Curiosity rover
Images courtesy of NASA

Rob Manning '80, engineering manager for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, delivered Whitman's 129th Commencement address. Acclaimed for his work on the Curiosity Rover currently exploring the Red Planet, Manning told graduates to boldly go.

You will look great on your 110th birthday. You will be among the first to tell tales spanning three centuries.

You will be able to talk to a robot like you talk to your closest friend, but you will not completely trust him.

The Internet will prove to be a valuable contribution to society.

“Road rage” will be the name of the computer virus that got into your self-driving car.

You too will feel conflicted when your smart-watch and all of the other smart objects in your house will unionize against you.

You will live in a world where the inner workings of the human mind will be fully mapped, but you will still not be able to find the humor in your husband’s jokes or understand your wife’s need to tell her friends everything.

You will see people walk on Mars. They will get dusty, cold and tire of salmon-colored skies. They will want to come home.

Robots to the outer planets will find single cell life lurking in the depths of the vast oceans of the icy moons. The life will politely ask us to leave.

Starbucks will plumb coffee into homes across America but it will still be more fun to hang around the baristas.

You will learn to love GMO vegetables, like those caffeine-laden carrots that work nearly as well as the Starbucks from the faucet.