Our society is changing so fast that in many cases most of us are unable to follow along and get easily confused by all the violent, rapid transformations taking place that challenge us to alter our way of doing and thinking about everyday things. Many of these new ways and technologies are supposed to make our lives easier and our work more efficient, but in some cases the results are exactly the opposite.
One way or another the world will inevitably continue to morph and with it we will have to change too. Here are 25 truly ambitious ideas about the decades ahead that promise to make the twenty-first century more interesting than any other in human history.
There will be more cell phones than human beings
Silicon India reported last year that the number of active cell phones would reach 7.3 billion by 2014 and thus there would be more cell phones than humans. The estimation came pretty close but as far as we know at the time of writing this list cell phone totals are estimated to be about 6.9 billion. However, it’s a safe bet that by the end of 2015 the prediction will be 100 percent correct. Keep in mind that according to the same source there are far more cell phones in India than toilets.
People will be fluent in every language
Well, the title of this one might be a little misleading but right now as you’re reading this article DARPA and Google are racing to perfect instant translation. Sooner than most of us might think, your cell phone will allow you to “understand” and “speak” Chinese and Greek without even knowing the language.
Privacy will be harder to maintain
Already, many women in the US are hiring private detectives to check up on their boyfriends, and getting the information is becoming easier thanks to databanks packed with information about people’s personal finances, purchases, employment, medical problems, and more. In the near future and with the evolution of social media, it will be a really hard mission for someone to have secrets.
Our clothes will clean themselves
Engineers in China have developed a titanium dioxide coating that helps cotton shed stains and eliminate odor-producing bacteria. So ten years from now when you want to clean your favorite T-shirt after a wild night of partying, all you will need to do is step into the sun. Yeah . . . no more wasting time or tons of quarters at the Laundromat on top of all that expensive detergent!
There will be no more national debts
Simply put, there will come a point when across the globe the younger generations will no longer accept living under tyranny and will refuse to pay the debt that the older generations created. Countries like Greece, Spain, and Italy were the first to shed the sins of their “fathers” and the way things look at the moment this won’t have a happy ending for the banks.
To sum it up, the current and previous generations have been loading too much debt onto the next generations and these young folks will just give them the middle finger at some point.
Airplanes of the future will be windowless
A British aerospace firm recently released images of its windowless plane concept in which display screens show the environment outside the plane as well as films and video conferencing. As you can see the flying experience will be an even more amazing one for those who love flying and a true nightmare for those who swallow a few Xanax before they board a plane.
The USA won’t lead the world anymore . . .
Even nowadays the USA is not leading the world politically, technologically, and militarily and that’s not a secret anymore. If we compare the current geopolitical scene with that of the ‘80s, ‘90s, and early ‘00s when America was the sole superpower, especially after the collapse of the USSR, we will easily see that countries like China, Russia, Germany, and Japan, are going head to head with the US in major fields such as science, technology, politics, and military power. However, economically and culturally the US is still ahead of Europe and Asia mainly thanks to the film and other media industries.
. . . China most likely will
According to American economists and analysts, by the early 2050s China will have a population three and a half times bigger than that of the United States. The Chinese economy will be nearly two and a half times larger than the American, and Chinese per capita production and consumption will be more than 70 percent of their US equivalents. To make a long story short, China will be the undisputed economic and cultural driving force of the world and the US might not even be second but third behind Russia.
Energy will cost way more than it does now
According to many experts the energy of the future will be about 30 percent more expensive than current fossil-based energy, and the worst part is that we will use more energy to maintain our high-tech society, so we will need a lot more energy, equivalent to tons of oil per person per year after the 2040s.
Cybersex will most likely become a global trend
Our current sexual freedom will be nothing compared to the one our descendants will experience thirty to forty years from now. Cybersex, for example, will be one of the most profitable forms of our future sexual freedom and it’s very possible that the younger generations won’t compete over who has the best smartphone but instead the best cybersex device.
Russia will become a global food superpower
When experts talk about the coming food security crisis, the date they fixate upon is 2030. By then, our population total will be nudging 9 billion and we will need to be producing 50 percent more food than we are now. As climate change lays waste to the productive fields of southern Europe, north Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, and most parts of the US, more water-efficient strains of corn, wheat, and barley will be pressed into service; likewise, to the north, Russia will become a global food superpower as the same climate change opens up the once frozen and massive Siberian prairie to food production.
The world’s population will experience a dramatic growth
The current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to increase by 1 billion over the next twelve years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050, according to a United Nations report launched in 2013, which points out that growth will be mainly in developing countries, with more than half of it in Africa. Nigeria will become the third most populous country behind India and China.
Mass unemployment will be a worldwide problem
Today many developed countries are finding that a growing number of workers remain unemployed for years and don’t know what to do about it. The constant technological evolution and the transformation of the once analog world to a digital one means that many jobs once done by humans are now done by intelligent machines and the problem is expected to become insurmountable as the years go by as we continue to be an AI-oriented world.
Soldiers will use exoskeletons to enhance battlefield performance
If you’re a fan of Ironman then you will get really excited to know that by 2040 there will be a bunch of soldiers (mainly from the US and Russia) who will look just like your favorite superhero. We don’t know if this is exactly good news since we really hate anything related to war, but modern technologies seem to favor and back up this project with passion.
Space travel will become as affordable as a round-the-world plane ticket
Within thirty years from now NASA and the European Space Agency promise to make space travel a reality for millions around the world since it will cost as much as a round-the-world plane ticket costs today. Sorry to ruin it for you folks but have any of you checked out how much a round-the-world plane ticket is? It really ain’t that cheap.
Contact lenses will offer us Robocop vision.
According to Popular Mechanics when miniaturization reaches its full potential, achieving superhuman eyesight will be as simple as placing a soft lens on your eye. Early prototypes feature wireless LEDs. But circuits and antennas can also be grafted onto flexible polymer, enabling zooming, night vision, and visible data fields. As you understand anti-doping testing in sports like shooting and golf will have a new meaning.
A global culture will be forced on all the people
According to many thinkers and sociologists there’s a great danger that our continual anti-racism might transform into a racist fascist social movement itself. A respectable amount of people who are self-defined as “anti-racist” are trying more and more to force their views on others that the solution to prejudice, violence, and racism is one global culture, religion, race, and so on. The question is, though, if all this were to happen wouldn’t the beauty of diversity disappear?
We will defeat the most fatal diseases of the 20th century
Medical and scientific circles guarantee us that in twenty or thirty years people will look back on the 1980s and 1990s and say, “Wow, people really died from cancer and AIDS back then?” I know it might sound unbelievable to our generation but wasn’t that the case with once-fatal diseases such as the plague (Black Death), syphilis, rabies, and cholera?
The economy in most parts of the world will be cash-free
Cash has been the “king” of trade and economy for many, many years but all this is about to change dramatically in the next couple of decades. Why? Mainly for security reasons since many stores, governments, and banks have been tired of being robbed by armed thieves and tax dodgers ripping them off repeatedly. In case you think that we’re being paranoid about it, just keep in mind that FedEx has already not accepted cash at most of its air freight locations for at least a decade.
The climate problem will finally start hurting us
We have been hearing for years now how Mother Nature will exact revenge for all the evil we have caused to the environment since the Industrial Revolution, but in all honesty we haven’t seen any major effect yet in our lives. However, all this will change drastically in the near future since the average global temperature will go from plus 0.8°C in 2012 (relative to preindustrial times) to plus 2.0°C in 2052, and a maximum of plus 2.8°C in 2080. Trust us when we say that won’t be a pleasant shift at all.
Organ donation will be a thing of the past . . .
With the amazing benefits of cloning and the wide horizons it opens for the future most scientists agree that the mass creation of human organs such as hearts, livers, and lungs is just a matter of time. This pretty much means that future generations will look back at people who donate their organs today and think of them as heroes. Yep, the future Bravehearts and King Leonidases will be today’s organ donators.
However, we will feel less healthy than today
Life expectancy is rising about three months each year, but in the future humans will feel more fragile than in the past and less healthy, partly because of their lifestyle. Most jobs thirty years from now will mainly require that we use our minds quite a bit more and a lot less physical movement in most professions that will require a human body. Conditions such as obesity and depression will literally become the future’s plagues.
Chips will be implanted in our bodies
All right, this might sound like a scenario straight out of a sci-fi film but it is believed that by 2080 and mostly in high-tech countries, a chip will be implanted in parts of our bodies that will serve as a combination of credit card, passport, driver’s license, personal diary, and so on. Thus people will not have to worry about losing their credit cards while traveling and we will all be part robot, well kind of. Cool . . . in a very sick way.
People will live much longer than they do now
Biologists assure us that the first person who will live over 150 years—and it will be historically recorded and not just a myth—was born in 2014. How can they be so sure? They claim that there will be revolutionary inventions and advancements related to human cells within the next fifteen to twenty years. Let’s hope it’s all true and not just hot air.
The world might not be a better place after all
Regardless of all the medical, scientific, technological, and biological advancements that will take place in the next few decades, no one can guarantee us that our world will be less violent, less racist, less sexist, and thus a more humane or better place to live. Morals, ethics, and mercy have nothing to do with social development. It’s all about human nature, isn’t it?