Mine is the generation that witnessed the digital revolution. When I was a kid a computer was called a mainframe and was the size of a house, a telephone answering machine at home was considered remarkable technology. Today I can write this blog on a handheld device, send it out via a cafe wi fi system, have it read by strangers in The Ukraine. My generation has mixed feelings about this change. We love it but also miss the time when nearly all human contact was face to face.
The generation being born now will witness the medical revolution, nano and gene technology will extend human life beyond our current imagination. As we learn to prevent bits wearing out or to simply replace bits as they do, there is no reason a life span of two hundred, three hundred, even four hundred years isn't possible. Of course this change will be welcome, I wonder if the generation that lives through it will feel some mixed emotions.
One of the glories of humanity is the urgency of mortality, it's the reason we get stuff done, it is at the heart of romance. Will humans with centuries to live have no sense of urgency, put everything off, decade after decade? Given two hundred years of working life will scientists pursue discovery now, right now? Will young people take no risks? With so much life at stake losing it early will be a terrible loss.
The fear of a life sentence meaning centuries in a cell should deter many crimes. The possibility of having a first child at seventy years old, then being around to see the first two hundred years of that child's life will free women to make easier choices about work and family.
Can you imagine a two hundred year love affair? Two hundred years of being healthy, strong, passionate? I'm guessing a series of relatuonships is more likely, married for life when there is so much time to change seems too weird. The poetry of living and getting old with one person will disappear, possibly poetry itself will die along with the urgency of mortality.
This next generation will see the start of a leap in human evolution. A species with all the knowledge of every previous generation at their fingertips and hundreds of years to learn and work will acheive things we can't even imagine. The sad beauty of a short life will be the price. Generations born after the medical revolution won't be aware of the difference, just the generation that lives through it.
Just as I miss aspects of the time before the digital revolution this generation will miss aspects of the past. No human can go home again, forward is the only direction possible.