The Most optimistic scientists agree that massive overcrowding is just getting started (wait until we all try to pack ourselves aboard the spaceship!), and it's just begun to dawn on us that many living creatures we enjoy or need are space-wasting and could easily be replaced with computerized, mechanical substitutes.
We all wanted childhood friends, sure, but they often ate cookies we expected to eat, and they selfishly refused to let us play with their toys, so we often had to beat them, which made them bleed or swell up, and that got us into serious trouble with adults. Now American know-how is developing a wide variety of robot chums that will talk to kids, follow them around on cute little feet or treads and even urinate on them.
Of course, the experimental models they come up with next may now and then get a mite too clever, but they'll be awfully surprised to learn that Daddy has bought a little gadget of his own to cover that eventuality.
Pets will be a natural for mechanical replacement, though there may bebugs in the earlier devices.
Many a would-be mom and pop, debt-ridden for life from their college education and unable to afford flesh-and-blood offspring, will buy computerized children that can be traded in for computerized adolescents.
Later, when the pretend parents get on in years and feel like playing Grandpa and Grandma, they can trade their matured offspring back in for a fresh new set of little tots, which will make appealing walking planters and handy mobile end tables....
And if the old folks get cranky, they can indulge themselves in acting out a fantasy that has crossed many a grandparent's mind on long, rainy afternoons.
The wildest and most glorious imaginings of men will at last be realized when customized, perfect lovers come onto the market. They will be programmed with the "Kama Sutra," just for starters....
And, of course, they will all have built-in rheostats.
The Pentagon will be computerized, though not without some flawed prototypes at the start.
Politics will finally be perfected when political offices are held by genuinely artificial mayors, Congressmen and, yes--most decidedly--Presidents.
In the end, we will all be replaced by tidier replicas of ourselves, and in many ways it will be a great improvement: All the trains will finally run on time; the streets of our cities will be spotlessly clean; and there will be no starvation anywhere in all the world, except for the occasional power failure.
It's a pity no one will be there to notice.