We have a
late lost entry to this week’s Mind Meld where we asked:
Q: It’s not unusual to hear negative things about what the future might bring for the Earth and humankind, and dystopian narrative certainly makes for entertaining futuristic sci-fi scenarios (environmental disaster, overuse of technology, etc). In the spirit of optimism and hope, what are a few of your far future scenarios that speak to the possible positive aspects of our evolving relationship with our world?
PhD, is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in NYC. His nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge
(1997), Digital McLuhan
(2003), Cellphone (2004), and New New Media
(2009), have been translated into ten languages. His science fiction novels include The Silk Code
(1999), Borrowed Tides
(2001), The Consciousness Plague
(2002), The Pixel Eye
(2003), and The Plot To Save Socrates
(2006). He appears on The O’Reilly Factor and numerous TV and radio programs. His 1972 LP, Twice Upon a Rhyme, was re-issued in 2010. He reviews television in his InfiniteRegress.tv blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s “Top 10 Academic Twitterers” in 2009.Paul Levinson’s latest novel is an “author’s cut” of The Silk Code
available on Kindle. The Silk Code
won the Locus Award for Best First Science Fiction Novel of 1999.
My favorite far-future scenarios come from Star Trek, and include beaming (teleportation) and fast-healing medicine.
My own far-future scenarios expand upon this –
1. The capacity to travel anywhere in the world, at will, at no cost, instantly. This kind of teleportation would require nothing more than the urge to travel somewhere. Just as we can now walk around the block, at will, at no charge, any time we please, so I see our world someday becoming like our block, and allowing us to visit any part of it instantly and effortlessly.
2. The eradication of all illness, by boosting our immune systems to combat any kind of breakdown, is definitely something I can envision for the far future. The same enhanced immune system would rapidly repair all physical injuries. I’m not 100% sure I would want immortality – but I’m 99% sure, especially if we could live forever at an age of our choosing.
3. In the near future, I see continuing development of smartphones to the point that anyone, anywhere in the world, can retrieve any and all information at any time. I predicted this in my doctoral dissertation, “Human Replay: A Theory of the Evolution of Media” in 1979. The iPhone was and is a big step on the way.
4. In the far future, I expect all of this to happen not only on Earth, but in the galaxy and beyond, as humans fan out across the cosmos. We are most truly species not just of this planet, but the universe beyond and around us.