The world is experiencing revolutionary changes that are being fueled by technology, science, and research.
Technology, for example, has triggered significant changes in medicine, construction, and transportation. It has changed the way people do business and has made it possible to walk without having to carry cash.
Research has also played a significant role in bringing change, especially by introducing new ideas that could never have dawned on man. Research has made our civilizations more curious and has enabled us to go beyond the conventional boundaries of thought.
Thanks to science and technology, humans discovered they could explore space, and they are getting more excited about it. But since space exploration began, there have been no binding laws on how to conduct space expeditions. With great advancements being made in this field, it is only necessary that we come up with new rules because we expect to see more and more people visiting Mars and the other planets.
But it is not the only field that is in the limelight.
Modern technologies like the Internet are continuing to raise eyebrows because they are believed to provide a better avenue for crimes. The dark web, for example, has been identified as one of the best platforms for obtaining illegal stuff and the services of hackers.
For long, humanity has enjoyed the services of modern inventions like automobiles, but the world is starting to get concerned about their effect on the environment. Scientists are warning that if countries don’t cut down their CO2 emissions, planet Earth may soon be doomed.
Even though we have made significant advancements, it looks like we may have to make some changes – either now or in the future – to make life bearable. We have, for the longest time, continued to enjoy the fruits of science and technology without giving attention to the burdens that they may bring upon us.
Today, we marvel at the technological wave that has swept over us. This wave has always been out there pushing for a change and causing us to embrace new ideas, laws, and lifestyles.
That is why it may become necessary to outlaw some acts, products, or techniques; that is if we want to continue to enjoy the good changes.
Some things are legal now but may need to be outlawed in the next 20 or so years. They include:
20. CLEARING YOUR BROWSER HISTORY
Think about the websites that you visit on a daily basis. Now imagine internet companies like Verizon or AT&T collecting your browsing history and selling it to the highest bidder. That is what we are likely to experience in the future.
There is more pressure to allow ISPs to violate user’s privacy for their profits. There are several reasons to get worried about this, but mostly because it is a violation of privacy.
Your ISP will be able to see everything that you are doing on the internet, and it seems governments are beginning to support this move. After the London Bridge terror attack on June 4, 2017, Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, remarked that it was important for British and its allies to start regulating their cyberspace. There are also speculations in the U.S. that net neutrality may end in 2017.
Governments have shown an interest in regulating the internet because they want to be able to paint a picture of their citizens. Surveillance is becoming the business model of the web and tons of companies have been accused of spying on people’s internet activity without their consent.
19. SALE OF GASOLINE-POWERED AUTOMOBILES
Lately, there has been growing concern about the need to change the way we use fossil fuels. Environmental enthusiasts, big corporations, private companies, and governments agree that one of the ways to save the Earth is to cut CO2 emission, besides adopting eco-friendly practices.
Countries like the Netherlands are already working on how to pass innovative green energy laws. If things go as planned, the Dutch country may ban petrol and diesel-fueled cars by 2025. Netherlands could join Denmark and Norway, both of whom are concerned about cutting their CO2 emissions, by introducing electric automobiles.
In countries like India and China, there are already laws that require citizens to only use cars on alternate days to reduce fumes.
New York, Rhode Island, California, Vermont, Massachusetts, Oregon, Connecticut, and Maryland hope to do away with gasoline-powered cars by 2050. Quebec, the United Kingdom, and Germany also hope to go in the same direction.
The reality is that there is going to be a day when gasoline-powered vehicles are going to be wiped out.
Tesla is at the forefront of this dream, and it is helping pave the way. According to a study, the last gasoline-powered car should be sold around 2035 to put the world on track in tackling global warming. A greener transport sector will also mean that we move to clean power to avoid charging our cars with energy from fossil fuels.
18. PERFORMING GENERAL MAINTENANCE ON YOUR OWN STUFF
It is already happening in software, cars, and electronic devices. In the future, expect companies to introduce laws that will make it illegal to perform general maintenance on their items.
More companies are transforming themselves into service businesses in a bid to retain their clients. Companies in Western Europe, Japan, and North America saw the need to stop pushing products and started paying attention to delivering value that customers require from their goods.
This is because competition has intensified and companies need to maintain their profit margins. More and more companies are seeing the need to offer solutions rather than provide new products. These corporations have discovered that conducting repairs, installing upgrades, carrying out inspections, and providing technical support are excellent sources of revenue as well.
In industries that deal with white goods, information technology, and automobiles, there is a new trend where the software and the technicalities of the products can only be handled by the manufacturers.
Such companies have found ways of ensuring customers do not seek the services of third parties, and if they do, they have improvised ways to ‘punish’ such clients.
Car manufacturers like BMW have been accused of manufacturing cars that require the owners to visit a BMW dealership even for the simplest problems.
17. LGBT DISCRIMINATION
It is not surprising to see an employer firing an employee because he/she is a member of the LGBT. Discrimination against gay, lesbians, bi, and transsexuals is real, and it is hurting people, companies, and countries. In 2013, more than one out of five LGBT Americans revealed that they’d been mistreated at the workplace because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
In countries like Thailand and the United Kingdom, LGBT students face a difficult time in school because of constant bullying. This has translated to a high number of students skipping school to escape harassment.
Some LGBT youth face bullying both at home and school, and this has resulted in a high number of homeless teens. In fact, a U.S. study revealed that lesbian and gay young people are four times likely to attempt suicide compared with other members of the population. Due to the constant torment that LGBT members are subjected to, most of them do not fare well compared to the general population.
Statistics show that the high number of LGBT who are forced out of home or forced to miss out on school is a reflection of a senseless waste of human potential and on a grand scale. And the effect is being felt by societies. Think about the lesbian or gay person who is forced to leave the country; that translates to a lost opportunity to build the economy.
In fact, a world bank study claims that discrimination against LGBT members in India is costing the country up to $32 billion yearly.
More countries are decriminalizing homosexuality while also recognizing same-sex relationships. In future, discrimination against any member of the LGBT community could land you in jail.
In the United States, only around 20 states have passed laws that prevent LGBT Americans from being discriminated by employers. However, more LGBT activists continue to voice their concerns. If the trend continues, discrimination against these members may be outlawed.
16. ‘LITTERING’ ORBIT
Scientists have said, time and again, that leaving garbage in orbit poses a danger for space explorers. These rogue objects – some of which move at very high speeds – can circle the planet for hundreds of years unending and are not easy to eliminate.
They include bits and pieces of junk that astronauts and space explorers have shot up since Sputnik I. They can include tiny pebble-like objects to large structures like satellites and unnamed rockets. Some portions of the International Space Station are also considered space trash.
Around January of 2007, the Chinese government – using a missile – destroyed an old satellite and introduced an estimated 2,500 pieces of new debris. Later in 2009, a defunct Russian satellite collided with another satellite from Iridium Communications Inc, generating more orbiting waste.
While the rules have been reluctant about orbit trashing, the activity is likely to become illegal in a few decades because space detritus collect around the globe and will make it difficult to launch satellites or space flights into space.
Eventually, near-Earth orbit may become unusable, and that can mean so many problems.
The outlawing of this activity is also likely to be triggered because space exploration has started to move from governments to private industries like Space X. More people are going to be more concerned about what is up there.
It is not yet illegal to pretend to be someone else (catfishing) on the web.
But the habit is growing and is becoming a concern. For example, it is not uncommon to find a 30-year-old man lying to a 15-year-old girl in an attempt to obtain nude pictures. If he manages to convince her to send the pictures, he has broken a number of laws and should be held accountable, but somehow, such people have managed to hide behind the web.
Catfishing is also being used for identity theft and to steal money from unsuspecting victims.
The reality is that what a catfisher does with a fake profile somehow falls into some specific areas of the law: impersonation, copyright, defamation, fraud, and child sex offenses.
Some lovers have had whirlwind relationships because they were lured into a catfisher’s trap without realizing. Today, tons of people, especially those seeking partners, have been forced to deal with fake profiles.
But things may change in future, especially because governments are starting to get concerned about internet usage. Using a fake profile may soon become a serious offense.
14. SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN PRISONS
Thousands of inmates, in countries like the U.S., continue to spend months or years in solitary confinement; otherwise referred to as cellular, Supermax, separation, segregation, isolation, or Secure Housing. This is regardless of the fact that the practice has detrimental and irreversible effects on the health of the prisoner.
In most cases, such prisoners are locked up in Special Housing Units (SHUs) or in segregated rooms to keep them in isolation from others. Though the practice may vary depending on the country, sometimes it involves being held up in a room that measures 6′ x 10.’
During the period, all human contacts like family visits, medical, or guard is conducted through a metal mesh or behind glass partitions. The practice is known to have adverse psychological effects on the brain and has been considered severe torture by human rights activists.
The argument has been that human beings are social creatures. Therefore, their minds decay and their brains atrophy when they are denied human contact. The isolation creates a state of hopelessness and breeds anger and anxiety. Solitary confinement destroys people and can lead to several other conditions: depression, perceptual distortions, cognitive disturbances, self-harm, and paranoia.
13. TANNING BEDS
Dermatologists call them cancer booths, but there are still plenty of people dying to use them. Various health organizations have declared tanning beds carcinogenic, and individuals who use them before age 35 increase their risk of melanoma by 75%. In fact, some dermatologists have discovered that skin cancer resulting from tanning is much higher compared to lung cancer caused by smoking.
Nevertheless, people continue to use these beds because they are seeking a sun-kissed glow. In fact, 35% of American adults have reported using a tanning bed at some point in their lifetime. Cancer soldiers, doctors, and concerned citizens have continued to lobby against the use of these machines, but they have not been 100% successful.
In certain states in the U.S., tanning beds have been banned for those under 18 years.
Baking yourself in tanning beds once increases the chance of developing cell carcinoma by 67% and causes a 29% risk of developing basal cell carcinoma. It is like literally lying in a death bed.
The good news is that more and more people are becoming aware of the dangers of using a tanning bed. Brazil has banned the tanning beds altogether while Australia and Europe have already banned the beds for teenagers and children.
12. NOT RECYCLING
Recycling is gaining traction and is being appreciated by populations across the world. Cities like Seattle launched city-wide recycling more than two decades ago. The city banned garbage from recycling and metal from yard waste. Seattle, for more than ten years, has required that its residents recycle both bottle and paper and later introduced laws that required residents to recycle food.
The value of recycling is that it is one of the measures towards improving our environment. Already, environmental pollution is a major problem, and there are heaps of garbage that continue to accumulate unabated. With time, humans may not have enough space to bury synthetic waste. This type of waste is already a nuisance and has adverse effects on the environment.
Recycling is great because it conserves natural resources, reduces carbon emissions, saves energy, and minimizes accumulation of landfills.
The world is getting more concerned about climate change and is stressing the need to embrace eco-friendly practices. Companies are being ‘pushed’ into using innovative technologies that incorporate recycled materials into their production line. Just recently, on June 1, 2017, French President, Emmanuel Macron launched an initiative dubbed #MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain that aims to fight climate change.
11. FLYING DRONES WITHOUT LICENCES
Drones are becoming more popular, and many people have been trying to understand the legality of using unmanned drones. These remote-controlled aircraft have mostly been legal because they have not paused any dangers yet. Commercial drone users, however, have been forced to comply with a few bureaucratic hurdles.
Many aviation agencies still consider them ‘toys’ that are not worthy of their attention. Most of them continue to be used for recreational purposes and have not raised any serious issues. But the use of drones is growing by the day.
In future, there may be stricter regulations on their usage. Users may not be allowed to use them without licenses because by then they will probably be everywhere and will pose a danger to the aviation industry.
The current drone laws are not comprehensive and have plenty of grey areas. Licenses will be required because more people will be using them without common sense and restrictions will be needed.
By then, there will probably be a firmer argument about how drones are an invasion of privacy and can cause reckless endangerment. We can envision a future where a drone operator will have to be fined for littering when a drone crashes in a public area.
10. DATA CAPPING
Internet Service Providers (ISP) have had a habit of describing their internet speeds as unlimited when in reality it is subjected to a fair use capping. This has gotten on the nerves of many consumers who accuse such companies of misinformation.
This has prompted consumers to continue seeking unlimited broadband deals that can meet their high internet consumption.
The argument for data capping has always been that when one user starts downloading massive amounts of data, the service may slow down for other users who are on the same network. For this reason, fair capping is applied to ensure no party is affected and everyone gets the same speed.
Capping assumes users are bandwidth hogs, which is not always the case. Regardless, consumers have continuously complained about how throttling is ineffective in managing traffic, but their rants have fallen on deaf ears over time.
When service providers apply these throttles, users have found that their networks connections get severely affected and sometimes get cut off completely.
Consumers continue to put up a fight with ISPs, claiming that throttling of speeds is unfair. In the end, consumers may just win the war, and data capping may become illegal. After all, we may have all the technology that will enable everyone to enjoy the internet without such regulations.
9. CAUSING HARM TO A ROBOT
Robots are coming to us in many ways: self-driving cars, automated drones, and as elder-care-robots. But people just don’t know how smart robots will become. There have been speculations that they may surpass humans in intelligence.
But robotic experts and some scientists claim that robots should have the right intelligence to distinguish between a bad and a good. This is so as to ensure they continue to remain helpful to humans.
As these machines get smarter, it will become crucial that their goals be aligned with human values. And this may mean running into some problems. What if a robot disobeys commands? Or intentionally causes harm?
Problems are likely to arise because robots cannot be as flexible as humans, at least not yet. But when they reach a very advanced stage, these machines are going to display autonomous behavior and will behave like pets or humanoids.
When they reach this stage, our interactions with them will trigger human emotions. We will grow so fond of them that we will need to implement laws to protect them. One of the laws may be criminalizing any harm caused to a robot.
8. DATA HARVESTING WITHOUT THE OWNER’S CONSENT
Some of the biggest brands that have been accused of data harvesting – without the owner’s permission – include Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Some of them are harvesting data to make AI smarter.
But more consumers are getting angered by this habit and believe it is a major violation of privacy. The issue of data harvesting has been a contentious one with web companies denying any accusations of collecting customer information. But even as the war continues, citizens seem to be winning, and soon it may be considered a serious crime to obtain customer information without consent.
These companies harvest data and sell it to marketers who have a much higher appetite for personal information. Marketers use the data they have collected alongside other statistical analysis techniques to predict consumers’ purchasing preferences and behaviors. They are always on a constant mission to influence consumers’ choices and loyalty.
Most of the information that is collected include phone numbers, names, addresses, and emails; however, these days they want more personal information like shopping habits, family status, salary, gender, and so on.
RapLeaf Inc. is an example of an aggregator that collects information about people and sells it to companies.
7. FAILING TO VACCINATE YOUR KIDS
It seems like governments may have to make vaccination mandatory for all kids because anti-vaxxers are slowly growing in number, and their trend is proving to be more dangerous.
Anti-vaxxers are a new breed of parents who are exposing their children, and the entire society, to deadly diseases that should have been eradicated a long time ago. Most of these parents come from privileged backgrounds, are affluent, and well educated.
It is unimaginable to think that there would be parents who would oppose one of the greatest inventions in modern medicine: vaccination.
The anti-vaccination movement has been growing, and this has seen a return of deadly and debilitating diseases like meningitis, whooping cough, and measles. In the past, questions have been raised about vaccination, and all of them have been answered. The science is effective and has minimal risks, which are often well explained.
Medical experts have tried campaigns to instill fear by providing scary statistics of infant deaths, but anti-vaxxers continue to hold their stance. Sadly, the current systems, in most developed countries, allow physicians to accommodate those who have rejected vaccination simply because it is a personal belief.
Vaccine-hesitant parents are becoming a nuisance and a threat to society. But this is likely not to last. Sooner or later, vaccine refusal may become illegal as it will be considered medical neglect. Vaccines have proven to be worthwhile and may soon be considered a human right that no child should be denied.
6. CONCEALING YOUR IDENTITY ON THE WEB
With the increase in the number of crimes conducted via the internet, we may not be surprised when it becomes illegal to hide one’s identity when accessing the internet. Some of the common tools that internet users rely on include proxying, VPNS, and unique browsers like Tor.
Identity concealing is another reason we have tons of information that are not truthful.
The use of the VPN, for example, has continued to be controversial as it enables internet users to bypass some rules or access content that is region locked. That is probably why it has been banned in countries like China. Netflix, at one point, was also blocking users who used VPNs to access programs outside their region.
VPNs have been used to bypass copyright restrictions and have continually led to the breaking of international content agreements. China has blocked most major websites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, but residents still use VPN to access those websites.
Using identity concealing services has already triggered discussions in various quarters, including government and security agencies. With internet censorship increasing and governments getting more concerned about internet usage, it is likely that identity concealing is going to be illegal.
5. MANUALLY DRIVING YOUR CAR IN SOME AREAS
It may become illegal to manually drive your car in specific areas or times. This will probably be among the first steps in wiping out gasoline vehicles.
As man’s relationship with automobile gets disrupted, millions of drivers will have to accept the fact that they can only drive in some areas or during certain times.
The change is likely to happen because we already have technology that can prevent deadly traffic accidents, which is one of the greatest causes of deaths around the globe (1.2 million casualties every year).
While automobile manufacturers have done an excellent job in improving airbags, seatbelts, tire pressure monitoring systems, and anti-lock brakes, they have been unable to tackle the problem of human error: the biggest cause of traffic deaths. But we now have technologies that can change that.
Autonomous cars will be able to eliminate human errors because they will tackle issues like driving drunk, driving while on the phone, or falling asleep on the wheel. Autonomous cars have already been driven for millions of miles and have been subjected to real-world conditions. The results are promising.
In fact, autonomous cars have not been the cause of a single accident, but have been hit by human drivers a couple of times. While human-driven vehicles still dominate, the first rule will be to avoid driving manual vehicles in certain areas, especially within cities and highly populated areas.
Fracking has been praised as the alternative method of getting fuel and can help end dependence on foreign oil, especially in large countries like the United States. Fracking involves injecting billions of gallons of chemicals and water into the bedrock under cities and towns to create fissures so that natural gas can be extracted.
While the process has made it possible to meet demand, it has brought several environmental concerns. Fracking fluid, which sometimes is contaminated with human carcinogens and heavy metals like arsenic, has sometimes found its way into local waterways and has polluted drinking water. This means that people living near fracking wells stand a higher chance of getting cancer among other serious ailments caused by ingesting or inhaling the dangerous chemicals.
Minor earthquakes have also been linked with fracking activities. In the U.S., a shocking amount of fracking-related incidents are reported daily. Worse, fracking companies have found clever ways to gag the public from speaking out; one of them is by refusing to reveal their “trade secrets.”
Already, some countries have stood up against fracking. France and Bulgaria banned the practice in 2012; Germany followed suit in 2014; Scotland also ended fracking in 2015. In other countries like South Africa, Romania, UK, Ireland, Czech Republic and Denmark, fracking has been put on hold as these governments seek to make more informed decisions.
Looking at how fracking accidents are reported in the U.S., there is no reason why the topic should be debatable.
3. INFANT CIRCUMCISION
The issue around infant circumcision is that it typically happens without the consent of the child.
This topic is a sensitive one. Socially, infant circumcision has been allowed for religious reasons (for example Islam, Judaism, and some Christian religions), but medically, it should only be performed to resolve a medical problem that is supposed to save/improve the life of a child. Medically, circumcision may only need to be performed when the foreskin is infected, or when the foreskin is narrow.
The reality is that the practice has no justification unless it is done for medical or religious reasons. There is existing evidence that circumcision should help prevent HIV/AIDS, but that claim has been marked by controversies and only applies to sexually active adults.
So why do you need to perform circumcision on an infant when he can make that decision later in his life? Yet, we know the procedure is irreversible.
Like any surgical procedure, circumcision carries a risk and can create complications. Worse, the procedure is always performed on neonates whose nervous system is not fully developed; meaning they are likely to feel more pain.
Discussions against infant circumcision are gaining momentum and the practice may be outlawed in the future.
2. PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS
It is not surprising to find that plastic shopping bags are missing at the counters of grocery stores. The state of California already has a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. Though the restrictions don’t affect department stores or restaurants; corner markets, pharmacies, liquor stores, and large food retailers have had to comply.
As people become more aware of the harms of plastic bags, these materials have been widely despised and highly discouraged. Just recently, New York City Council introduced a 5-cent-per-bag-fee on single-use bags. The state of Massachusetts also passed a law that would prevent many retail businesses from dispensing plastic bags.
The plastic bag industry is losing the war.
When these bags are not littering streets, they are contaminating oceans and suffocating marine animals, or they are filling landfills and blocking drainages in big cities.
Cancer treatment is experiencing a revolution that could mean an end to chemotherapy.
In cancer treatment, the conventional procedure has always been to remove the tumor in whichever way possible. The most common methods have been surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Though chemotherapy has been used for a long time, it has been brutal on patients. That is why there has been increasing pressure to move further away from the procedure probably towards molecularly targeted therapies or those that will be aimed at specific pathways of tumor cells. The main reason for this is so as not to affect other healthy cells during the treatment process. This lessens any complications or side effects.
The world is moving towards a more precise understanding of cancer; meaning it may be possible to tailor therapies that can cure an individual’s cancer. With researchers getting more knowledge about molecular processes, it may be possible to design medications that stop cancer cells.
The reality is that chemotherapy is killing more patients than those it is helping. In addition, it is only a temporary solution. It does not cure the illness; it only prolongs the life of the victim.
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