Our World in 2058

Anticipating and predicting our future world is a huge undertaking, with twists and turns that may take us down technological roads very nearly impossible to foresee. However, 60 top professionals gave it a shot in Mike Wallace’s book, The Way We Will Be 50 Years From Today. These projections are from present-day geneticists, astrophysicists, neurologists, military commanders, world leaders, economists, inventors, and astronomers. The year is 2058.

1. Reprogramming aging cells to breathe new life into failing organs has the potential to increase the human life-span to over a century.

2. The paralyzed will be able to walk again due to nanotechnology. Nanofibers formed from molecules injected into the spinal cord will eliminate the formation of scar tissue and spur new cell growth.

3. We will meet with other people holographically, as well as taste, touch and smell online products before purchasing because of technological advances in the virtual world.

4. We will find a cure for AIDS and will develop vaccines against many chronic diseases such as certain cancers, heart disease, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

5. Contingent upon genetic compatibility, couples will obtain permission from the government to get married and have children. If they do not follow these guidelines, they will be charged a heavy tax based on any ill or debilitated children they bear.

6. With space-age, hand-held neuroimagers, we will be able to discern (like a lie detector test) when others are lying.

7. We will engineer germ-free meat to replace the livestock that we now consume, thus preventing the spread of diseases like mad cow and SARS.

8. Due to labor shortages as well as advances in the medical field, the offspring of the baby boomers will work well past 70 years of age.

9. We will seldom have household pets like cats, small rodents, and birds, due to the dawning awareness that animals carry and transmit many diseases to humans. Dogs, however, are not included in this list, as they have been cohabiting and sharing pathogens with humans for 14,000 years.

10. We will be able to transform information files into solid products. An example of this might be emailing a carton of milk to a friend, who will be able to print it to a desktop “nanofactory.”

11. In 2058, there exists the possibility of downloading human memory into remote storage devices as well as adding memory to the human brain similar to increasing the capacity of a hard drive. Inasmuch as some think that we are the sum of our memories, the capacity to download and store a human’s memories tiptoes into the area of immortality.

12. We will be able to communicate with people of all languages as we master simultaneous translation technologies. The power of nation-states will be diminished as money and information are able to flow freely across borders, allowing each individual global interdependence.

13. Privacy will be almost completely eradicated as digital data from technological advances such as face recognition software, retinal scans, full body scans, and possibly microchip implants, is forwarded to intelligence “fusion” centers. This information will give governments knowledge of the people’s actions in addition to their exact whereabouts.

14. Virtual worlds will become destination points for many 21st century earthlings’ vacations. Hand-held devices will be able to track friends and family as well as coordinate our vacations by matching up our free time with our destinations of interest.

15. Children born deaf and blind will be able to hear and see. This will be done by rewiring nerve signals to the brain’s auditory or visual cortex.

16. Of all children born in 2058, 5-10% will start their lives with genetic enhancements, thus accelerating human evolution.

17. Scientists will develop artificial retinas, which with only a thought will allow us to switch between reality and virtual reality.

18. To prevent the spread of disease, human contact such as handshakes and kisses will only be shared between family members.

19. We will be able to fashion medical treatments to our own genetic profiles based upon our knowledge of our individual DNA sequence.

20. We will be able to recreate life in a laboratory as we come closer to understanding the origins of life.

We look forward to this brave new world!

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