Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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Predictions for the Future Time is constantly changing the world. The year is 2001 and nothing is the way it was when dinosaurs first roamed the Earth millions of years ago. The cave men did not travel in convertibles or use microwaves to cook their meals. Somewhere along the line, great people came along and invented these luxuries. Although today seems like the modern world, the people of 2084 will probably be purchasing digital cameras and DVD players in an antique shop. The world will be so much different in 2084, just as 2001 differs from the prehistoric days. Today's educational system, political system, global relations, quality of life, and human relationships will be completely different in 2084.

Since there is already a Virtual High School system now in schools, education in 2084 will probably become entirely virtual. If this occurs, children will receive their education by sitting in front of a computer all day.

It will no longer be necessary for children to leave their homes to go to a specific building each day to learn. All educational facilities, including colleges, could easily become research buildings or major networking headquarters. With everyone online these days, the world is going to need more places to provide networking services. Education could go entirely virtual, or it could be done away with completely. Considering the memory of today's computer chip and the talent of today's brain surgeons, it is possible that human minds could be implanted with a chip at birth. If this were the case, there would be no need for an education, not even a virtual one. With a memory chip, the human mind could easily be controlled electronically. If the mind were manipulated electronically, there would only have to be one form of government in this world. Because everyone would be brainwashed by the chip, they would agree with any proposition the Government makes.

Speaking of Government, there is also the possibility that the Government could become virtual. During emergencies, George W. Bush actually conducts business from Air Force One. He has on board all the communications equipment he needs to manage political affairs. Satellite technology is used today to connect people in remote locations to the Internet. In the future, Government officials could cast and collect all votes pertaining to laws from any place on Earth. Today, people can do their taxes online, so why shouldn't they be able to vote from their homes? Government over territories will become obsolete with time. This is because the people of today are becoming less dependent on their physical location. Why be dependent on a physical location with the freedom to change citizenship, the remote work, the virtual worlds, and the global economic trade? As for global relations, the globalization of identity will probably result in the blending of cultures. Already this world has a large number of people born of multiple parentages. Many people can no longer say "I am of Chinese decent", or "I am French". Today a person can be of "German-Irish-Chinese-Russian"� parentage. This could cause individuals, towns, states, and countries to exert their own identity more intensely. Huge nations with multiple cultures like China, India, and the United States could break up into smaller entities. There would no longer be the concept of "country" and "nation". As for global exchange of goods, this will never die, as long as there is enough oil to carry dealers overseas. Because of the lack of new energy sources being discovered today, fossil fuel and electricity will probably be quite expensive by 2084. The international trade of large bulk goods will become restricted to only that necessary because of the high transportation cost. Network communication and virtual travels, however, will replace the human desire for global contacts.

As for the general quality of life, some aspects will improve with time, while other things will deteriorate. On a positive note, by 2084 medical science will have long found a cure for ailments like cancer, AIDs, and the common cold. This past year researchers in San Diego developed a cure for hearing loss, so any cure is possible by 2084! With more cures, the average life span of a person will probably rise by twenty to thirty years. On a negative note, energy will probably be more expensive, and this will cause the living standard in industrialized countries to decrease. The situation will be incredibly bad in countries that haven't achieved widespread welfare by the year 2000. These countries will not develop an effective method of transportation or production in the future. Because of the lack of welfare money in these industrialized countries, hunger and thirst will be the normal condition for half of mankind in 2084. Travel will become more of a luxury then before, and poor people in colder countries will not be able to afford heating anymore. Also, these days the stability of the ecological system is decreasing worldwide. By 2084, there will only be small-forested areas as internationally protected zones. Today in the Amazon, there are forests that are internationally supported but are only half of what they were in 1996. Also, extinction is on the rise. Every day more animals are becoming extinct due to the destruction of forests and human activities such as fishing and hunting. The blue whale has become extinct and only some rhinoceroses are preserved in international zoos.

Along with the standard of living and the ecological system, human relationships will also be deteriorated by 2084. Even today virtual worlds are becoming more appealing than the physical world, and many are being drawn to live, work, and entertain themselves from within their homes. While today's city inhabitants hardly know their immediate neighbors, tomorrow's city inhabitants will hardly know the people they share the same house or apartment with. Judging by today's Instant Messenger, numerous chat rooms, and web cameras there will no longer be the need for telephones or personal meetings. The only people that will be meeting others personally will be those few nonconformists that are not totally taken in by the virtual world. The people of the future need not have parties, for their friends will be from all around the world. There will be a lack of love and emotion in the world because people will only know each other by chatting online. Sex will become a rarity, and all children will be test tube babies. If a person gets in a fight with a friend, they can simply log of the Internet and never speak to them again. Children will not be meeting kids their own age at school, for education will also be virtual by 2084.

As time passes by, changes in society are going to occur. The human race is not going to wake up tomorrow and find everything drastically transformed, but by time 2084 comes along, the world is going to be different. Education and politics may very well be virtual. Some aspects in the quality of life are going to improve, while other aspects are going to go down the drain. Human relationships are also going to diminish in quality, due to the domination of the virtual entertainment world. Change is bound to take place over time, for that is the way life is. Everyone just has to live day to day and make the most of life as it is right now.