technology

Sunscreen Pills

Sun is good but too much of sun is bad and that’s why we have sunscreens.

However, as is with humans we just can’t stop improvising stuff and now we want sunscreens that can be administered orally.

So what we are looking for is a tablet, which we can take and then walk around in the sun while being protected.

Good news folks; a study is being carried out at King’s College (London) and according to Dr. Paul Long who is the head of this three year project;

‘There would have to be a lot of toxicology tests done first but I imagine a sunscreen tablet might be developed in five years or so. Nothing like it exists at the moment.’

Artificial Gills

Think Aquaman (Although, we are not quite sure how he is useful). Just like flying; the capability of breathing underwater is one of those things that we have all wanted.

Israel based inventor Alon Bodner has come up with a prototype;

LikeAFish (that’s one smart name) which allows humans to breather underwater by generating oxygen from the water like the gills of a fish.

The current issues are that of size and weight, however, progress is being made quite rapidly to overcome these issues.

Holographic TV

This is more than just exciting; the future holds holographic television instead of your LEDs or extra HD TVs.

The next generation of TV won’t be about the screen size and quality but rather about viewing area.

MIT researchers have created a chip which is able to render a holographic display as good as real world – 50 Gigapixels per second.

The cost of such TVs would be too high, that’s the general opinion, but Michael Bove, MIT’s Object based Media Group disagress; ‘

The technology itself is one that’s easy and inexpensive and, as far as we are aware and Nature is aware, has never been applied to displays before.’

According to his speculations such TVs will be available in the next ten years or so.

Real-Time Google Earth

Google Earth is quite a wonder, wouldn’t you agree? Do you have any ideas on how to improve it?

Well, for starters; let’s make it real-time. Welcome to Oxford where at RAL Space, scientists are busy in building video camera, 2, which are unlike any camera you have ever seen.

The purpose for which they are being built is unique as well. Once in space, they will be pointed towards Earth and will be telecasting live.

The cameras are basically 1 meter long tubes, which come clad with electronics and mirrors. T

hey will be mounted on the exterior of International Space Station.

The other approach that has been taken by Georgia Tech team makes use of live feeds to relay it onto Google Earth and hence, create a Real-Time effect.

Sustainable Fusion Reactor

Fusion reactors are already in play; your first reaction is predictable.

However, wait till you grasp what’s really going on here.

The nuclear power plants make use of nuclear fission and although we have some which employ nuclear fusion; they are too small.

So seven members; US, EU, Russia, Japan, India, South Korea and China, are into a collaborative effort to build a large, sustainable nuclear fusion reactor and France has been chosen as the site.

It would take some decades to get functional but the product is going to be 4 times more powerful than what comes from fission and way cleaner.

The project is being called ITER, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor.

The project ranks second among the list of cooperative International scientific feats.

2018 will bring the first autonomous vehicles for the public.

Around 2020, you will not want to own a car anymore.

People will be able to call a car, have it arrive right away and drive them to their destination, eliminating parking needs and spaces as well.

Our kids will never get a driver’s license and will never get to own a car.

Electric cars will become mainstream in the next 5 years.

Electricity will become insanely cheap and remarkably clean, with solar production soon to follow.

Cities will change entirely, as former parking spaces can be transformed into parks.

Autonomous driving will reduce road accidents to one accident in 6 million miles (10 million km).

This will save a million lives each year. Insurances will therefore become a hundred times cheaper.

Most traditional car companies will probably become bankrupt,

while tech companies such as Tesla, Apple or Google will go for the entirely revolutionary approach and will conquer the market. Real estate will change,

as the possibility of working while commuting will allow people to move farther away, in order to live in more beautiful, distant neighborhoods.

With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water.

Desalination of salt water is now much cheaper and the possibilities of everybody having the necessary clean water at virtually no cost are real.

Health innovations are also underway.

Companies are designing a device, a “Tricorder”, which works with your phone in order to take your retina scan or your blood sample.

It could also analyze biomarkers, in order to identify nearly any disease. The low price will provide everybody all over the world with quality medical analysis.

The cheapest 3D printer not only came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years, but its speed increased remarkably.

Major shoe companies have already started 3D printing their shoes, while small airplane parts are also being printed in remote airports.

2018 will bring new 3D scanning possibilities for smart phones as well.

China has already 3D printed and built a complete 6-storey office building.  In the next decade, about 10% of our overall production will be 3D printed.

According to Dr. Kwan human space colonization of Earth-orbit and other solar system space colonies will lead to that we have larger eyes in response to the dimmer environment of colonies further from the Sun than Earth and more pigmented skin to alleviate the damaging impact of much more harmful UV radiation outside of the Earth’s protective ozone.

Unfortunately, about 20,000 years ago our brains started getting smaller and they have been shrinking ever since. There are currently no indications this process can be stopped.

Future Humans Will Have Beaks Instead Of Teeth

Another possible scenario is that humans will become more bird-like. According to Dr. Gareth Fraser, of Sheffield University, future humans will have beaks instead of teeth. Dr. Fraser points out that a beak would be “more robust and practical” than teeth and would not rot, chip or fall out.

Dr. Fraser has pinpointed the cells responsible for the growth of new teeth in other animals and believes scientists could eventually stimulate similar cells in the human mouth to create more sets of teeth.

“I guess people will be looking at whether you can make perfect teeth.

But there will always be orthodontists employed because even when you have new teeth, there is going to be a need for positioning.

With our extended lives and modern diets, the limited supply of human teeth is really no longer fit for purpose.

Dr. Fraser, who has explored why humans grow only two sets of teeth in their lifetimes,

while some other creatures grow many more, said that “it could be possible for humans to evolve to grow beaks,

like pufferfish, which may be more robust and practical.

Are we set for a new sexual revolution?

From reproduction without sex to open relationships, our attitudes towards sex may evolve rapidly in the near future, predicts the writer Brandon Ambrosino.

Many of our answers probably include a reference to reproduction. Sex is the primary way that babies are made.

But what will we think about sex if it has almost nothing to do with procreation?

Since the birth of the world’s first “test tube baby” in 1978, around eight million people have been born by IVF.

And the number may vastly increase in the future as our tools to identify genetic risks in embryos become more sophisticated.

“My strongest prediction is in the future people will still have sex – but not as often for the purpose of making babies,” Henry T Greely, author of The End of Sex And The Future of Human Reproduction, tells me over the phone.

“In 20 to 40 years, most people all over the world with good health coverage will choose to conceive in a lab.”

Greely’s book explores some of the legal and ethical challenges facing the science of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

“Like most things, there will be a fair amount of visceral negative reaction initially, but as time goes on and kids [born via PGD] prove not to have two heads and a tail,” the public will come not only to tolerate but to prefer reproducing non-sexually.

And in that world – a world where babies are made in labs; where pregnancy-via-sexual intercourse is elected only by a minority of women; where sexual ethics have nothing to do with procreative possibilities – what will sex mean?

“What is sex for?”

That’s a question David Halperin asks in a provocative essay of the same name. Sex, we reason, must always have a why.

Such reasoning isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, to be human means to be curious, intellectually and emotionally.

Experiencing sex and theorising about what it could mean seems very natural for animals that spend much of our time engaging in higher-level criticism.

Biologically, there is one an obvious why to human sex. We have sex because it fulfills biological drives, including the necessary drives to procreate and bond.

In fact, these are the two whys that have passed down to us in the Western tradition, both of which are organised around a telos, or end goal.

Like many people, Aristotle takes it for granted that sex and love go hand in hand – but he never seeks to demonstrate the soundness of this assumption.

What he does demonstrate, however, at least as Halperin reads him, is that “sex is not the final aim of erotic desire”.

And if that’s the case, then Halperin thinks the most interesting question to ask isn’t about the relationship between sex and love but the surprising relationship between sex and erotic desire.

If Aristotle is correct, then sex has no erotic purpose – its real aim lies elsewhere. In short, sex isn’t actually about sex.

Why do we have sex then? To procreate, sure. To bond, fine. But those are just two of many possible answers.

Like many cultural phenomena, sex exceeds its why. Think of food. From a survival standpoint,

it makes sense that we eat, and that we eat together – after all, it was advantageous to our ancestors to pool their resources (more for our group means more for me).

But when we move from those things to contemporary culinary culture – burgers topped with gold shavings,

Instagram food accounts, the cooking network, happy hours with colleagues, after church potluck dinners

– it becomes harder and harder to nail down the exact purpose of our relationship to food.

The difference between us and many non-human animals is that we regularly take pleasure in doing useless things.

We do them, that is, because we enjoy them, because participating in such activities brings us pleasure

— the kind that distracts us from any why questions. It’s possible, writes Halperin,

that “the act of sex makes sense only when it makes no sense.”

While the sexual revolution is often used as a bogeyman to end rather than contribute to important conversations, sweeping changes in public perceptions of sex beginning

in the 60s have been noted by researchers. In a 2015 research paper, Jean M Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, examined American attitudes toward sex from the 1970s to 2010s. Her conclusion:

“Between the 1970s and the 2010s, Americans became more accepting of non-marital sex.”

Twenge points out that within a population, attitudes may still vary for many reasons (depending on age, race, sex,

religious beliefs etc), but research shows that “meaningful generational changes in sexual attitudes and behavior have occurred” over time.

Our views on sex, then, are very much the product of our location in a particular time and place.

Our sexual ethics aren’t timeless: they evolved, and they will continue to evolve.

Perhaps much more quickly than we are prepared for.

The meaning of heterosexual sex has been constructed in opposition of homosexual sex

To be sure, animals don’t identify as gay, but neither do they identify as not gay.

Which brings us to the extremely obvious but rarely contemplated fact – that humans have, at least for the last century, defined themselves based on the kind of sex they have. Heterosexual sex has come to mean something; specifically, its meaning has been constructed in opposition to homosexual sex.

If you want to understand what that meaning is, then you might start by asking yourself a question Jonathan Ned Katz poses in The Invention of Heterosexuality:

“Whose interests have been served by the division of the world into heterosexual and homosexual?”

Any child who was teased, as I was, for appearing gay knows that distinction was not made with their best interests in mind.

What’s interesting is to think about how long the hetero/homo line will continue to hold.

A 2019 YouGov survey found that nearly four in 10 millennials don’t identify as “completely heterosexual.”

That probably says less about changing sexual orientations than it does about the changing meaning of those orientations. Simply put,

it is probably less important today than it was three decades ago to define one’s identity based on sexual activity.

In a world where same-sex orientation and activity is largely accepted to be a healthy and natural variety of human sexuality,

it is no longer very important to form a public identity based on sexual practices.

Perhaps the more we divorce sex from its why, the less people will think about what sex acts might mean and how those might contribute to an individual’s identity.

Thankfully, opposition to homosexuality largely continues to decline.

A study conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law looked at the changing attitudes of people across 141 countries. Eighty, or 57%, of those countries saw an increase in acceptance of LGBT people between the years of 1981 and 2014.

It’s not all good news: while the researchers found that the traditionally accepting countries

(Iceland, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Andorra, and Norway) have become more tolerant over time, the less accepting countries

(Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Georgia, Ghana) have become even less tolerant.

While consistent anti-gay attitudes shouldn’t be overlooked,

it’s important to remember that the majority of the countries studied show an increased tolerance for homosexuality.

But despite these shortcomings, it’s gay culture that has all this time been offering the world new ways to think about sexual ethics

– ways that don’t involve procreation or marriage or love or even committed, monogamous relationships.

Just consider one 2005 survey, which found 40% of gay couples endorse open relationships compared to 5% of straight couples.

If these kinds of sexual experiences really do become the norm – as some suggest – it will have been gay people who opened that door.

I suppose some heterosexuals may take umbrage at these ideas, but it’s difficult to pretend that straight culture has the moral high ground on sexual issues.

As I have previously written, popular culture in 2019 is replete with cases of dysfunctional straight relationships, affairs and marriages.

The “traditional” heterosexual sexual ethic – which was, as historians have long held, invented in the 19th Century – has been tried and found wanting.

There will be new ideas about sexual identity. If sex ceases to mean anything other than sex;

if children are not teased for having a “different” sexual orientation; if procreation happens in a lab;

might future humans feel free to have sex with men and women at will?

Or might they feel comfortable cultivating their own sexual desires?

Is the concept of sexual orientation and identity tied to an archaic notion of reproduction?

In the future, will words like “heterosexual” and “homosexual” be heard only in the history classroom?

These ideas will continue to become even more mainstream — thanks, in no small part, to the many LGBT people who have,

for the past few decades, been inviting the dominant culture to rethink its sexual ethics.

A few years ago at a conference, I heard the philosopher and gender-theorist Judith Butler say,

“Maybe the truly queer thing to do with sex is to just enjoy it.”

I didn’t agree at the time, but I now realise she was onto something.

Perhaps sex will always be for something – but it will be for a whom, not a what. It will be for us, the people who have it, who enjoy it.

The meaning of sex won’t exist apart from the compassion and enjoyment it brings people

– the enjoyment of physical sensation, of social bonding, of experimenting.

In the future, the meaning of sex will be sex.

echnologies You Will be Witnessing In The Near Future

Agricultural Robots

Robotics is something that we only used to read about or see in movies. However, lately we are witnessing a world where robotics is progressing exponentially. Yet, agriculture is somewhat lacking in this department.

Rumor has it that worldwide implementation for robotics to take over agriculture isn’t far. Currently there are a number of robots that are being researched upon and it includes a robot by a company based in Boston that is capable of performing 40% of the work usually done by manual labor.

Then we have a robot in Japan capable of determining if the strawberries are ripe before it plucks them off.

MIT hosts a cherry tomato garden, which is being maintained by robots. The plus point is that you can make them work 24/7 and they won’t complain.

Paper-Thin, Flexible Computers and Phones

How would you feel if your smartphone or tablet was as thin as paper and capable of exhibiting the same level of flexibility?

Would feel pretty awesome, no? The future has such gadgets for you in store.

As of now projects are underway to come up with smartphones and tablets, which will be fully functional yet look just like paper.

Papertab was showed in CES 2013 and a collaborative effort is being made by two Canadian and American universities and the project is being called; ‘Paperphone’.

Dr. Roel Vertegaal from Queens University says; ‘This is the future. Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years.’

Tooth Regeneration

Going to the dentist is one of the most terrifying experiences.

However, it is also one of the most crucial ones. Why is that so? Because if you damage your teeth then the damage is permanent and you’d have to live with that for the rest of your life.

Yeah, that’s old new. The newsflash; scientists are working on to how to regenerate human teeth based on alligator’s system of regeneration, which comes into play when the tooth is damaged or lost.

According to a study that was carried out in a lab at UTAH back in November 2012,

humans can also regenerate teeth based on this alligator’s system in a lab with some modifications.

Wireless Electricity

Among many fantasies that the mankind has, wireless electricity sure has earned its place.

However, you would have to give this fantasy up because this is soon going to be a reality (about a decade or so).

We have seen wireless charging for gadgets and that’s proof enough to build a structure onto.

A number of companies are trying to come up with electric ‘hubs’, which will be capable of powering up an entire house.

The work is based upon the research done by Marin Soljacic of MIT.

The idea is to make use of the fact that some particular electromagnetic waves make it easy to transfer energy and electricity can be transferred between objects that are resonating at the same frequency.

Ultra–High Speed Tube Trains

We’ve already covered the Maglev trains here at wonderfulengineering, however, let’s take a look at them again.

Japan has plans on shifting onto these trains by 2045.

Since there are no wheels, hence no contact or friction and Maglev is capable of achieving a speed of 300 mph.

The trains are levitated by maintaining an electromagnetic field.  

However, the idea being put forward by a company based in Colorado is much faster, in fact according to their idea, the travelling shall be done at a speed of 4,000 mph.

The company, ET3, has put forward a concept of Evacuated Tube Transport.

The track is within a vacuum tube that has been sealed and pressurized.

The G-forces which a passenger experiences are comparable to that of a highway ride though.

ET3 already has built a prototype capsule and is looking forward to testing it out.

The New Face of the World – Technology in the Near Future

In a recent interview for Linkedin, Udo Gollub, 17 Minute Languages CEO, astonished the public making some clear and certain predictions about what the next 20 years will bring.

He also pointed out that their competitors are no longer other car companies but giants such as Tesla, Google, Apple, Amazon.

The world is going to change in such a drastic manner, Gollub argues, that the next 20 years will erase about 80% of current jobs.

Software will manage to disrupt most traditional industries within the next decade

– Uber is a software tool, that does not own any cars and that is now the biggest taxi company in the world Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, without owning any property.

IBM Watson now offers legal advice for everybody within seconds,

with a remarkable 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans.

Young lawyers in the US remain unemployed. Specialists in the field will stick around, but the world will have 90% less lawyers.

Artificial Intelligence Computers illustrate remarkable abilities of understanding the world.

Watson manages to diagnose cancer 4 times more accurately than humans.

Facebook owns a pattern-recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans.

By 2030, Zetsche argues, computers are expected to be more intelligent than humans.

What Will Humans Look Like In The Future? Some Possible Scenarios

This fact has made many wonder what humans will look like in the future.

Scientists have come up with a number of possible scenarios, and some of our future appearances are truly grotesque, while other theories seem more plausible.

Future Humans Will Be Taller

Over the last 150 years, the average height of people in industrialized nations has increased by approximately 10 centimeters (about four inches).

In 1880 the average American male was 5’7”. Today, he’s 5’10”.

Humans are becoming taller and there is reason to think this trend will continue.

Evolution cannot explain our increase in height, but genetics can. Improvement in childhood nutrition has been the most important factor in allowing humans to increase so dramatically in stature.

If we set up human settlements on Mars, people born on the Red Planet might be taller than anyone on Earth.

This is because Mars’ gravitational pull is only 38% of Earth’s.

Future Humans Will Have Larger Brains And Eyes

Dr. Alan Kwan who has a Ph.D. in computational genomics from Washington University proposes interesting aspects of future human evolution.

 

Basically, Dr. Kwan believes that humans will have larger brains and eyes.
“As our understanding of the universe increases, I predict that the human head will trend larger to accommodate a larger brain.

 

But instead of some orthogonal evolutionary path that ends up with the 210th-century human a la Futurama’s Morbo

the anchor-alien, the rule of viable human biology will still apply and so the entire head will trend larger,

though with a bias for a greater cranium growth than facial growth; the human 20,000 years from now would look to us like someone today except we would notice the forehead is subtly too large,” says Dr. Kwan.

Future Humans Will Become Very Strange Creatures – Result Of Genetic Engineering And Space Travel

The most shocking prediction comes from zoologist Douglas Dixon, who in his book,

Man after Man – An Anthropology of the Future, offers scientific speculation what humans will look like after 50-million years of evolution.

Dixon presents a number of strange human appearances. His theory is based on the use of genetic engineering and space travel.

Dixon thinks that when our civilization comes to an end, a group of humans escape and begin setting up colony outposts in space.

Dixon continues with exploring the possibility that humans retreat back to Earth after five million years of evolution, and what happens afterward.

What Dixon offers is speculative biology and a creepy vision of the future.

The human species first began to evolve nearly 200,000 years ago and underwent many significant changes like behavior and appearance, during this long and dramatic period of time.

We do not know what events will happen in the future and how the future technologies may affect the way we evolve,

but we have our predictions, and of course, some are more based on science than others.

As I wrote in a previous article, it was the stoics who, attempting to curb self-indulgence, tried to fit sex into a scheme of meaning: indulging in the pleasure of sex was alright as long as it was for the purposes of making babies.

This ethic worked its way into the Christian tradition, famously through Augustine, and continues to wield enormous influence in the West.

According to this framework, sex is ethical when it is practised primarily for procreation.

(To clarify, though this is presented as a Christian ethic, its origins lie elsewhere.

In fact, the biblical book Song of Solomon celebrates wild, passionate, erotic sex on its own terms, between two lovers

– not between a husband and wife, as later Christian commentators wrongly interpreted the poem.)

The other important why for sex comes from Aristotle, as Halperin points out.

In Prior Analytics from the 4th Century BCE, the Greek philosopher offers the following syllogism:

“To be loved, then, is preferable to intercourse, according to the nature of erotic desire.

Erotic desire, then, is more a desire for love than for intercourse. If it is most of all for that, that is also its end.

Either intercourse, then, is not an end at all or it is for the sake of being loved.”

For Aristotle, as Halperin explains, “Love is the telos of erotic desire. It is not love that aims at sex as its goal…

It is sex that aims at love.” The real reason we have sex, according to Aristotle’s proof, is not because we want to have sex, but because we want to love and be loved.

Sex is not about something, but about something else, something higher, something nobler.

Perhaps it’s time to admit that enjoyment is the main reason most of us — including the most pious among us — have sex.

To be fair, there’s usually a point to having sex, otherwise we’d be doing something else.

But the last few decades have seen us challenging the ideas that sex should only be had for specific purposes.

The pill was revolutionary on this front, giving some people plenty to fear.

In a 1968 Readers Digest article, author Pearl Buck said, “Everyone knows what the pill is. It is a small object – yet its potential effect upon our society many be even more devastating than the nuclear bomb.”

Like a good many conservatives’ ideas, Buck’s argument seemed to be informed by a hysteria that sex without why would spell the end of civilisation

. For these folks, the so-called sexual revolution was to blame for modern relaxed views on sex practices.

What’s natural?

Like every human phenomenon, sexual activity came from somewhere.

It isn’t just here. We’ve arrived at our sex practices and attitudes and ethics via a long and winding journey from animals that predate us, a journey that goes back to the earliest life in the universe.

But even if we concentrate on our species, we find plenty of evidence that some traditional ideas about sex are less natural than we thought.

I once heard an American Evangelical preacher condemn homosexuality with what to his congregation seemed to be a funny joke.

“I shouldn’t have to remind you that two men aren’t supposed to be together.

Even barnyard animals know that!” What the pastor was arguing was that homosexuality is unnatural, which is why animals don’t practise it.

Except they do. Japanese macaques, fruit flies, flour beetles, albatrosses, bottlenose dolphins – these are just some of the more than 500 species in which homosexuality is observed, as Melissa Hogenboom has written for BBC.

The question of the purpose of sex is not the stumbling block to gay culture that it is to straight culture.

Some of that is situational: without the prospect of biological pregnancies and (until recently) marriage to tie them down,

gay people are free to have sex for the sole purpose of having sex.

I don’t mean to suggest that gay sex doesn’t have a why: it can have many whys, including, of course, love.

But gay culture has, historically, been more open to the idea that it might not always have a why, and that it doesn’t always need to.

That, of course, might seem to buck those long-held and cherished cultural ideas and ethics about sex,

which could perhaps explain the historic prejudice against gay people.

Like many children, I was taught to adjudicate the ethics of a sexual encounter based solely on whether or not it happened in a committed, monogamous relationship (usually marriage).

But eventually, I started questioning this standard – particularly because the same people who taught it to me also taught me that humans were created by God a few thousand years ago.

If their biology was so bad, then why pay them any mind on sex, which is a biological phenomenon?

I realised that theirs was not a helpful ethical scheme for gay people who are not able to conceive children through a sexual union.

It seemed disingenuous at best, and cruel at worst, to advocate for a sexual standard that prevents a sizeable population of human beings from ever reaching it.

Most acts of heterosexual sex do not result in a live birth, and yet for some reason that non-procreative sex is never condemned as unnatural,

the way non-procreative homosexual sex has often been condemned.

There are many reasons for widespread acceptance of homosexuality,

including positive media portrayals of LGBT people, public support of medical and psychological organisations, and the fact that most people personally know

LGBT people. (It’s harder to believe that gay people want to destroy civilisation when we’re your piano teacher or florist or chaplain or local firefighter.)

Granted, gay people – and I’ll focus on men here, since that’s what I’m most familiar with – aren’t always pristine examples of a finely-tuned sex ethic.

Gay male communities continue to worship specific body types (muscular, lean, for example),

which sends the message that those who don’t live up to those aesthetic standards (most of us) are less deserving or worthy than those who do.

These exclusive standards have only become more ubiquitous thanks to technologies like Grindr,

where men are reduced to pictures of their body parts, and the undesirable are quickly blocked.

“No fats and fems” is, to our shame, an oft-heard refrain on these gay hook-up apps,

which means we still have a lot of thinking to do when it comes to our sexual ethics.

Over the years, various futurists have been predicting what the future of sex will be like.

From virtual porn and human augmentation to remote hookups (where people, at a distance, bring each other to orgasm via haptic technologies),

the future of sex will be more digital, more synthetic, less organic, less messy.

But while the future will no doubt bring with it major technological changes,

we should also consider that some of the biggest changes in the future will involve new ideas.

There will be new ideas about procreation. Since 1978, more than eight million babies have been born through IVF.

That number is set to drastically rise the more ubiquitous and affordable the technologies become.

Birth control and contraception have also helped separate sex and procreation in our cultural imagination.

If Greely’s predictions about PGD are right, then at some point within the next four decades, there will be a sea change when it comes to how babies are born.

PGD will become “easy” (accessible and affordable) thanks to developments in genetics and stem cell research.

“A couple who wants children will visit a clinic – he will leave a sperm sample; she will leave a skin sample.

A week or two later, the prospective parents will receive information on 100 embryos created from their cells, telling them what the embryos’ genomes predict about their future…

Then they will select which embryos to move into the womb for possible pregnancy and birth.”

People might bristle at the thought of “designer babies,” but when we remember that most people who have babies select each other based on traits,

knowing full well that such traits will likely be passed onto their offspring,

it gets harder to draw a line between the technologies that Greely writes about and run-of-the-mill reproduction-via-sex.      

There will be new ideas about monogamy and commitment.

Having one sexual partner for one’s entire adult life seems like a more easily achieved prospect when life expectancy is lower.

But life expectancy for humans has been on the rise.

From 1960 to 2017, the average increased by 20 years. By 2040, estimates claim life expectancy will be up more than four years.

That’s a conservative number to some futurists. Steven Austad, for instance, believes the first human to live to 150 years old was born before 2001.

How realistic is it to require someone to limit his- or herself to the same one sex partner for 130 years?

But we needn’t look that far ahead. Even now, divorce and remarriage rates continue to climb.

According to a 2013 Pew survey, four in 10 American marriages involve the remarriage of at least one of the couple.

Perhaps, with longer life expectancies, “till death do us part” will simply cease to be our aim.

Stonewall Riots

The Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising, began in the early hours of June 28, 1969 when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City.

The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets and in nearby Christopher Park.

The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

Constant Raids at Gay Bars

The 1960s and preceding decades were not welcoming times for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. For instance, solicitation of same-sex relations was illegal in New York City.

For such reasons, LGBT individuals flocked to gay bars and clubs, places of refuge where they could express themselves openly and socialize without worry. However, the New York State Liquor Authority penalized and shut down establishments that served alcohol to known or suspected LGBT individuals, arguing that the mere gathering of homosexuals was “disorderly.”

Thanks to activists’ efforts, these regulations were overturned in 1966, and LGBT patrons could now be served alcohol. But engaging in gay behavior in public (holding hands, kissing or dancing with someone of the same sex) was still illegal, so police harassment of gay bars continued and many bars still operated without liquor licenses—in part because they were owned by the Mafia.

Gay Rights Before Stonewall

The first documented U.S. gay rights organization, The Society for Human Rights (SHR), was founded in 1924 by Henry Gerber, a German immigrant. Police raids forced them to disband in 1925, but not before they had published several issues of their newsletter, “Friendship and Freedom,” the country’s first gay-interest newsletter. America’s first lesbian rights organization, The Daughters of Bilitis, was formed in San Francisco on September 21, 1955.

In 1966, three years before Stonewall, members of The Mattachine Society, an organization dedicated to gay rights, staged a “sip-in” where they openly declared their sexuality at taverns, daring staff to turn them away and suing establishments who did. When The Commission on Human Rights ruled that gay individuals had the right to be served in bars, police raids were temporarily reduced.

Without police interference, the crime family could cut costs how they saw fit: The club lacked a fire exit, running water behind the bar to wash glasses, clean toilets that didn’t routinely overflow and palatable drinks that weren’t watered down beyond recognition. What’s more, the Mafia reportedly blackmailed the club’s wealthier patrons who wanted to keep their sexuality a secret.

Nonetheless, Stonewall Inn quickly became an important Greenwich Village institution. It was large and relatively cheap to enter. It welcomed drag queens, who received a bitter reception at other gay bars and clubs. It was a nightly home for many runaways and homeless gay youths, who panhandled or shoplifted to afford the entry fee. And it was one of the few—if not the only—gay bar left that allowed dancing.

Within minutes, a full-blown riot involving hundreds of people began. The police, a few prisoners and a Village Voice writer barricaded themselves in the bar, which the mob attempted to set on fire after breaching the barricade repeatedly.

The fire department and a riot squad were eventually able to douse the flames, rescue those inside Stonewall, and disperse the crowd. But the protests, sometimes involving thousands of people, continued in the area for five more days, flaring up at one point after the Village Voice published its account of the riots.

Stonewall’s Legacy

Though the Stonewall uprising didn’t start the gay rights movement, it was a galvanizing force for LGBT political activism, leading to numerous gay rights organizations, including the Gay Liberation Front, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD (formerly Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and PFLAG (formerly Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

Stonewall Inn

The crime syndicate saw profit in catering to shunned gay clientele, and by the mid-1960s, the Genovese crime family controlled most Greenwich Village gay bars. In 1966, they purchased Stonewall Inn (a “straight” bar and restaurant), cheaply renovated it, and reopened it the next year as a gay bar.

Stonewall Inn was registered as a type of private “bottle bar,” which did not require a liquor license because patrons were supposed to bring their own liquor. Club attendees had to sign their names in a book upon entry to maintain the club’s false exclusivity. The Genovese family bribed New York’s Sixth Police Precinct to ignore the activities occurring within the club.

Raids were still a fact of life, but usually corrupt cops would tip off Mafia-run bars before they occurred, allowing owners to stash the alcohol (sold without a liquor license) and hide other illegal activities. In fact, the NYPD had stormed Stonewall Inn just a few days before the riot-inducing raid.

The Stonewall Riots Begin

When police raided Stonewall Inn on the morning of June 28, it came as a surprise—the bar wasn’t tipped off this time.

Armed with a warrant, police officers entered the club, roughed up patrons, and, finding bootlegged alcohol, arrested 13 people, including employees and people violating the state’s gender-appropriate clothing statute (female officers would take suspected cross-dressing patrons into the bathroom to check their sex).

Fed up with constant police harassment and social discrimination, angry patrons and neighborhood residents hung around outside of the bar rather than disperse, becoming increasingly agitated as the events unfolded and people were aggressively manhandled. At one point, an officer hit a lesbian over the head as he forced her into the police van— she shouted to onlookers to act, inciting the crowd to begin throw pennies, bottles, cobble stones and other objects at the police.

On the one-year anniversary of the riots on June 28, 1970, thousands of people marched in the streets of Manhattan from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park in what was then called “Christopher Street Liberation Day,” America’s first gay pride parade. The parade’s official chant was: “Say it loud, gay is proud.”

In 2016, then-President Barack Obama designated the site of the riots—Stonewall Inn, Christopher Park, and the surrounding streets and sidewalks—a national monument in recognition of the area’s contribution to gay rights.