August has seen Writing the Future, Kaleidoscope’s first foray into competitions, close for entries. As the world’s largest health science fiction prize, asking participants to write 3000 words on UK health and healthcare in the year 2100, we are really pleased to learn that we are not totally doomed!
Our aim for the competition is none less than to shatter the groupthink of how we think about the future of health and care. Too often five years, or maybe ten at a push, is the limit to our thinking about what comes next. Instead we’re trying to think about 83 years hence – and the practical relevance today of thinking about the real long-term.
Going beyond the 10-year mark needn’t be a step in the dark, but instead a source of inspiration and opportunity to learn lessons on how we solve pertinent problems of today from patient safety to the cost of providing health care.
Having read the majority of entries, the weird and the wonderful swung across my desk, and had me asking many questions, including:
Do we write about the future based on the times we live in now?
We live with more technology than we have ever experienced, empowering us to express ourselves and free up time from menial tasks to spend more time doing the things we enjoy. At the same time however, the West harbours a feeling of uncertainty with untested movements and leaders in government. Does this lead to a bias in how we see the future?
Will ‘health’ and ‘health care’ be more distinguishable in the future?
The competition asked that entrants write about both ‘health’ and ‘health care’ in the UK in 2100. The two terms are often merged in the UK with ‘health’ often being used to describe health care. Will the attitudes towards health care and accessibility of it in 2100 lead to greater distinction between what health and health care are?
Will we be consuming too many resources?
On a global scale our consumption of resources continues to increase with an ever-increasing population. As a consumer society, we expect on demand products and services at the requirement of using fossil fuels and land, which are growing ever scarce and threatening our consumer habits. Will we find a solution to this by 2100 or be forced to cut back?
"From a better grasp of disease to how our relationship with employment, the government, and the planet may change, our entries only further the conversation about what we should be doing now."
Our exciting array of entries have postulated some futures we may expect to see and others less so. From a better grasp of disease to how our relationship with employment, the government, and the planet may change, our entries only further the conversation about what we should be doing now.
Of course, only time will tell what comes of these issues, but in the meantime we can engage with ideas of the future. We would like to thank everyone who applied for Writing the Future 2017 and enriched our summer reading! We look forward to sharing our stories with everyone when we announce our shortlist of six entries in early September. Watch this space.