50 years hence

I found myself thinking about what’s changed in my lifetime and there’s really a lot. I’m not that old (47), but old enough to remember that enough stuff has changed to change life significantly. We segued our way into mobile (and multiple personal) telephony, microwaves have changed life, computers have come along. The entertainment and professional sports (I know, a sub-category of entertainment) have achieved a prominence vastly greater than what I remember as a youngster. Television existed when I was born, but when we got a set when I was five, we were the third family in the neighborhood to do so. Space travel has become part of mankind’s repertoire. Brand names and big ol’ corporations have ceased to exist. or transmogrified beyond recognition. Just sitting here thinking about it I can only think of four couples of my acquaintance (ages late 60s to late 30s) who are (oops, scratch one, on further thought) on their first marriage. I know very few people within 10 years or so of my age who have not had some experience with illegal drugs. I also know very few people with military experience, but the government (almost everywhere) is a much bigger presence in life.

Blah blah, woof woof,…I could go on forever. My question is what do you think we’ll see in the way of changes in the next fifty years?

I suppose you pick any chunk of time to jump ahead and fantasize (ooh, I initially typo’d that as fanatacize and immediately thought of our resident comrade doper - well go ahead and post here, pal), but I wanted to see what y’all think about a period near enough that reasonable guesses can be made. The time in question (2050) is also close enough that manny of you who post here (including me, but that’ll be a push) will live to see it (discounting in advance whatever Armageddon sorts this thread might draw).

Remember the pictures titled “Artist’s Conception of City of the Future” that seemed to be based on the premise that all of, say, New York would be razed to be replaced by the new stuff? Have at it, TM.

The wearable computer will be the norm. Fuel cell vehicles will have broken into the market. Tourist trips into space will be available. The human genome project will have made enormous strides in eliminating disease…

A good start Zenster. I’ve thought of wristwatch computers with neural connections (screw the itty-bitty keyboard - just some training required). Tourist space odysseys might not make it on the financial curve unless significant commercial space travel is developed; but it is fun to think about.

Hopefully (and within the next five years) wider use of solar power.

Oh, and flying cars. I really want flying cars.

(Considering the way most folks drive the ground-bound models, I am not sure this is such a happy thought.)

I think more and more of our lives will be lived at home – eventually, everybody but those in service jobs will do the vast majority of their work without leaving the house, and people will find most of their fun with their various toys and machines at home. For better or worse – I think people will end up lonelier and more isolated, on the whole. But that does seem to be the way it’s going.

I agree. Our society is becoming, at least in some respects, both more social and LESS social (does anyone else see us becoming an Asimovian Aurora?

We use our computers to work, shop, and conduct many of our relationships. But, after going to the State fair and looking at all of the people there, I have to ask: couldn’t this be a good thing?

Here’s a daring prediction:

Sometime in the next 50 years, we will be in a war. Not a dinky peacekeeping mission like the Balkans, or even a “home by Christmas” war like the Gulf War. It will be a long, dirty, hard war that will strain the nation to the breaking point, and include weapons of mass destruction used against the continental US. It will not be the end of the world however.

That doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. It could strengthen the economy, which hasn’t been done by a war since we lost our faith in the government during Viet Nam. THAT was when wars stopped being (at least on an economic level) a good thing.

Now that I’ve thrown that can o’ gasoline on the fire, I’ll quickly run away.

In fifty years, nanotechnology will be use for a great deal of manufacturing; its use in medicine will likely still be experimental. A much higher percentage of the populations of modern countries will be in the service sector of the economy. The “80%-20% rule” will no longer apply to the world economy (but may not vanish entirely); there will be enough affordable food and clothing for all.

Forget wearable computers. Think computers inside one’s skull hooked directly to one’s brain. This may alter the way we learn (“I know Kung Fu!”). Computers will be at least several million times more powerful than they are now.

The aging process may be cured, as well as many genetic diseases. Most diseases and ailments we have to deal with today will be a thing of the past.

Asia and South America will be much more modern in relation to the rest of the world. Africa will still be behind the times, and its population will actually be LOWER than it is now (due to the AIDS epidemic there today). China will be much more powerful than it is today. India may suffer from severe overpopulation; then again, AIDS might have a major impact there, too.

Cities will look much like they do now, except much larger and a bit cleaner. Cars will still be used, but the internal combustion engine will have lost popularity (replaced by fuel cells) due to diabolically high gas prices (petroleum will be used mainly for the production of plastics and pharmaceuticals). Flying cars will be available, but not especially popular (too big and/or expensive). Roads will double as solar panels, thanks to a spiffy nanotech-repaving; this will increase the world’s electricity supply by about three or four times what it is now.

Man will have set foot on Mars, but no colonization or terraforming will be in the works yet. Not much more will happen in orbit compared to today, but there may be plans to build a space elevator (made with super-tensile materials made possible by nanotechnology) to reduce the cost of sending materials into orbit.

The environmental dangers we face today will be no more. “Nano-disassemblers” will tear apart pollutants whenever they encounter them.
While I’m predicting the future…
In about 150 years, many of us will still be alive. Most people will consider A.D. 2000 to be part of the dark ages.

A new occupation for people who want to live dangerously: “Neuroware Beta-tester”!

Ex-President Jesse “The Mind” Ventura will re-enter the WWF with a brand shiny new cyborg body. :smiley:

People will still be people, just like now, just like before. That’s probably both good news and bad.