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Calendars, Clocks and Time, Part 6

March 30, 2016
BY CHUCK CLEGG - Columnist , Wetzel Chronicle

This is the final part of the series where we looked toward the future. I have learned it can be sobering and challenging to view the world in 100 years. H.G. Wells and Jules Verne understood that where mankind was going towards tomorrow, would be guided by the world they lived in at the time.

The First World War saw the introduction of new ways to kill soldiers on the battle field. Today, technology has reduced the amount of soldiers in harm's way, but not eliminated their presence. Soldiers still die in the service of their country. In the future, conflicts will be fought by remote control to help prevent soldier's deaths. The killing of people may not be the major focus of war. If nothing else, we have learned killing does not end wars. Destroying infrastructure and the enemy's economic resource is key to ending their ability to fight back. The ethical ideals of the Geneva Convention may prove out of date in the future. It will be possible to shut down an entire country with the touch of a mouse button. Not by launching weapons of mass destruction, but to set in motion a computer virus that will destroy power grids, communications systems and financial centers.

Manufacturing jobs are becoming increasingly automated. In the future, technology derived from today's 3-D printers combined with robotic manufacturing systems, will build complicated products man builds today. Just think, a skyscraper, two thousand feet high assembled piece by piece in less time and at less cost by robotic systems. Will man still be needed to control the process? Yes, those advanced devices will be able to think and solve problems. But, the vision to create for the benefit of mankind will be done only by man. Only humanity has the ability to dream and imagine. Machines in the foreseeable future will be incapable of that skill. Only man possesses that unique quality. But, at some future date the idea will be debated among scholars and the courts.

In the 22nd century, life spans of men and women will be the same. Science and medicine have extended life expectancy to 95. Diseases have not been completely wiped out but are now prevented by advanced bio-chips embedded shortly after birth. A newborn's DNA structure will be mapped within the chip. This chip will monitor changes in chemical enzymes and molecular changes to cells. When damaged DNA is detected, a new T-Cell with corrected DNA will be released into the body. Nano-Technology will be able to deliver medical treatment to precise damaged parts of the body.

Bacteria and viruses will still be around and a danger to mankind. As humanity has adapted to survive, so has the smallest of these basic forms of life. In "The War of the Worlds," humanity is saved as Wells tells his readers, "by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth." Should mankind also heed the warning of Wells?

In the future, longer human life will also pose other problems. When mankind lives longer, the world must adapt to an aging population. Housing, jobs, medical and increased food and water supplies are just a few of the questions that will need to be solved.

Today, questions are being asked about the safety of GMOs - Genetically Modified Foods. By the next century these questions will have been answered. Perhaps the question we should be asking is, "Can man use the same techniques to improve himself by 2116?" The answer - yes. The fact is, science is already working on a GMM, Genetically Modified Mammals. In a hundred years will man be perfect? And who decides what is the perfect human?

In 1916, women struggled to gain the right to vote. Two hundred years later it is possible that all people will join Super-Pac political parties, much like republicans or democrats of today. Those who join will align themselves with the goals of the pact. After joining, you will be offered levels of service. The first level, you are advised as to how the Super-Pac sees possible candidates. In the second level, the pact casts your vote. Much like as a straight ticket of today. The whole process is done electronically. Voting in elections is nearly 90 percent due to Super-Pac affiliations.

Many state governments have elected to privatize services. State road systems, parks, wildlife, education and human services are operated by investment groups. State governments are advised by directors who weigh profits verses benefits to the state and its citizens. States wanted federal government out of their business; it has been replaced by privatization. Democracy will be governed by efficient business checks and balances. Public schools have become Charter Education Enterprises that operate virtual schooling in family homes. Parents decide on their child's curriculums, based on traditional science or theological standards.

Today, world population is 7.3 billion. It is estimated by the next century the population may reach 12 billion. The U.S. population is a little over 320 million. By the next century, it could reach 700 million. Many changes will face the population in the 22nd century. Water today is a resource that is in short supply. With increasing demand and the world's water being a finite supply, future technology must find ways to recycle or economically convert sea water to supply the world's population. Water will be the source of conflicts between nations in the future. The Great Lakes fresh water rights become an issue for the Supreme Court near the middle of the century.

In the future, we will not be identified by social security numbers, passwords, sex or ethnic heritage. Identity code numbers will be programed into the medical DNA bio-chip, the same chip embedded after birth. Much debate will take place within the legal system to preserve the right to privacy verses security. People may choose not to be part of the DNA Chip system, but this will limit medical and social benefits.

Transportation will change in the next century more than anything else. Public transportation pods will move people from place to place. In the future this technology will allow transportation pods to monitor where and when people need to move from place to place. Transportation will be powered by kinetic energy stored in power cells.

And what of fossil fuels? They are still very much part of the future world and power many underdeveloped countries. Fossil fuels will reach peak production in the late 21st century. Advancements in technology for mining and deep earth extraction of fuels greatly increases the removals of earth's fossil resources. Developed countries will derive much of their power from renewable energy sources.

We have come to the end of my series, and I hope that you have enjoyed this look through time. Many of H.G.Wells and Jules Verne's visions of their future world proved to be accurate. Perhaps the visions of the future in this story will also prove to be true. As Wells and Verne stories pointed out, mankind has the ability to make choices. We as a species often walk to the edge of reality before acting. The important thing is, we use our brains and do the right thing. I believe future generations will do the same.

In ancient Greece, the people believed their Gods created the first woman. She opened Pandora's Box and let loose evil into the world. But, what you may not know of the mythological event, is that something remained inside - HOPE.

Perhaps it is Hope that ultimately leads our way towards the future. The belief in a higher power than ourselves. Mankind's weakness has led him to sometimes make wrong decisions, but his ability to think enables him to find his way. That ability was given to all of us in creation. Science helps us to understand how to use that gift. I am glad you came along on our travels toward the future with Calendars, Clocks and Time, Through the Lens.

 
 
 

 

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