(If you enjoy these predictions, you can follow me on Twitter at @lemire.)
- Virtual reality is ubiquitous. Some game consoles come with virtual-reality capabilities.
- Volvo commercializes self-driving cars. Other major car makers are not far behind.
- Though it may not be allowed in all countries, there will be “lawyer” AIs that can provide legal advice on par with what the average human lawyer in 2000 was able to provide. Of course, the AIs will be cheaper.
- In some countries, at least half of all new cars sold do not run on fossil-fuel and can at least drive autonomously in specific conditions.
- Augmented reality is ubiquitous.
- 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.
- In many cases, we can postpone indefinitely dementia so that Alzheimer’s becomes a preventable disease.
Some cases of true dementia reversal are documented.
- 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.
- We have 50 TB disks.
- You will be able to shop for clothes at home thanks to body scanners and augmented reality.
- Cities are getting measurably less noisy and polluted, compared to the beginning of the century, thanks in part to the electric car.
- We have battery technology that is at least an order of magnitude better than anything we had in the 2010s. It is possible to run the equivalent of an iPhone for weeks at a time without recharging it. You can power a whole house for days with an inexpensive battery that fits in a small box under your bed.
- Computers are exceeding 90% accuracy at diagnosing most medical conditions, surpassing trained medical doctors. The computers are also better than doctors at “chatting up” patients to acquire information.
- We can regenerate heart muscles using stem cells.
- We can effectively cure 80% of the dementia cures.
- 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.
- Most new cars can drive autonomously on the road.
- A significant fraction of the people over 40 wear devices that automatically detect early signs of disease.
- We have 100 TB disks.
- 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, and sometimes involve computer implants in the brain.
- 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.
- Solar power will be ubiquitous and dirt cheap, able to replace all other forms of power when the sun is available.
- 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.
- The combustion engine has been mostly replaced by electric engines almost everywhere. The combustion engine is banned in cars throughout most of Europe.
- 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.
- Medecine will commonly rely on nanotechnology: tiny robots embedded in our bodies will help monitor our health and, in some cases, they will act to regulate it.
- Highly successful businesses will be run entirely by smart software, with no human being in the loop.
- 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.
- We have a colony on Mars.
- Physicians have been replaced by computers.
- Most people can be considered to have indeterminate lifespans. That is, though one can still die, age is no longer a significant negative factor when computing your mortality rate.
- Mark Zuckerberg’s prediction comes to pass and all diseases have been cured, worldwide life expectancy exceeds 100 years.
- We might have a superintelligence.