At some point I came to realize that most of my life's trajectories had little to do with big, conscious decisions that I made, and much more to do with thousands of little micro-decisions. Choices made that each day kept certain options open but that tightened the aperture on others.
I suspect this future that I'm trying to predict is like that. I can try to predict the big, disruptive things, but in some way they are not only not predictable, but they are also mostly beside the point. Rather, history gets made by all the little consistencies and textures of inertias that lend a topography to change through time. Carved as though by water and gravity - this landscape of flow and predictable diversion is what a discerning eye might notice if we weren't creatures hard-wired for novelty.
So, given the thousands of micro-decisions that we as a nation make, what are some predictions that I can put forward?
- 2018 will be one of the top 3 hottest years on record globally.
- We will still have no driverless cars on the public roads at the beginning of 2019.
- The Democrats will re-take control of the House, but lose ground in the Senate.
- Over 80,000 Americans will die of drug overdoses in 2018 as the opioid epidemic continues to worsen.
- Medical mistakes will be the 3rd leading cause of death in the US, behind cancer and heart disease.
- The US Olympic Committee will have its hands full with more sex abuse scandals as the Nassar sentencing inspires athletes in other sports to speak out.
- The US budget deficit will exceed a trillion dollars under the new tax code.
- The US will maintain the largest prisoner population in the world and will replace the Seychelles as having the highest rate of incarceration.
I could troll around for positive trends, but that's not my beat as a self-styled witness to the decline of an unsustainable civilization. I can hope that positive trends like a revitalization of civic life or re-localization will pick up steam, but I see no reason to expect that. Still, I should add a couple of wild guesses to the mix to round out the dectet.
- North and South Korea will dissolve the DMZ.
- First signs of extraterrestrial life will be discovered.
So there we go - my modest exercise in prescience for 2018. Let's see how I do this year . . . .