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The result of all this, I have found somewhat mind-blowing and also a prodding for a follow-on third article about the future. Let me start with a quote: “It has been suggested that we are living in a period of such dramatic change that is greater by far than the changes seen in the past with the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution and, in the last century, the technological and cyber revolution. The possibilities that are already realities are likely to mean the most dramatic changes in the lives of probably every human being on the earth.”  

OK, pretty dramatic stuff but if you doubt these things, try doing a Google search in the following areas, some of which we have touched upon in the previous two articles:

a) Developments: ‘bit-chain’, ‘quantum computers’, ‘Artificial Intelligence’, new genome projects redesigning the human being, computing power that is doubling almost every year, virtual reality,  nano-technology that looks at unbelievably small cell manipulation, lives that will interact with ‘smart computers’ or ‘thinking computers’ at every turn – and robots.

b) Social Changes: physical money ceases to be used, face recognition means accountability wherever you are in the world, but also makes travel easier, pandemics that wipe out millions because of overuse of antibiotics causing bacterial resistance

c) Social  & National Upheavals: politics through social media, threats to global existence (a nuclear winter, ozone holes, or over population), threats to national security through cyber-attacks that don’t only insert fake news, reveal personal and national secrets, and empty bank accounts, but also disable hospitals, power stations (including nuclear ones) air traffic control and other key national installations.

One of the big discussion points at the present (early 2018) could be summarised as the Pessimistic Outlook versus the Optimistic Outlook, i.e. whether this panorama of the future is good news or bad news and does it tell it all anyway?  A  January edition of Time magazine had as its theme, ‘The Optimists’ and was edited by Bill Gates, who is clearly an optimist, and it carried articles by well over half a dozen writers (including himself) who have a very optimistic outlook on the future. He highlights some good points – worldwide malaria deaths are being cut by 50%, workplace accidents are down over a fifty year period by a factor of fifty, worldwide childhood deaths over the period from 1990 until now, have fallen from 12 million a year to 5 million a year with a goal of 2.5 million by 2030.  

If you have a few hours to spare, Google You-Tube TEDx talks and AI (Artificial Intelligence). Some of it goes over the head, some is mind blowing and some … well time will tell, like the claim that a research group working with Bill Gates are on the way to producing a nuclear reactor that will be fuelled by spent fuels from conventional reactors and there is enough to provide electrical power for the whole globe for a thousand years. That is optimism at its height.

But new technology often comes with fears. For instance the February 2018 edition of National Geographic has as its main theme, ‘The New Big Brother’ which is all about the surveillance society. Try this for a quote: “London authorities were early adopters of widespread closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance after the city was targeted by terrorists using truck bombs in the early 1990’s  From 2012 to 2015 the city saw a 72% increase in  cameras, making up one third of the UK’s cameras overall. Today Londoners are some of the most closely watched city dwellers in the world, as one example, the borough of Islington, just north of central London, monitors 180 cameras.”

Or try this: “Today more than 2.5 trillion images are shared or stored on the Internet annually to say nothing of the billions more photographs and videos people keep to themselves. By 2020, one telecommunications company estimates, 6.1 billion people will have phones with picture-taking capabilities. Meanwhile in a single year an estimated 106 million new surveillance cameras are sold.”  Just to ponder, it wasn’t more than a few years back we were told the population of the world was just at 7 billion. Now read that quote again! Apart from all the main surveillance cameras, whether it is home-security cams, dash-cams in cars, personal cams on police offers and maybe soon other groups confronted by unruly public, life certainly matches the overall title of the main article of this edition of National Geographic ‘They are Watching You’.

Facial recognition and number plate recognition are just tips of the iceberg that are being used to counter criminal activity or simply let you into your pre-booked long-term parking bay at an airport, and will shortly check you through immigration.  A closing quote: “More than 1700 satellites orbit above us, some as much as 100,000 miles overhead. They collect images and other data, broadcast information, track our locations, and even listen to our conversations.” If you want more - and there is plenty of it – get to a bookshop or newsagent.  

Standing in an airport browsing The Economist’s  “The World in 2018” it seemed initially as if these things mattered little with most space given over to politics, states of economies and such things in the first hundred pages, with just a few advertisements covering cyber matters, however the further we browsed, the more even such an erudite publication realised that here was a fertile area of future speculation with the things we’ve been mentioning.

We so often say it on these pages, but the world of today is incredibly different from the world of our childhood, and the signs are clearly there for those who want to look, that the world of fifty years’ time will be unbelievably different from the one our children today know - assuming the pessimists are wrong and the world is still here! Anyway, you’ve probably had enough scary quotes, so we won’t add even more. Instead we’ll finish with our usual light-hearted and often not-so-serious ones:

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Abraham Lincoln

The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.


Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savoured.   

Earl Nightingale

Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.

Malcolm X

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.


“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” 

Mother Teresa

“The future depends on what you do today.” 
Mahatma Gandhi

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