You have a phone app that tells you what your schedule is for the day, a calendar to tell you what the next few months look like, and the MCU Phase 4 Roadmap to help you plan out the next few years. But what about further into the future? What of the next decade, century, millennium? What will Earth look like then? Or will humanity even call Earth home any longer?
Plenty of writers have come along with ideas on how to answer these questions both in books and on screen. The answers to the question “What is mankind’s future?” have myriad answers going in wildly different directions.
What if it were up to you to choose which one came true?
You’ve been given a pamphlet with instructions from an advanced alien civilization. With it, combined with a load of suspension of disbelief and a generous application of the Butterfly Effect (the principle, not the movie, though the movie explores that principle), you have a listing of minor efforts you can take to bring about any fictional outcome for humanity.
Whose vision do you choose?
Some suggestions (both good and bad):
Star Trek (Gene Roddenberry) – The quintessential utopian dream for humans to travel the stars in a post-scarcity society that values individual achievement and enlightenment over race, class, and wealth. Plus Klingons.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) – Except for a few of the lucky and well-connected, humans are wiped out when earth is bulldozed for an interstellar transit project.
Star Wars (George Lucas) – Don’t let the “long ago” bit fool you. We could see a galaxy with Earth long forgotten, where mysticism and fascism collide and giant space battles alongside alien allies decide the fate of entire star systems. Plus wookies.
Brave New World (Aldoux Huxley) – A rigid caste system elevates the “haves” to a life of luxury and ease, while the lower classes have been bred to accept their lot in life (trust us on that…)
Futurama (Matt Groening) – Zaniness permeates a society unaware of its own shortcomings. Capitalism runs amok, and technology can do almost anything but stop it.
Ringworld (Larry Niven) – Human life expectancy extends to multiple centuries—if you can afford the necessary drug. Space exploration is ongoing, and wonders abound. But you need to worry about what other species might be out there.
Dune (Frank Herbert) – A neo-feudal government rules the stars, and infighting curtails most of the benefits of advanced technology. Computers aren’t allowed, but there’s space travel.
Extinction Reversed (J.S. Morin) – Oops, humanity got wiped out. Luckily, intelligent robots resurrected our species a la Jurassic Park, and we now enjoy a privileged life in a world designed around our needs.
There are plenty more examples out there. I’m sure you’ve got some better ones I’ve missed.
Don’t predict the future; create it!
Let me know on Facebook which future you want to live in or respond in the comments.