Business Unusual

Defining the Earth we hope to see in 2050

Mark Zuckerberg noted that we are often disappointed in what can be achieved in two years but blown away about what we achieved in ten.

Change is not linear but exponential which is why the changes between two events seem small but when compared to the first are significant.

Consider the original iPhone. It was a thing of beauty and a game changer for smartphones. Each subsequent model added something a little better than the one before, but if you now compare the original with the current iPhone 7 you would be forgiven for thinking they are related at all.

With that in mind; we can consider some of the predictions included in Kaspersky Labs 20th anniversary project for what the Earth will look like in 2050.

Given that they are an internet security company it is understandable they consider the security risks as remaining significant in the future with entries on cyber insurance and even hacking of robot controlled mines suggesting the scale and types of crime in the future will be unlike those we know now.

Smarter homes

We can imagine that our homes will get smarter, but one suggestion says that VR will be integrated into a contact lens. One option with that is that homes will then not need physical decorations as the fine artworks or wall coatings would be added as a layer you see when you walk in. If you tire of it you can simply change it. If you and your partner can’t agree on a colour, you can each have your own.

Your shower will be great at delivering water efficiently and at optimal temperatures (hopefully we will solve this before 2050). You would also be able to enjoy your favourite tunes to accompany your own singing in the shower. But, rather than just an audio experience, your surround panel screen walls will transport you to a favourite setting or simply dissolve the wall for you to take in the view from the potential 10 km high tower block you call home.

Stepping into your bathroom, you will be glad to see a toilet still has a place in the home, but rather than simply being a receptacle for waste, it is mini-lab performing an ongoing check of your health advising you of any deficiencies or if you should let a GP take another look.

Megacities

Should you need to see a GP you might try a Trans-pital. These are fit for form medical locations that depending on what is required can adapt to the need.

A future city would not just have driverless cars they would be replaced by autonomous pods. The pods would serve both as transport on a road as well as an elevator on the future super tower blocks. Should your toilet spot something it would summon a basic trans-pital pod which would run some additional tests right outside your home. Should you need some more specialised help still, the pod would whisk you away to your local, more advanced medical centre.

Besides megacities on land, we can expect to see an expansion to homes at sea. The added space could be a static floating city or one that will sail the seas while still allowing you to live and work from the giant platforms. Apparently the units that have a combination of sea level and underwater sections will be the most sought after.

Starting a family would not be determined by a biological clock, but by your own. Parents are having children later in some countries and this may become a global trend.

Civil institutions

Retirement planners used to say that you only need 75% of your salary as your costs will drop after you stop work, but that was based on a system that assumed the ownership of things. That is shifting to a subscription model as more of the things we want are services like the internet and TV. This assumes that almost everything becomes a subscription from your home to your living standard. All possessions are simply used while they are required and while the subscription is active. This is your life as a service.

Would you like to live in Cyberocracy? Taking AI and automation to its furthest conclusion will see even the State automated. Most functions and monitoring will be AI based. It suggests it will create two classes, those who are still needed to work in the state will be citizens with those that do not being civilians who receive protection and services, but no longer required to vote for political representatives.

Physical attacks lack the scope and scale of a cyber one, with so much of our lives dependent on electronic services, disruptions to those would be just as dramatic as a physical disruption. Soldiers become bots, your phone and home is the battlefield. This is a real virtual war.

The Planet

The big one for the future will be how humanity responds to climate change and while some may still want to argue that there is nothing to it, all of the potential great improvements or even threats would require us to first address how we manage the implications for where we live and grow our foods.

The example from Earth 2050 is that Siberia which is now mostly a vast forest will become prime farmland. The implication for losing such a large system that recycles carbon dioxide and generates oxygen is significant although the soil conditions may provide some unexpected obstacles.


This article first appeared on 702 : Defining the Earth we hope to see in 2050


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