Is it possible that the cartoonists of old were the ones designing our future? In predicting life in the next 100 years, Jonar Nader explores how our everyday lives might change. Jonar predicts that the development of technology will slow down. Why is that? To listen to an excerpt from the radio broadcast, please click on the green play button below.
Below is a transcript of the audio file.
Host: So Jonar how about more mundane things like our houses and life at home, how do you think that will evolve in 100 years?
Jonar Nader: At home, for example, we do things just because we do them. We water the garden now because we think it needs it. We should have more intelligent devices that really know whether the soil needs watering or not, then waters it. We turn the air conditioner on when we think it is hot. Maybe the airconditioner can be plugged into cyberspace where the weather forecast is known 3 hours ahead, and the air conditioner will turn itself on 3 hours before you think of it, so your environment is always just right. I was talking about this to someone overseas and I said wouldn’t be great if when you are in your car, you could call home from the car and turn on the jacuzzi, the air conditioner and the coffee machine. He said, ‘What do I need that for I’ve got a maid!’ In some countries where everyone can afford a maid, they don’t need that kind of intelligent system. The reason that find it hard to believe some technological advances is that in the past, we had whole generations before a major change took place so there was a long time to warn people, and tell them what’s coming. Today, change occurs in months. It took 30 thousand years for humans to turn a rock into a sharp axe, yet in one century (between 1800 and 1899) the technological progress was equal to the 10 centuries before it. In the years 1900 to the year 1920 we matched the entire previous 100 years advancements.
Now we are advancing that fast, that quickly. When we say to people that pretty soon we will be able to perform a head transplant or a brain transplant, they may not believe it. Yet we have seen it with hearts and kidneys and liver and all sorts of other parts. However, it will get to the point where you will have to deal with ethics creep into it and that will tend to slow us down. For example nuclear warfare research has slowed down a lot. This is dangerous actually because we don’t even know if the systems already developed work well enough, because the social environment prevents us from doing further research. Ethical dilemma means that if you want to grow yourself a special heart because your heart is not doing so well, someone will say but hang on does growing a heart mean you have another body? What about the ethical questions involved in growing another head? Does it matter if the head has a brain? Will it be a different consideration if it has eyes? These are the kinds of issues being discussed at the moment on a world scale to see whether scientists will become mad scientists. Already, by the way, the US last year approved a living skin compound for people with burns or ulcers that just won’t heal. There is now a company that can make a living skin. You can graft it and so forth. That is officially known as a ‘living’ skin. Now you can use that, but soon you might be able to grow other organs from your own cells, just like Dolly the sheep was grown from the udder of a ewe. Dolly has since given birth to I think 2 or 3 more sheep. Anyway, the ethical questions are beautiful. We’ve also got smart furniture and things like that, smart shoes…
Host: What are smart shoes Jonar?
Jonar Nader: Well at the moment you carry so much information on you, in your smart card, on your mobile phone. all over your body. Why not carry it all in your shoes?
Host: We are going back to the Maxwell Smart shoe!
Jonar Nader: And the Dick Tracey watch, and the James Bond this, and the Jetson that. Is it possible that the cartoonists of old are the ones who have actually been designing our future?
Host: Don’t scare me!
Jonar Nader: What would be interesting to look at are the modern cartoons and what how they see the future just like Dick Tracey did back then.
Host: Well that is worth thinking about. Jonar let’s talk to some listeners. This is Tony on the line.
Tony: Hi how are you? Can I just compliment Jonar on his recent book, I think it is absolutely fantastic.
Jonar Nader: Tony I don’t know who you are but oftentimes people ring me and say have you rigged these people to ring you, and I’ve got to say I don’t know you.
Host: Yes they’ll think you are a set up, you are a plant Tony.
Tony: I actually read the book a few times and it ties back into what you’ve been talking about, futuristic. Apart from the nano thing, the fear factor. How do you think the fear factor will be handled through computers in 100 years?
Host: What is the fear factor Jonar?
Jonar Nader: Yes, not only do you have the fear factor but you also have the social greenies for example. I love greenies but back then can you imagine when someone invented the telephone and said we need 50 million power poles let’s chop 50 million trees to make the telephone power poles and telegraphic poles. Today that does happen quite to the same extent. You my have one or two people protesting to stop some development. But the fear factor is always there. I heard on the new tonight that there is some issue with blood, and the red cross might stop taking blood from anyone who was in London in the last few weeks. One little tiny incident like that will now stop hundreds of people from getting blood transfusions that they desperately need.
The other thing I feel about technology is that the more people understand it, the more slowly it will develop. This is because they will begin asking questions and posing problems that may have no solutions. Back then when someone wanted to chop 50 million trees for 50 million poles… can you imagine the committee dealing with that!
So Tony the fear is that everyone will be an expert.