All futurism is speculation. It's time someone made some claims. I've picked developments I honestly consider plausible. Here are my 11 predictions for the world of 2030. I'm backing these claims up with previous writings. To access the relevant article, just click the title of each point.
A tiny computer that fits in your ear, and translates what you hear into your own language? It’s not farfetched at all. In fact, all the requisite technology exists today, and all that’s missing is for someone to connect the dots.
2. By 2030, thousands, perhaps millions, of people will have a life expectancy of 150 years.
Aubrey de Grey says: I think we have a 50% chance of achieving medicine capable of getting people to 200 in the decade 2030-2040. Presuming we do indeed do that, the actual achievement of 200 will probably be in the decade 2140-2150 - it will be someone who was about 85-90 at the time that the relevant therapies were developed.
3. By 2030, only 2% of the world's population will live in extreme poverty.
The eradication of extreme poverty will happen in our lifetime. In 1990, 42% of the world’s population lived on less than $1.25 (constant 2000 dollars, PPP). In 2005, that number had fallen to 25%. The UN estimates that by 2020, only 10% of world citizens will live in absolute poverty. My bold estimate is that by 2030, only one in 50 will.
Soil-based agriculture is so passé. Nothing short of an agricultural revolution is underway, spurred on by visionary Dr. Dickson Despommier of Columbia University. His plan is to build 30-story greenhouses in cities around the world, which will allow us to produce more food, for less money, in a healthier way, while freeing up arable land for nature.
5. By 2030, driverless cars will be commonplace.
I'm sure you've dreamed it: Getting into a car, kicking your shoes off and leaning back with a good movie and a cold beer while your self-driven car takes you safely to your destination, without your having to worry about directions or pedestrians. Well, the technology we need to make that car exists.
6. By 2030, 18 cities will have more than 20 million inhabitants, and New York City will be the 16th largest city in the world.
I actually think this is a conservative estimate. Although global population is increasing at a staggering pace, the world's cities have an ever higher growth rate. At present, 50% of the world's population live in urban areas, but by 2030 that figure is projected at 60%. And 93% of that urban growth will occur in developing countries.
7. By 2030, automated flying drones will transport humans.
Probably a lot sooner, actually. Developing a well functioning delivery drone network will pave the way for confidence in a practical network of drones delivering people. Humans have notoriously poor navigation skills in three-dimensional environments, so unmanned aerial vehicles seem a safer option than those prone to human error.
The Space Island Group, in cooperation with British Airways, is planning to build an international, multi-purpose, commercial space station which, to begin with, will include hotels, research facilities, gourmet restaurants, and sports arenas (for new zero-gravity sports) along with dozens of other uses which can't be imagined today. SIG is but one of a handful of companies working on similar projects.
Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) technology will enable us to create movies with animated characters so lifelike that they become indistinguishable from humans, rendering actors (in film anyway) obsolete.
Today, 90% of people in the UK and 80% of Americans live in cities, while in China only 46% do. The UK has five urban areas with more than one million inhabitants. The US has 37. China has 90. That's today, and whereas the UK and the US have peaked in terms of urbanization, China is only half-way urbanized. The consultancy firm McKinsey predicts that China will have 220 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants by 2025.
11. By 2030, a large number of people will have robot lovers.
This is perhaps my boldest prediction.When I ask guys if they’d get a robot girlfriend, most of them intuitively say no. They think robot and they think metal, wires, awkward motions and an empty stare. I’d say no to that too, if those were my associations with the word robot. But what if your robot partner looked, felt, sounded and even talked like a human? Robots that are physically indistinguishable from humans are only 15-20 years away.
If you'd like to add a prediction of your own to this list, or you fervently disagree with specific claims, please let me know in the comments below.
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