biotechnology, brain interface, environment, fertility, free will, future, individuality, longevity, Micro-chips, microchip, mind, nanotechnology, privacy, robots, sustainability, technology, virtual reality
While predicting the future is always a bit tricky, we can make assumptions based on current social trends and technological innovations. I encourage readers to consider how life has changed in recent years and imagine how things may look in 2045. Also, check out my YouTube channel at the end of the article.
Who could ask for a better late July day in Portland? The sun is out, there is a cool breeze and, well, its my 30th birthday in a week. I was born in this city on August 3rd, 2015 and have lived here all my life. My name is Cynthia Livingston and here is my story.
My wife and I live in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland. She is a children’s skills facilitator, formerly known as a teacher, and I am a fertility specialist with our local state hospital. I know, it is really unusual to have a married couple both employed after the economic equalization laws went into effect ten years ago. You see, since most occupations were automated it was necessary to provide a base salary, set to sustain an individual at a comfortable, but not extravagant, level of life. As both Maria and I desire children, unlike most young people nowadays, we felt it necessary to both work and be able to afford an apartment large enough for a family.
Oh, just a second…okay, there. Maria sent me a message via my optic implant to pick up a few items at the grocer. My implant is multi-purpose as it also contains all my identity codes for unlocking doors, paying bills, and connection to the net – and its wired into the outer layer of my cerebral cortex as well. Since my left eye was not as strong as my right I chose to have it integrated into the implant. It is not as if I cannot use my eye anymore, I just rarely disable the unit except when going to sleep, so I am constantly connected to the internet. Also, whenever I want, I can fully connect my thoughts with Maria’s and, when I choose, others in our social network. There are no such things as secrets anymore…the concept of privacy is, well, somewhat outdated. Of course, its just like getting used to being continuously connected online with the optic implant, one must learn to assemble their thoughts in a coherent pattern or else others in your network might find you a rather thought-fragmented person.
Maria and I have been married for five years. We met in college and have never been apart since. The concept of sexuality is far different than when people assigned you into fixed roles due to anatomy. Attraction and gender is recognized as far more complex than that. So few people think anything of how people choose to express themselves in a sexual or romantic sense. And while I dated a few guys in the past, it was no problem establishing a relationship with Maria.
And thank goodness for attitudes having evolved since the turn of the century. With all the advancements in synthetic sexual companions in recent years few males are interested in human relationships of any kind anyway. And as a woman can either avail themselves of eugenic sperm donors, or, if rich enough, can have fertility treatments to be able to have a baby with another woman, women set incredibly high standards for males who want more out of life than guaranteed income, gaming, synthetic sexual companions and virtual worlds. However, such retro-men usually join into a poly-amorous relationship with several women. It sounds a bit complicated for my taste, or Maria’s, so we are content to be more traditional.
Well, here I am at the store. I remember as a child when some people still used physical money. Those days are long past. All one has to do is get their groceries and when you walk out the door it is all registered in your implant. And shopping is so much easier than in the old days. Every time one uses the toilet an analysis is made of your overall health and metabolic needs. Anyone who gets income supplement, which is almost everyone, is required to purchase items that fall within their optimal caloric and nutritional needs. And with the adoption of mandatory exercise requirements we not only have environmental sustainability reached, but also eradicated obesity in 2035. Even the men who rarely come out of their apartments remain in good health, which reduces societal expenditures lifestyle-related conditions.
Maria thought we might have a get-together with friends this weekend. Of course, that does not mean any guests at our place, not in the physical sense. We will merely allow access and merge into each other’s minds. It can be quite liberating to be cognitively and emotionally intimate with others. The last get-together was highly enlightening and involved every aspect of connection as Maria and I, and six friends from her work, left the connection running even after, well, you get the picture. The combined sensations left Maria and I totally exhausted the next day.
So anyway, here I am, after taking the light rail to Beaverton. The freeways the train passes over are almost free of cars as few people can afford the cost and taxes of owning an actual private vehicle. Environmental sustainability goals have been met and exceeded in recent years.
As I enter my apartment I notice that Maria has turned the interactive wall paper to an ocean scene. There is a breeze from the electrical unit timed through the grid to come on only when people are present, and combined with a sea scent aroma scent everything yields to a realistic atmosphere. Maria enters from the kitchen and gives me a kiss. She missed me and has had a difficult day. No, she did not tell me orally, in fact, we have not spoken to each other in the conventional sense for almost six months. We merely use the mind connection. She thought it would be a challenge to take a vow of silence for a while in our relationship and concentrate on our authentic emotions – besides, in her line of work she gets exhausted having to speak to students all day.
I heard a trends forecaster predict that maybe in the next generation the spoken word might be phased out entirely…even distinct individuality. In fact, some people are taking part in pilot projects in which they turn their entire behavioral systems over to a computer interface. Maria thinks it might be fun to take part once it goes out to the public, though I am not so sure. I mean, I viewed a discussion panel featuring people who had temporarily been taken off the connection. According to the participants when you are plugged in, you are still conscious but more as a spectator as the computer takes over every aspect of your life, thus making your body and autonomic portions of your brain into a super-efficient avatar. One participant said she lacked the self-discipline to take up bodybuilding and reach her desired outcomes, but she let the system take over for almost a year; and she wound up with incredible results. She didn’t have to bring herself to exercise, she just did it. And while her body and brain worked independent of her conscious thought, she still enjoyed all physical sensations as if she were the one who chose them. In fact, she said once the testing program finished she would make the interface permanent. I don’t know, I just feel like taking away my free will might be going a bit too far, but Maria notes that when we have babies then we would be able to get a great nights sleep and take care of their needs too. We shall see. Maybe it might be interesting to go on auto-pilot for a few months to test it out. And Maria and I would still have our thoughts connected as we are now. We’ll see.
As stated earlier I work at a fertility clinic. That makes it easier to schedule an appointment for insemination. And as I will have the first baby, and my most fertile day is projected to be on my birthday, Maria thought it the perfect way to celebrate. I have access codes to several donors, one in Norway, one Ireland and one in Spain. I have gone on an online date, so to speak, with each and will make the final decision this weekend. I thought, since Maria’s family originates from El Salvador, and as we decided we would use the same donor for my kids, and her kids, the man from Spain would be the perfect choice. However, she had a red-headed great-grandmother, and she likes my auburn hair, so she thought the man in Ireland would be good since he had red hair and we both found him charming. So despite her having black hair there is still a chance for her and I both to have red-headed kids. Oh, and we decided to look to a European donor as we never actually wanted to run into the man in person.
Maria and I are a bit traditional to say the least. We could have opted for genetic alterations of the fertilized egg…after all, then she could insure whatever hair or eye color she wanted. It is a bit expensive, but our concern is the long-term results and the first generation of designer babies are only in their teens currently. We could also have opted for stem cell modifications. That is really expensive but we could have extracted an egg cell from Maria and some of my stem cells could have been modified to develop into sperm. Then with IVF I would be the father and her the mother. However, we opted for going the old-fashioned method and merely using the same donor so all our kids, our goal being four in total, are biologically related.
It is hard to say if we will be able to afford a large family and save up for life extension. So far it is quite expensive to reverse aging with nano implants, and requires close monitoring by medical personnel the first three months of rejuvenation, but hopefully in 30 or 40 years the cost will be lower, and the mortality risk eliminated. The government was concerned with the class tensions that could result from some people being able to go from 70 or 80 to 20-something, so they created a lottery and, based on your societal contribution scores, you have a chance of winning free treatments. We buy tickets each week, just in case we were to get lucky. Then again, as long as both of us continue in fields that automation cannot easily replace, we can save up over time and have a good chance of affording the opportunity.
Some might ask why anyone would want to have a second chance of being young again. A lot has changed from our childhood until today and by the time our children are our age it is expected that changes will be of an even greater magnitude. We feel that it would be fantastic to see all the wonders of the future and experience them to the fullest. Life is indeed interesting and stimulating, and the more time the better.
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If you like science fiction that provokes thought in regards to where our society may heading then please check out my novel, “The Destiny of Our Past.” https://www.amazon.com/Destiny-Our-Past-Michael-Cross-ebook/dp/B01MY4WASN