from Markus Götz
“What the world will look like in 100 years is for me one of the most exciting questions of all. I don’t think anyone can imagine that with certainty,” said Gösmar Kutz, Professor of Interplanetary History, opening his lecture. “100 years ago, people’s lives were very simple, and how simple the lives of their ancestors must have seemed to them 100 years earlier.”
The students sat in large circles around him. Kutz stood in the middle, but now he stepped to the console, his technically fully equipped workplace, while he continued speaking.
The past seen from the future
“Very few people had a car 200 years ago, and back then, those cars didn’t even fly. They drove over the ground on wheels and were powered by highly explosive fuel. Of course this vehicles did not drive by themselves, but had to be steered by hand and foot. That sounds complicated, admittedly, but in contrast to operating a modern moon cruiser, it was child’s play,” the professor laughed and continued: “A gigantic network of paths was needed for them to move through the landscape. This network was massively expanded until 100 years ago and robbed nature of immense space.”
With a hand movement in the air, the professor activated the holographic projector, which displayed the described development in the middle of the study room through a three-dimensional, animated simulation. In fast motion, more and more roads covered the virtual landscape in front of the eyes of the amazed students.
“The first people communicated by telephone,” Kutz told us, adding with amusement: “This was used to transmit only speech, not images. Then, 100 years ago, communication gradually began via image transmission, but on flat screens. …holographic projection is still a fairly new technology.”
At that time many things seemed normal, which had become unthinkable today
Professor Kutz made another hand movement above his desk. The virtual landscape faded and was replaced by a scenery in which a pair of lovers sat under a big tree.
“The entertainment industry had long since discovered image transmission for itself,” Kutz described. “A hundred years ago it was called television, and practically everyone spent time with it every day, but even then this was done on flat screens.”
The young students laughed, some shook their heads in disbelief.
“You are all here because you want to learn this,” exclaimed the professor gratefully. “But the creation of demand is also an achievement of the present day. Today, you can really learn exactly what you want and actually need for your professional goal. In addition, in many areas you have the freedom to acquire knowledge on your own responsibility. I myself was still forced to deal with world literature when I began my studies in computer science.”
A general murmur in the ranks of the students testified to their lack of understanding.
“We called it bulimic learning in those days,” Professor Kutz added, causing a great deal of laughter.
With the future came freedom
“Although in my time, the Internet was already wirelessly connected all over the world via satellites and remote stations, I still had to learn how to send data through cable lines,” Kutz added. Voices were raised in the hall.
“Exactly”, the professor confirmed some comments from the front rows, “today’s quantum computers have no interfaces at all for this technology”.
“But what am I complaining,” he shouted, turned off the holographic projectors and stepped back into the middle of the room. “The basic income already allowed me to study at all. Otherwise, I might have been one of the last assembly line workers.”
This time a dismayed silence spread through the room.
“Yes,” laughed Kutz, “today the machines work for our survival and prosperity. Not so long ago, people still had to do this themselves. Today we live in a time in which robots fly to far away planets for us and mine raw materials. Who do you think would have done this in the last century if it would have been possible?”
The landing approach is initiated
The professor’s bracelet made a friendly sound. Bracelets and pocket computers also beeped in the rows of students.
“Class is over for today,” explained Professor Kutz. “I now ask you to go to your shelters. In one hour, we will begin our landing approach to Mars. I’ll see you back on the surface. Don’t worry, the spaceship will automatically bring us down in one piece. My team and I are ready for any emergency. “
Excited, the students went into their rooms and talked about the possibilities that would open up for them in the next 100 years.