In less than 90 years, we will be looking at the future. The future of 22nd century. Well, not really. Since Wikipedia says that 22nd century will only begin at January 1, 2101. However, it’s pretty interesting to predict how the future would be. Well, prediction is not easy considering how volatile the the history is. While I am pretty much influenced by George Friedman’s The Next 100 Years, it’s true that within 20 years of 20th century, a lot of things happened which people who lived in the year 1900 didn’t expect such thing may happen in their future.
George Friedman predicted mostly about politics. If we want to talk about lifestyle in the future, I don’t even have a clue. Interestingly, the people of the old days predicting us to have our own flying vehicles at our homes by the year 2000. Arguably, we ARE capable of having those but what restricted us was money or, rather, resources. In fact, we already had something that we called, jet pack or rocket that capable of getting people flying by a device attached at their back. Only that, expensive to make and costly fuel consumption. Most of imaginable things that we have in our minds can be created. Technological advances growing rapidly but the awareness of “better use for other ways” disabling us from achieving them completely.
If by early 21st century we got touch screens, what can we expect from next decades? Holograms? We already have holographic but still not that perfect. Although it might take only a few years more to achieve something doable. No, not doable. More like resource efficiency. By definition, Resource Efficiency is not just an environmental initiative, it is also an important business process that could potentially save your organisation a lot of money. Because at current tech level, holographic is not cheap.
Let us see about things that changed from big to small as well as cheaper. Easiest example would be computer. The first computer weight 40 tonnes. Back then, scientists predicted that in the future there would be smaller version of it that has a weight of 1 ton. Today, we have computers as small as wristwatch. In less than a decade, we can see how smaller memory cells being manufactured can be from 90nm to 22nm. Heck, just a day ago, chipmakers Intel and Micron have introduced their first development process for the fabrication of 20nm 128 Gigabit (Gb) NAND flash storage chips. Other than computers, we have a new kind of hobby that has became affordable which is camera. Digital Self-Loading Rifl- I mean, Digital SLR cameras were once so expensive that only some exclusive journalists were able to use it. While the best ones are still not that cheap but the entry level cameras are cheaper compared to prior versions.
How about the environments? Major concerns of the world. There will be too many people and people (a few) are wondering how to feed all of these people. Some scientists have been arguing that global warming that happens now was due to the citizens of earth. A lot of people have predicted what kind of future we might have. Something like Water World. A world where majority of the lands had submerged and people mostly living on the surface of the ocean. As polar caps melting, global warming will make earth hotter. Hotter environments might resulting less people capable of continuing their lives. But we might have the technology by then. Domes, floating islands, etc. since some places like Maldives and Venice are being predicted to be submerged by a decade or two in the future. People might be cultivating on the oceans while living on the movable floating islands with domes on it. In November 2008, President Mohamed Nasheed announced plans to look into purchasing new land in India, Sri Lanka, and Australia, due to his concerns about global warming and the possibility of much of the islands being inundated with water from rising sea levels. Current estimates place sea level rise at 59 cm by the year 2100. The purchase of land will be made from a fund generated by tourism. The President has explained his intentions, saying “We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades”.
The most important thing right now is the renewable energy. During my school days while learning about science and environment, we have been told that our resources like petroleum might be finished by the year 2020. That might be some rough estimation or rather exaggerating. Well, a few weeks ago, Petronas found some more petroleum spots near Sabah that we can extract it and It might save us a several more decades into the future. Fuel is one of the irreplaceable energy that we need but there are others too that we can recycle or generate like plantations of certain crops that produce another kind of bio-fuel. Some people were talking about electricity as another energy to replace fuel. But producing electricity might not cheaper than using fuel. Yet, it’s a solution to use a kind of energy that being produced from renewable resources.
Politics. Politics. World politics. For instance, UMNO claimed to be a forever political party until the end of the world. But we can’t predict future. However, that’s not really important. Friedman’s theory about world politics that there might be clashes between nations which will change the course of the world. He pointed out Turkey to play major role in the Middle East like what the country was in the past. China to spread influences further south. Evidently we can see the Spratly Islands conflict and how their interventions in several issues in ASEAN. Germany might start another war (as usual? lol) as you can see now there are 80 millions of people in the country that has a size half of France which has a population of only 65 millions and you can expect millions more people in the future might have disgruntling over living spaces. Additionally, one of the highest density of people in the world currently is Singapore. Over 7,000 people per kilometer. The population is still growing and there will be more people than ever in the future. In the United States, people are getting aware that the Mexicans getting more and more in the country which might be a bad thing if there would be clashes within between nationalists and immigrants. The influx of Mexicans are somewhat similar to immigrants from Indonesia and other neighboring countries to Malaysia; they’re finding a better place for earnings than their own countries. Although unlike the United States, Malaysia has stricter rules on immigrants to get PR or citizenship (and voting).
Another influx of people towards other places especially Europe are Muslims. The wars in Middle East made people migrating to different places. Currently, ultra-nationalists, especially in France, are combating with the Muslims as they’re afraid if Islamic culture being spread further among the French people for instance. Similar like in United Kingdom. Apart from religious matters, it’s also about white supremacy. Recent riots in Britain showed us how brutal the racial clashes can be in the first world country. While such influx might only happened once in awhile but when there’s a community in the said country, the community will grow. If more and more clashes happened in Middle East, more people are running away from the region and this will create unbalance of society in other countries due to them receiving immigrants and refugees. Not only Middle East but also Africa.
Wars might put a little bit of impression over human population of the world but the impact will not be as significant as the First and Second World War more than 60 years ago. It is also being predicted that more natural disasters will be affecting the people more since people are spreading into larger spaces and in extreme weather, large cities would be affected much more. Despite such inconveniences, human casualties will be as large as we thought, Apart from technology that might reduce the effects from disasters, humans are known to be more capable and experiences in handling and adapting disasters. An example of Japan which the people of the country are capable of recuperating by themselves from destruction
through monsters that destroying the cities while Ultramans were fighting them ferociously every week. Adaptability is a human feat. While scientists are becoming restless with numbers that they gained through calculation for the future of humanity, I still believe that whatever happen in the future can be solved ideally although the process might not quick.
By the year 2100, I will be 116 years old. It seemed impossible to live that long but with medical breakthrough towards longevity like how today’s elders getting more time to spend with the remaining of their lives, it seems possible to achieve such age. Growing population of the future didn’t mean only on how many times you have sex to get more children. One-fifth of Japan population right now are elders. Also, when educated people in a country are increasing, the number of people surviving their lives are increasing as well. This is also why the impact of fatal clashes might be small since people will know, war means nothing and they also want to save their own asses.
People always think that their lives now suck. They feel bad about what they’re doing now. But will the future will be better than now? We can predict but future is still a mystery.