So, now that we are 17 years into the 21st century AD, would any of you guys like to indulge with me in trying to make some estimations for what upcoming years may hold, capped at the end of the century?
Here are some things I think are likely to happen in the coming decades:
1. It goes without saying that automation will be a big one, we're already seeing this a lot. I think we will have to adapt to some very new types of work. It will be a hard road.
2. I think we will reach an upper ceiling in how many transistors we can get onto a computer chip, resulting in a slowing of progress in the field of computer hardware. Perhaps part of this will be circumvented by an increase in the efficiency of varying types of software? I'm not a computer scientist.
3. I expect China vs. USA will be the USSR vs. USA of this century. I can't predict who will come out on top. On that note, I expect China to develop a sort of hegemony over much of Africa.
4. I think biotechnology will be huge. I expect that the suffering caused by a wide variety of illnesses and disorders will be curbed, and in many cases made things of the past by advancements in biology and medicene, especially genetics, and that many diseases will become purely historical. I also think we are likely to see some limited examples of resurrecting extinct species. I think the genetic modification of food crops will continue to yield positive effects for humanity. We'll also see a huge proliferation of robotics being used to augment medical treatment and replace lost organs. I think biotech will do more, but the rest is a black box.
5. This is mostly black box stuff, but I think our understanding of the brain will advance rapidly. The effects of this will depend on what wonders we find. I think Brain to Computer interfaces, surgical/biological treatments for certain mental illnesses are very likely to come true soon. The rest I can't begin to imagine realistically. It will be wonderful.
6. Islam and Buddhism will surpass Christianity in number of adherents. The number of atheists/agnostics/ect will continue to grow as well.
7. Russia will fall apart, and Poland will take part of the power vacuum in Eastern Europe that forms as a result.
Anyone else willing to throw in any ideas?

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To really be rational, we'd need to assess probabilities on something other than feelings.  But let's have fun instead.

* Terror in most of the world by 2050, not just on the screens, but to people you know or cities you live in or visit regularly.

* China sending Christian missionaries to the USA by 2080.  (And the reverse.)

* Germany, Spain, Greece, and Italy become known as nations of immigrants, as USA, Canada, Oz and NZ are now, as people move in to replace the dying-out locals.  German becomes a minority language in Germany.

* Advancements in tech, but that's obvious.

* AI starts to automate white-collar jobs (not data entry, but things that require thought)

* Still no vacations on the moon.  Dammit.

Here are some of my predictions for this century:

Technology

Machine Learning will make driverless cars the norm. People will fight it at first, but will then get used to it, then dependent on it. A future article on the Art of Manliness will be something like "How your Grandparents Used to Drive." Truck driving will be a nonexistent profession.


Virtual Reality will become really good and people will spend more of their life "plugged in." This will create new psychological problems we haven't seen yet. People won't be able to tell the difference between reality and virtual reality and we'll see crazy stuff. Many might think this won't happen, but look at how people currently are on social media. Many mindlessly scroll through Facebook hours at a time, and it's just a boring blue and white screen.

Political/Economics

I think more and more people will work less (because laziness, depression, and no lower income jobs), requiring a Universal Basic Income for these citizens. They will live in government housing and "just exist." But they won't mind because they'll be happily plugged into VR. It sounds like a prison camp now, but when the time comes I bet it'll sound like a humane solution.

Transportation

Around the world in 80... minutes, or something like that. A mix between fast trains and planes.

Medicine/Biology

We'll be messing with genetics more. Parent's will pre-select genes for their children. Some diseases will become non-existent. But I don't think life expectancy will increase because of our tech dependent lifestyle. We'll see the true negative effects of sitting for 16 hours a day at a computer screen for 30 years.

Space Exploration

We'll be mining on astroids and land man on Mars, but space exploration will still be moving slow because it's not a national priority. Hopefully we'll get some robots landed on Jupiter's moon Europa, drill through the ice, and see if there's something alive down there.

All of these predictions sound bleak to someone who grew up in the '70's; without computers and most activities enjoyed outdoors with peace of mind while enjoying nature. 

I do notice that most of our 'entertainment' is dystopian and shows more and more contact with aliens from other planets, so I think with sci-fi as a predictor, those are seeming more possible and closer to the horizon. 

With advances in AI, I also think we humans will need a new 'work paradigm' and perhaps a socialist society. 

Astounding leaps.

We're at a milestone in human knowledge. First came writing, then came libraries. 

After libraries, computers came along.

After computers, the internet came along.

After the internet, the last hurdles to clear are data storage capacity and data transmission speed.

They are largely cleared.

Now comes data utilization.

1. The theory that the Chinese will rise to surpass the USA will turn out to be a false prediction (much like how in the 40s the Soviet rise, 70s Japanese rise, and 80s/90s EU rise were also false). Like the Soviet's, China's controlled economy is great for whipping serfs but becomes sclerotic and corrupt when moving from a developing to developed economy. Also, unlike Anglo nations and their gift at forming friends (even false ones), china sucks at ally forming and as it grows (and becomes more belligerent and demanding of foreigners to both apologise and bow down) its neighbours will continue to become more hostile to it. Finally, unless they act soon, China's one-child policy will doom their rise as they become a nation of elders lacking the youth and vitality to conquer the world stage. Unless a world altering event like another WWII happens soon, I think India will be the next nation to challenge America's hegemony. Young demographically, truly innovative (as opposed to China's xerox approach to innovation), democratic. They are the future superpower, not China.
2. Changes in manufacturing tech like 3D printing will shift low-wage manufacturing (currently the economic engine for developing nations) back to nations like the USA but won't bring back jobs. These will be further automated.
3. Nukes will become a part of the battlefield. Not the city crushing mega bombs of the Cold War but smaller ones. Some nation will use one, possibly in a border battle between India/Pakistan, NK/SK, or Israel/Iran, and this will, after the world freaks out for a bit, become a part of combat like tanks and drones are today.
4. The UN will collapse, world trade collapse, something terrible will happen (?WWIII), and a new version of these will be born after this disaster.
5. The last living participants of WWII are dying now, I think this makes major war more likely since we no longer truly remember how bad it is.

The last living participants of WWII are dying now, I think this makes major war more likely since we no longer truly remember how bad it is.

You sure got that right

2. Changes in manufacturing tech like 3D printing will shift low-wage manufacturing (currently the economic engine for developing nations) back to nations like the USA but won't bring back jobs. These will be further automated.

I never thought about it like that, but you're right. Once the human is taken out of manufacturing, the US will get the work back, although it will be automated.

As long as Hinduism and primitive culture has the stranglehold it does on India, it won't advance too far. People litter the streets thoughtlessly, for someone of a lower caste to clean it up. They, as an institution, hang onto the outside of trains because their infrastructure can't support their populace. I need not even mention the poo that needs taking to the loo.

Eyewitness account?  Rumor?  Something else?

I have a couple missionary friends who can verify the first two, and I'm sure Google Images can back it up. The take the poo to the loo thing is famous.

Some foreigners would argue that Christian fundamentalism has a strangle hold on America. They'd be wrong too.

India has problems. It's still a developing nation. Hence why my prediction is about the future. I see lots of potential for them where I see a lot of big hazards for China's ascension.

I've heard exactly the same thing via many eyewitness accounts, also from missionaries.

The caste system is most certainly what is crippling India, and while personal hygine isn't so much an issue, municipal sanitation/litter certainly is. It's a cultural thing.

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