20th century classic Sci-Fi authors had foreseen great things for the following century. This one.
If I remember correctly, none of them mentioned smartphones or tablets and the influence they’d have in our society today. Were they wrong? Personally, I don’t think so. It’s only that, in the great scheme of the future, smartphones and tablets would be small. Or should be small. Like a Tricorder. It’s surely useful in Star trek but would they need one if they didn’t have Enterprise-Class starships? Silly question. Of course they would. They could browse the net, buy stuff and upload home videos. We all know how much fun that can be.
Which part of the “future” would – could be considered the most important? Here are my 2 cents: I would go with spreading mankind throughout the Cosmos.
Global space expansion. It sounds kind of intrusive, doesn’t it?
The truth is that we’ve been doing it for 100,000 years. Maybe more. It’s like global maritime expansion, only with space. 500 years ago, we ‘spread’ to the Americas and found out the world was round. Bummer! The only way left to expand is up, towards the heavens. And we’ve been doing it ever since. Up until walking on the moon, that is.
<I’m sorry if I’m not mentioning space exploration by way of unmanned spacecraft. It’s great but not exactly what we’re meant for, I believe. But the tech is awesome and will surely be useful in days to come>
But space expansion – or space exploration, if you like – is outstandingly complex, extremely dangerous and outrageously expensive and, most of all, brings no foreseeable profit. Not even long-term. And that was the end of that. Or nearly. It is undeniable that some countries are now turning again back towards space, under the “affordable and reusable” banners. But instead of investing in new technologies and materials, they are using dated solutions. Old propulsion systems that date back to WWII. And even shaping spacecraft like ‘pods’ again, like the ones we were launching when people drove cars with tail fins and TVs ‘in color’ were the bomb.
Expansion is an expensive ordeal and we should be directing most of our resources – minds and money – towards it. I have a crazy idea: why instead of having a new smartphone model every year, why don’t we have a new one every 3 years, and have the great minds presently dedicated to developing new gadgets dedicate the 2 years in between to space expansion tech? Once they’re done dealing with our basic needs, of course.
Just stop coming up with new smartphones and stuff every year with nearly unperceivable improvements! Please.
Ultimately, it’s Mankind’s choice to expand or not. It will be a choice but not without consequence. We could – would – do this expansion thing with Startrek-like respect for everyone and everything. We could do it. And all of this could be a couple of breakthroughs away.
If we stay on Earth and another civilization arrives at our doorstep, they will have accomplished something we never could: travel across space until they found intelligent life. Could they be considered more advanced? It remains to be seen. Something tells me they’ll rave over our smartphones but also wonder, owning such tech, what we are still doing here. That’s assuming they’re the dialoging kind.
Bruno De Marques.