Home > Uncategorized > I Wrote This for a Class. I Handed This In as an Academic Work.

I Wrote This for a Class. I Handed This In as an Academic Work.

Predicting the Future:

A Ladies Home Journal Article That Will Never Be Published Because Paper and Publication Will Be Forced Into Obsolescence In About 2080 (Give Or Take A Few Years)

1. So. Mining asteroids. You know why people are awesome? People can, conceivably, mine asteroids. Dinosaurs couldn’t mine asteroids, despite being on Earth for nearly three-hundred-million years. You know why? T. Rex arms couldn’t reach the “Launch” button, and they’d previously eaten all the stegosaurs, so there was no one around to push the button for them.

What I’m saying is genocide is pretty stupid, and probably caused the end of the dinosaurs due to an unmined asteroid. We, on the other hand, can and will be mining asteroids. It beats the alternative of getting squished by them.

2. Nuclear power. It’s pretty clear at this point that fusion power is pretty impossible from a sustainability point of view, as it takes a tremendous amount of power to fuse helium. Since fissile material is “relatively” well-guarded and essentially required to kickstart the fusion process, fusion is clearly in the hands of only governments, and they’re still only focused on using fusion to blow other people up instead of actually furthering society. Let’s pretend, instead, that we’re still stuck with fission. Fission is gross and spits out all sorts of byproducts, especially if using uranium or plutonium as a primary fuel source. Instead, thorium reactors will take the place of uranium-fueled reactors. They’re less prone to go pop, their fuel can be refined from the waste products of our current uranium reactors, and the byproducts of thorium reactions are (on average) less dangerous than those from uranium plants. Thorium is significantly more prolific in nature, as well.

Now, obviously a large, vocal portion of the environmental crowd is going to complain about any nuclear process. Those people are wrong. In order to continue our current level of technological and theoretical knowledge (plus our way of life), we need massive amounts of electricity–to say nothing of post-dinosaur asteroid mining operations. That power has to come from somewhere, and unless we can come up with a way to reprocess banana peels into fusion power a la Back to the Future II, we’re stuck with what we have. That, or we can harness the bioelectrical output of fields of humans, but that’s just something that cold, unfeeling machines would do. (Plus it’s probably racist–and if you’re a machine, speciesist. Is that a word? MS Word says it isn’t, but I’m not inclined to believe it.)

3. Urban migration will continue until rural areas are nothing but barren wastelands of fields and automatic farming equipment. We already have combines that can drive themselves by GPS, so it’s not a terrible leap to assume that they’ll soon be automating the entire food production process. If people are smart and realize that eating meat is incredibly wasteful, maybe we’ll end up with farmland that is actually sustainable due to intelligent crop rotation and the reduced need of feedlots for animals. Crops will be planted where it is scientifically feasible to grow food, instead of the trend of terraforming fields as we have now. Natural drainage, combined with weather prediction that is actually accurate (I have a feeling this is the LEAST likely thing I’ve come up with so far) will produce crops of higher yield and less environmental impact without the need for genetically-engineered seeds.

Of course, we’ll still HAVE genetically-engineered seeds, because that’s what breeding IS.

4. Fossil fuels, obviously, will become depleted, though not without huge wars fought over the last bits of it. This will come to an incredibly ironic end when everyone figures out that the last lump of coal will barely heat a single room, and who cares because we have a pile of thorium-reactor-produced electricity anyway.

5. Traditional Western governments will fall and be replaced fully by corporate fascism, unless by some Roddenberrian miracle we move to a post-money, post-scarcity society. (Thorium reactors and asteroid mining are a good start, but even with those, we still ended up with the plot of Alien. Even with near-infinite resources we could die by getting eaten or impregnated by an acid-blooded bug-demon-thing.)

6. Music will continue to be made by computers. It won’t change that much from the way things are now (Xenakis had been doing that already for decades before his death in 2001), but it will be made entirely without the input of humans. I suppose that assumes a certain level of artificial intelligence, and may also infer that humans will be either enslaved or eradicated by computers, but I don’t know if that, specifically, will occur before or after a computer composes its own Ode to Joy.

7. Humans (if they have not been enslaved by robots) will discover extra-terrestrial life, and–as has been our way for thousands of years–our first reaction will be to try to stab it and see what color it bleeds. Unfortunately, any space-faring race will likely be technologically advanced enough to simply vaporize us (to their delight) or give us some biochemical agent which slowly and agonizingly kills the entire human race (also to their delight.)

Aliens are jerks like that.

8. Humans will forget that there was a time when our planet was thought to be: flat, the center of universe, carried on the backs of infinitely downward turtles, and mostly covered in water. Then they’ll just be reminded by the Infinite Knowledge Receiver Query (or “ikr?”) unit installed in their brain during gestation. Related to this:

9. Medical procedures will be as routine as car maintenance is currently. It will also be as annoying, because instead of a talking to a mechanic that’s not listening to you, you’ll talk to a robot that’s not listening to you. Likewise, the robot will probably try to upsell you on body parts you don’t actually need. For this reason, physical deformities will become commonplace, as most people are too polite or stupid to say “No” when an “expert” tells them they need something.

10. Personal transportation will advance to the point that quantum mechanical theory can be rounded off enough to spit “you” out on the other end of a transporter station. Physical deformities will be commonplace, as rounding still isn’t exact, but people stop paying attention after a few dozen decimal points.

Bonus:

11. Predictions of the future in the future will come from the disembodied heads of Philip K. Dick, Jack Kirby, Hunter S. Thompson, Warren Ellis, Stan Lee, China Meiville, and Kurt Vonnegut (if their heads are indeed available and haven’t been destroyed by politicians (or, in Thompson’s case, destroyed further than it already is (I can make that joke, I’m clinically depressed))). Each and every one of those heads will leap off the table and try to eat people who use nested parentheticals.

Note: I fixed some of the fission/fusion stuff after some jerks very helpful people corrected me. It’s not that I didn’t know what I was talking about, I just repeatedly made typos.

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