Teens, Robot, Future, Science
Moss Jackson, PhD
Psychologist Success Coach

I am drawn to the first line in the novel The Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” As we move with uncertainty into the 21st Ct, there are two opposing forces competing for dominance. There is the regressive force of rigid traditions, racial violence and religious wars, a vestige that has characterized humankind for the last thousand years. Whites in America are now becoming a rapidly advancing minority and many favor keeping immigrants from other lands out by whatever means possible. Young illegal immigrants who were born here are the recent target of a fear that is causing us to lose the security of our past American identity. Religious fanaticism, xenophobia and paranoia can easily spread like an infection and pull people into an “us vs them” way of looking at each other. This regressive force grows out of the fear of losing identity, power and the prestige of being white or evangelical. Both groups are shrinking in their overall appeal while a more diversified and open society is on the horizon.

On the other end, there is another force pulling us into regions yet explored, the force of expansion. Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched forty years ago, is now far from our solar system and moving toward the vast outer universe of more suns where there are potentially more hospitable planets for life than we ever previously imagined. It will eventually help us to identify other planets that will sustain human existence. I wonder when this occurs a century or two from now if our religious and racial attachments will mean so much.

An expanding universe opens up possibilities but also can trigger powerful fears and anxieties. Here on Earth, for example, we are on the edge of radical breakthroughs in science and medicine that will soon transform the way we think and live. Stem cells and DNA alteration will eliminate the scourge of chronic and inflammatory disease. Perhaps, as early as 2030, cancer, diabetes, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and MS and might become diseases of the past, much like polio, influenza and small pox have been eliminated in the 20th Ct. Spinal injuries will be easily repaired and paralysis will be a thing of the past. Our lifespans should be radically increased to near 150-250 years by the year 2050!

3D printing might eliminate the need for organ transplants since new tissue, organs and bone structure will be artificially manufactured. There will be no more hundreds of thousands of patients waiting in desperation or dying waiting for their organ transplants.

Artificial Intelligence will enhance our intellectual abilities to the point of super humans. We will be speaking multiple languages due to brain implants and we will possibly be able to talk to each other through the smart phones that are then part of our advanced nervous systems. You might even be able to think something and send it through the Cloud to another human being thousands of miles away. The stage of the bionic individual is close at hand and in the not-too-distant future we may have very different appearances than we do now. Anything you want to know will be immediately available to you through the global cloud. All knowledge might become available to all humans, further democratizing our species.

On a more radical level, gene sequential and DNS alterations might allow us to create hybrid species where humans will be able to breathe underwater like fish for extended periods of time, see more clearly than a fox and run like the six million dollar man. We might even be able to even fly like birds.

WHERE DO WE CHOOSE TO GO?The best and worst will hopefully find a compromise, but maybe not. Will paranoia and fear of radical newness continue to draw us into mutual fear and hatred of others who are not like us? This should be interesting because humans will eventually be able to alter their human form to become hybrids, bionics and multi species. There will so many different groups to hate it may become a relief to just surrender to the expanding universe of other life forms.

Just like the Voyager speeding into the unknown regions of the Universe, so will we be hurling into radically different life forms living for hundreds of years and discovering new ways of relating and interacting. It might become difficult to hold on to traditions, tribal rituals and religious dogmas.

I wonder then how we all will remember the times we now live in. Will it be with nostalgia or a sense of relief? How well will we tolerate a rapidly changing yet disappearing world?

Wouldn’t it be superb to just live in the best of times?

If you are interested in the notion of navigating into a radically different future, look over my best-selling book “I Didn’t Come To Say Goodbye” on Amazon.