If you are of the mind that in the future we will all be made of metal and talk like engineers at Google, then one fine sociologist would like to set you straight.
The future, my friends, is World of Warcraft.
At least that is according to William Sims Bainbridge, who has written a book called "The Warcraft Civilization" in order to make gamers feel even more like they are ahead of the unruly flashmob of the plebeians.
In an interview with New Scientist, Bainbridge explained that the game that allegedly causes some to seek the finest and most expensive medical treatment is not merely some weird fantasy enjoyed by people with large stomachs, long, straggly beards, and the social skills of a raccoon.
No, this game is a portent of the world our future offspring will inhabit. Bainbridge spent 2,300 hours playing the game after his daughter gave it to him as a gift. And the more he played, the more he came to the conclusion that the choices players makes in World of Warcraft are the choices that humanity will make as it hobbles towards the Rapture.
In which direction will colonialism and environmentalism head? Will it ever be possible for people to actually eschew conflict in order to come together? What if religion is ultimately necessary, even if science might claim it isn't? Will James Cameron make 10 sequels of "Avatar" and how many dimensions might they ultimately be made in?
Well, perhaps the last one might be an small invention. But Bainbridge seems to believe that within Warcraft lies civilization's future. (He says, should you be interested, that gamers tend to be far less religious than average humans.)
He also believes that the game "may have the potential to become the first real afterlife," given that every movement is recorded and "the avatar captures their (gamers') social self."
Might I therefore ask all World of Warcraft players out there in the vast firmament what their avatars have decided to do about Wall Street--and Goldman Sachs in particular? What do you intend to do about two-party politics? Should Miley Cyrus be forced to retire at 20 and become a nun?
Will we be eating our lawns within the next 20 years? Will Mars turn out to be full of green-faced accountants? And will someone ever, ever make Haagen-Dazs dulce de leche ice cream that is actually good for you?