What can we expect from our high-tech future? Of course, no one can forecast with 100% accuracy how our lives will progress; but if we look at what experts predict might become possible over the next two-to-three decades; and then blend in some scenarios that push the envelope – an incredible time begins to take form.
From 2015 and all through the 2020s, stem cell, 3-D bio-printing, and gene editing advances were credited with lowering world death rates from 50 million in 2014, to 40 million by 2020, and 5 million by 2030 (mostly from accidents and violence). As we entered the 2030s, medical nanotech began wielding its power with robots that can rewrite DNA errors. These clever 'bots keep bodies in perfect health 24/7, and by the early 2030s, molecular nanotechnology breakthroughs have eliminated society's most dreaded scourge – human aging.
During the 2040s, non-biological body parts became safe, affordable and socially acceptable; and by 2050, doctors could transfer minds from damaged bodies into newly-cloned ones. At this point, dying became no more disruptive than a bee sting. By 2060, unwanted death – which many scientists had defined as a disease to be erased – has finally been conquered.
From 2050 to 2100, influenced by successful Moon and Mars forays, an enhanced post-human society began a mass exodus to space. By 2100, more than a billion people, protected from the harsh elements of space life with enhancements were living on Moon and Mars, and in artificial habitats circling Earth.
When scientists at CERN announced a yet to be replicated 'anomaly:' the possibility that a neutrino had exceeded the speed of light; optimistic future-followers around the world rejoiced. Although special relativity tells us that particles containing mass can never travel at light speed, researchers reasoned that one day it might be possible to alter neutrons making them immune to the effects of acceleration.
Humanity's first encounter with intelligent aliens occurred in 2150 at a Mars gathering with inhabitants from a planet orbiting a star 43 light years from Earth. With human-like bodies and having mastered faster-than-light-speed travel, our new space neighbors arrived at the meeting point in just ten years.
In some science fields, humans led the way; in other areas, the aliens were more advanced. Both species saw benefits in cooperation though, and it didn't take long to reach an agreement for sharing science and technologies. This accord eventually evolved into a Star Trek Federation-like organization with goals to seek out new intelligent life forms, and develop a better understanding of our galaxy.
To date the group has found over 1,000 intelligent life forms, with most joining the Federation. Humans possess the most powerful artificial intelligence and have become the dominant force in the organization.
By 2100, scientists harnessed 100% of Earth's energy. This has allowed us to control the weather and develop warp-speed spaceships. By 2200, we had accessed all of our sun's energy, which made intra-galactic travel practical. As we trek into the 2300s, we will mine energy from other stars, giving us the power to form and operate wormholes. This will allow instant communication and travel to vast distances in space.
21st century science cured sickness, ended aging and death, and ushered in machine intelligence. 22nd century promises a future filled with miracles almost beyond our ability to comprehend. Comments welcome.
Please Note: This article represents a milestone, as this is our 10th anniversary since we began publishing a weekly piece on 02/01/2004. I would like to thank all of my readers for their interest in science and technology advances presented in a forward view, Dick Pelletier.
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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