Time for Doper 2050 AD predictions!

Via Fark there was this little article from 1961 that projected what life in 2000 AD would be like.

So it’s time for us to use our Doper brains and push past the wall of time into the distant future of 2050 AD. What’s going on in 2050? What have they accomplished? What do they have? Make your predictions!

Battery technology will allow the majority of cars to be electric

Coal will still be a major power source for much of the world

China will be more powerful economically and militarily than the US

A large number of cancers and immune disorders will be determined to be caused by exposure to bacteria and viruses.

I will still be driving my 1997 car but I won’t go far because it will cost $104.00 per gallon of gas.

There will have been at least one major nuclear explosion in a western city.

The current decade will be viewed as a golden age of security and wealth.

The SDMB will have avatars.

I’ll be in my seventies and as cranky as hell.
Life will be pretty crappy.

Realtime, highly detailed satellite photographs of any place on Earth available to any consumer.

Food will be even more processed, hybridized and expensive.

Most people will telecommute for work as driving has been largely relegated to emergency vehicles.

There will be 10 billion people on the planet and widespread suffering due to famine and conflict will be commonplace.

The oceans will be devoid of many fish species and only a few scattered pockets of land will remain around the world in their natural state.

We’ll still be wondering when they’re going to come out with a damn flying car already…

Let’s see, when I’m 90 there will be…

No flying cars (someday Hal, someday)

More prescription drugs that don’t do shit but cause symptoms

Huge advances in flat-panel or projection displays.

California will have split off the west coast or south FL will have been flooded by tsunami

Cuba will be part of the US.

The SDMB gets a new server.

Desktop computers will no longer exist. iPhones will be the poor man’s computer.

Land lines will be a thing of the past.

Pollution levels will have dropped slightly.

Cars will run on water.

Politicians will still be jerks.

There will be peace in the Middle East. That will be the result of a war like we’ve never seen.

Urban style will dictate that young men wear their jeans around their ankles.

Los Angeles will be uninhabitable by honest citizens. It will be ruled by warlords.

Carrot Top still won’t be funny.

We will have flying cars in 2050, because we already have flying cars, only we call them airplanes. If you want a machine that can fly from place to place, you can buy one today. Insisting that your flying machine look like a car and operate like a car is nonsensical, because cars don’t fly.

Cars will not run on water, any more than fireplaces will burn ashes.

Desktop computers will be obsolete. As will iPhones. No one will pay much attention to the exact brand of device they’re using, because they will be so cheap and tiny and ubiquitous that they’ll be everywhere, embedded in everything. And wireless communication will mean that even thin devices will be able to get any data you need. No more carrying around a computer, or a music player, or anything, because in 2050 your pants will have more processing power than a 2008 iPhone.

Everything ever recorded or published from the dawn of time will be available online, in any format, for any user, on any device, for any reason, at any time, and it will all cost nothing. It will be paid for in various ways behind the scenes, but to see a video or listen to a particular piece of music will cost the end user absolutely nothing. Creators will be compensated in some way, but the era of big budget for-profit media companies will be over. But there will be an order of magnitude more music, games, movies, and TV shows produced every year, even just considering English language productions. The amount of money spent on media per capita will be smaller than that spent in 2008, but creators will on average make more money. And it will be easier than ever to make a living as a semi-pro creator, because that smaller pie will reach the creators rather than the suits. Plus creators will sell in a global market, so 300 million viewers won’t be considered as 100% of the US market, but as only 5% of the global market.

We’re going to be speaking a lot more Chinese, China’s GDP will surpass US GDP, but China will still be much poorer than the US per capita. China will mostly do away with authoritarian goverment, it won’t be up to western european standards but will still be considered a normal liberal democracy that’s a bit rough around the edges. And some random country, or a place that’s not even currently a country, that’s currently a war-torn third-world basket case shithole will become an economic powerhouse.

In 2050 people all over the world are going to be richer, with more leisure time, better diets, safer lives, more educated, better health, better environment, yet they’ll all complain how the world is going to hell, and things were simpler back in the 00s, when the threat of Islamic Fundamentalism united us and we all could agree on everything, and kids didn’t listen to that gawdawful KlizBloop “music” and respected their parents.

Brazil, maybe?

A significant percentage of movies will be totally computer generated, indistinguishable from movies filmed on scene with live actors.

Famous actors/politicians/business people will have been “filmed” in compromising situations only to find out later that it was wholly animation.

On the up side, vehicles will be navigating themselves from driveway to driveway with no operator intervention necessary. I’ll give another 50 years before direct user operation is prohibited except for law enforcement and emergency vehicles.

There will be two, possibly three, more naturally occuring incurable terminal diseases. Even odds that there will be one man-made epidemic.

We’ll still be planning to finish up in Iraq in about five years.

That article was very funny. Some things they got close, some they were way off the mark. Dad’s office will be air-conditioned (yep) with


Fairly close, but apparently no one dreamed of the internet yet.

Not yet.

Part of this is right, and there is an allusion to Ritalin, but we haven’t wiped out the common cold yet.

We’ve only got 12 years, people! Better get cracking!

I’d say any predictions of 2050 are going to be either kind of close or way off the mark. After all, there is technology not even dreamed of yet, and the person who will invent it probably hasn’t been born yet.

Air travel will be reserved for government officials or the very wealthy. Travel overseas will be a once-in-a-lifetime treat.

The American southwest will be covered with vast solar energy and wind farms. As will the Sahara and Gobi deserts.

Paper books will only exist as a historical curiosity. They will be replaced with ubiquitous, cheap data pads.

Microscopic video cameras will be everywhere. Crime will be virtually nonexistant. As will political dissent in many parts of the world.

China will be the world’s dominant superpower.

There will be no ice caps. Some coastal cities will survive behind massive dikes, but most are abandoned as the sea reclaims them.

Anyone who knows me IRL rolls their eyes when they hear me say it, but…
House Droids!
Little R2D2 looking robots will be as ubiquitous in the house as computers are today. They’ll serve a myriad of functions (from vaccuum, to internet hub, to security system, to portable refigerator, to other uses I haven’t thought of), and people will wonder how they lived in a house without one.

I can’t wait!

I predict 2050 will be a world where …

… “the poor” aren’t what we would recognize as “poor” and an economy and political/cultural mix where no one who is born there is trapped there by education or resources or opportunity.

… the first designer babies – genetically engineered unevil but Khan-like creatures will be being born. Biotech and medicine will have all but cured most diseases – accidents, murder, war, terrorism, suicide, ODs will be pretty much the only ways people die young. A shockingly high percentage of people today in their 50’s will still be alive and be living like fairly worn down 70 year olds do today

… Genetically engineered pets (Chihuahua-sized great Danes and St. Bernards, Great Dane sized rabbits, Eagle-sized Budgies) will exist

…the World will probably be more or less 1 giant free trade zone

…. We will have been to Mars. The US and China will have moonbases – that can take weapons, but might not be armed

From the article: Jet trains will be guided by electronic brains

I hope we have that in 50 years.

Seriously: New York will have Dikes surrounding it. Florida will be under water as will the islands in the carribian. Low lying countries as well will be under water.

Hydrogen fuel cars will replace fossil fuels.

Desk top machines will be the size of a deck of cards.

Cell phones will all look like Miracle Ear [sup]tm[/sup] and be voice activated.

How many meters of sea level rise are you guys predicting in 40 years? Come on. That’s not science–that’s disaster porn.

I agree that the world will be covered with ubiquitous sensors–not just cameras by sensors of all kinds. The notion of privacy will be obsolete. Old timers will gripe and complain that it ain’t right, but young 'uns will take it as a fact of nature. However, this will not lead to tyranny, because those ubiquitous sensors aren’t going to be monopolized by the powers that be, they’re going to be used by the citizenry against the powers that be. How can Haliburton executives consipre to destroy our freedom when we’ve got 100 independent video cameras set up in their boardroom? See David Brin’s book “The Transparent Society”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparent_society.

We’ll also be eating lots of new types of foods…weird fruits and vegetables and grains and spices that are currently eaten only in obscure parts of the world. There will be ethnic restaurants featuring cusines we’ve never even heard of. Think about what the reaction would have been in the 80s if someone told you that every big city would have several Ethiopian restaurants–it would be treated like a punchline to a tasteless joke.

We’ll be eating very little wild seafood. The era of mass harvesting wild fish will be over, but aquaculture will be booming.

Liberal Democracy and Capitalist economics will still be the most successful social organization. Not every country will be a liberal capitalist democracy, but those that aren’t will constantly fall behind those that are.

Oh, and Brazil isn’t going to become an economic powerhouse. It’s too big, too diverse, too laid back, it’s problems aren’t severe enough to spur drastic change. The couple of random countries that will emerge as “Tiger” economies will do so because they are basket cases–the populace will have suffered for so long that they’ll be willing to embrace radical change.

Never mind the flying car. I want the 24 hour workweek.

Truth be told, I have a 0-hour workweek at the moment–I got so burned out on the OT from my last job I ended up getting fired.

Since we will be one giant global economy with massive high speed secure communications it could be far more feasible for many forms of employment to work less specific schedules or our employment could be done from anywhere in the world at any time of day. We could go on working from the deck of a cruise ship or on an airliner. It is already childs play to track that we worked our hours remotely it could just start happening globally.

In 2050, you won’t have me to kick around anymore. (except posthumously, of course)

If nothing unusual happens to the generational cycle, 2050 will have a Boomer-like generation moving out of childhood and into young adulthood. As a result, the next 50s will be a time of spiritual change. The last time that happened was the mid-60s, so expect some significant cultural similarities.