Visionary writers from Jules Verne to H.G. Wells to George Orwell to Philip K. Dick have surmised to some success what ‘the future’ may look like for society. From my childhood on, I have read science fiction literature (known to ‘true’ aficionados as ‘speculative’ fiction) and count these authors as some of my all-time favorites. It’s good to see the Science Channel feature a show devoted to the subject.
But now, here, for the first time, I will present my own look into the great beyond and tell you, Dear Reader, what will be coming for our world IN THE FUTURE:
1) Designer Babies. How tall do you want your kid to be? How smart? Do you want a girl? Do you want a boy? Beyond simply weeding out disease-causing genes, fertility clinics will replace maternity wards as fashionistas bring about the age of the designer baby. The low cost, budget baby will come with few options – sex, hair color, eye color. But, the more upwardly mobile couple (or single parent) will be able to order those options in addition to height, optimum weight, and general personality/temperament. And for those who have a pretty penny to spend on their truly designer baby, there will be options created especially by Cesar De Revucci, Claude Nova, Suzette Bandecroft, and other famous designer geneticists.
2) Choose Your Own Adventure Films. As digital technology takes hold in the 21st Century movie theater, new interactive options will evolve, leading to several different moments in films where each sitting audience is left to choose the direction of the film. For romance: The audience will decide if he kiss should her at this stage in the film. Do they get back together at the end? The audience will click their voting buttons to determine the couple’s fate. For action/adventure: Is a car chase in order? Maybe a fantastic rooftop chase on foot? Or how about a James Bond style shoot-out down the slopes of a high-end ski resort? All will be decided by the happy voting fingers of the audience. For horror: how much blood is too much? Should this victim get her throat slashed or how about this hapless sap – should he be hacked to pieces with a chainsaw or maybe thrown into a boiling vat of turkey fat (in true holiday tradition)? Only the current crowd in the movie theater will decide.
3) True ‘Smart’ Cars. Yeah, I know. There is tiny thing on four wheels they’re calling a ‘Smart’ car that you can now purchase from the same company that makes Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner trucks. What I see in the future are cars of all makes and models equipped with sensors that will do the following: maintain posted speed, keep safe driving distance from the car directly in front, and, of course, automatically navigate to a destination. Only navigation would be subject to override.
Toyota, Volkswagen, and BMW already have some version of technology allowing automatic parallel parking. The advance of GPS and sensor technology along with traffic safety concerns make the true smart automobile inevitable.
4) One World Currency. To a large degree, this has already happened. The U.S. dollar is the world’s “reserve currency”. I won’t go into a long financial/economics lesson explaining what this means. However, the upshot is that everyone recognizes the U.S. dollar as possessing value. Never mind arguments about how the Federal Reserve is a “private” corporation with little oversight by the United States government. Suffice to say that, IN THE FUTURE, one world currency will be more convenient and easier for everybody and so, like all things cheap and convenient, inertia brings us to them unless we go out of our way to avoid. Will the U.S. dollar be this currency? That remains to be seen.