I was involved in a recent conversation where my counterpart was arguing that the world was going to end soon. In other words, Christ will come again in his glorious “Second Coming” and will cast out the wicked and usher in a thousand years of peace. Let me be clear, I have no idea when the Second Coming will happen; it could be next year, it could be in hundreds of years. I don’t know. But I do know that people have been insisting that the end is near for centuries. My view, for what it is worth, is that the so-called end of the world is a long time from now.
Despite the global concerns that exist today – and there are real concerns, to be sure – there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. We are on the verge of technologies that will forever change the world. I believe that by 2050 we will look back and realize that the most innovative, life-altering inventions of the first half of the twenty-first century did not yet exist by 2016. If they did exist in 2016, they were in their infancy. The Internet/networked era we are in the early stages of today (yes, the Internet is still in its early stages from what will come in the following decades) is much like the personal computing days of the mid 1980s. We are only just beginning. Screens will continue to proliferate, but the big data and AI capabilities behind them will make them smarter, more productive, and hard to live without. Robots may take away many of the jobs and functions we do today, which will lead to large job displacement, but will offer opportunities and careers (for the prepared) not even existing or imagined by today’s youth. How we communicate, transport ourselves and access information will continue to alter, further reducing barriers and costs. Customized healthcare based on your body’s specific needs will become a reality. In short, the world decades from now will be unrecognizable to today’s daily life, much like today’s younger generation cannot fathom, yet imagine, what life was like in the 1950s.
So I’m optimistic. Good and evil will still clash, problems will still abound, but I believe that life has a specific purpose and that one day this may in fact all end in a grand Second Coming. But it won’t be this year nor this decade, and maybe not even this century. I don’t know. I just know that despite the struggles we face as a society, country and each of us personally, I know that, in the famous words of Sam Cooke, “a change is gonna come, yes it will.”
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