Don’t give me this Star Trek crap, Kryten, it’s too early in the morning!
~Red Dwarf, “The Last Day”
As much as people wish for some peaceful utopia where everyone gets along and no one has need for money and we all live in harmony with everything else, it ain’t gonna happen.
Fifty years from now will look much like now, only with some slight modifications. Much the same way now looks much like fifty years ago only with slight modifications. We still live in houses, people still drive around, and attitudes have not changed all that much.
I don’t really believe in some Star Trek-style future. More likely is the future of Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan. Not necessarily the details, but definitely the attitudes and style.
In a utopia, cigarettes are banned or are made socially unacceptable to the point of stamping out the practice. In Transmet, “anti-cancer traits” are developed. I find it immensely more likely that humanity would merely try to negate the ill effects of something rather than obliterate it completely. Look how well banning works on illegal drugs, illegal animal parts, you name it.
People aren’t going to change. We have a long, illustrious career and we’re not going to give it up for the sake of altruism just yet. (That doesn’t stop some of us, though.)
Advertising will continue, political bullshit will keep going, and I don’t think synthetic meat will be catching on anytime soon with the general public. (In fact, if Ellis’ future is any indication, we will not only eat even more meat, but caribou eyes and monkey brains will be standard fast-food fare.)
And my point is…? There really isn’t one. I just felt like comparing your standard sci-fi utopia to Ellis’ amazing dystopia. That’s it, really.