Brenda Cooper asks if we should be optimistic:
As a people, were not very sure about tomorrow. We worry about what we will leave our kids. Deficits. Dangers inherent in genetic engineering (of people and food). Global warming. Pollution. I could make a bigger list, but we all know the bogeymen of today, and we all know some are real. We even know yesterdays fears (such as nuclear proliferation and eventual war) are still partly untamed. Our famous scientists (like Stephen Hawking) talk about the need to flee before we destroy our home. So were at least a little afraid of the future.
Being afraid of the future will help make it better. It keeps us cautious. The things we have today that make the world small (the internet, the light of accountability) may help keep it safe. Knowledge in growing, and so is access to knowledge. In the past, as knowledge shone on various civilizations, they generally got better. Recently, knowledge and education have helped third world countries develop stronger economies and more social equalities. Indias rise is at least partly related to a commitment to education. Education is one of the biggest tools in the fight against AIDS. Im willing to bet connectivity and knowledge will continue to create better places and lives. So my hope no better than that, my expectation is that the future will be better than today. There is reason for optimism to temper our fear and lift our hearts.