The Future Is Not Bright


Written by Onjuli Datta
16 Monday 16th August 2010


We’ve had some good news from the world of science this week: Stephen Hawking is pretty sure humanity is doomed. “It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million,” he said. Humanity’s survival has always been "a question of touch and go", and our greed, mess, and all-round bad behaviour is not doing much for the cause. How’s that for a buzzkill?
Our destiny can’t be all bleak, though. Sure, the future’s going to be a dangerous one, but it’s also going to be… well, the future! Technology’s going to take off. Countries are going to make up. Everything’s going to be alright. Or not. Right now predictions about our lives and how they’ll change are widespread, and not all of them are glittering. Here’s a bit of what to look forward to. 
Online Universities
Technically we sort of have these already. But they’re going to be bigger, and better – so much better that they do away with real universities altogether! Bill Gates said last week that,“Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world. Pretty great for students – no fees, no early mornings, no creepy lecturers. All that, and you get the best lectures in the world. And you get to stay living with your parents, glued to a computer screen, with zero human interaction, for about three years. No really, this is great news.
Virtual Reality
If you’re worried that your online university programming might mean you miss out on the full student experience, hold on a second. Technology has something sorted out for that too. Virtual reality is the way forward. We’ve got quite far on this one already too, but now it is also possible to simulate taste. Granted, you have to wear a huge helmet to do it, but you’ll be able to eat anything you like and have it taste like anything you like! Who knows where this will go next – first taste, then smell and touch, and then maybe… love? You’ll never have to leave your room, or actually interact with anyone else, ever again.
Luckily, as the entire human race is left completely devoid of emotion, somebody else will be stepping up to bear the burden. The robots. As scientists get closer and closer to creating the sort of robots Will Smith doesn’t trust, the robots in turn get closer and closer to their inevitable domination. What could be better than a robot that can get angry? (The answer, of course, is a robot with lazers that can get angry!) And it can dance. So that’s good. Oh well, at least when the giant metal monster with bionic everything goes for your neighbourhood, there’s a chance it might feel a pang of regret. You’ll probably be too focused on running and screaming to care, though.
Terahertz Detectors
Okay, so “Terahertz Detector” sounds a bit like the stage name for a geeky DJ. But be warned. It’s actually code – scary army science code – for superpowered X-Ray technology. Technology that can see through walls, and packaging. And through your clothes. Technology that was funded by the US army. Technology that can be used at long distances. Break out the tinfoil and start coating yourself in it, because between this, the isolation, and the robots, future you is going to be one paranoid fucker. Progress is sweet.
Wired City
Still, the future isn’t going to be all crushing loneliness and screaming. At least, we know the entertainment will be good. Josh Harris, of We Live In Public infamy, has come forth with his vision of television future, and it is awesome. A bit like that Facebook movie everyone’s not talking about, Wired City will take social networking phenomenon Chatroulette, and put it on the big screen. You get consistently rated by audiences and if you’re good, you get bumped up to the front page. Everybody can watch everyone doing everything, all the time, and even if you don’t feel comfortable you’ll probably be so desperate for some human contact you’ll go along with it anyway.
So that’s your future, kids. Bet you can’t wait.


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  • Guest: Tina_Louise
    Wed 01 - Sep - 2010, 20:15
    Yay! Good thing I'm already wrapped in tinfoil! No not really but I soon will be :D