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Ian

The Future

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The present economic crisis has again brought out the Cassandras that predict misery for the future. In a perverted way this sort of pessimism satisfies the human psyche. It's like the effect of horror movies that excite through fear. At times like these few are those who predict and are listened to about a better future for humankind yet progress has been exponential throughout time. The media prefer to frighten us with doom and gloom because that makes better news.

On the whole people are pessimists by nature. Might this have something to do with the only thing that awaits individuals in the end? The evening news on TV will show us the gory pictures of people burned by fires, buried in rubble from earth quakes, of mutilated bodies from war, and heinous crimes committed by criminals such as abductions and murder of innocents, or children dying of cancer. These are the issues that interest us, issues to do with our safety. Seeing these images we extrapolate them and expect that these are the norm and not the rare exceptions that are of little statistical significance when set against the millions if not billions of people going about their business trying to earn their way. Rarely do we see acts of bravery, of people risking their lives to save a stranger in distress, compassion and love, the common bonds that bind us all together.

Look back 20 years and consider the advances in medicine, in computers and in telecoms, not to mention the internet. We accept all this as we do the end of the Soviet empire that kept millions of people trapped behind an iron curtain.

China, India, Russia, Brazil to mention the giants that are waking up, are all advancing at great speed. The whole world is coming closer together. They will all make considerable progress in the next 20 years and will in turn contribute to our progress. Where was India and China after the Second World War?

We'll find intelligent ways to use energy and produce food for everyone. We'll make better use of mineral resources for the benefit of all the world and not just a few. We will learn to use space both on the earth and beyond and we'll develop new forms of energy. This is less amazing than going back fifty years and being told that we can have a teleconference with people on another continent. A hundred years back and our world would appear as magic. Cars, Planes, Satellites, Computers, Mobile Phones etc.

Just imagine where we'll be in another 50 years with space technology as well as medical and technological advances. There are many things in the pipeline that will make the world a better place for everyone. Nanotechnology will make the inside of our bodies an open book for self diagnostics. Cars will drive themselves, energy and other mineral resources will be recycled. Above all, the world will become multipolar giving a voice to all its citizens and not to the privileged few. Some people may find adjustment difficult but they'll be helped by the spread of knowledge. "Cogito ergo sum" that is the motto for the future; it's our ability to think that will carry us forward.

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