Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Man Is the Only Animal That Can Choke On His Own Vomit"

Or Needs To!

--to paraphrase Mark Twain.

The title has absolutely nothing to do with the essay, but I just came up with it, liked it, and figured I might as well use it before I forget it. So there you go.

I was asked to predict the way things might be in the year 2030. I could've given my standard response and asked why? Anything I say will be wrong. Totally wrong. As in "Ask A Psychic" wrong. Yeah, that wrong.

Ah, but it is fun to play. Instead of saying how things will be, I will predict Ten Things won't be happening in the year 2030.

1) There will be no supersmart superintelligent computers, like Hal or Skynet . Not because we ban them out of fear, but because we just can't build them. It turns out natural intelligence is hard enough to come up with, the artificial stuff is that much harder. Especially when attempted by beings whose first impulse is to fix things by banging them with their fists.
2) (Easy one). No flying cars. Nope. Not a one.
3) (Another easy one). No fusion power. (But the ongoing promise that "fusion is just thirty year off").
4) I'm bucking the trend here. I was going to say 90% of Americans are obese and unable to move. Instead, I think there will be a return to the good old days. Only the rich will be fat, and will be proud of it. Everyone else will be lean, tough, and mean (although, scarcity might have something to do with it).
5) Oil will be fifty cents a barrel. Everyone will run their electricity off of pure unadulterated cussedness. There will be a hole in the garage that you scream smoking radioactive blue profanities into. That's what powers everything.
6) Japan will be the 51st state. But the deal is, their robots run the show. USA heartily agrees. (contradicts 1? Nope. I didn't say they were smart robots. Just did a better job at running things than Americans).
7) Vegetables are no longer grown in soil. Instead they are made from factory grown test tube meat.
8) You can only join the armed forces if you are gay. (Because it turns out they make the best soldiers. And actually, that's probably the closest prediction to being right).
9) Duct tape is no longer manufactured. (No explanation given).
10) There will be no manned mission to Mars. (People finally came to their senses, and asked, why?)

Welcome to the future!

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