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@Idiocracy: yeah, I wasn't happy with the wording there, but I let it be. For one thing, it's not really possible that we all live in a Utopia at the same time as a wasteland - and a combination of the two doesn't make sense.

However, I'm not of the opinion that we're going to have some sudden, civilization-ending catastrophe any time soon (say, the next 15 years), and more of the opinion that we'll see a series of emergencies followed by responses over a longer period of time, with each step getting bleaker as it goes downward.

I am very confident of humans rushing to build more and more technology as 'solutions' to all this as it happens. Taking NYC as an example, the rowboats thing is just silly, but I'd rather expect the subway system in lower Manhattan to be replaced by an elevated platform at some point. I do expect we'll make strides in solar and EV deployment, and I even think we're going to land some people on Mars (colonization is far less likely, though).

At the same time, I think we'll have a series of environmental flash points. I don't think the two things are mutually exclusive, especially because human nature will always prevent us from just 'giving up'. We're always going to think there's a way out, and we're going to try and find it.

There was an awful Matt Damon film a while back called Elysium. The film is silly, and it has the subtext that the only way to fight technological superiority is, you guessed, technology, but it portrays a very wealthy minority that has isolated themselves in a techno-utopia, while the vast majority of humans live in absolute squalor. I don't think the elite will be sunbathing on a space station as in that film, but I do think the basic concept there of an elite separating themselves physically and technologically from the majority isn't an impossibility for our future, especially in regards to the elite having exclusive access to revolutionary medical techniques.

In these ways, it's possible for a technological wonderland to exist as well as a degrading biosphere.

How you or I value technology isn't as important as how most humans value it. An iPad is like magic to many people. Recent news:

As for a true techno-utopian's best outcome - say, interstellar travel and a fully peaceful and materially content Earth 150 years from now (as in 'Star Trek Enterprise') - ha ha, no, I don't think that's likely.

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