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The Cwmbwrla Connections Advent Calendar - Day Seventeen

DECEMBER 17TH - SEEING THE 22ND CENTURY

On this day in 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright, two brothers from Ohio, made the first powered flight in history. Just a few years before, respected figures in the scientific world including Thomas Edison had insisted that flying machines were an impossible dream.

Telling people to give up on their inventiveness and their dreams is a bad habit, and in the early days of the twentieth century it was all too common. In 1900, serious consideration was given to closing the UK patent office. Many people believed that everything worth inventing had been invented. Anyone who has ever switched on a TV, bought a plane ticket or wondered at our ability to send a man to the Moon will be relieved that we didn’t draw a line under human ingenuity while Queen Victoria was still on the British throne. We kept the patent office open. We kept the lights on and the spark alive, and over a century later we’re still creating, still inventing, still moving forward.

This has been a strange and testing year, but we’ve survived it and we’ll come back stronger in 2021. Parents who’ve worked hard to make things as normal and comfortable as possible for their children this year might ask what the future holds for them. We don’t have a crystal ball but here’s some food for thought.

Medical research tells us that British children born in the year 2010 have a 50/50 chance of living to the age of 90. In other words, of living to see the 22nd century. And children born this year have an average life expectancy of 81, so their chances of making it to the year 2100 are even better.

We can’t predict what jobs they might end up doing or what technology they might end up using, because it’s quite possible that those things don't even exist yet. The kids you worked so hard to protect and support this year are going to see a world we can’t even imagine.

They’re going to see the 22nd century.




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