The world keeps upgrading faster than ever. According to Future Technology 2050, gene mutations, aging populations, increasing sea levels etc.. What are the implications of these trends for our society in the future?
BBC Future Now has spent the last six months delving into some of the most pressing issues confronting humanity today, including land use to accommodate rapidly growing populations, nuclear energy’s future, the wealth gap, and much more.
But what about the major issues that will face the world in the future? What do you think the world’s agenda will be in 30 years? Although it is hard to forecast the future, we can get insight from current scientific and technological trends. Here are just a few of tomorrow’s likely major issues:
HUMANS’ GENETIC MODIFICATION.
A few years ago Scientists began a raging debate about a newly invented technology that allows us to change human DNA. CRISPR (crisper) is a method of modifying people’s DNA in order to remove diseases similar to cancer from the equation.
Isn’t that fantastic? But what if it takes a dark ethical turn and becomes a eugenics-style vanity project to churn out ‘designer babies,’ selecting embryos that would yield infants with a specific level of IQ or physical characteristics?
While it isn’t widely used enough to be considered a current “grand difficulty,” this is an emerging future technology 2050 with far-reaching implications for which we must be prepared – all the more reason to ensure that ethicists have a seat at the table in every laboratory, university, and corporation that urges to change our DNA.
Nicholas Agar, professor of ethics at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, reported to BBC Future Now earlier this year that “correct meditation on what about us we might wish to retain takes time – it should rely on a wide range of viewpoints about what it means to be human.” “It’s tough to carve out this time for ethical deliberation when new technology possibilities appear to be arriving at a breakneck speed.”
A LARGER AGE GROUP THAN EVER BEFORE.
We will be grappling not only with the reality that the world’s population is expanding but also with the fact that people are living longer than ever before. That’s excellent, but all those senior citizens will demand assistance. In fact, the number of centenarians will more than double by 2100, from 500,000 today to more than 26 million. Societies with substantial numbers of people over 65 will become more widespread in countries ranging from the United Kingdom to Japan and China. As that increase occurs over the next several decades, we’ll need improved aged care (Japan is even considering robotics) and maybe policies that enable more immigrants to compensate for aging workforces and, in certain circumstances, declining birth rates.
In a city just like Miami, you don’t have to look hard to notice how cities are changing in the twenty-first century – increasing sea levels are progressively obliterating portions of them. Floods are becoming increasingly common in the streets as a result of climate change, and changing weather patterns have influenced building design. Aside from adding extra seawalls, the city is demanding that all new structures have a higher first floor. But this is just a band-aid; if current trends continue, we may have to accept the loss of entire cities, islands, and low-lying regions like Bangladesh.
Cities are already feeling the strain as their populations rise. If widespread migration is forced as a result of climate change, existing infrastructure, services, and economy may be down to breaking point.
THE CHANGE IN SOCIAL MEDIA.
For the greater part of a decade, social media has changed the way we interact. And, considering that most people get their news from it currently, it’s not going away anytime soon. That’s before we get into the quagmire of online harassment. How will social media change in 30 years? and what concerns might it pose by then?
For one thing, imagine a world without privacy. That’s one issue we’ve already encountered. Apart from eroding our sense of and need for anonymity and privacy, social media also brings with it a slew of cyberbullying issues. Many charities and non-profit organizations throughout the world have joined the fight against internet trolls, but whether law enforcement agencies and social media firms can solve the problem or whether it will worsen remains to be seen.
Then there’s the issue of our information diet to consider: how will the status quo of omnipresent fake news impact people’s perceptions of the world? It does not bode well for civilized society and discussion if people spend months, years, or even decades of their lives exposed only to dubious news sources.
Considering the way social media has spread over the world, an optimist would argue that those issues will be rectified shortly. People might be dealing with social media concerns that we haven’t even thought about in 30 years and Facebook is just 13 years old.
TENSIONS IN THE GEOPOLITICAL SYSTEM.
The delicate balance of geopolitics in society has been completely disturbed in the last year. So the global stability in the coming decades could be in jeopardy.
North Korea has launched missiles. Many refugees are fleeing conflict by crossing borders. Hackers tampering in the elections of other countries. Nationalist sentiment is on the rise all throughout the world. Whether it’s dealing with unpredictable North Korea, Britain’s exit from the European Union, headlines in 2016 have been influenced by the endless political drama that’s been fueling a geopolitical minefield’ and an unprecedented geopolitical shift’. When you add in widespread hacking, nuclear weapons, and other hazardous technology, it’s simple to see why basic diplomacy is so important.
TRAVELING BY CAR IN A SAFE MANNER.
When considering all those rumors about bullet trains and the fantastic transportation technology vehicles aren’t going anywhere, there will be more of it in the future technology 2050.
Driverless automobile technology is rapidly advancing, with major tech companies and automakers vying to introduce human-free vehicles in the next years. However, statistics show that the total number of cars — self-driving or not – will soar. The environmental and infrastructure needs of an expanding road-faring population will be a major concern in nations like China, which are seeing a growing middle class. How can we ensure safety, reduce pollution, and ensure that self-driving cars aren’t a danger on the road?
The latest technology and products that define the 21st century all require uncommon earth metals to manufacture – the normal smartphone contains over 60 “ingredients.” This is putting pressure on the planet’s natural resources: China’s uncommon earth metal mines will run out in the next two decades, and suitable substitutes for those elements are hard to come by.
SETTLING IN DIFFERENT WORLDS.
As Stephen Hawking has suggested in what way will space tourism businesses ensure the safety of their operations? Is there any way for humans to travel to Mars or another planet to live? In the present day, space flight may appear to be the exclusive province of space agencies and billionaires, but as it becomes more accessible to the general public, a slew of new obstacles will emerge. With more money being spent than ever before to transport humans up to the inky abyss, the logistics, safety, and diplomacy involved in the undertaking all deserve serious attention.
IMPROVED MENTAL STRENGTH.
Drugs to enhance brainpower are already ubiquitous (whether it’s coffee or something stronger like modafinil), and the majority of the developed world now uses their smartphones as an “externalized” memory – but let’s project that out a few decades. Consider targeted medications that allow us to think faster than we can now, as well as technological implants that allow us to concentrate for hours or days at a time – these developments are now underway in laboratories throughout the world. What happens to people who can’t afford such upgrades? Could it exacerbate inequality by allowing the wealthy to amass even more wealth? Then there are the legal and ethical concerns: it’s fine to consume a cup of coffee before an exam, but is it acceptable to use an implant or a smart drug? The difficulties posed by intellect enhancement are only now becoming apparent.
FUTURE TECHNOLOGY 2050: DOMINANCE OF A.I. IN OUR LIVES
Ray Kurzweil, a futurist, has made a number of forecasts, some of which are inspiring and others which are simply frightening. One of these is the futuristic-sounding idea that artificial intelligence would one day surpass human intelligence and increase at an exponential rate, dubbed “the singularity.”
Although it is not the consensus opinion, few would argue that AI will only become more powerful. As AI begins to affect more aspects of our lives, from healthcare to financial markets, the tech and AI communities will need to address the ethical and societal ramifications of their work, much as they did with gene editing.
To be sure, end-of-the-world extinction scenarios are unlikely, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that AI is poised to fundamentally alter how humans live and work. It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that certain AIs would fail or lose control of their creators, resulting in very human calamities in which lives are lost or millions of dollars are destroyed.
What other challenges do you see in the future technology 2050? Let us know.
Original source: bbc.com