Buses and trains without drivers. Artificial intelligence shaping every moment of our lives. People living on Mars. If you suddenly woke up in the year 2041, what kind of world would you find yourself in? What kind of future tech would be available to you? Would people be more unified or more divided? Could you wake up to see the Earth on the brink of destruction?
Movies present us with futures full of floating skateboards and flying cars. But there are many ways our world could change. New technologies are developing faster than ever. Remember what it was like 20 years ago? You didn’t have your iPhone, didn’t post your pictures on Facebook and could never imagine yourself working remotely. Now, think about how life could be different 20 years from now. Would it be a perfect utopia? Or a dystopic nightmare?
Well, you’re about to find out. We’re putting you to sleep for two decades.
So, if you woke up in the 2040s, one thing you could count on would be whatever smartphone or computer you had would be pretty outdated. Forget about the fact that you just spent 20 years asleep. What is this weird tech? Discovery number one. Your shiny iPhone was a technology of the past. Computers would be attached to your body in different ways. You might even have smart contact lenses that display everything in front of your eyes.
In the 2040s, virtual reality would be used to explore nature and sightsee in a whole new way by including smell and physical sensation. Don’t get yourself lost in your new realities.
Artificial intelligence would shape every aspect of your life. This would mean vast improvements in medical diagnostics. There would be all sorts of advanced methods for treating diseases. AI would constantly monitor your body to keep you healthy.
Perhaps, you could even be able to immortalize your loved ones in the form of AI avatars. Automation would exist in all forms of transportation. You would never have to drive your car again.
This global automation would significantly alter the work environment reducing the need for human labor. But many people would still be working remotely, across different countries and time zones. Drastic changes in labor markets would likely lead to even further inequality in society. And the climate crisis would be worse.
In 2021, the world was heading for a global temperature rise of more than 3 °C (5.4 °F) this century. Hopefully, as you woke up 20 years later, brilliant scientific methods would have solved this. Would carbon trapping techniques process industrial waste and prevent it from entering the atmosphere? Would billions of planted trees remove tons of greenhouse gases every year?
Would we have given up all fossil fuels and be relying entirely on renewable energy like wind and solar?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell what world you’d wake up to. It could be a great showcase of countries united to help our planet through tough times. Or our generation could destroy the Earth as we know it. But hopefully, you’d wake up to find a healthy and socially and environmentally conscious planet. Or you could wake up to see the first people colonizing Mars. Or sending probes to explore different planets. Or planning to colonize another planet, like Proxima b.
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