Social Implications

We always seem to be reacting to things in the social world. Whether it is child abuse and practice, or disasters that have occurred, crises on the horizon, or groups in society that have suddenly been identified as being disadvantaged, vulnerable or discriminated against – apart from war and natural disasters.

However, when you listen to some people who are involved in predicting future trends the social ramifications are sometimes mind boggling – to be scientific about it. A Cambridge research bio-gerontologist Aubrey De Grey predicts startling developments in our understanding of and response to ageing. He says that in all probability there is somebody alive today aged around 60 who will live to be 1000. He predicts this on the basis that one of the nearest living organisms to humans, in terms of matching DNA, is the nematode worm and scientists have apparently isolated a protein that when switched off increases it’s life span by between 3 and 5 times. So, combine this with the constant increases in spare part surgery and you have the ingredients to drastically slow the ageing process.

Let’s look at the social implications of this and think how the world could cope. Companies might find it increasingly difficult to motivate 200 year old sales representatives! It brings a whole new meaning to ’til death us do part’ and there also would be the possibility that your children wouldn’t leave home until they were 300! So there’s a few discussions for you!

Also worth looking at is how we will feed the world. Apparently consumption is increasing by a factor of 3 and production is increasing by a factor of 2. The official number of people suffering from acute hunger has grown to between 900 and 1000 million. As countries such as China and India develop their per capita consumption to match other industrialised countries then we are heading for a critical ‘tipping point’.

There are developments such as vertical farming using hydroponics where an acre of ground under a bubble dome would be placed up to 100 on top of each other like a huge skyscraper in the middle of cities – the yield would be higher and transport costs much lower. We’ve also heard recently about the growth of meat in test tubes which has been predicted for some time and will probably have to be developed on a mass scale.

Now, add to this other major areas of growth with are concerns of global warming and the impact it could have on communities around the world and the massive increases in communication – as of today in the UK there are 829 radio stations, 51 television channels, 1591 news papers and 1974 magazines. Then you can see that, with their voracious appetite for news and gossip the way that society responds to these global crises and future dangers, is going to be completely different year on year.

All in all, you can’t help but feel great concern for the generations to come and what they are going to have to contend with.

In my next podcast I will be developing these points.

Enjoy your weekend!

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