Back to the future

One of the things we're still pretty lousy at here in the Modern Age is predicting what's gonna happen. Whether it's in the near future or further out. I was reminded of this recently when I heard a noted and respected golf writer opine that Rory McIlroy just really doesn't look to be much of a factor in the British Open. The writer gave his reasons for making this call, all solid and well-founded. And then McIlroy goes out and positively buries everybody, winning in fairly easy fashion.

On a grander scale, the same is true for the vast majority of our projections of life in the future. Whether these projections are for 2030, 2050 or 2100, in the end, they usually are nothing more than much-needed filler for media outlets that are constantly hungry for product of even mild interest. The actual veracity of this filler is completely inconsequential. Who gives a bleep if this jive is true? Who's going to actually bother to check back and keep score? Here in the insanely demanding Information Age, news cycles need to be fed non-stop. To be acceptable filler, it's much more important for the info to be interesting rather than accurate.

By now, we've all learned to take these future projections with monster doses of sodium. We've all experienced, repeatedly, how wrong they turn out to be. But why is this? Why can't we do any better with our carefully examined and prepared prognostications, backed as some are with substantial amounts of current and verifiable data?

Because they're attempting to do something that's basically impossible. Projections try to forecast how things will be based on how things are now. That's all swell, but what projections can't take into account are those things that will have happened by then, but haven't happened yet. The curveballs of the unknown and unknowable, ruthless destroyers of all predictions. The one thing we can know for certain is that something unforeseen and unimaginable will happen between now and then that will completely mess everything up. In 1990, for example, who knew that in 24 years, the computer gizmo revolution would stampede its way around the globe, making huge lifestyle changes in not just the U.S., but Venezuela and Mongolia? Who made that call? Anybody?

So take it to the bank—something will be discovered or created that will be a game-changer on a planetary scale. We have no freakin' idea at this time what it will be. Right now, millions of brains are working on millions of ideas, concepts and projects, many of which are bold, daring and mind-blowing. Sooner or later, at least one of these will hit. And stick. And flourish like mad. When that takes place, nothing will ever be the same. And you'll be able to go back, read the projections for 2030 written in 2014, and have a very nice chuckle indeed. Then, you'll pop into your photosynthesis chamber and have a nice lunch of HNL (Human Nourishment Light).