2013 was the year chosen by Costner’s The Postman and Washington’s The Book of Eli to set the apocalyptic endings of civilization, but if we’ve made it through the Mayan proposal for Armageddon, perhaps we can sit back, relax and take a look at what to expect in 2013.
Those of us who were born in the 20th century most probably have watched a Sci-Fi movie at one point during our childhood and were amazed by the technology used. Fueling our cars with anti-matter or gravity may still be a bit far from our reach, but the way they communicated it at the Millennium Falcon or the Enterprise seemed way worse than the tablets and smart phones we use nowadays.
We should get ready for these fast speed changes because we’re currently putting more efforts and human resources than ever into research and exploration.
For many years, the USA and USSR competed with each other to achieve milestones in outer space; nowadays space agencies from all over the world are cooperating to achieve common goals. India is planning to launch its Martian space mission, Mangalyaan, in November 2013, not to dispute NASA’s Curiosity findings to strengthen human science and development by establishing the basics for a future interplanetary permanent mission on the red planet. Next year, China will land its first rover on the Moon and expand our knowledge of the Earth’s satellite.
This new form of moving forward is known as coopetition (cooperation + competition), where all sorts of partnerships are proving themselves highly efficient. Did your mum ever tell you not to play video games? A few months ago we saw a bunch of gamers solve the structure of an AIDS protein, that had been puzzling researchers for years, in just a couple of weeks. How is it so? Are gamers more intelligent than scientists?
The answer is open source. Instead of several minds working in a locked lab, thousands work in an open common shared space, obviously online, which simply proves to be more efficient. Besides, the findings are creative commons, meaning patent free and accesible for everybody. More people can work and ponder previous findings to improve them; we are beginning to understand that only through cooperation we’ll get over future challenges.
Social media is improving the way we see each other; a former stranger traveling the same route can become a fellow traveler. A pop diva becomes human after self-uploading a make-up free picture of herself to Twitter. Little but meaningful moves because from knowledge comes understanding and liking, and the more we know about other cultures and peoples of the world, the more we feel we belong to a global common village.
This is what to expect from 2013 on. Technology and social media are opening new ways of cooperation and understanding that, despite our current problems, project a better future to come, one to which we are all working together.