What will the future look like?
When H.G. Wells wrote Anticipations in 1901 he predicted trains and cars would make it possible for people to live in suburbs, there would be greater sexual freedom and expression for women and men, the defeat of German militarism, and the existence of a European Union. The man who created some of the standard tropes of science fiction looked at what was before him and was able to see into the future with some degree of startling accuracy. He also predicted a few things wrong. For instance he didn’t think there would be a successful aircraft until at least 1950. He was off by a couple decades. And he thought submarines would do nothing but suffocate whoever was in them.
Is it possible to look into the future now using what is evident in this time period to predict the future? Obviously there is no way to know without a time machine to travel forward along the years.
It isn’t hard to seize on things predicted. One can view any number of TED talks where global warming will alter the face of the planet, the information explosion will continue and alter the way things are done and the way economies work, and medical breakthroughs will change the way humanity lives. All of this information is painted with broad strokes, what are the details that will make up people’s lives?
Can we look forward and see a future? And what might that future look like for people? There will BE a future as the earth orbits the sun and the sun spins in the galaxy and the galaxy rushes away propelled by the Big Bang. But for how long will humans be an infintesimially small part of this future? And what will they be doing? How will they live? What will be of significance?
I am going to go out on an intellectual limb over the next few days and make some predictions. I don’t know if I’ll be right. There is no way to tell. If you want to join in in the comments, please do so.