It is evident that throughout history, futurists have attempted to predict what the future holds for Humanity. Some have had grand visions of fantastic technologies that may never become reality, or if they do it may become reality a thousand years from now. As well, there have been other futurists who do talk about technologies that will see things like teleportation, or invisible technologies, or traveling to nearby Stars. These are technologies that may have a shorter time horizon, but still may become reality say in the next hundred to two hundred years. However, this book is about the very near future. I am talking about the next 30 years of technology advancements. By the year 2050, I believe that there will be five major, significant, and meaningful transformations that will evolve, and impact Humanity in a profound manner.
These 5 transformative technologies are: Nuclear Fusion, DNA Modification, the Autonomous Economy, Space Exploration and Colonization, and the inevitable Global Climate Change.
While climate change in itself is not a transformative technology, it is a significant and transformational event that is now inevitable, and the world needs to rally to produce and develop technologies to help Humanity deal and manage such change.
With the Advent of nuclear fusion, the promise of an endless source of energy for the world’s consumption is at hand. Over the last 25 years there have been several research initiatives to begin the development of such a technology. The ability to fuse two atoms together to form and endless and boundless source of energy is now at hand. This will radically change the way in which the world produces, and consumes energy. It will enable growth without the costly restriction of producing the required energy to support it. This technology is being worked on currently by several leading institutions, such as MIT. The researchers at MIT strongly believe that nuclear fusion will become a commercial viable source of energy within the next 10 years. Commercial grade nuclear fusion reactors are being built today. By the year 2025 the first test nuclear fusion reactor will be built and put through a series of tests. Such promise is hugely beneficial for the advancement of civilization. This is something that will happen! This is something that we will see in our lifetime! This is a technology that will greatly change the way we live for the better.
DNA modification has already been happening in fruits, vegetables, and in animals. Such genetically modified foods are in an our grocery stores now everyday and on a regular basis. We may not even realize that we are purchasing produce that has been genetically modified. There are species of fruits, such as the Cherokee Purple tomato, which has been introduced into the United States within the last 25 years. This example, produces a tomato plant that can grow to 9 feet tall and produce fist-sized tomatoes that are deep red and purple in color, and are hardy and resilient to diseases and global climate change. This is actually an example of things evolving for the betterment of humanity. One other example is how breeders of dogs have produced animals which have been modified in ways which are family friendly, child-friendly, and with a demeanor that is sought after by the masses. However, there is also human DNA modification which is being tested and experimented on as we speak. This may result, within the next 30 Years, with Humanity’s ability to modify itself. Most countries today, are regulating such research. However, there are some countries which have opened the floodgates to such advancement. As a result there will be human beings that have been modified with selected characteristics by their respective parents. Color of eyes, color of hair, height and predisposition to weight gain, are just some of the characteristics that human DNA modification can make available. As well, some of the most advanced research entails the eradication of diseases. If we are able to modify human DNA in such a way that it is resistant to all major diseases. Such advancement will enable us to produce a “superhuman” in the not-so-distant future. This transformative technology will have immense impacts on civilization.
The autonomous economy presents such change in such a dramatic fashion that it is difficult to predict how will be impacted. The advancements of computing power over the last 25 years has enabled the development of Artificial Intelligence. The ability for machines to talk to machines, computer systems to make decisions, artificial intelligence systems to help with Health Care diagnosis, the automation of manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution, and the most obvious is the automation of transportation with the advent of autonomous vehicles and trucks on the roads. However, such advancement while they are already here, are not as immediately obvious to us in everyday life. For example, Amazon warehouses use robots to receive goods from trucks, store goods on shelves, and later on pick the individual units to fulfill orders that come in over the internet. This level of automation with minimal human intervention is already up and running successfully today. As soon as companies such as Tesla can mass produce autonomous trucks, then companies like Amazon will then ship their orders, with full autonomy, across the country. Amazon is already studying and researching the ability to deliver individual packages directly to your front door with the use of autonomous drones flying overhead. This will have a dramatic impact on our mail service and other shipping companies that are in place today, such as UPS and FedEx. Also, there are affects of the autonomous economy on the financial services sector. Where autonomous systems can make underwriting decisions for mortgages based on applicant’s information provided over an internet. This example is already up and running today at many banks around the world. These are just some examples of technologies that bring forward automation to increase efficiency and economies of scale to a level never seen before. Many jobs will be impacted by such transformation. However, even with the advent of the printing press or the development of the mass production manufacturing line, such fears existed back then that jobs and people will be losing their jobs. However, what we have found in the past is, individuals are reskilled and reassigned to new more modern assignments.
Space exploration has been going on for the past 50 years. We have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon back on July 20th, 1969. We have not stopped since, even though many do argue that the space age did take a break. However, we have spent much of the last 50 years exploring our solar system with robotic missions to all planets, including Pluto and many of the asteroids of significant size. These robotic missions enhance our understanding of our solar system. Recently, humanity have placed our focus on Mars. The colonization of Mars and the eventual colonization of other planets and moons within our solar system, is also inevitable. Within the next 30 years, companies such as SpaceX have promised to send humans to land safely on the surface of Mars, and begin a new chapter of Human civilization with the colonization of another planet. These technologies have seen dramatic strides forward in the last 10 years. The space race is back on! NASA, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Horizon are such companies that are developing successful missions across or solar system. Rocket technology has evolved to such a point where heavy lift vehicles have been developed, and successfully tested in just the last couple of years. Elon Musk is a individual that is most in the media in recent years. His company SpaceX, is actively developing a system to take humans to the surface of Mars, with the ambition to colonize Mars by the year 2025. This truly is an ambitious goal! But Elon Musk has proven repeatedly that his dreams are achievable.
The final of the five transformative Technologies is actually not a technology. It is global climate change. But it is in this book nonetheless because of its importance and transformative characteristics. Humanity will be greatly impacted over the next 30 years by how the planet is being warmed up, by how technologies are being developed to help us manage the change, and the transformations required by us humans to learn how to live in a world that has a different climate pattern than when our parents were growing up. Rising sea levels will be one of the more obvious impacts resulting from global climate change. Coastal communities all over the world will need to learn to adapt to a higher sea level to avoid flooding of their coastlines. There are many major cities around the world that are threatened by rising sea levels, therefore they must respond and prepare for the inevitable. Air pollution is one of the main contributors to global climate change. This will also greatly impact Humanity’s ability to live long and healthy lives. There are attempts to develop technologies that will enable us to capture the pollutants before they get into the atmosphere. Carbon Capture and Storage is one of those such transformative technologies that will change the way the coal mining and power generation is conducted today.
I am in the process of editing and soon publishing a new book called “Future Fantastic”. The book will have a few chapters talk in great length about each of these 5 transformative technologies. There are several chapters within each of these sections that enhance our knowledge of what is going on, and what will be happening in the very near future. The vast majority of us readers will see and witness these changes in our lives, therefore we must prepare! We must learn how to live in a new world! A world that is full of automation, a world that is full of cleaner air, a world where we are all healthier, a world that is disease-free, a world full of boundless and endless energy, and a world in which we can start to travel to destinations within our solar system. These are not things of science-fiction any longer! These five transformative technologies are happening today, are being researched today, and will be developed to the point where they will become commercially viable, most by the year 2050.
By the year 2050, we will all witness these technologies take shape and transform our Lives!
Please take a look at an early section of the book at http://www.FutureFantastic.net
The Future is Bright!