Tonight's guest, Prof. Jan Hodges, has written about developments he sees occurring in the next 80 years. In a similar vein, John L. Petersen, founder of the futurist think tank, The Arlington Institute(1) has pondered trends for the 21st Century, and sees humanity as poised between "global instability" and "planetary renaissance."
In an article Petersen penned for the current issue of What is Enlightenment(2), titled "Visions of the Future," he lists ten scenarios that could tilt the Earth in one direction or the other. Here are some of them:
- Ice Cap Breaks Up-- This may already be happening, and could eventually result in sea levels rising 100 feet. Devastation of coastal cities and unstable climate patterns could set civilization back 50 years.
- Nanotechnology Takes Off-The ability to use molecular sized machines could revolutionize manufacturing methods, and potentially be used to eliminate food shortages and environmental pollution.
- Africa Unravels-- The elements of population growth, poverty, famine and deadly epidemics intertwined with political instability could push large portions of this continent into anarchy and upheaval.
- Time Travel Invented-- An unprecedented breakthrough in physics could lead to the ability to manipulate time and space. Imagine a travel industry, where you not only choose your destination, but whether you want to visit it in the past, present or future!