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Minding My Own Future in the 21st Century

Today I viewed a video of a driver-less vehicle navigating through the streets of Phoenix. It prompted an introspective look at my own future. As a child of the late 20th century, I imagined life in the digital era. Inspired by science fiction, I dreamed about countless wonders such as flying cars, intergalactic travel, and pizza-on-demand. As an adult, the reality of fully self-driving cars instills cautious optimism at best. In truth, I can’t shake the gnawing feeling that human beings are not ready for 21st century technology.

Undermining the Future

Over the past eight years, President Barack Obama shined light on the potential of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Yet cutting edge thinking was obstructed by powerful interests focused on extending the profitable viability of antiquated industries. Politicians waxed poetic about magical “clean coal” and hydraulic fracturing aka fracking. Instead of a wave of progress, humanity painstakingly crept forward weighted down by fat cats’ corporate greed.

Embracing the Future

fat cat

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

Of course, there have been highlights despite the muddied waters. The internet finally took root and became internationally pervasive. Smartphones kept getting more useful and dare I say, smarter. Even public transportation has shown signs of advancement despite local governments’ spotty management. Despite our collectively wallowing in the mundane day-to-day existence, technology continues to inject the extraordinary into our lives.

Medical Treatments Still Edging Out Cures

Generally speaking, medical breakthroughs have been modest at best. Currently available drug treatments help alleviate debilitating symptoms but cause a whole slew of negative side effects. Future medical advances promise customized individual treatment based on a patient’s genome. Nanotechnology and Stem Cells could potentially be employed to reconstruct people from within. Artificial intelligence promises to be the innovation catalyst for this century and beyond. Band-aids? Still getting the job done.

The Last Word


I’m already there.

Still, if one’s smartphone drops to the ground and ceases to work, self-repair of said tech is not an option for most people. The same holds true for most technology. We’re consumers; helplessly dependent on technical wizardry while clueless about how it all works. I fear we’re one electromagnetic pulse or cyber attack away from a return to the dark ages. Most daunting, pizza, as we know it, will cease to exist.

What’s your take? Are you concerned about the future?


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