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Life in the 2040s: nanofactories, flying cars, household robots, more
Dick Pelletier   Apr 30, 2013   Ethical Technology  

Of course, no one can predict the future with 100% accuracy, but by combining present day knowledge with anticipated advances, we can make plausible guesses about what life might be like in the 2040s. Over the coming decades, healthcare research will wield huge benefits for humankind. By 2040, stem cells, gene therapy, and 3-D bio printing promise to cure or make manageable most of today’s diseases. Regenerative medicine breakthroughs are appearing almost daily. Experts now predict that the rise in health discoveries will help us achieve our dreams of indefinite lifespan as we wind through the 2040s.

In one of his more widely-read books, The Singularity is Near futurist Ray Kurzweil writes, “One day, people will reshape their physical, emotional and cognitive characteristics as they see fit.” This could make future humans – 2040-2050 – as different from us today, as we are to our cave-dweller ancestors.

Home nanofactories have become a family necessity in the 2040s, providing medicine, food, clothing, and most household essentials at little or no cost. These machines rearrange atoms from supplied chemicals or waste materials; and on voice command, produce the desired product within minutes.

Flying cars, promised since the 1950s, became reality in the 2040s. Riders select destination via voice command, then relax and enjoy the trip, or interact with friends using a state-of-the-art video system. These auto-fly marvels travel streets and highways, and can rise silently in the air. Quantum GPS signals prevent collisions, making this safe, efficient, and personalized ride the world’s most popular travel option.

Robots have become an important family acquisition. Ability to replicate self-assembling robot parts in nanofactories, make these intelligent machines easily available and affordable. Today’s robots shown in videos 1, 2, 3, and 4 may be impressive; but the 2040s will produce versions much more human-like.

Programmed with Internet-downloaded software, 2040s household robots cater to our every whim. They also manage the nanorobots that whiz through our veins keeping us healthy 24/7, and monitor our safety when we connect to simulation events that whisk us away in a Star Trek Holodeck-like adventure.

Interest in space exploration skyrocketed during the 2040s. China and India sent astronauts to build habitats on the moon and construct a new state-of-the-art space station; and an American/EU group is about to complete a self-sustaining colony on Mars.

More than 1,000 humans live off-planet in the 2040s, some with genetically-altered bodies to accommodate extreme space conditions. These include construction workers building space parks and hotels, solar energy contractors beaming power back to Earth, and asteroid miners searching for wealth.

As we scatter our populations to faraway colonies in the decades ahead, we will run across many intelligent alien lifeforms. Some may seem strange, but we share common traits. All life is made of similar atoms and governed by the same laws of physics. If our new friends have eyes and clear skies, they will gaze at the same stars and galaxies we do, and we can all trace our origins back to the same Big Bang.

Neuroscientists have made huge strides in better understanding the human brain. As the 2040s get underway, doctors can adjust neurons to enhance happiness levels in marriages and friendships, and diminish violent tendencies in criminals. This has slashed divorce rates and reduced crime everywhere.

Religions still flourish in the 2040s, though they have changed much through the years. World faith leaders accept that it’s OK for people to enhance their bodies through technology, and most now consider indefinite lifespan, not only a real possibility, but a worthy goal every human has the right to achieve.

Although the 2040s holds great promise, serious challenges still lie ahead: to find unlimited energy, exert technological control over the weather, and become a global village free from cultural differences.

Is this our future? Will humans advance in this positive manner? As technologies continue this ‘Moore’s Law’-type exponential rise, positive thinkers believe that this ‘magical’ era filled with undreamed of rewards may soon be ours to enjoy. Welcome to the 2040s with opportunities and abundance for all.

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


I notice that futurists almost never bring up the biggie: the infinate expansion of humanity to the stars (at least our solar system).  Such a vast frontier opening up will have more of a cultural impact than almost anything else, enabling exponential production and limitless employment possibilites.

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