IRIS

Looking back on the events of the last quarter-century, it's hard to imagine what the future might hold. After a decade of struggles in the late 2010s and early to mid 2020s, technological progression has advanced at a rate not seen since the Cold War, with only a couple hiccups along the way, transforming global society rapidly as more and more people adapt to this new world. Another twenty-five years from now, people may need to genuinely try to imagine a world where life was about how to survive, rather than how to thrive.

The start of this new period of innovation could easily be tacked to one major development. Long, hellish nights of work by teams across some of the largest companies on the planet would eventually culminate in the emergence of neural mapping in 2028, their work rapidly forming an expansive field of study. For the first time in history, immortality, in some form, has been made accessible. This development has left a lot in its wake, with questions about wealth inequality and the "one percent" becoming permanently enshrined underscoring rapid developments in biomechanics, allowing for a major increase in the standard of living for people with disabilities.

While neural mapping is by far the most obviously revolutionary, other advancements from the same period are not without their own merit. Rain seeding and harvesting has developed massively as a way to put an end to the Long Heat. An ever-growing class of artificial intelligence services make credible claims to put a stop to work as a whole. While once projected to start falling irreparably, standard of living metrics have largely stabilized, only with isolated exceptions, across the world.

A lot of these developments may be implicitly owed to the expanded freedoms given to corporations during the 2030s. The resulting redistribution of economic power has led to a hilly debate on its ramifications; major questions still remain regarding the relationship between corporations and governments, and there are still concerns with labor rights not being fully outlined under current operational agreements. This is only exacerbated by the proliferation of conspiracy theories online about power being vested in businesses alone once a supposed plot to displace legitimate governments takes place. Despite these concerns, the liberalization of the economy has generally been viewed as a way to prevent further strain on a market generally considered to be living on borrowed time. What the aftereffects of these policies will or may be are still up in the air, but the benefits provided stand in stark contrast to the projections of how things could have played out.

Over only twenty-five years the world has seen the beginning of what might be the largest technological revolution since the development of the internet. It remains to be seen how the second half of the 21st century will play out, but it will surely be a world beyond what we can imagine.

-- article prompt crafted by Marc Casterclorn for The Curve, January 2048

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last updated 02 Jul 47


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