First appeared in The Apple COREspondent
Newsletter of LAMALUG, Mac User Group of Lansing, MI
MAY 1990

 

TIME MACHINE - Part 1

I want to make some predictions about the future. I have so many ideas that I'd like to make this a series of articles. Some of this stuff is a little scary to a lot of people, probably because of the changes it will require them to make in their lives. Well, people were scared of the automobile too, but we still got 'em.

When I read articles about the future, the authors usually peek only about 5 or 10 years from now. I'm almost always a little disappointed because the predictions just don't seem that amazing. Even most science fiction authors seem to have difficulty looking more than a few year ahead. Those who look a little further usually summon some nuclear, chemical or genetic holocost to help them slow progress because is it is so difficult to project the technological changes as well as all the personal and moral baggage that will accompany them. Let me give it a try.

Computers are getting smaller. That's not new. There are a group of people who are trying to make a computer on the molecular level - trying to make the conductive materials just one molecule wide. Others are working to make chemical computers. Combine the technologies and you have something we're already familiar with - the human brain. A pretty complicated chemical computer.

Once we cross that barrier, we will be able to connect ourselves directly to computers made of biological stuff. The human/computer interface will become much faster and easier than we ever dreamed while using the mouse or voice controlled computer. Eventually we'll be able to eliminate the hardware and the "computer" will be merged with us.

The ramifications of this are both fantastic and morally complicated. We'll be able to communicate with each other without words - absolutely directly, telepathically. When you describe something to someone, you'll not only be able to shoot them your ideas at the speed of thought, you'll be able to shoot them 3-D pictures as well as smell, touch, taste and sound. And you'll be able to literally walk a mile in another person's shoes. With their permission, you'll be able to step inside of that person, to see and feel life the way they experience it long enough to really understand them. Misunderstanding someone will become a thing of the past.

Also, because of developments in the genetic sciences, it will be possible to literally make every person born a genius with total photographic and auditory recall. We only use about 10% of our brain now. Why not just flick a few genetic switches and use it all?

Children won't need to go to school. Everything known will be implanted into newborns, will be available to them instantly, and updated as new information is created - perhaps downloaded once a day or even continuously. When I say all information, this will include what we now call expert systems. Any child will be able to create works in the style of Rembrandt, Picasso, Beethoven, or Mozart - at the speed of thought. This artwork will not exist in solid form, although there is no reason it couldn't. Instead, we will find it more convenient to have it in the "software" of our minds, to share with others and rework to perfection.

I'll bet all this happens within 100 years, maybe even as few as 50. See you next month.

--JONATHAN STARS

 

© 1990 Jonathan Stars

Click here for the second part of this three part series.

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