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Earth 2030 – healthier, safer, more enjoyable

By Dick Pelletier

            What will life be like in 2030? Those who ponder such things, futurists and other visionaries, suggest exciting and sometimes fantastic possibilities. As we begin our trek into the world of tomorrow, predictions of things to come rush towards us at breathtaking speeds.

            Experts predict that between now and 2020, we will see more science and technology advances than we experienced during the entire 20th century – and from 2020 to 2100, developments will outpace the last 20,000 years of human progress.

            Nobody knows for sure what will happen in the future, but by projecting present-day knowledge, we can make plausible guesses. Hollywood creates fantastic futures, but they always talk about worlds gone mad, or make it sound so negative that none of us would ever want to live there. Think of it this way, custom t-shirts will say the same things but the material will be different, you will see a lot of this in the future.

            But from research that's underway today, and scientific projections of things to come, we can piece together a probable future world, and what life might be like living in that world. Readers are invited to track me down in 25 years and tell me whether I was right or wrong.

People

            World population has climbed to 9.3 billion, and most people look forward to a life expectancy of 200 years or more. Advanced nanotech has eliminated world hunger in 2030 and could, experts say, provide a comfortable life on Earth for up to 100 billion people in the future.

            A 2004 Scientific American magazine article projection that one in five Americans would be senior citizens by 2030, proved far too conservative. Biotech breakthroughs have provided tremendous improvements in health care, which has slashed death rates far beyond what most pundits had predicted; and during this same time, public apathy towards creating children simply to "continue the family line” has resulted in fewer births. Nearly half the US population is over 65 in 2030.

The world death rate has decreased annually from 55 million in 2004 to 35 million in 2020, to 5 million in 2030. Accidents are the leading cause of death in 2030, and forward-thinkers believe that by 2040 or before, all unwanted deaths will be eliminated; providing an indefinite lifespan for everyone.

            Most senior citizens opt for genetic rejuvenation, which provides stronger internal organs, bones and muscles; and a more resilient, youthful looking skin. Those who have undergone this procedure do not consider themselves old – they have the look and feel of a 20-something. Seniors, with their vast memories, strong minds, and youthful bodies, are envied and respected everywhere. China has revered their older population for centuries – now, the rest of the world is following suit.

            Earth is safer and more enjoyable in 2030 than it was during the turbulent ‘teens and early 20s. Mind-expanding sciences eventually gained the upper hand on terror threats bringing peace to nearly all the world.

            The U.S., China, and European Union have maintained a united bond over the last 10 years, which has spurred freedom and growth in most of the world's under-developed regions.

Energy

            Most of the world's energy will soon come from fusion reactors. Industrial development of this inexhaustible energy is in full swing everywhere. However, in 2030, driverless cars still operate with electric motors powered by hydrogen fuel cells that last for the life of the vehicle.

Weaponry

            Non-lethal arsenals make up most world defense systems. These nanotech humanitarian weapons do not injure or kill; they use special procedures that temporarily disrupt the enemy's thoughts – taking away all desires to fight. However, most countries will soon be manning their war machines with robots – removing humans completely from risks of war.

Biotech

            2010 to 2020 was heralded as the "golden age of biotech”. Stem cell and other gene therapies made replacement organs affordable to nearly everyone. Most people now live in a healthy body immune from disease and aging, with a life expectancy of 200 years or more.

Nanotech

            2020 to 2035 is considered the "golden age of nanotech”, and it has taken center stage throughout the world in 2030.

            Nano-replicators have been perfected over the last five years, and are beginning to appear on kitchen counters everywhere. These "miracle” machines provide food, clothing, and appliances for families at little or no cost. Replicators are affecting world commerce unlike anything ever before in history. Old economics based on scarcity and prices have mostly disappeared. This has transformed the workplace – eliminating most human labor – while raising living standards around the world.

            Most inventors provide replicators free, and charge a small fee for software that gives the machine its building instructions. Receiving food and household items at little or no cost has dramatically cut living costs. Workers spend less time on the job because they need less money to live on. This results in more time for fun and recreation with family and friends.

            Software costs represent the largest family expense in 2030. To replicate a new car, TV, food, or other items desired, software is ordered via the Internet which instructs replicators to build the item(s) using raw materials such as dirt, air, and seawater.

            Also, recently developed nanobots – tiny cell-repair mechanisms that roam throughout the human body to locate and correct health problems before they start – are beginning to appear. Nanotech is revolutionizing manufacturing, health care, travel, energy, food supply, and warfare – it's no wonder people refer to this amazing technology as "the most hyped science of all time”.

Beyond 2030

            The Singularity: Researchers anxiously await the arrival of the singularity, a point in time expected around the mid-2030s, when many believe that computer/robots will surpass humans in intelligence. As silicon creations reach this critical level and learn to duplicate themselves; they will add more brainpower to each succeeding generation they construct. This will cause an explosion of information, unlike anything the world has ever seen. Experts predict these super-intelligent robots will maintain a strong bond with their creators and share this newly-gained information with humans through human-machine interfaces.

            Mind Uploading: By 2035, advanced quantum computing has enabled researchers to unravel the mysteries of our 100 billion neurons and the trails each neuron leaves when it communicates with approximately 10,000 other neurons. Memories, personality, and feelings – non-physical elements that describe a human being – can now be scanned and uploaded into a robot, or newly-cloned human body, enabling life to continue indefinitely. Although few people want to live forever, most believe the choice of life, or death should be theirs – not left to some accident.

            Restoring the Cryogenically-Suspended: Advanced nanotech and neuronal research have enabled resuscitation of cryonic patients whose brains have been neuro-preserved. This new life-sparking procedure captures complete past memories and personality traits and processes them for upload into a new body with an enormous increase in brain power. By 2039, many formerly deceased "cryonics” have experienced happy reunions with loved ones and descendants. Restored patients undergo extensive counseling that helps them adjust to 2030s Earth life. Scientists feel confident that procedures to revive all cryonic-preserved patients will soon be developed.

            Are we alone? Humans have never accepted the idea that only Earth harbors life. Most experts believe that humanoid-type life, with sense organs like ours, has probably developed in other places and times – although skin type, facial arrangement, number of digits etc. could differ from ours.

            The question of whether alien planets have intelligent beings on them is still unanswered in 2030. Experts even disagree that intelligence of human quality is the normal culmination of evolution. But the proposed "worm-hole” project – which will enable instant information exchange to vast distances in space – is expected to get underway sometime between 2040 and 2050. People are hopeful that alien life forms will be discovered sometime during the last half of this century.

Will this future happen?

            British Telecom's Ian Pearson suggests that advances in genetics and nanotech expected by 2030 will be sufficient for us to make a realistic stab at ending death.

            Clearly the road to this mind-boggling future winds around unknown, possibly even dangerous turns. But strong commerce and government support is driving this optimistic vision forward – and it promises to unfold in our lifetime. Get ready to enjoy!

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

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