A young, single-parent woman of mixed marriage as our Prime Minister in 2068. Complete eradication of absolute poverty. One single labour market. Automation and robotics drive new jobs and services. These are but a few of the author’s projections into our future… (Part 1 – points 1 to 5 – was published in «l’express» on Friday 23rd of February).
6. Harnessing technology to improve human condition
Technology is moving at very high speed and changing our lives profoundly. We have a fully automated public transport system while smart and autonomous cars make our roads vastly safer, driving more efficient, and transportation faster. With less human error, there will be a drastic reduction in traffic accidents and deaths, thus saving many lives each year.
Airport and aviation will be improved with new technologies, biometric check-in gates and hightech secure laser powered scanners. Our digital and physical worlds could be virtually seamless. All our appliances will be linked directly to energy distribution systems through smart grids. The fridge will automatically send orders to the super market, lawn sensors will tell us which part of the garden to fertilize while the house computer will perform all everyday household chores.
In fashion, nanofibres will create smarter, more comfortable and durable garments. We stay in liveable and sustainable cities and are on our way to a fully-fledged smart island. Artificial intelligence is poised to change how we live, work, run a business, play, shop, travel and pay for things. It will alter the fundamental ways we operate as humans.
As technology becomes more sophisticated and leads to higher productivity, four day working week will be the norm as people work better and smarter. There are fewer people who live much longer and remain healthier while the division between home and work will disappear. Government transactions and procedures are paperless and hi-tech, thus raising productivity.
Paper currency will disappear with electronic payments via phones and chips. Printed newspapers would have gone while all reading would be through digital means and hardly any personal letters would be sent by mail.
7. The success of clean and renewable energy
Environmentally, we have tackled the challenges of climate change and made the transition to a low carbon economy. We use available resources strategically and rely more on eco-friendly and sustainable buildings and infrastructure with their own green energy-efficient generation capacity. We resort to science to overcome climate change. We are very close to 100 per cent clean and renewable energy as the source of power and energy-saving technology is widely used both in public buildings and in private homes and there are more open spaces for the public to enjoy. Almost all cars and trucks will be both autonomous self-driving vehicles and powered by electricity. The replacement of fossil-based energy will cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% .
8. Advances in education and health improve the quality of life
Investment in education, health, social housing and other public services deliver good quality of life to all our citizens. Access to all levels of education, skills upgrading and training is truly broadened while the gross tertiary enrolment ratio is similar to South Korea. Medical innovations and technological wonders enable doctors to dispense tailor-made remedies to patients, while friendly robots give better lives to the elderly. We have made much progress against significant killers. There will be vaccines and cures for many diseases and illnesses. Cancer will become incidental to day-to-day living while there will be complete cure of diabetes and hypertension.
Robotic surgeons would carry out very affordable autonomous surgical procedures while artificial body parts could make organ shortages a thing of the past. With advances in health, technology, medicine and the rise of genome science, life expectancy will reach 100 years while people will be healthier, younger-looking and more energetic in their old age and will be able to monitor their health and fitness easily. Technology will ensure that most Mauritians will have access to first class medical analysis, almost for free. Hospitals and clinics will have to revisit their business models.
9. Diversity will broaden and deepen
Diversity is a strength and a source of enrichment. Multiculturalism and inclusion become meaningful and valuable social assets and we leverage them for development, progress and cohesion. The nation is so mixed, diverse, plural that the classification on the basis of race, ethnicity and religion does not have any sociological significance. We have developed a new character as a people. Mixed marriage from mixed origins is the norm.
The combination of diversity, mixity and migration delivers a rainbowness that is quite unique and distinctive while being deeper and wider. There is a stronger sense of belonging and identity to our nation and it energises us to commit to working together to build a strikingly harmonious Mauritius. We cultivate a robust set of values and ethos of shared prosperity in a socially, culturally and democratically vibrant community imbued with compassion, solidarity, tolerance, openness and the collective good. We have good theaters, museums, art galleries to consolidate our cultural richness and diversity. Activities such as art, movies, animation, design, fashion and sports will thrive. And local artists, musicians and designers will host regular events in our country. We have truly become the United Nation in this part of the world.
10. Our imagination is our limitation
It will be an era of incredible inventions and innovations. It is possible that robots may walk the streets with us, work at the office desk next to us, cook our breakfast, serve us dinner, dress us, converse like us, keep us company and help us stay happy. We could spend holidays in space while tourists are accommodated in underwater hotels. We may upload the contents of human brains into computers while Artificial Intelligence (AI) could assist people with amputated limbs to reduce their limitations as the brain would be able to communicate with a robotic limb to give the patient more control. Could our kids be using 3D printing to manufacture their own smart phones or shoes at home? Cars will have been transformed into computers on wheels. Many lawyers, notaries, accountants, financial analysts, bankers and doctors would become redundant because AI and blockchain technology would provide more accurate, complete, better and cheaper advices and services. Flying cars could be a reality and the screens on our phone, computer or TV could be replaced by eyewear?
11. Bound by a common destiny
La land or reality? Wish list or forecasts? Futuristic or fanciful? Or a hybrid between what Mauritius would be, could be and should be in the future. These are predictions and, as such, are fraught with limitations and suppositions. Of course, there will be no shortage of problems, obstacles and challenges in our way. Similar to what we have experienced in the last 50 years.
But we have proven two Nobel Prize laureates wrong in their doom–laden predictions for our country. Meade and Naipaul prognosticated disaster for us at birth but now at 50, there is plenty of room for optimism as we have our destiny in our own hands after significant economic accomplishments, social achievements and democratic progress.
If we are far sighted enough and have the bold vision and leadership, courage and determination, talent and motivation to identify strategic challenges and opportunities and embrace policies, acquire new skills, mindsets and capabilities necessary to compete in the next 50 years, we can deliver sustainable results and make of Mauritius a happier, healthier, fairer and more prosperous place. Also a nation that is both diverse and cohesive. Participatory and inclusive. Progressive and tolerant. And a stronger and united country that emphasises the positive values of a pluralisitc society. That should be our overarching goal.
12. A tryst with history
What will Mauritius look like in 2068? The question will not be answered for another five decades. But that future depends on strategic choices made today. We should decide what kind of journey we want to have and what should be our hopes and aspirations for our country. The past 50 years have been an exhilarating journey and we can go much further in the next 50 years. Where we are today will seem like ancient history in 50 years. Especially with the mind blowing changes which are exponential in acceleration in so many areas that will impact directly or indirectly on society and human behaviour.
After what some could characterise as a foolhardy stab at prophecy, let us have a tryst with history in 50 years to check back what actually has materialised about these fascinating and exciting predictions.
Photo du jour
Shakuntala Hawoldar par James Burty David
Le samedi a sa page magazine dans «l’express» de 1968. En ce 24 février, un article de James Burty David sur une jeune universitaire enseignante au Couvent de Lorette qui lui «a parlé de sa poésie» et «avec une aisance surprenante de Tagore, de Ramayana…» Aussi dans cette page, «l’importance commerciale de la musique yéyé».
La une de «l’express» du 24 février 1968
Pas de journal en ce 26 février 1968, pour cause de jour férié (fête du Printemps). Ni le 25, puisque c’était un dimanche. Remontons donc au 24. Les préparatifs pour le jour de l’Indépendance battent leur plein.