Matt Chessen

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Nature is a necessary evil, and humans are a mixed blessing. That’s my credo. Hopeful, huh?

Five years ago, when this blog was something other than what it is today (though I don’t really know what it is now, either), I use to run an occasional post called “5 Things About Us Future People Won’t Believe.” In these short pieces, carnivorism, internal gestation, factory work, invasive surgery and prisons were my suggestions for elements of today’s society that would brand us as “backwards” by tomorrow’s standards. I didn’t mention anything obvious like warfare because the “enlightened” of the future will still participate in such tribalism, even if the nature of the battle changes markedly. 

In a similar vein, Matt Chessen has published “The Future Called: We’re Disgusting And Barbaric,” a Backchannel piece that hits on some of same predictions I made but also has some very interesting topics I didn’t touch at all. One item:

Tolerating homes and bodies infested with critters

Right now, there are hundreds of millions of insects living on your body and in your home. Tiny dust mites inhabit your mattress, your pillow, your carpeting, and your body, regardless of how clean everything is. Microscopic demodex mites live in the follicles of your eyelashes and prowl your face at night. And this doesn’t even consider the trillions of bacteria and parasites that live inside us. Our bodies are like planets, full of life that is not us.

Future folk will be thoroughly disgusted. They will have nanotechnology antibodies — tiny machines that patrol our homes and skin, hoovering up dust mite food (our skin flakes) and exterminating the little suckers. They can’t completely eliminate all the insects and bacteria — human beings have developed a symbiosis with them; we need bacteria to do things like digest food—but the nanobots will police this flora, keeping it within healthy bounds and eliminating any micro-infestations or infections that grow out of control.

And forget about infestations by critters like cockroaches. Nanobots will exterminate larger household pests en masse. The real terminators of the future wont wreck havoc on humanity: They’ll massacre our unwanted insect houseguests.•

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