are far from replacing your limb with a cool tricked out replica.
How about eugenics? Crisper, is currently doing work on mapping the human genome and extensive studies in DNA. Designer babies are already a thing. I remember, before my son was born, we were told we could talk to a geneticist. At the time I was like, really? Now I really get it. The human body is an amazing machine but it’s frail. Lions have claws, birds have wings, sharks have teeth, we have a huge brain. We are the only species on this planet who does not have a physical means of protection. Understanding our DNA could unlock some interesting possibilities.
I read a book by Dougal Dixion called Man after Man. He went into detail on the possible evolutions of man. I’ll be honest, it’s out there, but why not? Through genetic manipulation he envisioned a future where humans were made to live in space, in the arctic, in the desert, and on other planets.
With the usage of technology, we could unlock many possibilities. We could even maybe become a type 3 civilization on the Kardashev scale (it’s a scale that measures the energy output of a society as a whole. A type 3 society can utilize the power of a solar system or its own galaxy).
Nothing really changes, until it needs to
Unfortunately, I think this is our route as a society. WW2 changed a generation because they had to change to survive. The Spanish flu changed a generation, again, because they had to change to survive. In the last 60+ years we have been pretty ok with our lives. We really don’t want too much change. How do I know, well we will protest and yell about ad issue, but we don’t follow through. A new phone or game console will come out and with our short attention spans we quickly forget what we were screaming about.
We can change our world and advance past what we think but we have to really want it. I remember watching one of the old Superman movies, an episode of The Marvel What If.. series and an episode of the Outer Limits. They all had one thing in common, the earth united and made a worldwide peace treaty inside a month. But the other things they had in common was that their survival depended on it.
In my opinion there will be small advances. Phones will become more hi-tech, cars will slowly become more reliant on advanced technology, our daily conveniences will have technology infused in them. Today we still have books, but I can see them becoming obsolete and 90% of our books will be on tablets. Our phones will be like multipurpose tools. Trips to the moon will become a thing (for those who can afford it) suborbital restaurants and hotels will awe people as much as a light bulb did at the 1890’s world fair. Like a said before small advances but it will take a long time to see the fruit of these advances.
The good thing about the world is that we do have time to change. We have time to develop new methods and technologies that can save us. The bad thing is we have to give up so many things we have gotten used to that we think we need. We should not be slaves to technology, it should be a tool for us to use. Ultimately there could be a million outcomes to our future but it’s up to us.