One of my favorite technology writers Kevin Kelly recently tweeted out: “I’ll pay $100 for the best 100-word description of a plausible technological future in 100 years that I would like to live in.” He’s written up a post on Medium with the answers he got, together with his own musings on “a desirable future scenario.” Kelly chose this one, by John Hanacek, as the winning entry:
Physical and virtual realities are meshed together with no distinction. Ideas are given sovereignty with their creators rewarded fairly and directly. The world itself does the drudgery of assembling itself across all sectors that information science has been applied, which is limited only by the quantum information underpinnings of the universe. Humans have taken up their primary purpose of creativity and now work with other intelligences of any kind to ask questions and achieve answers, with an eye toward more questions. “Human” has taken on flourishing new meanings. Imagination has been unleashed upon the world in a literal sense.
I like how Hanacek subtly portrays machine intelligence working with us humans, instead of replacing us…or worse! This is a topic I’m exploring in my second book. Also, the “ideas are given sovereignty” line sounds a lot like Ted Nelson’s pre-Web vision of Xanadu. Wouldn’t it be amazing if that was the WWW in 100 years time.
I also liked Kelly’s own answer:
2121: Population 4 billion; 85% urban. Cities boom, empty suburbs struggle. Agriculture acreage reduced with GMOs. Nature monitored quantitatively; green lands expand with genetic engineering. Solar, fusion, mini nukes generate cheap power. Climate change adapted. Creative middle class the new majority, globally mobile. Computer pilots make travel common internationally. Eco and heritage tourism primary income for poorest. Robots takeover remaining blue-color jobs in Asia and Africa. Internet of everything physical continued. Universal library, and universal lifelong education for free. All humans always on the net anywhere. Brain interface, wearables. Co-veillent tracking ubiquitous. Quantified self for personalized medicine. Techno-literacy (managing) skills mandatory.
The brain interface and wearables touch on the theme of my second book too.
Both of these “desirable futures” by Hanacek and Kelly are compelling. Of course, what makes them desirable is that humans are center stage.