On the train I’m riding in, there was a boy, maybe 5 or 6 years old, riding with his mother. They got off the train, and as we’re in the front car, they stood near the driver’s window and said, “Arigato gozaimasu.” That means “thank you” in Japanese. I didn’t expect what happened next. The train driver very briefly used the train’s horn. The boy then mirrored the motions that the driver does, and he seemed very seriously into it.
Train driver, you just made a little boy very happy. Here’s a photo of the train. He’s in there somewhere.
I love seeing things like this. Have you seen anything recently that makes you think humanity isn’t all that bad?
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.
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.
The official blog of Jay Dee Archer. Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.