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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Into the Future

I read an article in Wired Monday about time travel. The author of the piece said that scientists are reporting that theoretically we can only travel forward, never backward, and that the idea of going into future was frightening. I skim read it at 5am, so I might have missed a few things, but what I took away was that the future was filled with horrible things like a hot planet and what goes along with that.

Call me an optimist, but that's not my view of the future. I don't see the world being a horrible place to live. Different? Yes. And different does scare a lot of people as does change. Believe me, I know. We're going through massive change at my day job and even five months later, people are fighting it.

My view of the future is one where genetic treatments have eradicated a lot of the diseases that plague us today. Genes can be turned on and off to bring about the desire result, so why not flip to give people better health? Cloning human organs so that people who need transplants can have a genetically matched liver, which will eliminate rejection issues and the drugs that current transplant recipients have to take. And flipping a few genes to get rid of the negative effects of aging? Cool! I see a world where people live longer and in better health to enjoy those years.

I can see a future where we've learned to respect the Earth. A future where we're no longer burning fossil fuels, but have found a clean, safe energy alternative. This might be farther out because we live in a petroleum-based economy and the big oil dudes are going to fight tooth and nail to hold onto their cash cow, but eventually this will change. It has to as we deplete these resources.

The future I see has more global cooperation, less nation against nation and more we are the world. Yeah, I know, call me sappy, but we're all humans and why should artificially drawn boundaries lead us into conflict? The internet has allowed us to get to know people across the globe and to realize we're more similar than different. There's a line from a song. I can't remember if it's Sting or the Police, but I hear Sting sing: if the Russians love their children, too. And that's where I think we're going--to a world where we realize people who are different still have the same basic desires. I know there will still be extremists out there who don't think this way, but I think there will be fewer of them and they'll have fewer supporters.

And the technology in the future! OMG, I can't wait! I'm a total gadget geek and when I think of the possibilities for where computers will be in even 50 years, I get giddy. :-) Then there's nanotechnology and what's coming on that front. The possibilities are exciting to me.

Of course, there are plenty of pitfalls along the way. Opportunities for us to blow our potential and end up in a worse place rather than better. This is where my optimism comes in. I believe that we'll avoid most of the problems, and the ones we do blunder into will be quickly identified and the path corrected. To quote Timbuk Three, the future's so bright, I gotta wear shades."