What Will Our World Look Like In 2050?

I ran across a great infographic the other day which was originally put together by the BBC.  It’s called “Tomorrow’s World” and it illustrates all the advancements that are at least somewhat likely in the next hundred years or so.

I know what you’re thinking, “in the 60’s and 70’s they said I would be driving a flying car by now”, unfortunately this hasn’t become reality yet but a lot of other advances are slowly materializing.

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According to the creators of this graphic, the odds are 6 to 1 that an immortal mouse will be created by 2015 and 1 in 5 that a digital currency is accepted in the United States.  Let’s take a look at a few of these in more detail.

Genome sequencing

By 2014 there’s a 50% chance you can get your genome sequenced for under $100.  This is a pretty powerful prediction.

There have been many advances in this area in recent years.  Prices started at about $50,000 in 2009 and have come down to around $5,000 in 2012, a 10 fold decrease in 3 years.

While many people may prefer to take life as it comes, I think I’d rather know a little more about my genetic future and be armed with more information.

Just because one may be genetically predisposed to heart issues doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily have them but it’s good to keep an eye on your health.

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Those who like to wear tinfoil hats may think that someone could clone them.  To this I say, why would someone want to clone you in the first place?  We don’t live in a world of science fiction!

Facebook gets supplanted by another social network

Here’s another interesting prediction; apparently the odds are even that Facebook will be surpassed by another social network by 2016.

Investors in the recent Facebook IPO probably don’t want to think about this possible scenario.  Remember Myspace?

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I don’t know about you, but I think Facebook fatigue is setting in for many people.  Research was conducted recently that indicates that 27% of users will spend less time on the site in the next year.

Technology tends to come in waves and the Facebook wave will have to end sooner or later.

Arctic free of ice in summer

Depending on your point of view, the 3 to 1 odds of the arctic being free of ice in the summer by 2016 could be a good or a bad thing.

In my opinion, this will be one of the biggest world developments of the next decade or two.

Canadians have a huge vested interest in the arctic and the topic will only heat up with time, pun intended.  Could this be the makings of another gold rush?

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I wonder how many companies are already developing preliminary plans to explore the vast tundra for resources to extract.

Sky high buildings

Am I alone in thinking that the architects who come up with the plans for mega towers are all men?  According to the graphic, there is a 2 to 1 chance that the world will sport at least one structure that is 10km tall by 2050.

Buildings have been getting taller and taller as the years progress.  It seems someone has taken the heights of the world’s tallest towers by date and estimated their growth potential over the period between now and 2050.

What would one look at from the height of several kilometers?  I can’t imagine there would be much to see given the distance from the ground, cloud cover and visibility!

Establishing a base on Mars

One of the farthest out and least likely events to occur will be for humans to establish a base on Mars by around 2060.

Odds are not in our favor at 33 to 1 that we’ll have a footprint on the red planet. As far fetched as some of these predictions are, I really hope the odds turn in our favor and this event occurs.

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Being an avid science fiction and technology fan, I would’ve loved to experience the space race and man setting foot on the moon.

My parents can still remember where they were when Neil Armstrong uttered one of history’s most famous phrases almost 50 years ago.  I can only hope to still be around for such a pivotal event in human history.

Even with all the challenges we face, our future is very, very bright.

Andrew Martin is a personal finance and investing blogger from Toronto, Ontario with a background in technology and a passion for travel.  His blog, She Thinks I’m Cheap aims to help Canadians make more money by sharing facts, stories and advice.


6 Responses to What Will Our World Look Like In 2050?

  1. If the polar ice cap disappears what we will be seeing up there is a lot of water–it isn’t the antarctic so there isn’t a land mass on the north pole of our planet. What we will see is the levels of water along our shorelines increasing–if you have money in the lowlands, divest now!
    I think the one thing I wish the boomers had done differently would have been reduce fossil fuel consumption; global warming will be the most impactful factor to their kid’s finances over the next 100 years.

  2. in 2050 there will be 9 billion people on the planet. I think we’re at 7 billion now. It should be interesting to see what sort of agricultural advances we’ll have to accommodate that.

  3. What will there be to see from several km up? I guess the same stuff you see from a low-flying commercial airliner. But why would anyone bother? We’re not going to be THAT desperate for space, are we?

  4. Genome sequencing
    – will definitely get this, concerned about a certain cancer risk
    Facebook gets supplanted by another social network
    – I joined in January 06 when it was still a cool university-only network. It’s now where Grandmas hang out. I’ve largely checked out and I was a bear on the stock since the beginning (as I am on most tech stocks but particularly such a ridiculously hyped IPO)
    Arctic free of ice in summer
    – More farm land, amirite?
    Sky high buildings
    – I certainly hope there’s a building > 10km, especially after materials tech like carbon nanotubes can be mass-produced
    Base on Mars
    – it is a damn shame we haven’t built a base on the Moon. Its escape velocity is something like 1/6th that of Earth, so it’d be far easier / smarter to launch missions to other planets from there. Obama’s plan to send astronauts to an asteroid is just dumb-de-dumb, like dumping the entire NASA budget into the space shuttle for years or building the ISS. Let’s quit wasting time and money on garbage projects that make little difference. We need great leaps, a la the Moon landing. When governments move out the needle on progress with massive spending on capital investments and technological development, private markets can then start to commercialize because it’s profitable and deliver things like space travel to common men and women (just like the internet, most pharmaceuticals, indoor plumbing etc)

    I’d be even more interested in the prospects for faster-than-light travel (by way of compressing space-time in front of a vessel and expanding it behind), per recent studies by NASA.

  5. Genome Sequencing – most logical is to do genome work at birth and provide each baby with their own information – kind like the little photo and foot print
    Space – enjoy the moment! Chris Hadfield is making history as we write this. People will be discussing his ISS song collaboration and his school interactions for a very longtime. He has done so much to bring space travel into the homes of ordinary people.
    Facebook – I agree. The boomer set seems to have taken over and the younger group have gone elsewhere.

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