The future is something people are constantly predicting based on past and current issues and trends in social and geological patterns. Whether it is considered optimistic or pessimistic, it is fundamentally a great unknown, allowing potential for imagination and possibility. For this blog post I wanted to gain an insight into a perspective on the future related to issues surrounding technology and global warming. I decided to interview my mother, a 55-year-old mother of two and dentist, as I thought her life experience and fist-hand account throughout a significant time period in terms of technological developments and environmental change would bring an interesting understanding in terms of foreseeing future scenarios based on past scenarios.
The first question I asked being: “Do you think humanity’s future is optimistic or pessimistic?” my mother predicted a very positive future in relation to health, technology, and education; whilst a particularly worrying future in relation to climate changes and world peace.
For a woman of her generation, my mother could be considered a technology enthusiast, constantly up to date with the latest Apple gadgets and always interested in how technology works. If there were one aspect of technological development that I would debate as having a negative impact on society, it would be related to human interaction with technology in replacement of human interaction with humans. With this in mind, I posed the question: “Do you think human interaction with technology has effected human social interaction in a positive or negative way?” My mother responded with a more optimistic point of view: “I think as long as people are interacting with each other, it doesn’t really matter which media they are using. There were a lot more one-way conversations in the years of letter writing. Interaction is the most important thing. Being able to Skype a loved one on the other side of the world allows the world to become a much smaller place.”
When I asked my mother if she had heard of the term ‘the Anthropocene’ she was unfamiliar with it, however she was well aware of the current predicament with global warming and climate change. I proposed the question “Do you think all of the current attention on global warming is necessary?” she responded: “I think it is necessary, however it is a difficult situation when the worst offenders such as China and India are developing countries and the economies of the world are dependent on them continuing to do this.” I have always viewed older generations as people who are generally unconcerned with issues like global warming because unlike my generation, they were never exposed to such a topic when attention has only been drawn to the problem in more recent decades. I was pleasantly surprised with my mother’s response, which reflected her engagement with such issues also on a political and economic level.
I concluded the interview by asking “How do you envision the future for 2050?” and my mother replied “I would see the world continuing to become a smaller place with technological improvements and hopefully a continuing improvement in quality of life.”
Overall my mother’s view of the future was fundamentally positive in terms of technology developments, however their still remains concern for future generations in relation to global warming and world peace.
I wanted to conclude with this video from the 1920’s, as I thought it was a good example of future forecasting and an interesting perspective from almost 100 years ago.
1920’s- What the Future Will Look Like, video recording, Youtube, viewed 20th October 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czr-98yo6RU
G Wolstenholme (2014, pers. comm., October 21st)