It is hard to know where the future will take us. Just as scientist Paul Ehrlich argued that “in the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programmes embarked upon now”, many today argue on the basis of wrong assumptions or ways of life which may change. Who, back in the 1930’s and 40’s when smokers of Camels were encouraged to smoke a cigarette between every course of a Thanksgiving meal as an “aid to digestion”, would have thought smoking would be frowned upon so much today? Life and technology can change drastically in a short period of time.
So that you and I might perhaps be a little better prepared then, here are nine predictions for future living in 100 years time according to a recently released report commissioned by Samsung and authored by a team of academics including United Kingdom space scientist, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, futurist architects and lecturers at the University of Westminster, Arthur Mamou-Mani and Toby Burgess, and urbanists Linda Aitken and Els Leclerq:
- Super skyscrapers: carbon nanotubes and diamond Nano threads will help us create towering megastructures that will dwarf today’s skyscrapers
- Earth-scrapers: just as we build up we will also dig down – huge structures will tunnel 25 storeys deep, or more
- Underwater cities: are likely to become a reality – using the water itself to create breathable atmospheres and generating hydrogen fuel through the process
- Personal flying drones replacing cars: some of us will be travelling skyways with our own personal flying drones, some strong enough to carry entire homes around the world for holidays
- 3D printing of houses and furniture: we will be able to print exact replicas of large scale structures like houses out of local, recyclable materials so that we really can have all the comforts of home while we are away
- Flexible, smart walls and 3D printed Michelin starred meals: smart walls will mean you won’t need to decorate your home – LED room surfaces will adapt to suit your mood. When it comes to entertaining, there will be no more botched recipes or pizza deliveries – instead we will be downloading dishes from famous chefs that we will tailor to our personal needs. We will be able to 3D-print a banquet or a favourite cake in minutes
- Virtual meetings: our working lives will be transformed with the use of holograms which will allow us to attend meetings virtually, without leaving the comfort our homes
- Stepping into home medi-pods will confirm if you really are ill, providing a digital diagnosis and supplying medicine or a remote surgeon if needed
- Colonise space: first the Moon, then Mars and then far beyond into the galaxy
Some of these predictions anticipate more people and the need for more space, as popular visions of Earth’s future often do. One wonders if the study authors have taken into account the probable population decreases in many countries in the coming decades. Japan leads this trend, with the latest census finding that Japan’s population decreased by 947,000 people since 2010 to 127.1 million – perhaps the “super skyscapers”, “earth-scrapers” and “underwater cities” will not be needed there or in other countries such as Germany, Italy, South Korea, and Taiwan which will also likely experience population contraction?
My mind boggles as to how 3D printing the dishes of famous chefs would actually work, but that part does sound pretty good! Hopefully what we do not see is people testing progress at any cost, but carefully assessing what would be, and what would not be, good for humanity as a whole and our own grandchildren as technology moves forward.