Here we are, facing not only the end of the year but also the birth of a whole new decade. It will soon be (drum roll please) 2020, a year that not so long ago I viewed as the very distant future.
In 1985, our family created a time capsule filled with objects, along with our predictions for the future.
With this column in mind, I figured it was about time to dig that vintage cookie tin out of the attic and see what kind of seers we were. A little slip of yellowed paper with handwritten notes detailed our foretelling:
By now, we saw ourselves hobnobbing around the Earth’s atmosphere in space cars. At home, our robotic servants would perform a multitude of tasks, such as massaging our feet and preparing delightful meals designed to meet our daily caloric requirements and nutritional needs.
The Moon would be home to thousands of long-term residents, and stardust would provide us with a new form of sustainable energy.
When our body parts wore out, we’d simply grow new ones. Test tube babies floating in artificial uteruses would produce a generation of pregnant grandmas.
Well, we haven’t quite reached all the above milestones, but we do have access to autonomous cars and robotic devices that run our “smart homes.”
NASA is planning to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon within the next decade, one that will lay the foundation for a lunar economy. And while we haven’t yet
harnessed the power of stardust, wind and solar are providing clean and sustainable energy.
Organs grown in the lab aren’t available yet. Darn it. I could really use a new layer of wrinkle-free skin. But there is hope.
Today scientists are using human cells to grow muscles, blood vessels, skin, and even bladders. If they do well in clinical trials, well, face lifts will be so yesterday.
The first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, is now 41.
TIME magazine once called her birth “the most awaited birth in perhaps 2,000 years.”
Today in vitro fertilization has become a common practice, and artificial uteruses are on the verge of becoming a reality—though I’m not sure pregnant grandmas, or grandpas for that matter, are a good thing.
So, as we begin this new decade, let’s not listen to the naysayers who want to convince
us that the world and humanity are unraveling. Let’s continue to show the same optimism for our future as we have in the past.
Science, technology, and our entrepreneurial spirit have always managed to solve our
problems. Americans, in general, are educated, productive and hard-working. And we are
fortunate to have a new generation of young people entering the workforce who are smart,
talented, and equipped to bring new ideas to the table.
In the meantime, the turn of a decade is an ideal time to get out your cookie tins and make
your own time capsule—something to be opened by you or your family members in decades to come. Show ‘em how great you think the world will be.
We wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and plenty of optimism for all the new years to come.
Terri Bryce Reeves, Editor