We all ought to take some time to consider what the world in which we live will look like in 2050 and beyond. I know I do, since my kids, grandkids, and great grandkids will hopefully be around then and well into the 22nd century.
The following is a brief collection of predictions about Government and Society in 2050 that you might find interesting. These predictions were extracted from multiple reports and studies by groups around the world focused on the future of America and this planet.
So here goes! Expect the following predictions and/or future scenarios to become a reality over the next few decades:
- The vast majority of countries will have adopted some form of democratic government.
- The U.S. will learn to work more closely with new partners around the world to reinvent regional and global governance systems.
- 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.
- Many Non-State actors will take the lead from government in confronting global challenges, e.g. global business conglomerates.
- Public and Private sector organizations will learn to shift their focus from short-term to long-term investments and solutions
- Governments and institutions will have learned to better adapt fast enough to harness change and new technologies, instead of being overwhelmed by it
- It is predicted that the global population will be close to 10 billion by 2050, barring any one of several expected major pandemics or major extinction events.
- Global population levels will finally have reached a plateau by 2050 with one in every six people on earth being over 65 years old.
- While many industrialized countries in Europe face projected population losses in the coming decades, the U.S. is poised for tremendous growth, fueled by legal and illegal immigration.
- The Southern and Western regions of the U.S. will lead the nation’s population growth, while vast regions of the Midwest, the Great Plains, and the Lower Mississippi Valley will experience flat or declining population growth.
- Over 60% of the world’s population will live in very large urban 'smart' cities.
- By 2050, the caucasian race will become a minority in the U.S. This will alter key policies and practices of U.S. political parties, the Republican Party in particular.
- Women will continue to take on a growing leadership in business and government, ... in the U.S. and around the world.
- 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 Christian. Religion will remain a key source of conflict in the world.
- Homosexual discrimination will have largely been eradicated in the U.S. and many other parts of the world.
- There will be continued progress towards the eradication of global poverty levels that currently exist in poverty stricken areas of the world.
- The importance of Personal Privacy will remain a high priority for people everywhere as business and government continue to actively infringe on this area of life.
- The bad news in healthcare is that skyrocketing global population will spur the faster spread of infectious diseases and viruses and more instances of major global pandemics.
- The good news is that the rise of Predictive Medicine, Regenerative Medicine, Genetic Engineering, Stem Cell Research, Telehealth, Robotics, and other innovative healthcare solutions will help transform and significantly lower healthcare costs - making current discussions of healthcare policy and funding irrelevent.
- The official end of the 'Oil Age' and use of fossil fuels on Earth will occur by 2050. This will cause a major shift in the current balance of economic power in the world.
- There will be widespread emergence and use of a range of new and renewable energy sources, e.g. wind, solar, hydro, nuclear fusion, fuel cell.
- Both the high cost and scarcity of energy on Earth will be a thing of the past.
- Average global temperatures will have risen by more than 4°F by 2050. The resultant climate change will make storms hitting the U.S. 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 and areas in the U.S. and around the world.
- Approximately 5 billion of the world's projected 10 billion people will live in water-stressed and food-scarce areas leading to the potential of mass migrations and regional conflicts.
- 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 in many regions around the globe.
- The continued increase in instances of Cyber Attacks and Cyber Warfare by government entities around the world will remain a major challenge.
- There will be widespread increase in the use of fully autonomous, semi-intelligent military weapons, e.g. drones, robots.
- Development of a wide range of new weapon systems - see YouTube video on Future Weapons
- Language translation technology will improve global business and inter-personal communications.
- Many other new technological breakthroughs will be developed just in time to solve many of the challenges and problems facing the U.S. and the world, e.g. over-population, rapid urbanization, climate change, energy, food shortages, water needs, space travel, ...
- Spaceflight technology will take a major leap forward allowing for Inter-Planetary travel across our Solar System.
- Both public and private sector organizations will be aggressively moving forward to explore and exploit resources on nearby planets in outer-space
- There will be the first permanent human settlements on the moon and Mars by 2050. Governance of these and other Intra-planetary bodies in our Solar System will be a major issue.
You might want to re-read the predictions above again - with more care.
What else do you think will happen by 2050? What does all this mean to you? Our government? Society? ...
* You might want to check out the following key documents for more detailed scenarios about the future of America and our planet: National Intelligence Council (NIC) Global Trends 2030; 'Open Access' Studies & Reports on the Future; Health & Health IT: 2030 and Beyond; and 'Our Changing World by 2050'.