We all ought to consider what the world in which we live will look like by 2050. So here goes! Expect the following predictions and/or future scenarios to become a reality over the next few decades:
- Demand for Food and Water resources will grow substantially as the global population increases
- Unfortunately, much of the world's fish stocks in the ocean could become extinct by 2050
- Global yields of food crops could also plummet nearly 10% by 2050 leading to food scarcity
- High-tech solutions, precision farming systems, as well as approaches borrowed from organic farming, are all needed to boost yields several times over to meet the growing global demand
- Use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) will be widespread on farms everywhere
- Expect to see widespread use of drones, autonomous self-driving farming vehicles, and 'open' farming machinery - see Open Ecology.
* Read “How to Feed the World in 2050”, U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization
Business & Manufacturing
- Global standards will be in place for almost all sectors of the economy, e.g. technology, medicine, manufacturing, transportation, telecommunications.
- Use of Smart 3D Printers and Advanced Manufacturing Techniques will transform manufacturing and be the norm
- Collaboration, 'Open' Solutions, Sharing, and a focus on continuous Innovation will be the key business strategies pursued by most industries
- Many new materials for housing, clothing, technology ... will be developed and used, e.g. carbon nano-tubes
- The telecommuting workforce across the U.S. and around the world will continue to grow
- Hi-tech, intelligent buildings powered by alternative energy sources will be used by most growing and forward-thinking companies.
- 'Smart Factories' making use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other Industry 4.0 technologies will dramatically change manufacturing as we currently know it.
- The market for the Internet of Things (IoT) will be huge, consisting of trillions of interconnected devices of all sorts.
* Visit the COSI 'Open' Manufacturing web portal
- Fully accredited cost-competitive private, online schools and universities will dominate the education landscape by 2050, e.g. MOOCS.
- Human illiteracy will be largely eliminated around the world.
- Already, students coming from China, India, and South Korea together received over fifty percent of all doctoral degrees in the US awarded to foreigners.
- Continuous life-long learning needed by all humans to adapt to the global economy
- Free and open access to most of the world's digitized information will be available to almost everyone in the world.
- Use of 'open access' textbooks and research, coupled with the spread of 'open data', will revolutionize the education system and help to dramatically lower costs.
- Many new technologies like virtual and augmented reality systems will play key role in the educational environment of the future.
* Read about online schools and universities on the COSI 'Open' Education web site
- The official end of the 'Oil Age' and use of fossil fuels on Earth will occur by 2050
- There will be widespread emergence and use of a range of renewable energy sources, e.g. wind, solar, hydro.
- Renewable energy could provide up to 80% of U.S. needs by 2050
- Nuclear 'fusion' power will become commercially available
- Fuel cell technology will also be widely used to power homes, buildings, ships, cars, ...
- Continent-wide smart 'supergrids' will be used to help manage the world's energy needs
- Both the high cost and scarcity of energy on Earth will be a thing of the past.
* Read about America's Energy Future and more
- Average global temperatures will have risen by more than 4°F by 2050.
- Continued climate change will make storms far more intense, e.g. hurricanes, tornados, cyclones.
- Sea levels across the globe will rise by a little over 3 feet, flooding many coastal cities in the U.S. and around the world.
- Approximately 5 billion of the world's projected 10 billion people will live in water-stressed areas.
- Nearly half of the world's rain forests and jungles will vanish by 2050, but global efforts to halt de-forestation will finally take hold.
- Deep ocean mining operations around the world will become widespread further disrupting sea life.
- Major extinctions of many animals and plant life will have occurred.
- Cost-effective conservation technologies and solutions will be widely deployed and in use.
- Wildfires will have tripled in many regions of the globe by 2050.
* Read OECD Environmental Outlook for 2050
Global Economy & Trade
- The U.S. dollar will lose its global dominance by 2025 as the Euro and China's currency become co-equals in a "multi-currency" monetary system.
- India's economy will finally rival that of China and the U.S. by 2050.
- Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia will begin to rival the economies of the U.K. and France by 2030 , while Nigeria and Vietnam could become the fastest growing economies through 2050.
- Many countries will continue to move from commodity-based to service-based economies.
- New financial systems, economic development, business models and tools will have emerged, e.g. Bitcoin, Micro-financing, Electronic Wallets.
- Collaboration, 'Open' Solutions, and continuous Innovation will be the key strategies for success in the 21st century global economy.
* Read the World Business Council Vision 2050 report
- The vast majority of countries will have adopted some form of democratic government.
- The U.S. will learn to work with more closely with new partners around the world to reinvent regional and global governance systems.
- Public and Private sector organizations will shift their focus on long term investments and solutions
- Many Non-State actors will take the lead in confronting global challenges, e.g. global business conglomerates.
- Governments and institutions will learn to adapt fast enough to harness change and new technologies, instead of being overwhelmed by it
- Building leadership in government and business that can be 'trusted', that is not corrupt, is citizen-centered, and not built on greed and the quest for money and power... will continue to be a major challenge for society.
* Read National Intelligence Council (NIC) Global Trends 2030
- Skyrocketing global population will spur the faster spread of infectious diseases and viruses.
- By 2050 we will see more instances of global pandemics and the spread of deadly diseases.
- By 2050, the number of people around the world living with dementia could triple
- Reduction in child mortality and improvements in health due to numerous advances in medicine.
- Rise of 'Regenerative Medicine', Genetic Engineering, Stem Cell Research, and the development of 'Human Augmentation' technologies will dramatically alter people's life spans and capabilities.
- New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), and the Invisible User Interface (IUI) will all be incorporated into Health 4.0 systems of the future.
- Genetically engineered "designer babies" will become more commonplace
- Use of biorepositories and genomic information systems will further transform healthcare and help lower costs.
* Read Health & Health IT: 2030 and Beyond
- It will be highly unlikely that war will go extinct, though its frequency and scope will continue to change and adapt to the changing global environment.
- There will not be any single hegemonic or dominant global power. Power will shift to networks and coalitions in a multi-polar world.
- Rapid changes and shifts in power may ultimately lead to more intra-state and inter-state conflicts around the globe
- The continued increase in instances of Cyber Attacks and Cyber Warfare around the world will remain a major challenge.
- There will be widespread use of fully autonomous, semi-intelligent military weapons, e.g. drones, robots.
- Expect to see weapons and warfare spread to outer space as the quest to colonize the moon and other planets becomes a reality.
- Development of a wide range of new weapon systems - see YouTube video on Future Weapons
- It is predicted that the global population will be close to 10 billion by 2050, barring any unforseen major pandemic or major extinction event.
- By 2050, one in every six people on earth will be over 65 years old.
- Global population levels will finally have reached a plateau by 2050.
- Over 60% of the world’s population will live in urbanized areas.
- Smart cities will house the bulk of the world's population.
- Mass migration of populations effected by climate change will begin to occur.
- While other industrialized countries, particularly in Europe, face projected population losses in the coming decades, the U.S. is poised for tremendous growth, fueled by immigration.
- The Southern and Western regions of the U.S. will lead the nation’s population growth
- Vast regions of the Midwest, the Great Plains, and the Lower Mississippi Valley will experience flat or declining population growth.
- More than 70 percent of the nation’s population growth and economic growth will take place in extended networks of metropolitan regions linked by new transportation systems and economies.
- By 2050, the caucasian race will become a minority in the U.S.
* See collected 'Open Access' Studies & Reports on the Future
- Women will continue to take on a growing leadership in business, government, ... all around the world.
- The importance of Personal Privacy will remain a high priority for people everywhere as business and government continue to infringe on this area of life.
- There will be continued progress towards the eradication of global poverty levels.
- By 2050, it is predicted that 30 per cent (2.8 billion) of the world's population will identify themselves as Muslim compared to 31 per cent (2.9 billion) identifying themselves as Christia.
- In Europe, it is estimated that by 2050, 10 per cent of the continent will be Muslim, while in the U.S. it will become the second-largest faith.
- Homosexual discrimination will have largely been eradicated in the U.S. and many other parts of the world.
- Language translation technology will improve global business and communications.
Space Travel & Colonization
- Spaceflight technology will take a major leap forward allowing for Inter-Planetary travel
- There will be permanent human settlements on the moon.
- There will be a permanent human colony on Mars.
- Public and private sector organizations will be aggressively moving forward to explore and exploit resources on nearby planets in outer-space.
- Different forms of life forms will be discovered on other planets and galaxies by 2050.
- Several nations will have begun weaponizing outer space as they move to establish colonies across our solar system.
- There will be another 1,000-fold increase in computer power, data transmission rates, storage, ...
- There will be widespread use of drone technology by many industries, e.g. agriculture, military, government, transportation.
- Mobile solutions will rapidly evolve as the world embraces a wide range of wearable technologies.
- Implantable technologies will start to gain widespread acceptance in healthcare, warfare, ... by 2050.
- Trillions of 'Internet of Things (IoT)' and Smart Appliances will be deployed and interconnected.
- Use of 3D Printing will become widespread with many solutions being teleported to printers around the world and in outer-space as needed.
- Big Data / Open Data / Artificial Intelligence / Big Analytics ... will be 'Big' Business.
- Robots will become a common feature in homes and workplaces around the world.
- Many other new technological breakthroughs will be developed just in time to boost economic productivity and solve many of the problems caused by a growing world population, rapid urbanization, climate change, ...
- Electric cars will largely dominate the automobile industry by 2050.
- Hi-tech self-driving cars and trucks on the road will become commonplace.
- Completion of high-speed rail routes between major cities across the U.S. and around the world.
- Maglev trains and HyperLoop technology will replace or augment many existing transportation systems.
- A trans-global highway and rail network will have emerged that will link all continents.
- The commercial space travel industry will continue to grow.
* Read about Transportation & America's Future in 2050
To conclude, the rate of change will continue to increase and amaze us. The U.S. and most other developing countries will adapt to these new technologies and changing scenarios as they continue striving to reduce poverty around the world, grow the global middle class, encourage greater educational attainment, pursue more widespread use of new communications and manufacturing technologies, help to advance the health and care of all people, and to continue to jockey for a leadership role in the world of 2050.
Read this brief summary about the future of our world in 2050 and share other major predictions that you think have a high probability of coming true.
* Be sure to visit the web site on America's Future: 2020-2050 by COSITech.Net