Creating a Distant Future

Stephen Hawking recently said that the greatest danger to humans is ourselves.  We could destroy ourselves in the next two hundred years.  He’s also warned us against the use of artificial intelligence, as it could also become our greatest enemy.

It’s so difficult to predict the future.  He may be right, or the future could be something entirely different.  But one thing is certain, many scientists have good reason to believe that we’re in danger.  And many say we must go to space, to Mars, and then to the stars.

Cats-eye-nebula
Cat’s Eye Nebula. The future of our sun?

The future possibilities are endless.  We are now seeing melting ice caps, deforestation, desertification, extreme weather events, and the beginning of a likely mass extinction. Scientists are certain about this.  But there are many deniers who claim it won’t happen, mostly because they don’t understand the science or they think God will make it all better.  Or maybe they’re hoping this is a sign of the second coming of Jesus, so they’re trying to hasten these terrible symptoms of humanity’s greed.

On the other hand, we have made incredible advances in technology and medicine.  Computers are now small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and are readily available.  Cars may soon drive themselves. We have a GPS system that tells us where we are anywhere in the world, and we can use it to get somewhere without getting lost.  Vaccinations have eradicated or nearly eradicated many harmful diseases, and we may be able to extend our lives.

But that is all near future.  What about the distant future?  What will our technology be like? Will we still be bound to Earth?  The solar system?  Or will we be among the stars?  How long will we live? What will the environment be like? How many major cities will be long forgotten and underwater?  How many animal species will have survived?  Will technology and biology be joined?  What will happen to today’s religions? How will they evolve?  Will there be new religions?  How about language?  Will English prevail as the dominant language, or will Mandarin Chinese take over sometime in the future?  Or will language evolve so much that it’s unrecognisable?

Where will humanity be?

I ask myself this often.  As I write science fiction, I wonder what the future possibilities are.  The farther we go in the future, the less certain we are about where our future will lead us.  I want to show a distant future in my writing, an exotic life featuring incredible technology, yet a closer relationship with nature.  A culture that has overcome many difficulties and setbacks to create a new niche in their world.  It’s incredible fun to imagine.

Where could our future take us? What will it be like in one thousand years?  Ten thousand years?  Think about that and share your ideas in the comments below.

8 thoughts on “Creating a Distant Future”

  1. For one, I’m reading tomorrow’s post today (it’s dated March 2nd, but it’s still the 1st here). Never mind that you’re 11 hours ahead). Anyway, I love that you point out that the further ahead you look the blurrier it gets. I know what I’m doing tomorrow. I kind of know about next week. But beyond that I haven’t a clue what might come up. As for 1,000 years from now? I hope we’ll settle on another exo-planet with outposts through out. Hopefully, humans will adapt/evolve for space travel. I can’t even fathom what technology will be like… look how far it’s come in the last 100 years let alone in the next thousand. Truly? In 10,000 years I think humans will be unrecognizable as the humans we see today. Look how much we evolved over the previous 10,000. Are we done evolving? I’m pretty sure nothing is ever “done” evolving.

    1. It annoys me when I read articles that claim that humans have stopped evolving. That doesn’t happen and won’t happen. There’s always some kind of genetic change happening, as well as further adaptations. Look at the healthy human today. Taller and stronger than a hundred years ago. And many claim we’ll just get smaller, which is something that hasn’t been happening.

  2. It is definitely hard to predict the future. And as you say, the further you go the fuzzier it gets. My take is that humanity will likely disappear, likely soon if we carry on as we have been, and the planet will carry on with various forms of ecology and climate until the Sun goes red giant in about 5 billion years. Gloomy, perhaps, but I have a good deal of cynicism about the human condition.

    1. If anything disastrous happens, I think we’ll be greatly reduced due to famine or disease. But I don’t think we’ll disappear. As a society, yes, but as a species, no. We’re very resilient and adaptable. We’ll find a way to hide out and make a living very locally if it comes to that. But I also think we should get up into space, find somewhere we can escape to if the stupidity of the world’s governments and companies continues.

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