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Civilization 2400: A glimpse at life 400 years into the future


By Dick Pelletier

      

    What might life be like in 400 years? Those who ponder such things, futurists and other forward-thinkers suggest exciting and sometimes fantastic possibilities.

    At a recent Stanford conference, acclaimed futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted that information technologies will double 30 times in the next 25 years, increasing knowledge a billion-fold from that of today. By mid-century, other experts claim, humans could begin merging with their machines in hopes of living life in a forever-young non-biological body without fear of unwanted death.

    If we extend Kurzweil's formula from 25 to 400 years, the following sci-fi-like future could unfold:

    People – Cutting-edge biotech and nanotech were credited with decreasing death rates from 50 million in 2008 to 35 million by 2020, 5 million by 2030; and zero deaths were recorded in 2050.

    Birthrates quickly diminished during the 21st century. Bringing babies into the world to "continue family lines" didn't make sense when parents realized that indefinite lifespans were becoming reality. But space-dwellers are still encouraged to have children to populate their colonies.

    Earth population reached 6.7 billion in 2008; by 2050 this figure increased to 9 billion. Humanity's first off-world baby was born on Mars in the 2030s during construction of the red planet’s first colony, Gallactica.

    Only 3 billion people remain on Earth in 2400. More than 8 billion have migrated from the planet to create a better life for themselves in space colonies scattered throughout the galaxy.

    By mid-21st century, non-biological bodies were accepted by most people as a much better way to live. People felt more secure in a body that automatically repaired itself when damaged. And changing body size and adding new physical enhancements was especially helpful to those living on other worlds with different gravity and atmospheres.

    Energy – By 2100, scientists harnessed 100% of the Earth's energy, giving researchers the power to control weather and develop near-light-speed spaceships. By 2200, we utilized all of our sun's energy, enabling explorers to build colonies on planets outside our solar system. By 2300, we began mining energy from other stars, acquiring the huge power necessary to format wormholes.

    By mid-24th century, technicians launched the first information probe backwards in time through a wormhole. Scientists can now send nanobots back in time to retrieve minds from lost loved ones just before they died, allowing them to continue living in our time. Immortality has been achieved.

    Aliens – SETI Director Seth Shostak believes other beings exist in space and some day we will find them. Though it’s impossible to predict when contact might happen and what aliens will look like, for this article we will imagine the following scenario:

    In 2350, explorers discovered intelligent life on the planet Garth, 2,000 light-years from Earth. Teleporting through wormholes, the first Earth/Garth meeting convened on Mars in 2400. Garthlings were peaceful, friendly, and like us, could change their body's appearance. For this meeting, everyone assumed the "human look". Plans were laid for future joint explorations.

    Could these events happen? In the 21st century, advances in technologies promise to end sickness, aging and death, and usher in greater-than-human intelligence. Forward-thinkers believe these breakthroughs will carry humanity into this amazing "magical future" time.

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

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