By RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR
Imagine a fascinating scenario… when tiny machines traverse through the blood-stream, and cleanse disease from the body… humankind colonise Mars by transforming its unfriendly atmosphere… deserts are converted into farmlands for a “dessert” of a green revolution through irrigation… skyscraper cities house the world’s growing population, and the human life-span is doubled, or even tripled. Well, well, well… This random roll-call isn’t science fiction; it’s, quite simply, scientific eventuality.
Yes, all of them, and more, can happen not by way of divine intervention, but on account of scientific and technological advances.
Picture this. Amazing changes are possible within the next few decades, where social complexities like hunger and poverty, and a concurrent increase in the worldwide standard of living, are all within our grasp. Visualise this. A living, realistic utopia, where our society will become a macro-industrial culture, and not just an information coalition, connected to the most convenient and popular of perceptions. Here’s more:
Michael G Zey, a sociologist of international repute, and author of the book, Seizing The Future, not only takes a provocative and optimistic look at this incredible world of the future, but he also predicts that prophesied problems such as an ecological disaster will not materialise. This is not all. He shows that technologies that can change the world are readily available with us, and we must adjust our attitudes and embrace them to bring prosperity for all…
Envision a time capsule of this kind, even if you don’t believe one word of it. And, this is precisely what makes Zey’s ideas a remarkable body of work: one that not only initiates, but also inspires protagonists and sceptics alike.
Zey says, “The human species is about to burst the boundaries of nature and unleash the power of its technology and human ingenuity, hurtling itself into the next stage of its evolution. In so doing, it will fulfil its destiny to expand its own capabilities and enhance the planet and the Universe. Humanity is programmed, genetically, perhaps, for growth and progress. Unlike other species, humanity cannot and will not stand still.”
Zey is optimistic that man should be able to establish a Moon base soon, and colonise Mars around 2020 AD. If that is what one can expect the Homo sapiens to perform in space, genetic engineering, argues Zey, will revolutionise agriculture, initiating a new era of abundance, eliminating starvation. With that, there would also be medical breakthroughs that could increase the human life span — on an average to 110 years.
Zey is convinced that humanity has the required wherewithal to controlling its own destiny, owing to the sensational breakthroughs already on the drawing board — a launch-pad that would initiate a sort of hyper-progress for reshaping the Earth: gargantuan macro-engineering projects, artificial islands, transatlantic tunnels, underground cities, mammoth irrigation schemes etc., including a bold, new world of transportation. Supertrains. Superflights. Smart highways. Electric cars. A globe akin to a cybernetic factory, where there will be greater productivity — a compatible marriage between computer and machinery.
Zey dwells on the possibility of lake-sized waterways, enhanced quality of life for the human species, and energy explosion: of cheap, abundant and accessible energy supply, where the pendulum of scientific opinion will swing back in favour of nuclear power. He says, “When the species fully develops the science of molecular technology — or, nanotechnology — it will control matter in ways that we never thought possible, although there are some problems with it, the foremost being [that verity of] atoms which careen wildly at supersonic speeds, making them a challenge to manipulate.”
To his credit, Zey admits that societal goals must, at the same time, be transcendent, looming larger than the individual and extending across time: the angle of religion or God, and respect for both material production and consumption.
However this maybe, critics argue, that Zey’s new agenda for our evolving attitudes, in spite of its brilliance, stays put at one Universal fact: that science does not begin with an easy question, nor end with an easy answer. His enthusiasm also does very little too to dispel or dissipate a ubiquitous, modern perception that all benefits are man-made and technology is going to create a paradise.
More than that, Zey’s prophecy simply fails to take into account several non-man-made benefits: a favourable climate, fertile soil, water, evolutionary, self-regulatory processes, and so on.
Yet, there’s no denying his electrical frenzy, and outstanding abilities, to powerfully perceive something beyond tomorrow… today.