March 29, 2005

The Prophecy Game

Everyone laughs at the prophets, mainly because they are so consistantly wrong. Well, according to the Google archives, in 2003 a fellow named John Titor predicted an American civil war in 2005. John Titor claimed to be a time traveler from the year 2036. One would assume that if he were indeed a time traveller, he would also be an accurate prophet. Well, here we are in the Spring of 2005, and so far, I don't see any problems severe enough to suddenly spring out in civil war, especially in the United States.

True, the American public is pretty much split 50/50 on almost every issue. There are a couple of issues that are painfully important to both groups, particularly Immigration and Social Security. Although a group calling themselves "The Minutemen" is planning to begin patrolling the Arizona stretch of the US border with Mexico, there is nothing to suspect they are also planning open rebellion, and I don't expect American senior citizens advocacy groups will take up arms and fight for better medicare. Granted, the world is sometimes unpredictable, nonetheless, I strongly doubt things have gotten chaotic enough to see the US split by civil war before year-end.

On the other hand, Florida hurricanes have been getting stronger in recent years, the earthquake in Southeast Asia last year proved Christmas is no safer than any other day on the calendar, and an 8.7 "aftershock" the other day may have added another 2,000 dead to last year's toll. There is no doubt that AIDS is a plague of Biblical proportions, and air pollution in China is so severe it shows up on satellite images. Perhaps we have finally entered into the end times, or perhaps it only looks this way. Regardless of which eschatological laundry list they subscribe to, many people believe our world had a precise beginning point and sooner or later, will reach a precise conclusion. Since the beginning and ending are clearly laid out, the path between them must be as well! Or so the fatalists would have us believe.

Well, it strikes me that the prophecy game looks pretty fun, so I've decided I'd like to play along and offer up a few prophecies of my own.

1. The American economy will implode sometime within the next ten years, reducing the United States to third world status in a period of weeks.

2. Osama Bin Laden will never be found.

3. China will continue to bloom as an economic power and by 2010, will be the most powerful nation on Earth.

4. By 2020, and possibly as early as 2010, China will invade Taiwan, however, that invasion will trigger an enormous internal backlash that will break out in open civil war before 2050.

5. Sometime before 2100 (these things are hard to pin down, you know?) the Earth will experience a planetesimal impact that will kill 2/3rds of the world's human population, devastate 40% of the land mass, and kill off around 60% of all life on Earth. However, Central Africa, especially the region where the bonobo apes live, will be spared. Life from this region will eventually spread out and repopulate the globe. The next sentient species will be the descendents of the bonobos and their civilization will reach the technological level currently enjoyed by our own approximately 350,000 years from now.

Doom and gloom is easy! Anybody can do it! How about some good predictions, eh?

1. By 2010, a special food replacement dietary product will be developed. This food replacement will be so popular it's commercialization will be blocked by agricultural lobbies all over the world. In the end, it will only be available through prescription by licensed dieticians or as an emergency food source for drought, famine, and disaster relief.

2. The 2008 US Presidential election will be the most entertaining ever. Arnold Schwarzenegger will lead the Republican Party to a narrow victory over Hilary Clinton, but the Democrats will capture the vast majority of Congressional elections, displacing many long-time Republican-only seats. To everyone's glee, there will be no mudslinging at all. Instead, Hilary will try to use common sense and academic reasoning to win her race while Arnold will swagger, smoke cigars, and spend far too much time repeating old movie lines. American politics will be paralyzed for decades (thus the economic implosion) but everyone will have so much fun playing politics no one will realize the country has become an international irrelevancy.

3. With much fanfare and celebration, the last American soldier from the Middle East will return home in the autumn of 2011. It will be a nurse stationed with UN Peacekeepers in Egypt, because all combat troops will have been removed from the region the year before.

4. Before year-end, there will be a military coup d'etat in North Korea. The new military government will immediately disband the nuclear program and ask for UN assistance in converting the country to true democracy in the shortest time possible.

5. Just after the US economic implosion, representatives from NAFTA, the EU, ASEAN, and the WTO will begin a six-month conference that will ultimately result in a global free trade and free immigration pact allowing commerce and people to flow around the globe with almost no restrictions. Heralded as a "first step toward global political unity", the pact will trigger a brief burst of terrorist and organized crime activity that will dissolve within a few years despite almost no effective law enforcement by the world's nations. The criminals will learn it is easier to make money the legal way and the terrorists will get so rich from shifting money and weapons around the world they will be too busy to build bombs and plan further attacks.

So, in summary, on this 29th day of March in the year 2005 I, Brian K. Miller do hereby prophesy that this century will see the greatest peace, prosperity, and international cooperation the world has ever known, but this emerging utopia will be cut short by a planetismal impact so severe the Earth will gain a new moon and human society as we know it will be removed, allowing bonobo apes to eventually produce a new civilization that will take its first, haltering steps about 300,000 years from now.

See, prophecy is easy! Anybody can do it!