Department of Predictions: In the Year 2107

From Revelations to Leonardo, Jules Verne to Arthur C. Clarke, mankind has dreamed about what the world will be like dozens or hundreds or thousands of years hence. All of us — well, most of us — wonder what will become of our planet, our culture, our government, our morals when we are no longer here.

This exercise is both fun and melancholy. Prognosticating reminds us how fleeting our time on Earth is, how historically insignificant each of us is. But it also illustrates how powerful and lasting an idea or an impulse can be. What once seemed radical is acceptable; what now seems inconceivable will one day be the norm.

One hundred years from now, we predict:

A large proportion of the planet’s population will believe raising animals for human consumption is akin to barbarism.

Prostitution will be a legal and respected career, and modern humans will view the last century’s discomfort with trading sex for money as we presently view our forefathers’ discomfort with allowing women to vote.

Marijuana and other drugs will surpass tobacco as the world’s biggest legal vice, and 22nd century citizens will be amazed at how much money, time, and pleasure were wasted by their ancestors on prohibition.

Offices will be as rare as museums.

A few dozen giant corporations will own everything.

America, undone by arrogance and false piety, will succumb to the dictatorial power of China, which will turn its new continental colony into an enormous farm.

Owning music, film, television, stories, books, or images will be impossible; everything will be shared.

The world will be very warm.

Praying to God for forgiveness and divine grace will land the faithful in a medical or penal facility.

Chemical and biological weapons won’t be scorned; they’ll be coveted.

Intelligent life will be discovered in our universe.

No one will be famous, only feared.

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