My Uncle Dave posed an interesting question to my wife and I when he came to visit us the other day (he's quite a "thinksome" person). He asked: "What do you think the world will be like in 50 or 100 years, in terms of technology and society and so on."
He says he asks this of intelligent people he meets to see what their thoughts are. His point is that no one really knows. I mean, in 1945, could people have even imagined surfing the net or sending e-mail like we do? No way. And the pace of technological innovation is incredible. We're on a different curve than we used to be. Who knows? Nanomachines, biotechnology that can cure any disease or let people live to at least 100, electronic implants into the body, direct interface with computers -- who knows? It's fascinating to think about, and really it is science fiction that enables us to think about some of the possibilities, I feel.
One thing I'm looking forward to are real software agents. There is so much information out there, more all the time, but I want something that can help me find what I really want. For instance, in about ten years, I think, there will no longer be recorded music, there will be some big databases from which you can download music onto your hard drive or whatever. At that point, there will be so much music to choose from and you'll be able to sample things before you buy them, etc. But the question will be, how do I find what I'm looking for? How do I find the music that might interest me? Or more generally how do I find information that I want without spending all the time myself surfing the net? How do I find people who are like-minded, with whom I might really want to communicate? I want to find those people but it's hard to do. In the future I think that one will be able to build a community of like-minded people who live all over the globe (much more so even than today). It's going to be a great time to be alive, I think.
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