I don’t know what I’d do without Google. What did people do before Google? How did they do research? They actually went to a library and looked up stuff and copied it into thick binders full of paper.
That was less than 20 years ago, and I remember a bit from those times. But I was never very good at the research thing, not until Google showed up on the scene. My kids, they’ve never known a world without the Internet and without Google and without every bit of information they could ever want at their fingertips. To them, the library is the place you go to get a community Wifi connection.
And how many years will it be before Wifi hotspots are a thing of the past? We’ll all be on, all the time, connected to unlimited, low-cost, high-speed broadband from our wireless devices. That day may not be too far off.
I’m talking, of course, about the day when Star Trek becomes reality.
Last month, Steven Landsburg (author of The Armchair Economist and blogger at TheBigQuestions.com) spoke at the Cato Institute, and left me with: “Wow.” If you have ever found yourself longing for “the good old days,” watch this video. It’ll blow your mind.
Our happiness is a matter of perspective, not circumstances. We have so internalized the idea that we should live prosperously that during those few years when we have to tighten our belts and live merely at levels that our grandparents would consider luxury, we freak out as though our world is falling apart. But the truth is so much more amazing: on our current course, within the next 400 years, Gene Roddenberry’s basis for the Star Trek universe will have become reality.
- Average people will commonly live into their 140’s and 150’s, or maybe even longer.
- All our basic needs—food, water, shelter, even basic medical care—will be basically free, that is, so cheap that their cost will not be an issue. Subsistence living world-wide will be a personal choice, not a circumstance.
- Extractive and abusive states will no longer exist, as democratization and decentralization of power enforce severe limits on extractive government institutions.
- Natural disasters like hurricanes, volcano eruptions, and tsunami will claim very few victims (if any), and the millions of dollars of property damage they cause, a single person will be able to repair it in less than a week’s worth of work.
- We’ll be always on, always connected to the global Internet, at super-broadband speeds.
- We’ll be able to travel to anyplace in the world, quickly and safely, and even to places in near-Earth space. (Don’t know about matter-energy transporter technology, but maybe super-fast planes.)
- The average person will spend most of his time in higher pursuits: knowledge, personal development, art, charity, spirituality.
Unfortunately, I also expect that many people will be more terrified than ever that the end of it all is right around the corner. Some will live in constant, total terror of every little minuscule danger, many of which we today take for granted. (After all, they’ll be able to afford to waste brain cells on such things, which we can’t today.) And political campaigns will still be full of “If so-and-so get elected, the whole world will go down the toilet.” And they’ll actually be prepared, in that event, to move to Mars. Some things never change.