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kristof65

some 'brave new world' this is.

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I think it's amazing that medicine has been able to extend our life expectancy even despite increasingly unhealthier lifestyles.

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I'd also say that developments in IT and communication have far exceeded expectations in most sci-fi.

Edited by vejlin

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I think it's amazing that medicine has been able to extend our life expectancy even despite increasingly unhealthier lifestyles.

 

While the increase in use of "organic" foods has slightly increased food-borne diseases, I suspect that on average diets are healthier now than they have ever been. That said, medical science has had a huge effect on increasing lifespans.

 

The easiest place to see this is in the increase in deaths from diseases of old age (cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's). Everybody dies from something, but hardly anybody dies from broken arms, tetanus, measles, "childbed fever", or the myriad other popular ways to die 100 years ago.

 

I'd also say that developments in IT and communication have far exceeded expectations in most sci-fi.

 

I recently reread Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". For those who haven't read it, one of the main characters is a sentient computer, but the world has no portable mass storage and apparently no computer screens. (The protagonist spends some time in the book keying in programs for another computer from printouts, for example.)

 

Interestingly, Mike says in that book that he expects total conversion technology (any element to any other element) "on the order of 50 years" -- that is, he'd be surprised if it took less than 5 or more than 500 years. Some technological problems depend on fairly fundamental breakthroughs and there's no way to schedule those.

 

FWIW, My best guess is that the next world-changing technilogical breakthrough will be a practical fusion-reactor power source; I expect it "on the order of 20 years". But I wouldn't put money on that without being on the right side of fairly long odds.

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In Star Trek we were supposed to have the technology to place a human in suspended animation for long space voyages by 1996 ("Space Seed"). Swing and a miss there.

 

Moonbase powered by Earth's nuclear waste in 1999....not so much. And no cool Eagle spacecraft either. ::(:

 

OTOH, cloning has become a reality, at least for animals.

 

In the sci-fi classic "Journey to the Seventh Planet" (1962) we were supposed to have the planets out to Saturn explored by Humans by 2001. But they were right about the threat of global nuclear war going away.

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the threat of nuclear war has gone away? I have a feeling people in india/pakistan might disagree with you there.

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Well, he did say "global". To some degree I think that's true - the arms race that precipitated the cold war is no longer in high gear, and it does seem like we've learned enough to realize all out nuclear extermination is bad. So while the threat of nuclear war is still there, I gotta say that it doesn't feel like that nuclear war would escalate to the point of everyone everywhere launching their nukes, unlike the feelings about it at the height of the cold war.

 

Then again, mankind manages to surprise me every day with the depths of our cruelty and stupidity.

 

 

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I recently read that we all are born with a terminal illness. Birth.

 

That said, we are making huge breakthroughs everyday it seems. I believe the true breakthroughs will be in how we understand the mind and how and why people behave the way they do.

 

I personally would like to see a bigger push to space exploration. but with Obama's "we have already been to the moon" i think USA's space program is doomed for failure soon, or at least being outdone by china...

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