What I’d like to see in the future vs. the reality
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
Living in the future is weird. Looking back at all the predictions that have been made in the past for the future—or our present—is a little embarrassing. Many people thought that by 2018 we would all be cloning ourselves, driving flying cars, and manual labour would be a job for the artificially intelligent. It’s clear that none of that came true (quite yet), but the future has ways of surprising us, whether it be good or bad. It’s hard to say what’s in store for us, or our future generations 20, 50, even 100 years from now, but there’s no harm in guessing. Here are some things I would like to see happen in the future and how likely it is to happen.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation: The prospect of AI’s being integrated into society both excites and terrifies me. On the one hand, robots are sick! On the other hand, the rise of AI’s and automation probably means countless jobs will be lost, as employers will begin to replace human workers with robots. The reality? It’s basically already happening. Saudi Arabia has granted “robotic citizenship” to an AI named Sophie, the first robot to receive such a status. Technology can only go up from here, so I think we may see robots becoming a part of daily society in the next 50 years or so.
Revamped education systems: Our current K-12 education system was generated during the industrial revolution and still largely adheres to the industrial-age model of education. I also think it puts too much emphasis on grades and tests, and little care is given to hands-on learning experiences and the importance of learning. Ideally, tests and grades will be eradicated, and an emphasis on applied knowledge will be the way of future education. I’d also like to see free post-secondary education tuition. Unfortunately, besides school hours and perhaps less testing, I don’t think the public education system will go through much change in the future. Currently, there are no ideas being put in place to improve public education, so I think it will be a while before we see any major change. As for free post-secondary education; yeah, right.
Banning zoo’s and aquariums: With companies like SeaWorld allegedly neglecting and mistreating their animals and extinction or endangerment for many animals becoming an alarming reality, it seems like the best solution for zoos and aquariums to close their doors. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will happen anytime soon. I imagine most animals, whether they are endangered or near extinction, will most likely continue to be kept in cages and pools for tourism, educational, and money-making purposes.
Smoking cigarettes: Everyone knows smoking and second-hand smoke is terrible for you, yet many people continue to do it. Smoking has already been banned from public places such as restaurants and schools, so I hope in the future smoking cigarettes becomes banned altogether and people can find healthier alternative ways to get their nicotine. I believe this is something that will happen soon. Currently, the total population of smokers is about 20 per cent. Compared to the 42 per cent of smokers about 50 years ago, and with the rise of vapes and e-cigarettes it’s likely that cigarette smoking will be removed from daily society perhaps within the next 20-30 years.
Renewable energy and resources: With climate change and global warming looming over us, it’s a surprise that we haven’t already adopted other means of energy that are less damaging to the planet. But don’t fear, renewable energy is (almost) here. A study done by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that the US will be generating most of its electricity with renewable energy by the year 2050. This is great news, but it’s tough to say whether this will be in time to reverse the effects of climate change. For now, all we can do it wait and see.