When Richard Taunt invited me to do this, I should have given him a warning. That my least favourite forms of fiction are science fiction and fantasy.
That when it comes to the future, I am right there with the American baseball star Yogi Berra – to whom is often attributed the famous quote: "Never make predictions – especially about the future." Fortunately, Richard made clear that all I needed to talk about is the past – before finding out who has won Writing the Future, the future of health and care in 2100.
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, becomes 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.
The month of June was an eventful one for the UK; where our sense of security came under question from terrorism and tragedies, to who we want to be as a nation through the choices we made at the ballot box. All the while, celebrations of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and World Pride have only shown the onus we all have to be true to ourselves and celebrate our identities. It is then no surprise that security, identity and choice are major themes in health and healthcare.
Today, 5/5, Writing the Future, the world’s largest health science fiction prize is go. We’re just a little bit excited.
Kaleidoscope’s founder, Richard Taunt, first introduced me to Writing the Future 8 months ago during early conversations which led to me joining Kaleidoscope.
At the time, I was seeking a new job and readying myself to enter the NHS - complete with its vast budgetary challenges and looming winter pressures. Against this backdrop I was awestruck to think about what the world could be like in 80 years time.
Being asked to consider change from a wider frame is not something we’re often asked, or reflect on. In the 1930s hunger killed far more in the UK than obesity; we didn’t have antibiotics, let alone antibiotic resistance. Looking to 2100, the only certainty is that our descendants will be grappling with challenges we can barely imagine today.