Predictions for the Year 2514: Dystopia That Feels Like Utopia

Anis Shivani in TruthOut:

My intuition says that the future will be an extreme form of dystopia, encompassing all the tendencies the humanist-pessimists have amply illustrated over the course of the twentieth century, with added restraints imposed by new developments in genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and quantum physics. But it will not appear as dystopia to our descendants, rather, it will appear as the fulfillment of utopia. This radical rupture between reality and perception is already evident to a large extent in the management of human affairs, as capitalism perfects its skills at making us eagerly swallow what used to be unpalatable not very long ago.

I remain highly skeptical of the utopian promises of nanotechnology (which, it is said by the optimists, will do away with all forms of material scarcity, since we will supposedly be able to create any product ex nihilo) and artificial intelligence (I do not think that we are anywhere near real intelligence on the part of machines, despite all the credit given to the continued inexorability of Moore's law – i.e., the doubling of computing capacity every two years). I think there is a greater possibility that genetic engineering might perhaps lead to a real extension of the human lifespan (perhaps 120 years, or 150 years, or even 200 years or beyond), resulting from changes in the human germline; this too is a far-fetched notion at the moment, but it seems to have a chance of happening.

More here.