I glanced at the most recent Nature magazine when the sleep deprived self wandered downstairs at 5am this morning pondering coffee. The cover had some picture and article about Neuroscience and in a flash, I knew - we are living in a different time.
Later, I was reviewing discovers, explorers and adventurers of the past, only to turn it on its head and think, who are the people that in the future will be in these slots. The people alive today. The Lewis and Clark and Pizarro and Cortez? The theme back then was expansion by discovery and conquering native races. The concept of a "new" world back then was mind-blowing.
One area I think in hindsight will be seen as massive turning points in the evolution of human/ity is the current research being done in neuroscience. The understanding of the brain. fMRI is the camera that allows a window into the electric brain activities. The work and research (and knowledge and paradigm shifts) are in the tinest of baby steps and I believe will explode exponentially within my lifetime and beyond.
Another area I believe will in retrospect be huge is the exploration of space and our local solar system. This area of exploration is in some ways similar to the adventurers I mentioned. Who will Richard Branson be in hindsight? What about Peter Diamandis? Not to mention the many technical geni at work on the many projects. How can you not compare NASA/JPL to the Portuguese Crown?
Thinking about the future by thinking about the past. Compare and extrapolate.
Attitudes are changing, have changed. What was once closed and secret is open, leaning toward transparency, collaboration. The veils are being lifted and we are forever ushered into a new epoch. The world as we knew it has transformed. Changed. And we have done it.