In the past few decades, we’ve gone beyond what most of our ancestors would be willing to accept as possible. The digital age is well and truly in our realm of reality, in all of its exciting and terrifying glory. This is just the beginning, before the end of this century this place is going to be like a Phillip K Dick novel or better George Orwell’s 1984 classic. Here are the top ten predictions for the future.
10. Marriage will be replaced by contract
So the experts argue, as time goes on and medicine gets more advanced and we start living longer as a result- new alternatives to the traditional ‘till death do us part’ marriage will start to unveil. Marriage contracts lasting only a decade or two (or three, four, five….) may become available for future generations as a result of their longer life expectations. Old school will still be an option however, at least I’d imagine so.
9. Deserts will become Tropical Forests
There are already some parts of the world’s deserts which are becoming increasingly overtaken by vegetation. This process is known as ‘Desert Greening’ and some say the eventual results of this will be a complete transformation from sand dune to dense jungle. If this does happen however, it will most likely take hundreds if not thousands of years- so don’t get too excited.
8. Succession of States from the Union
We all know how this ended last time, so let’s hope if this prediction does occur it’ll be in be better spirit than 1861. There have already been some indications that California wish to lead this break-up of the US- and inherent doubts and pressures of this kind can do nothing but grow generation to generation. Some say we can expect this by the end of the current decade- citing differences in wealth generation between states as the main catalyst. Basically, the rich don’t want to have to fund the poor thousands of miles away in what are theoretically foreign municipalities.
7. Most of the world will embrace Gay marriages
This one is mostly in reference to the Western World, a lot of which does support gay people and their right to marry currently. In coming years however, the options available for legal union may increase to those all over the globe. Unfortunately, it could be centuries until homosexuality becomes acceptable absolutely everywhere, mostly due to religion- yes, that old chestnut. Many religions and belief systems, particularly (though not exclusively) those whose roots lie in the East- still regard homosexuality as inherently wrong- making this prediction far from certain.
6. Brains will be wired to computers
This concept terrifies me more than it does amaze me, even more so due to the fact that experts claim such ‘machine augmentation’ could be readily available to those in the developed world by 2050. In principle, this technology will allow us to both amplify and customize our intelligence and brain power to suit specific needs or desires. As good as this does sound, the precise thought of having a brain/body controlled by a computer is, to me at least, a very heavy one. Not to sound like an Orwell obsessed nut job- but computers wired to your brain? Not for me.
5. People will embrace wearable technology
In a recent survey, experts kept finding over and over that smartphone users were thrilled about the possibilities of wearables in the future. One respondent wrote: “Devices which are wearable, always on and are continuously learning about the owner.” Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). It was developed by Google with the mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. I am sure Google competitors, such as Apple and Samsung, will soon follow suit.
4. Micro-video & specialty sites will increase in popularity
In 2013, we saw the rise of visual content with the increased use of Pinterest & Instagram. 2014 will shine a spotlight on video marketing. Images have consistently seen a higher level of engagement on Facebook, but with changes to Facebook’s news feed algorithm, images won’t be the only driving factor contributing to increased page views.
3. Oceans will be extensively farmed and not just for fish
We will need to feed over 15 billion people and nature will not be able to keep up with the increase, so we will need much more ocean farming for fish. But algae farming is also on the way for renewable energy, and maybe even for growth of feedstock (raw materials) or resource extraction via GM seaweed or algae.
2. By 2025 populations will shrink, and wealth will shrink with them.
By 2025, half of the human race will live in countries where the birthrates will be behind the death rates, and consequently, population will start to shrink. The cause is the combination of older adults living longer and fewer children being born. The countries will grapple with shrinking tax bases and workforces, despite widening pools of retirees demanding social-security and insurance payouts. Society will survive, but the GDP will plummet markedly throughout the world and perhaps will never regain its strength it once had.
1. Buying and owning things will go out of style
The markets for housing, automobiles, music, books, and many other products show a common trend: Younger consumers opting to rent or subscribe to pay-per-use arrangements instead of buying and owning the physical products. Shared facilities will overtake established offices, renting units will become more common than owning a home, and sales of books and music might never become popular again.”