Future – Have you ever really thought about what the world could look like by 2050 or even in 100 years from now? Perhaps you have not seriously thought about it – but there are plenty of experts and professionals in the fields of science, the environment and sociology who have.
People are more familiar with the potential impact on our world caused by climate change, in which human activity has proven to be directly responsible – along with the dire warnings coming from experts who study the changes taking place right before our very eyes. But what if humanity manages to heed the warnings? What if the future looks brighter than the present predictions?
Global warming is not a myth and the polar ice caps are melting at an alarming rate. Closer to home, last spring’s flooding, especially along the Rivière des Prairies was a clear indicator – as well as the microburst storm, best described as an upside-down tornado, that hit the city last summer. There was an actual tornado in Lachute just northwest of Montreal and parts of Ontario are seeing funnels touch down there with regularity – all that while raging fires were burning in BC and the west coast. If we do not clean up our act within the next 30 years or so, the results could be catastrophic and beyond reversing.
But most experts in the area of climate change also agree on one thing – if we take immediate action, if we drastically decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and carbon pollution, there is hope. If we stop using plastic and polluting our planet, if we stop destroying our food chain and also decrease our dependence on mammals in our diets, there is hope. It is a tall order, but with it could come some wondrous and amazing things for our planet.
If we do manage to clean up our act by 2050, there is the potential for our planet to be the bright future we would hope for, a future with green buildings and skyscrapers, renewable energy, major medical breakthroughs and enough food to feed a dramatically increasing population. Communication will advance beyond our present imagination and augmented reality experiences will move forward in a future that we have only imagined to date through science fiction. It is all in the realm of possibility.
An in-depth study commissioned by Samsung in 2016 and authored by a team of renowned academics, showed a vibrant picture of the future in 100 years from now. The study suggested the way we live, work and play will change beyond recognition over the course of the next century.
According to the report there will be ‘Hyper-tall skyscrapers, underwater bubble cities, personal home ‘medi-pods’ and civilian colonies on the Moon’ – all likely to be a reality in a hundred years’ time. Using the capital city of London, England as an example, their predictions of what life could be like in the future are ‘where high rise apartments dwarf the Shard and drone transportation is ubiquitous’.
The predictions took into consideration environmental conditions, including growing populations. According to a UN DESA report, the current number of people on earth is 7.6 billion and is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100. At the rate of our diminishing resources, there will not be enough food to feed over 11 billion people, nor enough available area to house them – but the report shines a light on ‘the development of structures better able to cope with space constraints and diminishing resources. As city space becomes ever more squeezed, we will burrow deeper and build higher’. Looking into the future with optimism, here are some of the study’s predictions:
• Super Skyscrapers: ‘Carbon nanotubes’ and ‘Diamond Nano-threads’ will help to create towering megastructures that dwarf today’s skyscrapers.
• Earth-Scrapers: Just as we build up, we will also dig down – huge structures will tunnel 25 storeys deep, or more.
• Underwater Cities: Using the water itself to create breathable atmospheres and generating hydrogen fuel in the process.
• Personal Flying Drones replacing cars: We will travel through ‘skyways’ with our own personal flying drones.
• 3D Printing of Houses and Furniture: We will be able to print exact replicas of large scale structures like houses out of local, recyclable materials.
• Flexible, Smart Walls and 3D printed Michelin starred meals: Room surfaces will adapt to suit your mood. We will be able to 3D-print a banquet or a favourite cake in minutes.
• Virtual Meetings: Our working lives will be transformed with the use of holograms which will allow us to attend meetings virtually, without leaving the comfort of our homes.
• Home Medi-Pods: Stepping into these will confirm if you really are ill, providing a digital diagnosis and supplying medicine or a remote surgeon if needed.
• Colonization of Space: First the Moon, then Mars and then far beyond into the galaxy.
When Pablo Picasso said, ‘everything you can imagine is real’, he might have been on to something. The stuff of science fiction is the use of our imagination in ways that now appear to be a tangible reality for our future world – as long as we envision it as such and take the necessary steps to help make it happen. If not for ourselves, then at least for the generations to come. ‘Live Long and Prosper’!