People will live better in the next 100 years. Others disagree. What’s your opinion?


It’s never easy to predict the future. I have no crystal ball. I do, however, have a method that has served me well, imperfect though it might be, in understanding the past and anticipating the future. Underneath the disorder of history, my task Is to try to see the order and to anticipate what events, trends, and technology that order will bring forth. Forecasting a hundred years ahead may appear to be a frivolous activity, but. as I hope that it is a rational and feasible process, and it is hardly frivolous.

Some people might predict that within the next 100 years a significant portion of ice near the Arctic Circle will melt, particularly Greenland Ice, contributing to seal level rise eventually reaching as high as 20 feet. This means that many coastal areas will flood. As water vapor increases, due to warmer weather we do see an increase in this green house gas. What models often ignore though is that water vapor also makes clouds and these clouds produce a negative feedback of increased albedo.

However, I think that science will create new levels of meaning. The Internet already is made of one Quintilian transistors, a trillion links, a million emails per second, 20 exabytes of memory. It is approaching the level of the human brain and is doubling every year, while the brain is not, It is all becoming effectively one machine. And we are the machine in the next 100 years.

A hundred years into the future, therefore. I see vast expanses of land, where wind farming projects have come up providing sustainable renewable energy. I predict that the vast majority of cars running on water, causing no harm at ail to the environment. The technology though, I believe, can be developed in the future. I see that the thing called “plastics” is extinct, people are using biodegradable materials instead thereby saving the Earth of the vast quantities of debris that just doesn’t go away, whether in our oceans or on our land. I see that there is no such thing as “paper” anymore – people therefore don’t cut trees anymore. Not even for building houses – composite, unheard-as-of-yet materials have replaced wood.

To sum up. in the next 100 years, the world will be a century of biology. It is the domain with the most scientists, the most new results, the most economic value, the most ethical importance, and the most to learn. That’s why people will live in a better place.


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