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.