Our science fiction future

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As promised in the previous blog entry earlier this week, here's my prediction of our science fiction future

1) We're all going to die.

This isn't much of a prediction, as no one lives forever. I'll try and be a bit more specific.

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2) Climate change is going to wreck the environment of our planet and the global population will be reduced from seven thousand bazillion people to a bus queue by the end of 2200 AD

This is a more specific prediction. For anyone out there who is still sticking to the 'climate change is a load of tosh and there's no definite link to human emissions' viewpoint, you might want to check out this article which points out that Shell Oil has already concluded internally that we're facing at least a 4 degrees rise (or higher) in the next century. Shell Oil, being a practical company, has concluded that there's no chance that politicians and governments will keep climate change pegged to a 2 degrees rise or less. This assessment matches the assessment made by a climate change scientist at talk I attended several years ago. He said, candidly, that the predictions stated in government reports were always watered down and that, in his view, there wasn't a cat's chance in Hell that the world would stay below the 2 degrees value. He said that we were looking at a four or six degree rise by 2150, if not earlier. If you'd like to get detailed info on the effects of a four degrees rise, click on the image above or go to the interactive map on the Met Office page.

Let's face it, when it's clear that Shell Oil is making plans for a 4 degrees rise, it's also clear that no one important is sceptical of major climate change any more, and probably few of them were sceptical even twenty years ago. All of the big players are planning for a planet that will be in environmental meltdown in a century. A four degrees rise will create a world with loads of droughts and extremely powerful storms. Areas of the world that now grow oranges, almonds, olives, grapes and so on with grow nothing; they'll be desert. Areas that grew wheat and corn will be dustbowls. The Indian monsoon will have failed. It's all a bit grim but here's the next prediction…

3) Someone is building a space ark.

Hooray! Since the Good Ship 'Habitable Earth' is sinking and there's currently no lifeboat, it's pretty logical that many very wealthy and powerful people will have decided to find a way for their offspring to get off the planet's surface before everything goes guacamole. I'd bet good money that some group is already planning and building a space ark, probably to be ready by 2100 AD. Since senior bods at the high echelons of power have known since 1970 that the world will go to pot in the next century (check out the JASON report of the U.S. government if you want confirmation), an escape vehicle project is almost certainly already well underway. There's just one problem for the rest of us, it'll be the elite's descendants on the space ark and not yours or mine. Space arks are very expensive things to make and there just aren't many seats available on those things. Space arks don't do economy class and EasyJet will not be involved; it's pretty much oligarchs and potentates only. If you're hoping that your grandchild might be a servant on a space ark, you're probably also wasting your time, as it's highly likely they're working on robot servants to man the space ark as we speak.

For anyone interested in how the space ark programme will work, I'd definitely recommend watching the fifties sci-fi disaster movie 'When Worlds Collide'. It's not a totally accurate version of how a twenty-first century space ark will be built - for example a ski-jump take-off ramp probably won't be involved - but the rest of the film looks pretty much in-line with how the world works. Do remember though to replace the approaching fiery planet in the story with an enormous, planet-sized car exhaust, pumping CO2 at Earth like a Star Trek Doomsday Machine with halitosis. Oh, and our 21st century space ark won't need to leave Earth, as Earth isn't going to be obliterated, so it'll probably just go into orbit.

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Did you spot the monastic garb, the worrying lack of non-Caucasians and the strange presence of two giant versions of the Giza pyramids on the destination planet? Yep, it is odd, isn't it?

4) Someone else is building an underground city.

Hooray! Safety from the storms and the mutant frogs! No, wait a second, underground, self-powered, self-sustaining cities aren't cheap either. Same rules apply as above. If you'd like to see what an underground city might look like, here's one that was designed to be built inside a huge abandoned salt mine in Siberia (but it hasn't actually been built yet, probably only a matter of time).

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5) Not everyone who's left out of the space ark(s) and the underground city(s) will actually die.

Hooray! Humanity is an extremely resourceful beast. Even a global cooking pot biosphere gumbo world won't kill everyone. I'd estimate that ten thousand to a hundred thousand people on Earth could

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actually survive throughout the next millennium, mostly in the Far North. They'd be leading primitive lives, as a global population of that size wouldn't be able to maintain a sophisticated civilisation, but they'd be alive. Cue hunting with spears, living in Yurts and spare moments spent fashioning razor-sharp arrowheads from broken iPad screens.

6) In 3,000 AD, aliens turn up from Alnitak and fix the planet.

Nothing stays the same forever, even on soap operas. One day, Earth's scattered, rag-tag hunter-gatherers will wake up to alien visitors. So will the cave-fish people in Earth's underground cities (the ones who, after a millennium of artificial light, will make Gollum look like Tom Cruise). Even the space ark people orbiting the Earth will say hello to aliens. Aliens being aliens, the visitors will look at the mess Humanity has made, roll their eyes and get to work fixing the biosphere. There might be one or two anal probes, but it'll be a small price to pay. Why 3000 AD? Why Alnitak? It's a long story but an explanation should probably appear in my graphic novel 'The Great Secret' when it gets published. Something to look forward to…

There we go, 'our science fiction future'. Keep in mind that since you didn't pay for this prediction, you can't have your money back. Hope that helps.