What can we expect over the next ninety years? If we track expected progress in today’s science and technologies, we can create a plausible scenario of how our twenty-first century could unfold.
The following timeline reveals achievements and events that could become reality as we move through this high-tech twenty-first century future:
More people become techno-savvy in a fully-wired world. Smart phones, the Internet, global trade, and automatic language translators give birth to a humanity focused on improving healthcare and raising living standards. Stem cell and Genetic engineering breakthroughs emerge almost daily. (see video below)
Nanotech, computers, robots make life easier. Medical nanotech improves healthcare, ending many causes of death; quantum computers unravel the mysteries of consciousness, lowering crime rates worldwide; and household robots surpass cars as the most indispensable family purchase.
Improved transportation, longer lifespan, stronger security systems make the world safer, more enjoyable.Driverless collision-proof cars have reduced auto deaths to near zero; hyperjets fly to anywhere on Earth in an hour or less; and except for violence and accidents, most people now enjoy an indefinite lifespan. Future home provide more comfort, convenience and security to our lives. (see video below)
Human-machine merges bring us closer to conquering death. Humanity’s future lies in transitioning into nonbiological beings, writes physicist Paul Davies in his book The Eerie Silence. “Biological life is transitory,” he says, “It is only a fleeting phase of evolution.”
By 2050, bold pioneers begin replacing their biology with nonbiological muscles, bones, organs, and brains. Non-bio bodies automatically self-repair when damaged. In fatal accidents (or acts of violence), consciousness and memories can be transferred into a new body.
Death is now considered no more disruptive than a brief mental lapse. Most patients are not even aware that they had died. Built labor-free with nanofactories, non-bio body parts are easily affordable.
Humanity heads for the stars. Successful Moon and Mars forays bring a new era in world peace as countries begin collaborative efforts to develop space. By 2060, innovative terraforming technologies provide pleasant atmospheres on offworld communities with breathable air and Earthlike gravity. By 2075, population has reached 10,000 on the Moon and 50,000 on Mars. By 2100, populations grow to 2 million on the Moon and 10 million on Mars.
Faster-than-light travel is developed. Scientists have selected fusion power and zero-point energy as the most probable technologies that could enable space ships to break the light-speed barrier.
For example, a 2070s hyper-drive vessel or 2080s warp-speed ship might reach Alpha Centauri (four light-years away) in just 30 days, or make the six-month trip to Mars in three hours. Officials at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have explored other options to travel faster than light-speeds (see video below) and believe that, in the future, humans may even harness wormholes, enabling instant access to vast distances in space.
Can we expect the future to unfold in this optimistic manner? Positive futurists believe we can.
Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.
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