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Future World Gee Whiz Facts

Biogenetics, genomics, and stem-cell technologies are rapidly evolving like that of computers, leading to medical advances ranging from replaced organs to increased longevity. Coupled with high-bandwidth Wi-Fi, humans will have diagnostic implant chips and sensors which provide early warning of medical concerns and recommended remediation. By 2025, people may also be able to rearrange their genes to change their physical features.

Cloud computing” will be the next stage in the internet evolution, providing all needed services from applications to business and personal records, delivered as needed anywhere, with request initiation via either touch-screen or voice command. Computationally intensive processes, formerly the purview of super computers, will be provided by assets in the cloud. Many technical factors, including vast social networks, will reshape the web by 2015-2020. The iPad of this era may exist as a hologram for immersive interaction at levels already imagined by Apple´s designers.

The world is buried in data but hungry for real information. Google is no doubt developing algorithms to mine the essence of any matter. Even now, they have a capability known as “Google Trends” to graph the number of searches and plot trends over time for words you enter. Using conditional probability theory to achieve higher information confidence levels akin to “expert systems,” Google will charge high fees for these vital services to businesses and personal consumers.

An Israeli-Belgian team has made the first bio-computer using the DNA of living cells instead of silicon chips. This will make it easier for computers to attach to and augment the human brain. This will lead to the use of “cyborgs” for both routine and specialized tasks by 2025, surpassing the simplistic household robots of today. Many with the financial means will have humanoid cyborg companions by 2030.

In Issac Asimov´s famous Foundation Series, his intellectual fictional character Hari Seldon uses “psychohistory” to predict the long-term statistical trends of cultures. Azimov did not know about memetics at the time, but governments in the future will depend more and more upon using “dominant memes” to control the masses. As in present times, intellectuals will recognize the manipulation, but be ineffective at defeating the combined efforts of the government, big business, and the brainwashed masses. Only vigilantes will be able to punch targeted holes in this future world of mass control.

As the future unfolds, the masses will be increasingly attracted to escape daily stresses via virtual reality home entertainment centers, able to recreate a wide variety of 3D experiences ranging from hang-gliding over the Grand Canyon to perfect sex with beings whose attributes they can shape before each highly realistic virtual experience. This escape may eventually become helpful to those governments seeking to enforce unpopular measures on their constituencies.

By 2020, half of all schools will be using personalized avatars as class instructors, able to teach and interact with students as if human. They will have access to vast databases, the latest knowledge in all fields, and virtual worlds, able to display material in 3D holographic form or through special eyeglasses worn by each student. Educational programs will also be available for effective learning by people of all ages as they are sleeping.

For an advanced computer to pass the “Turing Test” and achieve the highest state of artificial intelligence (AI), it must be possible for a team of judges to dialog with unseen humans and the advanced computer, asking any questions they wish and, by the responses, be unable to identify the computer. In a famous bet between Kapor and Kurzweil the former predicts a machine will have passed the Turing Test by 2029. The first immortal AI device will be invented by 2030 and kept up-to-date by Google or its counterpart.

Cultures will be forced to create greener buildings and cities, including trees with solar leaves to store electrical energy during the day for use at night. These will help in dealing with global warming and related social crises, as needed human resources become unavailable, but will not save much of Earth´s wild places and biodiversity. The only hope for the latter lies in the development of microorganisms that can carry out specific eco-recovery tasks in vast numbers, in mass economic meltdowns that force less consumption ... or in pandemics that reduce the human population faster than medical teams can respond.

Terrorist acts will become more sophisticated than attempting to trigger crude explosives, with governments responding with more advanced surveillance schemes. It will be ineffective to carry the battle to putative terrorist training camps, achieving only increased anti-Americanism and easier terrorist recruitment. The U.S. government will ramp up anti-terrorist activities, with invasion of personal privacy for non-terrorists and greater gate-keeping vigilance to annoy all. It will become 1984, albeit 1-2 generations later than forecast by Orwell ... but it will not prevent ingenious terrorist acts.