So this morning I read an io9 article, What will human cultures be like in 100 years? This is my favorite sort of speculation game. We really have no clue what we’ll be like in a century, but it sure is fun to think about (or depressing depending on your outlook towards humanity). Unfortunately, the what if game resulted in me wasting half the day reading about bipedal robots, which subsequently led me to the new Transformers movie. Who goes to see those? And how in the hell did Mark Walberg get roped into the franchise? Actually, I might consider seeing a non-Shia Transformers.
Clearly, I need some sort of shock collar that automatically zaps me every time I get distracted for longer than five minutes on the internet.
Anyway, my dad and I were just talking about Google Glass, which turned into a conversation about evolution. My dad thinks we’ll eventually evolve to have necks that swoop down, which makes sense considering how much time we spent bent over our tablets, phones, iPods, and whatever (although technology like Glass might prevent that from happening, since we can once again look forward). Several years ago in a physical anthropology seminar, the professor spent a class discussing how, very rapidly, we’ve become a culture in which bipedalism is not the ideal human form because we spend too much time sitting on our asses. Obviously, it’s impossible to know how we’ll evolve, but it’s entertaining to imagine our future generations as swoop-necked beings with legs bent and splayed from eons of sitting on our behinds. Given the new form, pants would be impossible, so really quite a few of us are already ahead of the curve. Hell yes.
What I liked most about the io9 article was the discussion of what will become of old people. The author likens senior citizens to teenagers in that they have tons of time and not a lot of cash. I would never, ever want to be a teen again, but the idea of having more time, less responsibility, and none of the hormonal angst, doesn’t sound half bad.
I actually ponder what will become of us when we’re old frequently, although it’s hard for me to not envision a Welcome to the Monkey House future. While I may not be around in 100 years, there is a good possibility I’ll still be here in seventy. Seven. Zero. That’s a long freaking time. So, I avidly read any literature that comes my way regarding the science of aging. I know a lot of people dislike the idea of tampering with nature, but I do hope scientists find a way to combat aging (and not for vanity reasons, thank you very much. Well, mostly not for vanity). I’d rather not spend the last 40 years of my life with creaky knees and hip problems, and I’m banking on someone figuring out an economically feasible way to make that happen. If we’re extended longevity, then let’s make sure the quality is good too.
But if we do figure out a way to finally halt our cells from aging, then what? What do we do with all the extra people? It’s a legitimate concern, especially considering many of us will be the elderly folks in question decades down the road. Perhaps by that time we’ll have figured out a plan for long-term space colonization. We are, after all, talking about fifty to seventy years, so it’s entirely possible. The way I figure it, either they’ll start shuttling us old folks off to space, or, the planet will be such a toxic wasteland that the youth will be the ones in space, leaving the fogies on planet Earth. Since I already live in the pollution-infested badlands of LA County, I’m not too bothered by that scenario, it can’t be all that different.
Anyway, if this is old age, then bring it. They look like they’re having a blast.