In 2032, humans may have real ways of controlling the climate. But do we want to? University of Tartu rector Volli Kalm, a geologist by training, was interviewed by uudised.err.ee for a series ahead of the "vision conference" in April.
Which of the technologies in use in 2032 will change humankind the most?
Among many others, one connected to my own field. Geoengineering.
A number of groups of scientists are working on how to regulate the climate, above all to halt climate change taking place due to an increasing greenhouse effect.
A number of technologies already exist, such as carbon sequestration. There are also ways of increasing the albedo by "bleaching" clouds, seeding them with sulfur particles. There are other methods to increase the albedo effect.
There are many opponents of manipulating the atmosphere and its opacity, because it isn't clear how verifiable the results that are coming in really are and what the possible side effects are. It's easier to carry out such artificial modification of the climate than it is for people to accept it morally. There's a certain parallel here with human cloning, which people are not yet ready to accept.
How long will it take to get from Tallinn to Tartu in 2032?
An hour. An hour and a half would be the maximum for ground transport. Civil aviation with small planes will also become a normal thing.
What's most important is that the transport junctions at both ends of the route will be better organized.
It isn't normal when a third of the travel time is spent in traffic and transfers between hubs.
What will Tartu's rector be like in 2032?
The person who is rector in 2032 will have two principal traits. He will speak and write in Estonian and will have made a respected career in the academic world.
Everything else - ethnicity, profession, gender, alma mater - isn't important.
The rector will certainly be a good academic leader. In the Nordics and Estonia, there's a shift in the direction of rectorial function being akin to those of a business executive. By 2032, the role could also be seen at the department and institute level and the rector will also be the academic leader of the university of the future, albeit with major administrative powers.
The rector will be expected to have vision and foresight, and stand up for the university's image and academic values.