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Earth 2063: a Brief Glimpse at Life Fifty Years into the Future
Dick Pelletier   Jan 3, 2013   Ethical Technology  

We narrate this glance into the future from the point of view of someone looking back from 2063.

People: By 2011, world population reached 7 billion. However, in the decades ahead, proactive healthcare and life extension breakthroughs reduced death rates and by the 2040s, unwanted deaths became mostly a distant memory of our fading past. Although fewer people die, birth control efforts prevent explosive growth, and in 2063, Earth population stands at 10 billion.

Merging minds and bodies with non-biological creations that use supercomputer-powered neural networks has raised human intelligence, rendering crime and acts of violence towards each other so illogical that they rarely occur.

This increase in brainpower also enabled scientists to harness molecular nanotech, which by early 2030s, began producing home based nanoreplicators that provide food, clothing and essentials at little cost; and medical nanobots that keep our bodies ageless and in perfect health 24/7.

Energy: Norway led the world in developing hydrogen fuel cells, which began roaming across Europe on the HyNor Hydrogen Highway. By 2030, fuel cells were powering most of the world’s electric vehicles. During the 2010s, BP and Cal Tech joined forces to produce solar cells using nanomaterials, which led to cheap, clean solar energy. In 2063, solar power generates most of the world’s electricity.

Space: Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic began ferrying explorers to the moon in early 2020s, and NASA, with help from China, Russia and the EU created the first Mars colony in 2035. Entrepreneurs launched the first space elevator in mid-2040s, and by 2063, 250,000 humans live offworld in space.

Though Mars and moon colonies are thriving, forward thinkers now focus on a different approach to developing space; constructing huge, rotating cylinders that orbit around Earth, Moon, Mars, and the sun. First proposed by Gerald O’Neill in 1970, these artificial habitats offer homes with spectacular views, comfortable gravity, breathable atmosphere, and stocked with favorite plants and flowers, and of course, animal pets. Developers hope to complete the first Earth-orbit facility by 2065.

Will this future happen? Clearly, this scenario is optimistic. However, exponentially advancing technologies could turn this bright vision into reality; and predicted life extension breakthroughs may enable many people alive today to witness this amazing 2063 future. Comments welcome.

Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.


Nice , but some things will never happen.  Space Elevators are so fraught with danger as to be a non starter idea. See for the number of problems that need working around to make them safe.

Although the technologies necessary to build a space elevator do not exist today, by the 2040’s, if molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence continue to advance exponentially, this wonder tech may become possible.

I don’t think building it is the problem.  Its the potential hazards that would threaten a space elevator and its constructors/users that are the problem.  Here’s what the Wikipedia page says:

For early systems, transit times from the surface to the level of geosynchronous orbit would be about five days. On these early systems, the time spent moving through the Van Allen radiation belts would be enough that passengers would need to be protected from radiation by shielding, which adds mass to the climber and decreases payload.[54]

A space elevator would present a navigational hazard, both to aircraft and spacecraft. Aircraft could be diverted by air-traffic control restrictions. All objects in stable orbits that have perigee below the maximum altitude of the cable that are not synchronous with the cable will impact the cable eventually, unless avoiding action is taken. One potential solution proposed by Edwards is to use a movable anchor (a sea anchor) to allow the tether to “dodge” any space debris large enough to track.[31]

Impacts by space objects such as meteoroids, micrometeorites and orbiting man-made debris, pose another design constraint on the cable. A cable would need to be designed to maneuver out of the way of debris, or absorb impacts of small debris without breaking.

Most arguments against the SE assume that today’s world will not change over the next thirty or forty years, but technologies will not stand still.

For example, radiation dangers could be eliminated with genetically-engineering people to become immune to the threat.

And as molecular nanotechnology advances, many believe this could provide nano-robots that with tomorrow’s technology, may even be able to create an ‘immune’ area around the SE to protect it from space objects and debris.

Exponentially-advancing technologies could solve all issues that stand in the way of developing this easy access to space.

However, some believe that one day we will harness ‘anti-gravity’, which would make the SE unnecessary. Wild concept, but who knows?

Will the future advance in such an optimistic manner? Positive futurists believe that it will.

Agreed. Space Elevators will be possible, but not practical.

Those who think of them as an ultra-tall structure that may collapse, don’t understand that it’s an object that’s actually in geostationary orbit (its center of mass, anyway) that happens to be long enough to reach the ground. However…

It’s a slow ride through the VanAllens (most rockets use high-thrust transfers to GEO or escape, and don’t linger in them) to reach the geostationary (and by definition, zero inclination) orbital point…that you may not have wanted. Not everyone needs to go to GEO, many users will want/need much lower and/or different inclination orbits, but the lower you get off the structure, the more horizontal velocity you must quickly generate on your own.

And they’re a stationary target for any objects that are in anything *other* than geostationary orbit. Every orbiting object crosses (or coincides with) the equator, and sooner or later, it’s going to be at that particular longitude…

And the necessary light-but-strong structural materials will also improve the case for rockets and all other flying machines.

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