Predictions

The past

2020

  • Virtual reality is ubiquitous. New game consoles come with virtual capabilities by default.

2025

  • Augmented reality is ubiquitous.
  • We have effective and safe muscle mass rejuvenation therapies, maybe through myostatin inhibition.
  • We see the first genetically modified pets coming out of laboratories. For example, we might edit genes to improve dogs or make sure that cats keep a kitten look for life.
  • Using libraries or web services, almost anyone will be able to build a simple application with human-level speech or image recognition, cheaply and quickly.
  • For a few dollars, you will be able to buy a chip that is as powerful as an entire PC from 2015, but it will fit in a centimeter square and use almost no power.
  • Though we shall still have silicon-based processors, some other technology will be taking over… maybe something esoteric like carbon nanotubes.
  • Brain-computer interfaces are somewhat practical.
  • 3D computer projections are finding applications.
  • Some of us will be wearing devices that automatically detect early signs of disease including cancer and organ failure.
  • Some of us will have tiny devices embedded in our bodies that monitor our status and release medications smartly.

2030

  • Computers are exceeding 90% accuracy at diagnosing most medical conditions, surpassing trained medical doctors.
  • We can regenerate heart muscles using stem cells.
  • We can simulate the brain using computers.
  • We have clinical trials for brain-repair technologies using stem cells.
  • Governments and large organizations routinely run computer systems, at the cost of a few million dollars a year, that are as powerful or more powerful than a human brain.
  • Older people get enhanced muscles and immune systems. Presbyopia is routinely reversed through safe and inexpensive therapies.
  • The combustion engine is on its way out in several developed countries like Germany.
  • A significant fraction of the people over 40 wear devices that automatically detect early signs of disease.

2035

  • We will have full immersion. Not merely “virtual reality” but something that feels more real than reality itself.
  • We won’t have flying cars, but we won’t be driving them, typically.
  • Most intelligence tests, such as the SAT, will be solved with very high scores by computer systems that most people can access through their mobile devices.
  • Inexpensive “3D printers” can make most things available in a XXth century house cheaply and effectively. Better yet: they can build an entire house, complete with plumbing and wiring.
  • Brain-computer interfaces are widespread, they are replacing other input devices.
  • We will have smart glasses. Really smart glasses. The glasses will figure out what you are trying to look at and they will help. Need to walk in the dark? Glasses can try to enhance the contrast. Want to read small fonts? The glasses will be able to zoom in. Looking at someone you don’t recognize? The glasses will give you a hint.
  • Real-time voice translation that works very well will be common.
  • If you forget the name of a flower, you will be able to ask “hmmm… what is the name of this flower?” and you will get the answer right away.
  • HIV will be eradicated.
  • Some paraplegics can regain enough functions to walk normally.
  • We will routinely regenerate the body in vivo: surgeries for eye lenses, knee cartilage and so forth will typically allow people to regain full function with minimal trauma and be far superior to what was possible 20 years before.

2040

  • The combustion engine has been mostly replaced by electric engines almost everywhere.
  • For all but edge cases, computers are far more accurate at diagnostic and prescribing therapies than unaided human medical doctors. Moreover, software-provided medical diagnostic is far more accessible (nearly free) than medical doctors, especially in poorer countries.
  • We will have robots that can walk and act just like we do. They won’t be as smart as we are, but they will be able to go up the stairs and open doors without looking ridiculous.
  • People will commonly be “friend” with artificial intelligences.
  • Widespread medical implants to monitor and regulate our bodies. In 2040, health-conscious people will wear devices watching for early signs diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia… These devices will “talk” to us. If you try to go many days eating poorly or too much, the devices will automatically get on your case.
  • With a mix of various technologies, anyone who cares will be able to keep a healthy weight for life. Obesity will be curable.
  • Common use of exoskeletons replacing most wheel chairs. Otherwise healthy people will use exoskeletons to help them walk during long trips.
  • People with bad eyesight will get smart lenses that will give them better-than-normal eyesight.
  • Replacement organs grown from your own body, often in situ (if your heart is in bad shape, we regenerate it).
  • We regularly rejuvenate the thymus or provide an alternative, and we generally rejuvenate older’s people immune system.
  • Genetic and stem-cell therapies will be mature and inexpensive technologies.
  • Losing one’s hair with age, or letting it turn white, will become a choice. We will have cheap and widely available technology to reduce wrinkles and many other forms of skin damage.
  • Old people suffering injuries (broken bones, open wounds) will benefit from therapies to accelerate healing at levels close to that of young people.
  • We won’t see an explosion in the number of centenarians nor are we likely to see many people beyond 110-year-old… that will take a few more decades… but we will see people in their seventies looking like they are fifty. Sadly, lots of people will still be in very bad health… but, increasingly, it will be due to poor life choices. Also, many people will simply not benefit from the latest in old-age therapies, either because they cannot pay, or because they do not care.
  • The founders of Google (Brin and Page) will still be around, working hard. They will be healthy and strong. However, Google will have been supplanted as the IT leader. Bill Gates will still be going around the world doing charity work. He will still be quite rich. He might look no older than he does now. I would not be surprised if Ray Kurzweil were still around. If he is still around, he will have published another book (or the equivalent).
  • We will alleviate the signs of cognitive decline through biotechnology, maybe by replacing brain cells or by supplementing them with artificial counterparts.
  • Top athletes in their 50s will match the performance of athletes decades younger using advanced medicine. For example, a good runner might benefit from heart and blood regeneration to give him back some of the performance he lost with age. We will get muscle and bone rejuvenation. Though young people will still dominate the Olympics, in competitions where enhancements are allowed, you will see people in their twenties competing against people in their fifties. We might even see the rise of “elderly Olympics” where people 65 and older compete. Their scores won’t match the real Olympics, but the competition level will be high.
  • Only a handful of us will live in space, but we will have robots living more or less permanently on the Moon and Mars.

2050

  • Highly successful businesses will be run entirely by smart software, with no human being in the loop.

2060

  • Though people will still die, aging will be “treatable” for most practical purposes.
  • Human beings augmented with technology will have salamander-like regeneration. A lost arm can be regrown in situ over time.
  • We will have nearly free safe energy production.
  • Computers will be better than human were in 2015 at most of their tasks.

2075

  • We have a colony on Mars.
  • Physicians have been replaced by computers.

2100

  • Mark Zuckerberg’s prediction comes to pass and all diseases have been cured, worldwide life expectancy exceeds 100 years.
  • We might have a superintelligence.

9 thoughts on “Predictions”

  1. The predictions for the future seem benign, almost a bit too much so. Longer and healthier lives, faster and cheaper processing, faster and more intuitive interfaces…all very nice. How will we feed a population in excess of 10 billion people, with a live span of 120 years, in the year 2060 on a planet with less land mass and more salt water? Virtual crops? Cloned livestock? I don’t mean to rain on a parade, but technology will need to solve real problems in the not so distant future that have nothing to do with the early detection of cancer cells.

    1. The predictions for the future seem benign, almost a bit too much so.

      I’d be very interested in knowing what, if anything, I got wrong in your opinion.

      How will we feed a population in excess of 10 billion people, with a live span of 120 years, in the year 2060 on a planet with less land mass and more salt water?

      Except for Africa, the populations worldwide are expected to decline. This is true already in Europe, for example.

      Increased lifespans in modern human beings appear to invariably lead to lower fertility and smaller populations. Lifespans are short in Africa and long in Europe… yet it is Africa that is going to suffer from overpopulation.

      How are we going to deal with this? The greatest urgency is to pull people out of poverty, to improve their health, give them universal access to the Internet, to vaccines, and so on.

      In effect, once everyone is like Japan and Europe, overpopulation becomes a thing of the past.

      But then we face our next challenge: what if people live to be 120 or 150… and yet retire at 60… how is that going to work? First, we have robots. Japan and China seem to be thinking in those terms. You run out of young folks? Just build more robots.

      But then there is the human condition… what are people going to do between the age of 60 and the age of 120? Are they all going to watch TV, eat and sleep, waiting to die?

      There, I think that the writing is on the wall: the very concept of “retirement” will have to go.

      As for usable land mass… I think you refer to global warming. Well… modern human beings tend to assemble into cities, at higher and higher density, effectively using less and less land. Assuming that the population stabilizes, farming will probably end up using less and less land to the point where much will be returned to the wild.

      As for existential threats, I am a lot more worried about what a few nuts could do with nuclear or biological weapons than about a mild warming of the planet.

      1. “… a mild warming of the planet.” Seriously? Were the ice-ages Earth had just a few “mildly cool” months in your opinion? I agree about the nut-jobs but underplaying global climate (not weather!) effects is a bit worrisome to me.

        As for extending human life to almost double what it currently is, I’m not for it. I agree with Jim that there are more issues with extending human life than benefits. I’d rather see the technology used to keep current endangered species from extinction.

        I do hope there comes a point when computers are intelligent enough to replace government workers. Maybe things will move more quickly…many politicians could certainly use upgrading! LOL 🙂

        1. “… a mild warming of the planet.” Seriously? Were the ice-ages Earth had just a few “mildly cool” months in your opinion? I agree about the nut-jobs but underplaying global climate (not weather!) effects is a bit worrisome to me.

          You are at least a million times more likely to die of cancer than of climate warming. So are your children.

          As for extending human life to almost double what it currently is, I’m not for it.

          Aging does not, by itself, kills us. What kills us are the diseases that it brings, such a stroke, dementia, cancer. So if you are opposed to people living healthier, longer lives, then you are favorable to some of these diseases. I should ask… which ones do you prefer for you and your family members? Cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s? Short of getting hit by a bus, it is things like that that kill us when we age. Death by aging is death by one disease or another.

          I, for one, would rather that we get rid of stroke, cancers and dementia. I do not want to see these diseases in my family.

          If you are ok, with getting these diseases and having them in your family, it is always an option. You can be an advocate against medical research. You can forgo advanced medicine for yourself and your family.

          I agree with Jim that there are more issues with extending human life than benefits. I’d rather see the technology used to keep current endangered species from extinction.

          Medical research is a tiny fraction of our total spending. Medical spending is overwhelming directed toward palliative care. To put it bluntly, we spend billions, trillions, caring for people who are soon going to die of Alzheimer’s or cancer.

          If we could get rid of these diseases, we would be vastly, enormously richer… and so, of course, we could spend more time and money on preserving species. Better yet: biological research may soon enable to bring back extinct species.

          Because, you see, you are going to grow old and frail, unless you get hit by a bus, and you will start costing us a fortune… Aging is a very expensive process. It eats up our resources.

          Of course, you can volunteer and throw yourself in front of a bus when you hit 60, and gently kill your family members… so we can preserve resources.

          1. I honestly think you’re missing the point about global warming and long-term effects to the entire ecosystem, particularly the impact upon the oceanic biosphere that governs so much of our planetary life. As we say at work, how about we agree to disagree on this subject.

            Interesting viewpoint on aging. You’ve given me something to think about. I viewed it as a process where nothing lasts forever and nature has processes in place to ensure things come to an end one way or another.

            I’m not against medical research, I just challenge the desire of immortality. If cancer is eradicated, if diseases are eradicated, then how does one die naturally? My father died of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s complications so I’m familiar with all the costs, emotional and financial. You’re right, you don’t want to experience it and I truly hope you never have to. I agree with you that medical care does cost everyone.

            Man I miss university. I would have liked to have had you as one of my computer professors.

            1. I’m not against medical research, I just challenge the desire of immortality. If cancer is eradicated, if diseases are eradicated, then how does one die naturally?

              You can be certain both of us will die one day. The real question is whether one develops the diseases of aging such as dementia, cancer and so forth.

  2. I had never meant to imply that you got anything wrong in your predictions, and apologize if that is how I came across. I am somewhat pessimistic about technology and automation with one very specific regard – and that is human obsolescence. You comment on the concept of retiring going away, yet I see a not too distant future with automation displacing huge swaths of the work force. I just think we’ll need to address a lot of facets of technology adoption in the next 25-50 years. My fear is that too many people are idle, not retired. All that being said, I never meant to disagree with your own conclusions. There will be more people, living longer and that will require resources exponentially greater than we have now. Perhaps that is where I would personally like to see technology utilized. Just an opinion.

    1. I had never meant to imply that you got anything wrong in your predictions, and apologize if that is how I came across. (…) All that being said, I never meant to disagree with your own conclusions.

      If I got everything right about the next few decades, then I am grossly underpaid by my current employer. Chances are that I made some critical mistakes.

      I am somewhat pessimistic about technology and automation with one very specific regard – and that is human obsolescence. You comment on the concept of retiring going away, yet I see a not too distant future with automation displacing huge swaths of the work force. I just think we’ll need to address a lot of facets of technology adoption in the next 25-50 years. My fear is that too many people are idle, not retired.

      We already have tools that are smarter than us. My phone is a lot better than I could ever be at producing driving directions. It is entirely possible that, in 2050, a computer will do my current job better than I could. If this ever happens, we will have Vinge’s singularity. All bets are off at this point. I don’t think we can even comprehend what this means.

      Meanwhile, according to almost all possible metrics, human beings are better off with each passing year.

      There will be more people, living longer and that will require resources exponentially greater than we have now. Perhaps that is where I would personally like to see technology utilized. Just an opinion.

      I suppose that by “resources” you mean “natural resources”. If so I do not agree. Right now, obesity is a much bigger problem than malnutrition. I think you will agree that we have too many cars and that this creates no end of problems.

      So I submit to you that we have to learn to eat less, use fewer cars, and so forth. Even if we had infinite natural resources, which we do not have, consuming too natural resources is a problem. It makes us fat, literally so sometimes.

      Speaking for myself, I live in a relatively small house, I try to eat less and I’d be happy to get rid of my one car. I am happier, healthier, when I consume less.

      I might be totally wrong about this, but I think that people in the coming decades will eat less, have fewer cars, use less space, have less stuff…

  3. Channelings already talk of what is coming, some of your predictions are coming 20 years sooner than you are saying, for example what you say in 2040 will be coming in 2020.

    This is what is coming: Quantum computer begins at the end of 2017. In Earth there is a lot of hidden tech that will be coming out as the controllers are exposed and jailed. Quantum is one of these. Publicly there are quantum machines but what is going to start at the end of 2017 is a real quantum computer. That quantum age brings also teleportation, instantaneous communication between 2 points without ability of sneacking in, replicators. Rejuvenation is also ahead with the fixing of the tampering of the DNA that was done on humanity, we will have again bodies that rejuvenate (fixing themselves) as the body of a baby does.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *