By Brandon Abbs
When one types ¨predictions for 2015¨ into the Google searchbar, they will find 108,000,000 results filled with technology, culture, political, sports, housing market, environmental, healthcare, and everything-else-in-between predictions for the coming year. Everyone who formulates these predictions seems to think they are undoubtedly, inarguably right. Well, the inimitable truth is that at the essence of predictions is that they are not set in stone, but educated guesses. So, now, when I, spurred on by lack of unique ideas, throw in my two cents and jump onto the bandwagon of predicting the developments of the (still relatively) new year, I would like to make it clear that I’m in no way positive of the accuracy of my guesses. However, I just have some slight suspicions that lead me to believe in the chance of some certain things occurring in 2015.
My first prediction is more a hope than a certainty of mine, but I’m being optimistic and thinking it’s very possible that this could come to fruition to some sort of degree sometime in the next eleven months. It’s the further widespreadedness of lab-grown meat. I think it’s ridiculous that many people think in vitro meat is unnatural, or disgusting, and that the current way of producing meat products, slaughtering animals in heavily industrialized factories, is cleaner or more sterile than growing it from stem cells, causing it not to be commercially available and likely hindering research to more inexpensively produce it. Still, in the last fifteen years, tremendous leaps and bounds have been made in the science of lab-grown meat. The technology has been feasible since the 1990’s, and in 2013, the first lab-grown hamburger was consumed at a press demonstration by food critics. One, Hanni Ruetzler, said, ¨There is really a bite to it, there is quite some flavour with the browning. I know there is no fat in it so I didn’t really know how juicy it would be, but there is quite some intense taste; it’s close to meat, it’s not that juicy, but the consistency is perfect. This is meat to me… It’s really something to bite on and I think the look is quite similar.¨
Lab-grown meat is not greatly different from ¨natural¨ meat, eliminates animal cruelty while still having animal origins through being grown from their cells, and is likely better for humans due to it being cleaner and less susceptible to transporting disease; yet the real reason we as a world should stop fussing over the nonexistent lack of ethics in it and garner more public support for research into producing it cheaply is that it will prevent starvation. A massive amount of resources is put into raising livestock for meat, including food; if humans didn’t waste food on growing up animals such as chickens and cows just so they can take small portions of them as food for the richer of us, and used resources better and more efficiently by instead just making what we need from tiny cells, we would have enough food to feed every person on earth. In vitro meat is a great solution, and with funding for advancement of the technology necessary to make it as cheaply as classic meat, it could start to benefit the world sooner rather than later; I think most people will be rational enough to recognize the aforementioned facts very soon and arrange for an age of increased prosperity to begin through the magic that will be lab-grown meat.
My next prediction: robots. More robots. Better robots. Robotic technology has been quickly advancing under our noses for the past several years now, and the general public seems to mostly assume the better ones cost in the millions. However, companies have been vigorously working to make robot technology, beyond those small circular cleaning ones that couldn’t support any science fiction novel, more accessible to the middle class. Robots will be everywhere in the next year. It’s my prediction that in the near future, they will be as much of a widespread fad in homes as, say, iPhones are today. Look at this thing.
That’s a WowWee MiP, and at Walmart.com it’s eighty-nine bucks, substantially lesser in price than an iPhone. Think about the possibilities in a world in which we already have futuristic technology such as this, and it’s not yet being exploited. I will be quite surprised if, with things such as this already out there and new and amazing things being developed all the time, this technology doesn’t explode very soon (and I don’t mean that in the literal sense). Pepper the robot (seen here), looking like something straight out of a 1950’s Flash Gordon film, produced by Aldebaran Robotics and distributed by the company SoftBank Mobile, will be available for only $1,931 this month, and the price is liable to go down.
Finally, Fortune.com predicts, ¨China Sputters [economy-wise]¨, and as soon as I saw that headline, I agreed with their prediction. Without reading their subarticle, I have a few reasons for my hunch that China isn’t going to continue its recent enormous streak of economic growth. Well, maybe one reason. I don’t think it’s a generalization to say that China is a starkly communist country. As communist economic structures as they currently are usually seem to lend themselves to fledging and ultimately failing…well…I see no reason that China would be any different. I’m going to stop now before I get out of the realm of the school newspaper and get myself into trouble.
Such are my predictions. Signing off.