August 11 2008 / by futuretalk
Category: Other Year: General Rating: 3
By Dick Pelletier
What will our world be like in 2050? Nobody can predict for sure, but by projecting present-day knowledge, we can make plausible guesses how our planet might evolve and what life will be like in 42 years. We begin our trip by focusing on science breakthroughs that changed our world and offered new insights into what it means to be human.
Earlier in this century, encouraged by healthcare moving from reactive to proactive and the huge rush of data-basing information, scientists quickly unraveled the mysteries of the 100,000 or so proteins produced by our genes. Proteins are the microscopic workhorses behind everything we do – from sweating to thinking.
By 2030, breakthroughs in stem cell research, gene therapy, and nano cell-repair machines enabled the reversal of damages caused by aging. Shortly after that, every human disease became manageable.
By 2040, indefinite lifespan was finally realized when advanced neural research enabled nanobots to continuously scan minds and transmit all our life moments into a storage facility, ready for instant transfer to a new body should disaster strike. No human has suffered an unwanted death in the past 10 years.
Two planet-shaking events occurred in the 2030s that fast tracked evolution: quantum computing, which allows complex simulations of future events, and the Singularity, which describes the point when machine intelligence outpaced human thinking, and also gave our “silicon cousins” the ability to re-produce their robotic bodies, adding increased intelligence to each new generation.
These events helped us realize that tapping into powerful “computer” logic would add huge benefits to our lives. It became apparent that non-biological “housing units” would provide a more secure and rewarding life. Why fix bodies that suffer environmental damage, experts ask, when we can place the same atoms that make up human cells into “invincible” silicon cells that never need repair.
By fashioning our bodies in the likeness of early 21st century humans, 2050 citizens do not feel they are living in a machine; they feel very human, but with far greater physical and mental powers. Philosophers claim the most intelligent species on Earth has now switched from humans to machines, but most people say, “Who cares, I’m still me, and I’ve got my loved ones.”
Our 2050 society is moving closer towards astronomer Nikolai Kardashev’s Type I Civilization. We are utilizing more of the solar energy that strikes our planet each decade and this will soon enable us to control the weather and prevent hurricanes and earthquakes.
Nano-replicators that provide food, clothes, housing, and material goods at little or no cost have sat on kitchen counters since the mid-2020s. And a terabyte-speed Internet connects us to our technologies, provides everyone with free information, and gives a voice to the disenfranchised.
Wars and violent crimes have ceased due to diminishing interest in fundamentalist religions and the emergence of a huge planetary senior/boomer class more interested in travel and exploring the unknown than overpowering people.
Positive futurists envision a post-2050 era that will expand life in moon and Mars colonies, enable first contact with alien life, and allow a few bold individuals to time-travel into the past and future.
Could these incredible events happen? Every scenario mentioned in this article is consistent with known laws and theories of physics and biology, and are within the capabilities of human accomplishment. This “magical future” can become reality in our lifetime – get ready to enjoy.