Wordsanctuary Revisited

Musings of a writer-teacher-counselor.

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Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

I am inquisitive and have worked in writing, editing, and teaching. I am a citizen of the USA and also concerned about the world. This is an addendum to my original blog, Wordsanctuary. That's at www.wordsanctuary.blogspot.com Please check out my column at www.insidehighered.com, "A Kinder Campus." Click on Career Advice to find it. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2029 (Predictions of an English Class)

Have you ever wondered what the world will be like twenty years from now? Our team of student experts at Cuyahoga Community College offers these predictions based on past experience, conditions in the world today, intuition, and imagination. If the forecast scares you, work hard to create a reality that might lead to a better outcome. On the other hand, if the predictions please you, don’t get too complacent. Things could still change in ways that defy our wildest dreams.

Technology will proceed dramatically. Even seeing rudimentary robots today, one might envision “robots of the future,” perhaps helping out in hospitals or other settings. Smart homes with automatic access and temperature control might be standard. Materials such as recyclable Plexiglas would reduce privacy, an ominous thought, but would reduce the emissions and preserve trees. We may be charging our cars, as we do cell phones. Innovative or “space age” means of transportation may boggle our imaginations today. Would you be shocked if you could look into a time machine and see traditional reproduction replaced by a high-tech laboratory? I will leave the details to your imagination.

What we call “food” may be revolutionized. How does this sound: A meal in one. One capsule contains everything you need to sustain yourself with an appropriate calorie and nutritional count for one meal per day, week, month, or year (depending on what you can afford). Even nursing the next generation may carry its perils; depending on our environment, basic functions might carry a risk. Remembering the way it was—raising crops, harvesting, packaging, shipping, and cooking food—will only be memories of the aging. Climate changes may dramatically reshape the world as we know it, altering the way we eat by necessity. Unless we are careful, the natural world (trees, grass, crops, animals) may be drastically affected. On the other hand, science and ecological awareness may preserve the best of what we have.

Due to environmental catastrophe of the year 2018, all paper money was collected and recycled and all the metal of coins was melted down to create the robots we depend on for help. Money may be obsolete, replaced first by plastic cards, and then by an implantable chip. The stock market was “the old days,” some predict. Others suspect that the differences in economic status will widen in a global economy.

Local, national, or international authorities may “speak” to us from mysterious screens. Officials will be everywhere, in touch with you and vice versa by technology. On the one hand, that means you don’t have to worry about being lost in a future disaster. On the other hand, privacy will be a concept of the past. On the political scene, large changes may happen: perhaps even one political party that emerged after a series of disputes internationally.

Some optimistic forecasters predict that cures for illnesses, such as cancer, AIDS, muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s disease, Sickle Cell Anemia, and heart failure, may be prevalent. Pessimists may counter that in twenty years, the population will be substantially reduced due to illness, disaster, changes in relationships, and other crises. Aging may be deferred through “powerful drugs,” but these will not be available to all.

“Distance learning” will not be an option; it will be a requirement. Due to other innovations in education, holding a doctorate at age 13 will not be the sole domain of prodigies. On the other hand, some may predict an overall decline in education due to over-reliance on technology and unpredictable power interruptions. Teaching in a traditional sense may be replaced by methods of mind control and technological transplant.

Just about every aspect of life as we know it may change. “Be careful what you wish for,” cynics might say. The good news is: It hasn’t happened yet. The bad news: Unless we take the reins to preserve what is best about our times, traditions may be lost forever. Hope to see you there!


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