Science & Technology

List: The Immediate Future


RU Sirius is the editor of H+, a new online quarterly for the transhumanist set; it covers everything from body modification to radical longevity. Sirius has promised to continue editing the periodical for "approximately 300 years," but here he predicts three changes in the next half decade.

1.) New Energy Dynamics: "Look for a breakthrough, possibly in terms of cheap, thin, distributed solar collectors that can be pasted or painted or somehow affixed all over the place. Whatever it is, with so many people working on the (relatively) clean energy problem, I have a good feeling about this. Relatedly, thanks to political pressures and new market opportunities, we will start to actually believe in a near future of greatly reduced oil consumption."

2.) Good Medicine: "Medicine is going genomic. Look for widespread personalized treatments based on genetic information and possibly some general cures for diseases. There's also been good news coming from studies of psychedelic drugs showing that they have value in terms of therapy, 'spiritual' experience, and intellectual problem solving. Someone somewhere will move to a prescription model for some of these substances."

3.) Yet Another Third Way: "The hacker/open source/digital culture implies a third way: less about competition or coerced communitarianism, more about enthusiastic, voluntary collaboration. This trend will grow over the next five years, and by the end of the 2010s it will start to infect mainstream political discourse."