MIT tells us how to predict a coronavirus-free future

MIT Technology Review, the alumni magazine for what is regarded by people worldwide as the finest engineering and science school… in East Cambridge, titled its March/April 2020 edition “The Predictions Issue.”

There are ten breakthrough technologies presented for 2020 and a multi-futurist section regarding “How to predict what’s coming in 2030 and beyond.”

The breakthroughs circa 2020 include “hyper-personalized medicine” in which a single individual with a unique genetic defect can be patched up with heroic multi-disciplinary effort. We have purportedly made breakthroughs in anti-aging pills and AI-discovered molecules. We have more AI in general. The most important breakthrough is “Climate Change Attribution” in which we can figure out which unpleasant weather events are due to climate change: “If we choose to listen, they can help us understand how to rebuild our cities and infrastructure for a climage-changed world.”

Seven pages are devoted to the saddest emotional event of the 21st century, i.e., the failure of pollsters to warn us that the United States was packed with stupid, sexist, and racist Deplorables who would consider voting for a candidate who “appeals to the worst in us.” (Fortunately, there is hope on the horizon for this year. If election prophets don’t predict a certain Biden victory then enough of the righteous will be motivated to go to the polls and defeat Hate.)

The most interesting section, in light of recent events, is the collection of predictions regarding our world through 2030. The folks whom the magazine tapped (which happens to include one person of color and an LGBTQIA+ novelist, as well as a gender ID balance in favor of people with typically female-associated names) worked from the following assumptions: (1) the Earth will be warmer; (2) computers and Artificial Intelligence will be more powerful.

What did the best futurists that magazine could find miss entirely? That a human population of 8 billion on Spaceship Earth is an incredibly tempting target for a novel virus and that the virus would arrive in a lot of readers’ lungs on the same day as the magazine itself.

6 thoughts on “MIT tells us how to predict a coronavirus-free future

  1. I remember that, some time ago, you predicted a time-frame where security problems and malware would render the internet unusable. Who could have imagined that biology and politics would have done the same thing to the bricks-and-mortar world years ahead of that time?

  2. Did they have a predictions issue in 2010? If so would be curious how their predictions for 2020 panned out.

  3. On AI breakthroughs I would consult Dr. Bart Kosko “Thinking Machines = Old Algorithms On Faster Computers”

    Dr. Bart Kosko also wrote Nanotime, which predicts that in 2030s we will be able to back up our brain onto a chip.

    The corona plague is just thinning the herd, and is very good at taking out Deplorables who like to gather in mega churches. The corona plague has also managed the biggest pollution reduction in modern history.

    • I would not.

      Kosco used to be a fuzzy logic prophet (or is it “evangelist” ?) in the early 90’s. He even wrote a rather preposterous book on the subject.

      Separately, anyone who claims that “we will be able to back up our brain onto a chip in 2030” cannot be terribly smart to put it mildly.

      “The corona plague is just thinning the herd, and is very good at taking out Deplorables”

      Good to know where you stand.

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