"what concerns and issues do you believe will be paramount in the near and distant future"
Katie I think that climate change will be the biggest issue. I believe changing the relationship between humans, animals, and the environment will be critical problems for our generation and future ones to solve.
John AGI (artificial general intelligence) - Easily the biggest threat to humanity in the next century (in my view) is runaway/uncontrollable artificial intelligence. Right now, we are building a car with a 500-horsepower engine and no brake pedal- artificial intelligence is getting exponentially smarter, but we don't understand why it is getting smarter. What this means is Al is, right now, mostly achieving what we want it to do, but it could be doing it for the wrong reasons (for example, we've already seen discrimination in Als and sentencing algorithms that don't know into consideration the human value of nondiscrimination).
Crisis of Meaning - This is certainly a more Western issue, since it correlates with the downfall of Christianity, but I think you can attribute a lot of modern political polarization to a teleological society not having a telos, and so searching for one in politics. From that comes radical political movements putting aside simple material prosperity (which is really all government can work for) for a grand mission, and, in the process, losing out on both.
Climate Change - There's not much for me to say here, but it's so far down on the list because very few people think climate change will actually end humanity, whereas the fanaticism that comes from the crisis of meaning (which could lead to rash decisions with the strongest weapons in history-- like bioweapons, nukes, and nanotechnology--and just a generally more violent world) and the soon- to-be unfettered power of Al might (in that order) (Re: significance of Climate Change in the psyche of Gen-Z Cohort)- I would say it's a presence, but not necessarily a deep presence.
Cael the first few ideas that pop into my head include climate change, income inequality in the U.S. and the world, and the negative effects social media will have on our societv.
As the earth's global temperature continues to rise, I not only worry about the effect this will have on nature and it's natural disasters, but also how people will respond to having to make changes to their daily lives to curb this rising temperature. For instance, society as a whole may have to cut back on how much meat we consume as the process of raising cattle and other animals releases large amounts of methane, contributing to the warming of the earth. I think it will be hard to convince a large portion of society to make sacrifices when many have been led to believe climate change is a hoax, and that could be a problem for the world.
Next, I believe income inequality in both the United States and world will continue to increase and become an even bigger problem. The 2020 COVID pandemic increased the wealth gap, and now "roughly 10 percent of the world owns 76 percent of all wealth". In addition, while costs continue to increase due to inflation and other inputs, the minimum wage and average salary of working class individuals has not risen at the same rate, creating a falling out of the middle class. If the wealth gap continues to widen, I believe the United States and world will see an increase in poverty and crime.
Finally, I think over the last few years our country specifically has seen the drastic effect social media can have on individuals and their beliefs. Through powerful algorithms, these platforms have created strong echo chambers causing user's beliefs to be constantly confirmed and strengthened. This has led to extreme beliefs and actions by both ends of the political spectrum. In 10 years, social media may have an even bigger negative influence on the world. In addition, apps like TikTok, with a strong algorithm created to keep users on the app, is destroying users attention span and neurons because it provides them with an endless amount of content. I think in 10 years this will have a large negative affect on young children and their ability to pay attention for large amounts of time and delay gratification. These are just some of my thoughts on the issues I see to be destructive to society in the near and distant future.
Adam Regarding what issues I believe will be paramount, I think the climate change and overpopulation, as well as the issues associated with these problems. Some subsequent issues include shortages of resources such as water, food, land and energy. Overpopulation leads to an over-exhaustion of resources such as water, food, and land. More energy is needed to support more people with production and development, and it takes a toll on the environment, creating a positive feedback loop. Since energy production uses primarily fossil fuels and natural gas, this speeds up climate change, worsening problems with food and water shortages, making livable and farmable areas more scarce.
Shiloh I believe that climate change, economic inequality, and geopolitical stability would be among the most pressing challenges.
Xuanthe I believe that the problem we should be prioritising for the future is achieving world harmony. Many global issues we have right now (climate change, homelessness, poverty) could be closer to being resolved if the influential people in those positions, like government, acted with people's best interests - not their own. It's laughable how some of the elite could own multiple, vacant homes while people sleep on their streets. But until people realise that maximising personal gain could be detrimental in the long-run, we will be plagued with issues in the future to come.
Justin I am well aware of the uncertainties in the future, and I would be delighted and honored to provide my own insights. The most imminent threat to the general population is global warming, in my opinion. I have read multiple scientific articles about this, but the majority of the population are ignoring scientists' please, which is very concerning.
Another threat that is very prominent is political tensions. especially with Russia and China. If tensions were to exacerbate, then the consequences would be catastrophic, as both Russia and China have strong militaries with advanced technologies. I hope that tensions would cease and we would be closer to achieving world peace.
Charlie These days it does seem like anything and everything is the next great problem that our society will face. I am personally most interested in combatting grid development specifically in terms of renewable energy storage moving forward. I hope to go into this field both because it interests me and because I think it is the single greatest obstacle that we will face as a nation and eventually that we will face as an individual.
Jordan The issues that I feel are most paramount in the near future include an overconsumption of resources, inequality in education access at all grade levels, and the strain of chronic illnesses on healthcare systems. These are the challenges that students for the next few years will have to address in order to maintain a relatively good quality of life and limit internal strife.
I believe the biggest challenges that humans will face in the distant future involve overpopulation, the continued effects of climate change, and disagreements about the ethical implications of advancements in genetic engineering and space travel. The sooner that we begin to address these problems, the smaller the "mess" our descendants will be left to deal with.
Kristan Interestingly enough, I am actually currently reading a book about the world issues called 21 lessons for the 21st century by Yuval Noah Harari which has helped me be aware and to pay attention to world problems. I would definitely recommend to everyone to read that book
Some of the concerns I have for the future are briefly: 1. How will the climate develop. 2. Political powers increasingly failing to view the world as a whole and to focus only on national interests. Which becomes bad for everyone in the long run. 3. Especially in the US, political powers failure to make critical decisions due to the base of fear of bad publicity or unwillingness to make a long term benefit to protect short term gains. 4. Will we fail to keep technological advancements under control to prevent creating a worse version of society. 5. The increasing difficulty of establishing what's right and true.
Leticia Our modern society has a plethora of issues, but I believe that it is founded upon first-world countries' overconsumption of amenities, which has led 'ruling' systems to exploit the most vulnerable in order to enrich and empower themselves. Specifically, some issues that are pertinent in our generation include climate change, the slow (or even non-existent) process of gun control, income and wage disparities, and ongoing systemic discrimination that plagues every facet of society. While many of these issues seem daunting, I believe that education is one of the greatest steps towards reform (by educating ourselves and future generations to love one another while remaining informed about the world we live in so as not to become ignorant of pressing issues).
Jadyn Personally, I think the long-term effects of the pandemic will present a challenge to my generation. Whether it be the toll the pandemic took on our health, both physical and mental, lack of access to activities and socializing, as well as virtual learning, I think it is important that all people, especially young people, pause to reflect and take stock of how we have grown and changed. The Covid-19 pandemic began when I was a senior in high school, and I remember explaining that my life felt simultaneously in pause and in acceleration. As we go into higher education and the professional world, I believe ti is important that we be able to effectively communicate these past few years and how they impacted us. With this said, I am confident that GenZ, a very resilient population in large, can accomplish this.
Bolu Personally, I believe that that the paramount issues that GenZ will be dealing with are the racial issues that still plagueour society, with us navigating and trying to dismantle systemic racism in many different sectors in our society. Additionally, I believe that we will also be working towards implementing potential solutions for climate change since this issue will greatly affect our generation.
Grant Probably just a decaying democracy and huge polarization.
Amber I would definitely say that most of my friends and I are interested in concerns related to climate change (divestment from oil specifically), labor laws, and, more recently, abortion rights.
Olivia I would say that the most pressing issues that our generation is facing would include climate change, increasing costs of higher education, and rising global competition in the job market across various sectors. Specifically for high school students applying to college, I would say that a trend I've noticed in recent years (and one that I've experienced myself) would be the growing competition in the college admissions process, particularly for elite schools. Many colleges have seen a vast increase in the number of applications, making it difficult to distinguish between the nuances of the many qualified applicants.
I think another big thing that could happen within the next decade or so would be the rise of technology and automated systems in many different occupational sectors. For example, in healthcare, I am aware that Al is being incorporated into radiology, surgery, etc. I think that industries that don't integrate technology will eventually be "left behind", so to speak, and I'm interested in seeing how virtual spaces such as the Metaverse could impact our daily lives.
Rachel The issues most concerning me right now are climate change and what sustainability looks like for the future. I am also concerned about the economy driving up prices too much so that wealth gaps will continue to grow so that there will not be a middle class in the US anymore. Food sustainability is also at the top of my list, given that I am a food studies major. I really hope that more companies convert to sustainable and organic agriculture.
Sarah I'm most concerned about the climate and the corporate oligarchy that is the United States.
Dylan Interesting. I'm 24, born in 1998 to lower middle class Catholic Irish conservative parents in Long Island NY. I have no college degree, although my father is a life long salesman and I inherited his "gift of gab", I then used this to network my way into the career I have now. I'm extremely pessimistic about the future of the west entirely. I think it's going to get much, much worse before it gets better. This nation sold its soul in the 80's to corporate America and the banking class. Unions were destroyed and manufacturing was shipped to China. This country is a corpse being eaten by maggots and I find that half the country is rooting for the corpse and the other half is rooting for the maggots.
If all goes south and I get laid off I'm packing my jeep, strapping on my surfboard, and driving from Long Island to Venice beach CA and just becoming a homeless beach bum who lives outside and does whatever odd jobs to make enough money to eat. I truly, Unironically believe we are on the brink of western society collapsing.