Saturday, November 11, 2006

My Future predictions

What will the world be like in 2050?

To help you understand we will introduce you to a family called the Tollens. The tollens are both 50yrs old and as is of often the case in 2050 - have no children.

When the Tollens go and see the doctor things have become much more efficient. When they go to the doctor the doctor has their DNA on record. The medical science of 2000 seems as archaic as that of 1800 seems to us. Cancer has not been cured but many way have been determined to fight it off and life expectancy is now about 110. But it will soon be much more for reasons to be visited later.

The air is much cleaner, the most recent round of the “Kyoto protocol” has placed very tight targets on carbon and other environmentally damaging pollutants and every country is a signatory and no one would dare to try to exit the treaty.
Most cars are small and electrical in some form. Hydrogen cars are not used - instead a new form of battery has been discovered that is more efficient and is pervasive through all battery like aplications. As with many other products, one company has a virtual monopoly. There is no fusion power yet but it is no longer science fiction – it is just not quite economically feasible. there is a diversity of energy production methods, tides, wind, hydro power but alone they could not provide enough power - the main method at present is New GE biotech plants (which are grown on the open ocean and harvested).

Shopping GE free is possible but almost everything in the supermarket is unashamedly interest free.

The wealth of the rich continued to become much greater than the poor through the Tollen’s childhood but while you can still see massive differences in wealth between the middle class Tollens and the poor or the rich - more recently the tide has turned this has been driven by a number of major changes.

The first is a massive increase in wealth taxes such as capital gains taxes. With the Chinese swallowing up more and more of the global economy, capital ceased to be the untamed monster that many of the poor had come to see it as. All the protests against globalization of the early 21st century had come to nothing but in a few years when China turned it’s attention to taxing wealth the tide turned. Pressure came upon weaker countries like the EU and the US to fall into line and have equal taxes on capital and this was quickly enacted. The Tollens therefore don’t own their house – there is no potential for gain on it’s value and homeownership is slowly dropping and the day that it will be more or less zero is not far in the future.

The stock exchange is effectively managed by computers. Computers have become much stronger and now central computers regulate investment, greatly decreasing the potential for rich people to make money of privileged information. It would be difficult to invest on the stock exchange and you would be almost guaranteed to loose money since it has become so efficient.

The Tollen’s see the government as being quite benevolent but at the same time are careful to obey the law. Government has become progressively more able to control and control in a much more nuanced way. The government’s presence is hardly felt but there is a massive degree of surveillance. Every police officer and every politician is under surveillance all the time as is almost every public space. As a result crime has been slashed as has abuse of power. While this might have terrorized 2000 AD westerners it is more a fact of life in 2050.

With China’s rise to power the public has reversed the individualistic sea change of the 1960’s and has become much more collectivist. However the country is very socially liberal not concerned with homosexuality or race. Chinese faces are common far beyond their proportion of the population in big business and politics – speaking Chinese fluently and being able to deal with China has become a massive advantage. Chinese is taught in every school, Hindi is also encouraged. Traditional languages like French and Spanish are now uncommon despite being still spoken in much of the world.

The country is at war with a small country in Africa which has tried to breach one of the complex set of international agreements, but there is little on the news about it and the Tollen’s are only aware in a vague sense. No casualties ever come home because there are no soldiers on the battle front. The enemy tries to fight a guerilla war but with little or no targets besides themselves, and almost total support from the other foreign governments, their defeat is seen as inevitable.

When the Tollens buy products at the store most products are environmentally friendly, biodegradable and meets standards that green party supporters of 2000 could only dream of. Technology has removed the need for a cheep vs. environmentally friendly tradeoff. Better yet almost everything is cheap. The Tollens are concerned to make sure what they buy is “good for society” and are reassured that government agencies will ensure that advertising is not misleading.

Mr tollen wears a tiny almost invisible machines hung around their necks and something reminiscent of the old cell phone devices sits on his belt and provides the screen. These devices are universal remotes as well as performing every function such a small screen can handle. At home people still have multimedia centers - rooms that now have screens on every wall to create a “right there” feel.
Technophiles and people in industries such as medicine and politics place the same tiny machines on the side of their heads actually linked to their brains which can perform all these function directly. People without these just can’t do some of the most highly paid jobs.

The Tollens are thinking of having a child – something that is no longer a strange thought for a 50 yr old couple. Human genetic engineering is taking off (although it didn’t change the Tollen’s generation or that of their children). Most parents no longer just select healthy genes but mix them up. However the most common request is just for the doctor to make the standard improvements (which the government ensures has some variety) since this is more or less free and almost any other changes result in a reduction in intelligence and longevity. GE thus instead of creating a “super upper class” as was once predicted has instead leveled the playing field.

In the evening the Tollens sit down in their entertainment centre to hear about the Chinese landing on Mars (with robots) which will build a station from material previous robots have been mining and hear optimistic talk of Humans living in a space station on mars one day.


Blogger Steve said...

Completely unplausible - it's more likely to be like this...

6:02 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Ah, found an even better story. You'll enjoy this one.

Christmas Eve 2050


4:56 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Must be something in the water - I've found another end of the world story. As you can tell I love 'em.

This one chronicles the collapse of the US and compares it to the soviet economic collapse in the early 90s.

Merry Christmas :)

6:00 PM  

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