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Our 2020 future – healthier, more fun, more enjoyable

By Dick Pelletier

            As our 21st century unfolds, revolutionary changes will appear at overwhelming speeds. Most of these changes will be driven by three major happenings – increase in computing speeds, more thorough understanding of the human genome, and advances in nanotechnology.

            By 2020, computer power will grow exponentially, which will help researchers unravel many of our genetic mysteries – and nanotechnology, the science of building things one atom at a time, will provide us with a host of miracles that promise enormous changes in our lives.

            Changes we can expect by 2020

  • Cancer and heart disease deaths are expected to diminish or disappear completely according to the National Institutes of Health.
  • Organ transplants won’t be needed. Doctors will grow new organs from a patient’s own tissues.
  • Coronary bypass procedures will be passé as doctors use gene therapies to grow new blood vessels to replace those that are blocked.
  • False teeth will be replaced by stem cell therapies that grow natural teeth. Clinical trials of this new procedure are underway in Europe now.
  • Your signature on a legal document will be considered quaint because of biometric Identification – iris, fingerprint, and voice-recognition. You become your own secure ID.
  • Film scores played by real orchestras will be replaced with computer-synthesized music.
  • Movie stunt doubles will be replaced by digital computer-animation.
  • Getting lost will be nearly impossible with GPS chips in cell-phones and watches – and implanted under the skin on children and older people.
  • Analog TVs and radios will give way to digital versions, with far greater channel capacity and improved picture and sound. Most TV programs will be delivered via a terabyte-speed Internet.
  • CDs, DVDs, VCRs, and cassette tapes will lose out to DVR/TV combination units with more than 10,000 times the storage capability, controlled mostly by voice.
  • Video stores will be gone. The Internet will be a faster and cheaper way to distribute movies and music.
  • Junk mail will no longer be in your mailbox. Advertisers will use the Internet, and only approach consumers interested in their product. New Internet format will eliminate spam.”
  • Internal combustion motors will be replaced by fuel cell and hybrid fuel cell/gas motors.
  • New driving skills will be needed to master a more automated collision-proof car.
  • We will become friends with our personal robot which can think limited thoughts by itself.
  • Finally, "nanobots” promise full immersion of virtual reality systems providing artificial environments indistinguishable from real ones. Enjoy a trip to Mars or a memorable romance – without ever leaving home.

Things that won’t change by 2020

  • Religion will remain popular. Freethinkers have forever predicted religions to fail, but they were, are, and will be wrong. United Nations population data suggests that world religions will not disappear by 2020. In fact, one third of the world will still be Christians, followed by Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, atheists, and various folk and tribal religions.
  • Also, old-fashioned sex will be more enjoyable than ever. Cloning, genetic engineering, and test tube science will be embraced by most people, but the real deal – with its familiar risks and rewards – will still be the dominant reproductive interface in 2020 and beyond.

Learn more: discover.com, nih.gov, un.org, kurzweilai.net.

This article appeared in various print publications and on-line blogs. Comments always welcome

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