Seth Shostak believes this could be humanity’s last century. But don’t think he is a pessimist. He is the Director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence and warns us about potential dangers on the horizon but also explains that our 21st century technology holds great promise.
He believes we will be able to understand biology at the molecular level. That will give humanity the ability to cure all diseases. But it will also usher in an era of “designer babies.” He believes that we will eventually produce offspring that are different from us as dogs are from grey wolves.
He also believes that we will expand into space to obtain additional resources (such as copper, zinc, and platinum). Humanity might establish colonies on the moon or Mars. We might also develop huge, orbiting habitats in space.
He also predicts that we will develop generalized artificial intelligence. This will allow machines to take over jobs normally done by humans. It is possible that in the near future, robotics will be so advanced that it might be difficult to tell the difference between who is a real human and who is a machine.
If his predictions are true (and I believe they are fairly accurate) then we will need wisdom and morality to guide us through these new advances. Put simply, we need Christian ethics and morality like never before. Unfortunately, the moral foundation behind much of these technological advances is a secular, humanistic one.
We need Christians in the fields of science and engineering to provide moral reflection. And we cannot retreat into a belief that Jesus will return before all of these technologies are developed. He may not return when we think that He might. We should not be preoccupied with His coming, we need to occupy until He comes.