The impending edition of The Futurist magazine contains some thoughts about how our collective future might evolve, written by Dick Pelletier who is a science and technology columnist and futurist, and editor of the Positive Futurist weekly newsletter and Web site, www.positivefuturist.com/about.html
“What can we expect over the next nine decades? Of course, no one can accurately predict the future this far in advance, but if we multi-track breakthroughs in major technologies, then we can create a plausible scenario of how the future could unfold.
The following timeline reveals achievements and events that could become reality as we trek through the twenty-first century:
2010s: More people become techno-savvy in a fully wired world. Smartphones, the Internet, global trade, and language translators give birth to a humanity focused on improving health care and raising living standards. Stem cell and genetic engineering breakthroughs emerge almost daily.
2020s: Nanotech, computers, robots make life easier. Medical nanotech improves health care, ending many causes of death. Quantum computers unravel the mysteries of consciousness, lowering crime rates worldwide. Household robots surpass cars as the most indispensable family purchase.
2030s: Improved transportation, longer life spans make the world more enjoyable. Driverless cars have reduced auto deaths to near zero. Except for violence and accidents, most people enjoy an indefinite life span. Children born in the 2030s are predicted to live well into the next millennium.
2040-2060: Human–machine merges bring us closer to conquering death. Humanity’s future lies in transitioning into nonbiological beings, writes physicist Paul Davies in his book The Eerie Silence (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010). “Biological life is transitory,” he says. “It is only a fleeting phase of evolution.”
By 2050, bold pioneers begin replacing their biology with nonbiological muscles, bones, organs, and brains. Non-bio bodies automatically self-repair when damaged. In fatal accidents (or acts of violence), consciousness and memories can be transferred into a new body, and victims simply continue life in their new body. Death is now considered no more disruptive than a brief mental lapse. Most patients are not even aware they had died. Built labor-free with nanofactories, non-bio body parts are easily affordable.
2060-2075: Humanity heads for the stars. Successful Moon and Mars forays bring a new era in world peace as countries begin collaborative efforts to develop space.
By 2060, terraforming efforts provide pleasant atmospheres on off-world communities with breathable air and Earthlike gravity. By 2075, population has reached 10,000 on the Moon and 50,000 onMars. By 2100, populations grow to 2 million on the Moon and 10 million on Mars.
2075-2100: Faster-than-light travel is developed. Scientists have selected fusion power and zero-point energy as the most probable technologies that could enable spaceships to break the light-speed barrier.
For example, a 2070s hyper-drive vessel or 2080s warp-speed ship might reach Alpha Centauri (four light-years away) in just 30 days, or make the six-month trip to Mars in three hours. Officials at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have explored other options to travel faster than light-speeds and believe that, in a distant future, humans may even harness wormholes, enabling instant access to vast distances in space.