05 November 2011

The Future is Now: But How Will It Look?

“Look to the future.”

What do you think of when you read that phrase? Do you think about what you’re doing this weekend or where your kids will go to college? Or do your thoughts go further into the future?

If so, do you think of flying cars? Perhaps you imagine a world without pain or war? How about a world where doctors are no longer needed (sorry, all you physicians) because no one ever gets ill or injured? A world of possibilities exists if you simply let your mind wander.

If your own imagination fails you, all you have to do is look to your favorite bookseller or television shows.

What about a world without death? Sound like Utopia? Try watching the television show, Torchwood. After seeing what could happen when people no longer die, where the population explosion escalates, and where people who fall ill are placed in incinerators and disposed of yet not really killed (You’ll have to watch the show to understand that concept), I’d rather embrace the concept of death.

What about a world filled with unimaginable technology? I grew up in the era when mobile phones (that’s the precursor to cell phones, kiddies) and CB radios were the big thing. Captain Kirk could talk to others using a small handheld devise, but who knew I’d live to see the day when I could talk, text, email, and web surf with a small handheld devise? What’s next? “Beam me up, Scotty”?

But what does the future entail for books? We’ve already taken the first step toward a paperless world. Bookstores are closing, in part because some of us, including myself, would rather read an eBook than a paperback. What’s the next step? Books written on a pill that you could swallow and then close your eyes and read?

What about authors? Will technology advance to the point where they’re no longer needed? Think about the advances made with movies. Actors are sometimes replaced with digitally created characters like in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. What if anyone could write a book simply by encoding specific ideas into a computer and having it spit out a work of fiction? I shudder at the idea.

Still, even if I tend to see the worst happening in the future, I’m an optimist at heart. I like to think that for every advance that may take away something I love, another advance will give me an even greater treasure.

The future is and always will be a product of the past. What we do today will become tomorrow’s history and the next day’s future. It’s up to us to make the future a good one.

Beverly - www.beverlyrae.com

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