What is in the future?

In nineteen fifty three I was paying twenty cents for a
gallon of gas. I didn’t care about gas mileage. I could put
one dollar in the tank and drive for several days in my
neighborhood. Lately I have read that it is eventually
going to twenty dollars per gallon.

Petroleum reserves are already declining rapidly while
demand is skyrocketing. Costs to extract the harder to
find oil and turn it into gasoline are rising fast and global
competition for the products is heavy. The trends are not
sustainable. They lead to scarce and expensive.

Predictions about the effects of twenty dollar gallons of
gas include mass exodus from the suburbs and
countryside to the cities and towns. Severely reduced
travel for any reason. Generations of non-drivers using
public transportation. The demise of most car
manufacturers and big box retailers. Return to individual
local shops and produce grown at home or nearby.

Today I read that conventional television delivered via
cable or satellite for a higher and higher monthly fee is
on the way out. Most information and entertainments
are already available free on wireless internet whenever
I choose to view them and what is not will quickly follow.

Televisions like land line phones will end up piled next to
the buggy whips in a landfill. Iphones, pads and readers
are the current replacement but will be replaced in turn
by newer technology. Glasses with microchips? Antenna
implants? Total human knowledge instantly available?
No schools needed?

War of the worlds, 1984, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Star
Wars, and thousands of other books, movies, radio and
TV shows have fantasized about the future. It is fun but
none of them have gotten it right as far as we know.
Why? Just like the length of an individual life it’s
impossible to predict accurately. Too many variables.

The gas price and TV predictions may be wrong too but
it is definite that the future won’t be the same as now.
Whatever it turns out to be will be changing again.
Fighting previous changes is like going the wrong way
on an escalator or airport people mover. You can’t win.
Your choices are give in or get off.

What we can do is work on what has not yet changed.
Steer the future in the right direction. Invent cars that
don’t need gas, transportation that doesn’t need cars,
programming shown on the inside of our eyelids. Let
your imagination go wild. That’s how we got electric
lights, phones and TVs before. Why stop now?

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