Expert Answers Your Questions About the Future

Saffo: People are already attempting this. Consider Alba, the glowing bunny who was grown back in 2000. Thanks to the relentless advance of computing power and genomic tools, I would be very surprised if the community of amateur breeders (e.g., pets, flowers, orchids, etc) didn't have access to desktop genetic tools within 25 years. And of course if the government outlaws it, it will simply go underground and offshore. Humans have been messing with the genetics of pets for centuries, they just haven't had the tools they will have very soon.

Q: The show mentioned the availability of genetically engineering children. But would scientists/doctors ever really go along with that, considering the ethical implications?

Saffo: Oh, there are plenty of scientists who would happily dive recklessly in this direction. And parents as well. We already have parents of otherwise-normal kids who are giving their kids human growth hormone to make them taller. Such people will happily embrace risky new genetic tools in the years ahead. And even if it is outlawed in the U.S. or Western Europe, you can bet on finding someone in China or elsewhere who will happily perform the procedure.

Q: Do you foresee any new sports being invented that might correspond with improving technology? For example, could there be airborne football where they players wear jet packs?

Saffo: You have put your finger on an area about to see huge changes and surprises. Technologically augmented extreme sports is very much a growth industry. Jet pack football players isn't likely, but strap-on powered personal wings are already closer than most people realize. See my mention of Felix Baumgartner ( ), who crossed the English Channel in 2003 wearing an unpowered wing. Jet-powered personal wings have been tested and will definitely find their way into the hands of extreme athletes over the next two decades. But this is just the most obvious of all sorts of neat, death-defying sports options ahead.

Q: Who will win the World Series in 2031?

Saffo: As a forecaster, I know when not to make a forecast!

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