When men will be mothers and women will be fathers…

The past 60 years, mankind experienced more changes in their way of life and their vision of the world than in the past 12000 years, since the Neolithic agricultural revolution. 15 years ago, I met a 104 years-old woman. She explained to me that when she was 14, she saw a small circus settling their caravans near the river, in the meadow who was just behind her actual building. Of course, today the place is covered with concrete, and nearly in the middle of the city, but that’s not the point. The old lady told me that town people were gathering around the group from the circus. “It was the first time I ever saw a black man,” she told me. I was impressed. Nowadays, we hear about any remote tribe when they cross a river, instantly. We live in a connected world, and it changes our social organization every day, one little element at a time.

Technology is changing us, as individuals, but also as social groups. More countries now allow same sex marriage, which would probably have shocked nearly everyone in the times when the Old Lady was still in her teenage years. It would even have shocked a lot of people just 30 years ago, but now, it’s an evolution in our social organization. Some object to it, talking about the laws of nature, but mankind doesn’t follow these laws anymore: there are ways to fight illnesses which would have killed millions in the past, ways to correct physical disabilities, ways to help infertile couples to have children, ways for women to decide when they don’t want a child…

Of course, there are lots of philosophical, religious and political debates over all these changes, there will always be, and that’s natural. But in the meantime, the social organization is evolving. Whether or not we like this evolution is irrelevant: we don’t live in the 50’s anymore, and we don’t have the old times social values, or at least, they’re not mainstream anymore. What is now considered “weird” might be the new mainstream in 20 years. That’s how societies evolve.

Some of these changes seem bigger than others. This morning, when I found this article at io9, I thought about some type of hoax, at first. Men able to produce eggs and women to produce sperm, that was quite surprising. I immediately went to the original news, on Scientific American… And yes, infertility treatment could eventually lead one day to a form of human reproduction which wouldn’t be strictly gender-related. Couples of two men, or of two women, could have kids, with both their genetic materials. Of course, it is not done yet, but the possibility exists, theoretically.

In which world will we live 30 years from now? The first Mars colony will probably be established, with a lot of hard physical work for the settlers, but they’ll still be connected to the interplanetary Internet. People on Earth and beyond will have Google contact lenses implanted, as well as a few other cybernetic add-ons. Their credit card and social security card will be under their skin, in readable chips. There will be less teachers, more virtual classes in any remote village, using holographic 3d technologies and interactive sensors. Kids will talk about their folks, they might still use “daddy” and “mommy”, but their parent’s genders won’t be an issue, or at least it won’t matter more than if their parents are married, single or divorced. We’ll connect to knowledge data banks using our brain waves through some quantum computer implants.

Unemployment, poverty… Maybe they’ll be worse, or maybe we’ll find a way to reduce them, I don’t know. But what is certain is that tomorrow’s society will seem as strange to us than nowadays world appears to an old lady born in the first years of the 20th century.