As we welcome in 2022 with the hope that it will be an order of magnitude better than the last 2 years, it’s a good time to look ahead. Better that is for general wellbeing.
I’m a fan of Science Fiction. Maybe it was my years of childhood influenced by Gerry Anderson’s imagination. “Space 1999” envisioned a fully functioning moon base before the 21st century had begun. It was a popular UK TV Series between 1975 and 1977. That’s me at age 15 to 17.
Now, here we are in the 2nd decade of the 21st century and space travel has a long way to go. There’s no first moon base in prospect in 2022. It maybe 50 years before imagination becomes reality. Rare examples of predictions that got the future right do exist. However, there’s a lot more cases where fanciful ideas, plausible in their day are lost in the mists of time.
As we enter 2022, I wonder what 2222 will look like. Naturally I’ll never see that day. That is unless a magical means of extending life is discovered in the next decade.
Projecting forward 200 years is mighty challenging. Before I go there let’s look back 200 years. A long time in human terms but a short time in so far as the universe is concerned. That was a time when the secrets of the Rosetta Stone were deciphered.
In the year 1822, Englishman Charles Babbage publishes a plan for a difference engine. That could be said to be the start of the computing era. He got support to build a working computer but sadly it was not completed in his lifetime.
French microbiologist Louis Pasteur was born in 1822. Today, as we struggle out of a pandemic, we have a lot to be thankful for his work.
In that year Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was on the bookshelves. Thus, the notion of a “mad scientist” conducting dangerous experiments with technology was on the streets. That could be said to be the start of the science fiction era.
Given an acceleration of technical advancement, looking 2 decades ahead the scope opens for some dramatic and transformational changes to take place. Without getting bogged down with dystopian futures that will see humanity on its knees I’ll consider some positives.
Unlike Frankenstein there will certainly be “nice” autonomous robots that work alongside humans in every setting. The extent to which these companions will be self-aware and free to do as they wish is potentially the subject of an endless debate. I think they will be constrained by some well-considered fixed laws.
Life will still be a mystery. That said, the microbiologist 200 years hence will be studying lifeforms discovered on other planets. No other intelligent life, evolved as far as humans will be communicating with Earth. That’s not to dismiss the likelihood that they are out there somewhere.
The word computing will have lost its meaning in 2222. Abstract and virtual worlds of immense capacity, performance and realism will be part of everyday life. It’ll add new dimension to physical life. It may bring us to value our physical environment much more.
Travelling through time will still be science fiction. But simulated time travel will be available to all. In 2222 it will be possible to step back into a realistic simulation of 2022. That will make history lessons a warp around experience. I’m wondering if such a high-fidelity knowledge of our past will make us better people or not. Who will be the keeper of the truth of the past?
The political world of 2222 is likely to exhibit new versions of past problems. 200 years isn’t much in human evolution so we will still be struggling with our place in the universe. Granted the knowledge of how it works will be off the scale when measure in comparison with 2022.
I’m confident that a human colony, or more than one will be up and running as industrial enterprises on the Moon. It will be there to facilitate every kind of space travel. Human will not venture much beyond the immediate vicinity of Earth. Our automatons will be spread throughout the solar system. Some to explore and some to extract valuable elements and harvest fuels.
The Earth’s population will have stabilised at about 15 billion people. There will not be much uninhabited or underpopulated land surrounding established mega cities. To compensate there will be massive parks and reserves under global governance dedicated to preserving environmental diversity.
This is just a flight of fantasy. The most remarkable changes in 2 centuries will be the ones that are impossible to predict. Today. we have taken to the smart phone and social media in a decade to the point of dependency. That’s one busy decade. Multiply that by 20 and who knows?