Thursday, February 16, 2017

Life in the 22nd Century

Nobody can predict it accurately. I had written about it and this is an elaborate updating. Could anyone in 1917 project how human life would be in 2017? The world has changed in ways nobody could then ever imagine. Jobs have become more service industry-based. There has been a revolution in modes of transport by land, sea and air. You can reach distant nations in a few hours and talk to anyone from afar seeing him/her.. We could see the Al-Qaeda engineered planes bombarding the twin towers on Sept.11, 2001 sitting in our drawing rooms. Any knowledge is in your fingertips today; just reach WWW through your computer.  

Information and Communication Technologies have revolutionized the world.   There are 5 billion mobiles today and according to Ericson Mobility Report, 90% of the world population will be covered by 2021. ICT will bring a radically changed new era. 26 billion connected devices will link people, places and things.  A new industrial age is ushered in and a net-worked society. Methods of traditional sale and marketing will be replaced by ICT based ways. 

Virtual business is already on the vogue. An online accommodation business without owning a  single room will have more market valuation than a hotel chain. Digital information is going to
influence industries, TV, media etc. 90% of the customers will watch streamed video-content who may not buy things from a store but  buy online. Through ICT we will be doing different things differently. And robots will assist us much more than today; they will be the companion of humans in their daily chores at home too.  Jobs will be more home-based and opportunities for social contact will become scarce.  

As per UN population Bureau, human population will stabilize around 11 billion by 2050 and then gradually decline. Already there is a negative growth rate in the advanced nations. To feed 11 billion, humans may resort to tapping oceans more and better methods of agriculture would be tried. A revolution can be expected in food habits and food production. The elaborate cooking now seen commonly will be gone and ready-made-foods cooked in electronic bakeries will be in vogue,  All animal meat will be produced in the lab with all the flavors of all animals. Animal lovers would be happy as there won’t be any more cruelty to animals. This will negatively influence agriculture and animal farming. As urbanization increases, there will be fewer farms and big agricultural estates.

Life span today is roughly 85 and it may reach 100 in the 22nd century as per UN population analysis. There will be people who will live beyond 125 years.  It is not easy to keep husband and wife together for over 60-75 years. There will be, hence, more divorces and new pairing. More than that, people will opt for temporary marriages instead of permanent arrangements. And much fewer children will be born in the developed societies and the poor nations. Statistics show US average height grew by 2” in a century. After 500 years, people will be 10” taller and we don’t know how body and gravity will react to it.

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes will all be under control. We will develop more immune drugs and Nano robots will conduct more precise operations.  Nano robots will also produce portable water from any watery ditch.  Ray Kurzweil believes that in a hundred years man will decide when he will die. He says  humans who will live 1000 years is already born! With control on death, gods will recede into their shadows. 

Man will develop technology to make organs grow again. 5% of the world population is physically disabled by birth or by accident. Lizard can regrow its tail and amphibians can regrow their hands and legs.  We can expect that Humans will be able to regrow their own hands or legs in a century from now. There are many super humans in every nation. Some are blessed with Genius level IQ, exceptional talents and memory. Science will de-code their DNA and help make other super-humans.

People will choose disease free and better children- Eugenics will be in vogue. Propensities for deadly diseases will be removed genetically. We can at least hope that mentally retarded, and brain defective children and those with propensity for madness later won’t be born again. People will be able to choose  suitable tested female eggs to be fertilized by better disease-free male cells.  

There are fears that rising ocean waters may submerge Mumbai, Chennai, London, Bangladesh, Maldives and Singapore. Floating cities above and dwellings below covered with glass and other materials are even thought of. But many others feel no appreciable climate change is expected as this large earth has good resilient power to absorb minor changes in the content of its atmospheric gases. There will be neither a serious warming nor any flooding of low lying areas. The Eco system will go on undisturbed. Some more species will go extinct and a few new ones discovered. 
Leisure travel may become more vertical by 2100. Even there is a possibility for human settlements in the moon, Mars and in the space. Japan is planning to place panels in moon and the electricity thus produced will be transmitted down to earth through the satellites.  

Crude oil reserves may end in a century. More electric cars will be on the roads and more houses will be lit with solar panels. Even the Gulf States are planning for more tourism as oil-revenue will stop.  Solar energy would be used much more replacing conventional fossil-fuel based energy sources. Wind and tidal energy would be tapped too. Let us hope there comes a time when our roads and environment would be less polluted with solar powered automobiles, offices and homes.

Jet pack (rocket belt, rocket pack) usually worn on the back, propelled by jets of escaping gases (or in some cases water) to let a single user propel him or her into the air or fly. There are many problems and safety hazards. All these will be overcome and it may be a mode adventurous travel. English will become much more prominent and as a link language. We will witness the gradual dying down of little spoken languages and linguistic communities. Perhaps Mandarin, French, German and Hindi may be going strong even after a century.

There will be a full rush to develop the arctic and Antarctic areas for commercial use: It should be possible to do so without damaging nature.  There will be tension as to who all will have the control over the region's resources and in finding equitable and sustainable ways to share them.

The chance for the emergence of a world government or a single currency is receding. There will be a further fragmentation of large nations. See how the European union is splitting up.  Now there is already a move to cede California from USA.  Richer regions don’t want to share their wealth with the poorer ones.  On a single world currency possibility, it is good to note that the trend is actually more in the opposite direction. The internet is enabling new forms of bartering and value exchange. Local currencies are also now used by several communities across the US and Europe. 

Imaginative people predict the invention of water-fueled engines and nuclear fusion the biggest inventions of all times!  It means that the price of water will probably rise and it will contribute to the development of high-technology machines and stronger satellites. Pilot-less aircraft, submarines and ships will be plying in their respective areas.
The developed world is becoming less religious. Some priests are at the doorways of Churches to welcome passerby for the service as hardly anyone attends Churches anymore. As per the Pew Research center, Islamic believers multiply and it will be the biggest region in the coming century.
World's atheists and the 'non's in the US are increasing fast. According to Global Survey on Religiosity, 13% of the world population are atheists today (2016). It was only 9% in 2005. Thus, if we assume 4% of atheists are added in a decade, by 2116, a little over  50% of the world population will be atheists.  

But US atheists may not increase that fast.  General Sociological Survey identified 2% as atheists in the US in 1991. in 2014 only 3.1 % of the US population was identified as atheists. a marginal increase of 1.1% in 23 years! And if we project the rate of growth (1.1% in 23 years) to 2114, there will only 8-10 % atheists in the US by 2014.
But religions will lose their hold.  Pew Research center points out that 'religious nons'  make up 23% of the US population in June 2016 up from 16% in 2007. If we assume the same rate of change (7% increase in 9 years)  in the coming ten decades, by 2116, over 75% of the US population will have no religion. Religions are getting out of this world. 

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