Monday, February 12, 2018

Love in a Hundred Years

By Cheryl Oreglia  

The last time Valentine's Day landed on Ash Wednesday and Easter fell on Aprils Fool's Day was in 1945. I read that the Detroit Tigers won a World Series that year, but that's beside the point, and has not been verified. 

Being of the female persuasion I look forward to flowers, chocolates, dining out, and maybe even some champagne on Valentine's Day so this will make my Lenten sacrifice a bit tricky? Ash Wednesday traditionally marks the start of the season of Lent, a 40-day period that Jesus spent in the wilderness. A time of reflection, prayer, and penance. The irony is rich. 

On April Fool's Day, while my children will be participating in an IPA hunt in celebration of Easter, my husband will be attempting to blow out fifty-eight candles in a single breath. He was born on April Fool's Day, the same day we'll be celebrating the birth of the Church, and new life so to speak. I'm simply captivated by the texture of things that coincide this year - a crucible of love, faith, and parturition. 

So that got me thinking about the relationship between love and sacrifice. Right? I read a blog that concluded the healthiest couples look for the best in each other, love unconditionally, and accept each other for not only who they are, but who they are becoming. Sweet in theory, but love is complicated, "like a box of chocolates." 

Which got me thinking about modern day love vs love in the future. We now have dating apps that connect those looking for love by simply swiping up. It's a real thing. You only get to do that once in a while therefore limiting your preferences to a select few. If modern love is dependent on downloaded apps what will it look like in the future? 

You had to ask.

1. The first thing I discovered in searching futuristic trends is the decline in languages. They predict in a hundred years only three languages will prevail: English, Spanish, and Mandarin. Minor languages are dying out at a fast pace including most of the romance languages: Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian. I love you will be limited to three versions. Time to touch up on your Spanish and Mandarin people! Te Amo, Te Iubesc, if you want to say I love you in the future. 

2. You can forget languages altogether, because we might have the ability to communicate telepathically, or through something known as thought transmission. Picking up on someone else's thoughts is highly likely in the near future. Synthetic telepathy is possible if we can learn to interpret electrical signals rather than words. If thoughts are just electrical impulses they can be captured not unlike storing something on the net. In the future learning to control your thoughts might be imperative especially in close relationships. Can you just imagine futuristic arguments, instead of yelling, we'll be slamming each other with a series of electrical thoughts. Shocking. 

3. Another alarming trend that will challenge our most intimate relationships is Nanorobots which will allow our memories to be recorded. Nanorobots are well within the realm of possibility but currently only exist in theory. A popular Netflix show call Black Mirror has an episode dedicated to this new technology. Relationships will be under a lot of scrutiny in the future, gossiping with the ladies at Bunco will be a thing of the past, along with ice runs for the guys. 

4. It is also completely possible that our brains will be wired to computers for increased functionality in the next forty years. Cell phones already supplement our knowledge base but in the future they'll be embedded. Have you seen the movie Her where a man falls in love with his OS. They say by 2075 most people in the developed world will use machine augmentation of some sort to increase the capacity of their brains. I already have a mountain of things to compete with for his attention, including football, but now a savvy OS? Talk about a crowded relationship? 

5. In the near future you might be able to honeymoon on Mars, or the Moon, because something called space elevators will make space travel cheap and easy. Cheap is a relative term, because in the near future only the rich will be able to afford this technology, but eventually it will trickle down to the masses (especially when they need workers to domesticate the raw land and clean the spaceships). This takes traveling abroad to a whole new level. "Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man (woman) has gone before," might be a real thing. Colonizing other planets will not only separate our species, but how will this change our evolution, and the way we love? 

5. Because people will be living past one hundred years of age marriage contracts will become common in the future. This is a weaker form of marriage designed to last a decade or two rather than a lifetime. Traditional marriage will always be an option but with increasing longevity this might prove to be a challenge. These contracts will allow people to enter into a long term commitment without the fear of financial ruin when the relationships ends. We currently have prenuptial agreements to compensate for a financial imbalance before you enter into a marriage but we're also seeing a decline in matrimony all together. Couples are opting to live together and raise children without the traditional constraints of marriage. It's not for me even if I live to 103 (that could be the first line of a modern day love note).

6. Due to the rise of infertility most women will be impregnated artificially in the future. This doesn't sound nearly as fun as the old-fashioned way. Couples will be able to choose advanced fertility techniques for genetic diagnosis. An artificially inseminated embryo can be selected for a desirable sex along with eliminating congenital illnesses. We can already screen for many congenital illnesses prior to embryo implantation, but this will allow families (mostly wealthy) in the future to avoid common genetic diseases, like breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. You'll be able to decide on the sex of your children, spacing, health, intelligence, and eye color. What will the nuclear family look like in the future?

7. I saved the best for last, robotic engineering, which will allow for incredibly intelligent humans, who are immortal. Most likely this will start out by keeping people alive (those who can afford it that is) artificially until electronic immortality technology is available. "The idea that breakthroughs in the field of genetics, biotechnology and artificial intelligence will expand human intelligence and allow our species to essentially defeat death is sometimes called the Singularity," claims Patrick Tucker. Deciding on a spouse becomes ever so important, because never before has marriage been eternal, "unto death do you part" has been the common biblical wisdom.

What are your thoughts around the future of romantic love? 

When I'm not posting at ATB, I'm Living in the Gap, drop by anytime. 


Carrie Beckort said...

I'd say the future of love looks very complicated. Technology advancement is great and I think very necessary for many reasons. For example, I wouldn't have a daughter today without technological advancements in fertility (she's an IVF baby). However, I've said for a while now that I think technology is killing humanity in a lot of ways. People struggle to connect in person. People can say anything they want on-line without consequences. People can manipulate what others see, driving agendas that benefit themselves. I could go on and on. I think it's up to us to preserve humanity - we need to remember to connect in person. There is power in touch and eye contact.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

Hi Carrie, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I totally agree with you. When I thought of exploring relationships in 100 years I did not know what was out there. I was surprised at the technology on the horizon involving human communication, marriage, procreation, and mobility. It was alarming. I was going to sit with the material and see what simmered up, but then Stephen asked if I was ready to go, and so I published before percolating. I was thinking yesterday about more of the implications of these technologies and decided the same thing - it is up to us to use technology wisely - to compliment life, not dictate our lives. The addictive nature of social media is already harming our children and now is the time to consider strategies for coping in the future. Thanks again Carrie for your thoughtful comment.

Jonathan Schramm said...

Great V-Day post, Cheryl! I agree with Carrie. There are a lot of great things about technology (like the fact that I'm posting on your awesome blog post right now), but there are a lot of scary things as well. While Elon Musk says that humans will need to merge with machines to keep from becoming irrelevant in an AI age (, I eventually think the pendulum will swing back the other way, to a more naturalistic way of being. If you've ever read the Celestine Prophecy, it is all about using technology in a way that will provide more time for humans to be human. As far as love in the future, I think it will find a way... It always does!

Jonathan Schramm said...

By the way, I love Black Mirror -- and I just watched the Altered Carbon series and it is a really well done exploration of how technology will affect people in the future, possibly allowing them to live forever! If you've ever read the books in the Bobiverse that is all about someone's consciousness being moved into a space fleet-- pretty cool stuff. Love exploring Sci-Fi, just don't know how I feel about living in it! said...

Define the “near future”. Also it would be helpful if you add references to your research. Anyway-I enjoy reading your posts- your writing is as smooth as a conversation- thank you!

Jonathan Schramm said...

"Love in a hundred years"

Cheryl Oreglia said...

Wow Jonathan, thank you so much for sharing your observations. I agree, the pendulum is always swinging, and it is my hope that humanity will learn to manage this onslaught of new technology with a little more discretion and reserve than we currently seem to be managing. I read the Celestine Prophecy many years ago but it might be time for a return to the pages. Love will definitely prevail, I believe it's how we are designed, and maybe the purpose of creation.

I have watched the first two episodes of Black Mirror and I have to say they were both disturbing. That is where I got the idea of looking at the future of technology and how this will affect the way we love. I'll have to check out Altered Carbon too. I'm a big Star Trek fan and maybe that's why I've always been interested in futuristic trends. If I make it another two or three decades it will be interesting to see where all this technology takes us. Thanks again Jonathan for your elevating comments. I'm so appreciative of your support.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

Hi Sandy! Hope all is well with you. The near future I was envisioning was "Love in a hundred years" as Jonathan mentioned. I watched an episode of Black Mirror and it got me thinking about the possibilities of technological trends and how this will affect our relationships. I sort of relied on material I gleaned from recent series and movies I've watched. I should have cited my research, but mostly I searched trends in technology, and just pulled the ones that applied to relationships. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment.

Jonathan Schramm said...

My pleasure, Cheryl! Very thought provoking post. And I totally understand about the Black Mirror episodes. Actually, Season 1 Episode 1 was the most disturbing one for me-- they do get a little less dark after that, though they all have dark overtones. And if Black Mirror's not really "your thing" you might want to skip Altered Carbon-- it is even darker... Hopefully the future of love is brighter!

Jonathan Schramm said...

Oh, but if you love Star Trek you should definitely read "We are Legion" (We are Bob), sound like it would be right up your alley. okay, done firebombing your blog post :)

Cheryl Oreglia said...

Haha! I’m very appreciate of your comments Jonathan! I’ll check out We are Legion! Intriguing. Thanks for the suggestion!

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