Did you love those Back to the Future movies as much as I did? You’re probably nodding your head, at least if you’ve been born in the 80ies.
For the younger ones among us, or basically for anyone not into sci-fi comedies, Back to the Future was released in 1989 and made a range of predictions about how the future would look like in the then highly futuristic year 2015.
Luckily, we may now have more grounded information about our future than we did in 1989. Several top scientists have done research on how the world may look like in 2045. Be prepared for a very different life than you are leading now!
So let’s get in that DeLorean time machine and look at the three most fascinating changes that may lay ahead of us.
Controlling your environment through your brain
It’s not just anyone making the following prediction. We’re talking about the Pentagon’s research agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA in short. Launched in 1958, it has led some of the biggest innovations in the military forces. Many of those have found their way into our daily lives, such as the internet, GPS systems and advanced robotics.
According to the DARPA scientists, in about 30 years’ time we’ll manage our environment simply by using our mind. Imagine controlling your household equipment by using brain signals, or communicating with your friends without using words. Far-fetched you may think? Think again. The DARPA team is already working on neurotechnologies to make this happen. During their first demonstration they were able to give a paralyzed man back his sense of touch with brain implants.
Other scientists go even further. Richard Watson, writer and founder of online Magazine “What’s Next” says that by 2045 your home, car or phone will be able to read your feelings and respond accordingly. Already now machines can tell who someone is and what he or she is doing. The next step will be for them to read our emotions. This can happen through various ways: our voice, facial expression, body language or heart rate. For example, your car may be able to sense that you’re upset about something and adapt itself to make your drive safer.
Our buildings will be made from living materials
By 2045 the buildings we currently live in, even the ones we now consider as highly modern, will look hopelessly outdated. Scientists from the Imperial College London believe that 30 years from now our cities’ architecture will use living materials that can adapt to their environment.
Biology will meet technology: building materials will consist of fully new synthetic elements, made from living cells of bacteria and fungi. These will help to clean wastewater and eliminate pollutants for example. Or use sunlight to create energy and heat. They will adapt to the surrounding environment and the inhabitants’ needs.
How far is this from happening? As we speak, synthetic biology labs are examining ways to mix and edit natural elements and design synthetic life forms.
Others make less far-fetching predictions, and say that by 2045 our buildings will be able to power themselves. Solar panels will be manufactured directly into building materials, allowing our houses to be green and self-sufficient.
We may become immortal
OK, maybe not yet by 2045. But technology will make our lives considerably longer in the near future.
Over the last 200 years we already managed to double the average life expectancy in developed countries. According to inventor-futurist and engineering chief at Google Ray Kurzweil, we’ll see an enormous transformation of health and medicine in 10 to 20 years from now, increasing our lifespan – and life quality – even more.
Other scientists actually do predict a kind of immortality in the future. According to leading Russian tech entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov our brain could be kept alive in a robotic surrogate or be uploaded to silicon. The end of our biological life would not necessarily mean the end of our conscious life, as our brain would continue to be alive digitally. And this would not be some gadget for the rich and famous – Itskov predicts a thriving “immortality industry” that would become mainstream.
Whatever may come true from these ambitious predictions, we’re living in exciting times. Technology is advancing rapidly, so big changes lie ahead of us. By 2045 the world as we know it may look as outdated as that Back to the Future movie…