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  1. #1
    That's *Miss* Manners to you. Ranger Wickett's Avatar
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    What will your country/the world look like in 50 years?

    It's 2062. Halley's Comet has come and gone. How do you think things have changed in the 50 years since 2012?

    As an example, in the 50 years since 1962 we had a narrowly averted nuclear conflict but no actual nuclear war despite fears of it. The price of gasoline jumped a whole lot, but we still use it because it's an efficient energy source. People thought we'd have a lot more nuclear power plants, but we don't. Fusion energy has, of course, been 10 to 20 years away, constantly.

    We got to the Moon, then kinda stopped forging onward, despite sci-fi's prediction of Space Odysseys and Making Contact. Pretty much no one expected the Internet, though. It's helping people have faster access to knowledge about the wide world, but it's forcing major changes to infrastructure that was designed to transport physical products.

    A few countries changed borders, more changed regimes, but a lot stayed the same. The Soviet Union dismantled itself peacefully, and the quality of life of many (but not all) former Soviet states improved. Iran is still Iran, Iraq is Iraq. Afghanistan got invaded a couple times, but the invaders never really got what they hoped. Brazil had a military dictatorship, but not anymore. Ditto Spain and I'm sure tons of others I'm not familiar with.

    A lot of industrialized countries implemented or expanded social welfare programs, and some are now cutting them in the wake of the financial crisis.

    For the average American citizen, you have access to more entertainment options, and TV seems to be better-written than it used to be. Cuisine is a bit more culturally varied, but unless you're well-off you probably eat a lot of empty calories, contributing to obesity. Cars are safer, the air and water are cleaner, minorities aren't as harassed as they used to be. People are more willing to talk about sex and other 'private' things. You'll probably live longer, but your last couple years will devour tons of money because there are so many ways to extend life, just not cheaply.

    You're less likely to make something, more likely to provide a service. If you have weird hobbies or strong opinions, it's easier to find groups of people who share them. You can get in touch with people around the world more easily, but you're probably less likely to hang out with your neighbors. You're more likely to leave behind records of your existence - pictures, videos, data on the internet. You probably think your taxes are too high, just like everyone ever (except Warren Buffett).

    The temperature is a little warmer, on average.

    So, what do you foresee?

    Creator of ZEITGEIST: The Gears of Revolution. Adventure seven, Schism, now available for Pathfinder and D&D 4th edition.

    Creator of War of the Burning Sky. Available for D&D 3.5 and 4th editions.

    Consider the long now. You live for decades. Enjoy today, but plan as if you're going to make it to a hundred.

 

  • #2
    That's *Miss* Manners to you. Ranger Wickett's Avatar
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    So me, this is what I think:

    1. Iran will be a regional power in the Middle East, balanced by Turkey. We'll be friends with Israel, Egypt, and India to constrain Iranian interests. They'll get a nuke, but we won't go to war over it. The oil-producers in the Persian Gulf will find new and ever more elaborate ways to get oil. The U.S. will shop at Brazil and at home and in Canada.

    Still, we'll worry about regional conflicts breaking out and provoking another world war, so we'll still meddle in the region even as we wean ourselves off fossil fuels.

    2. The U.S. military, wary of peak oil limiting their ability to project force around the world, will as they have so many times before spearhead R&D of new technologies that will eventually get adopted by the mainstream. By the time gasoline hits $10 a gallon in the U.S., electric vehicles will outnumber gas ones. Solar cells will improve in efficiency. Smaller nuclear plants will be mass-produced. We still won't manage to figure out how to make fusion economical.

    3. The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) grow more prominent. The EU sticks together. Africa still remains a bunch of countries that don't integrate their economies very well, and there'll probably be wars there. North Korea's regime eventually gives up out of poverty; there won't be an uprising, but the people in charge will realize that even they as rich folk would be better off with a different system.

    4. Computers continue to get faster. No one sees the point in creating any sort of AI that has access to anything dangerous, so we don't have a rise of the machines. Yet. Cars start to drive themselves. The government watches your movements and online speech at all times. Your cell phone takes the place of your wallet, ID, credit cards, and car keys. Having one stolen will be annoying, but they're constantly tracked and have biometric locks, and your data will be backed up on the cloud. More dangerous will be hacking thefts, but financial systems will be programmed to notice such transactions and raise red flags.

    5. Robots will be possible. They'll wreck the economy. Sure, your server at a restaurant and check-out clerk at a store will be human, but the guy who loads and unloads things, or drives a bus, or cleans a building, or cooks at any sort of fast food restaurant? Robot. AI will improve to the point that you can have robot sales clerks, robot nurses, robot surgeons, robot security guards, robot tour guides. Robot robot-maintenance-technicians.

    I don't know how society will avoid massive unemployment, but I'm sure someone will figure it out. Maybe we'll just take stuff for granted more. Like how no one complains about having to find fresh water, or needing to know how to sew their own clothes. We'll all live like impoverished kings, all our wants provided for, personally contributing little to society. Maybe it'll be a reputation-based economy, where you get paid for how much you provide entertainment or education or whatever to people on the internet. Someone links "Likes" to a microtransaction system, so your 'dignitas' is like a salary. Want to be rich? You better be interesting.

    6. Asteroid mining happens through private investment, without government support. Concerns about meteor bombardment leads to a new space race to develop orbital deterrents, so space gets militarized. Something will go wrong at some point and a few thousand people will die. Robots will get sent to explore Mars and scout for a mining operation.



    In general, most people of the developed world will do far less work and live far more comfortably, but we'll still complain because we'll see people who get to have a lot more fun than us, simply because they have a skill-set that robots can't yet replace.

    Will there be some brand new thing that will dramatically expand what people can do for a living, on par with the internet? I have no idea. I don't think we'll get brain-computer interfaces that would allow Matrix-style VR or skill downloads. Nor do I think many people will settle space. Nor will genetic engineering of human beings really take off.

    Maybe someone will figure out a weird new branch of physics, like in Neal Stephenson's Anathem, allowing us to create materials that violate the laws of physics of our universe because they obey a different set of laws. Still, that won't really change much of the way we live.

    Creator of ZEITGEIST: The Gears of Revolution. Adventure seven, Schism, now available for Pathfinder and D&D 4th edition.

    Creator of War of the Burning Sky. Available for D&D 3.5 and 4th editions.

    Consider the long now. You live for decades. Enjoy today, but plan as if you're going to make it to a hundred.

  • #3
    'Smart' technology continues it's march towards making 'Minority Report' a reality. In 50 years we'll have contact lenses that can connect to ubiquitous wireless and satellite networks, though we'll still need our cigarette-pack-sized 'desktop' machine to pull off the processing power needed for the latter.

    Augmented reality becomes reality, with people living a third of their lives at least partially in a virtual space. 'Cocooning' becomes a real social problem, as people block out signs, persons, words, and various sources of information in their personal 'ignore lists'.

    First reported deaths of people dying of thirst because they preferred their virtual fantasy to reality, and hacked the safety restraints on their iWorlds.

    Mental command of basic functions becomes common for high-end devices.

    First completely automated factories, with automated self-repair facilities. The 'you still need to pay for the techs and workmen' notion goes away. Raw materials are left on a loading dock, cars come out the other end.

    We finally work out a means to go from runway to space station and back again with one vehicle. Cost of satellite placement plummets. Every square inch of the Earth's surface is connected to every other square inch by high-speed satellite internet - by the end of the 50 years there is no such thing as 'dial up', as phone carriers also use this. The true end of wires is within sight, though the last will not be torn down until at least 75 years further into the future.

    Medicine is revolutionized by cell-sized machines. True 'nanotech' never materializes, but multi-cellular-sized machinery is being deployed in the consumer market to scour arteries and alveoli, perform organ and tissue repair, and correct genetic damage. Cavities and most infections become a thing of the past, as do many drugs. Life expectancy jumps to 100, even as 'healthy eating' becomes a thing of the past as the cell-machines can simply scour and dump excess lipids from the system. This causes other problems, of course. 50 years later, we are on the threshold of true immortality.

    I can't decide if the European Union stabilizes at last and moves towards becoming a single state, or if it's destroyed by internal conflict and domino-effect crises until it's replaced by regional-based free trade organizations.

  • #4
    toss my salad iykwimaityd COMMUNITY SUPPORTER diaglo's Avatar
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    microchips or even synthetic cells (no power cell needed to run them) will be inserted in utero so the idea of dr bones passing a scanner over you to get your health signs and correct them via a button will be viable. only the wealthy will afford the best "corrections". vaccinations and plastic surgery become a thing of the past.

    edit: computer virus becomes a real world threat via the chips/cells. countries with the best tech rule.
    FWIW, I'm on the design team and I pretty much find WoW as fun and interesting as banging my head against a brick wall.-- Mike Mearls

    I mean, I never GET any but that would be preferable. --Rel

  • #5
    Pug Boy Kzach's Avatar
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    In fifty years the US will finally have imploded and fallen into civil war. China will have long since turned it's focus to destabilising the EU, which will actually cause it to unite under a central government with the UK finally joining and creating a joint super power. An alliance of asian interests (AA) will form in like to the EU, using a single currency, and will include India, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines. This will actually cause a recession that will result in military aggression towards nations with greater resources that the new union requires.

    Australia, meanwhile, will have continued to idiotically support the US when it's in the middle of the Asia-Pacific region, surrounded by asian nations, will be taken over in a bloodless coup by China in a deal to be protected from the AA. The new EU will take this as an act of aggression against one of their sovereign states (because Australians will still be too retarded to let go of ties with the UK and their monarch, King Harry) which will result in the final world war.

    Once the dust settles from this conflict, North America will be a wasteland because the North American Union (Canada and the US) sided against Mexico, who sided with the British led EU who supplied arms to the Mexicans. Despite being the catalyst of conflict, Australia will be relatively untouched because of the lack of infrastructure and size of the country as well as the ratio of desert will make it untenable for sustained conflict. Instead, the AA will be virtually wiped out by the superior Chinese forces using the resources of Australia and Australia's bases to launch attacks from both sides. Russia eventually sided with China and together they, after almost seventeen years of global warfare, finally destroyed the EU leadership in one fell swoop with a well planned assassination of all the nations leaders and overwhelming forces occupying and dominating strategic areas.

    World peace will then be announced under the new centralised world government dominated by Chinese interest. Because of the lack of any real effort to stop or reverse the greenhouse effect, Australia's deserts will be slowly turning into sub-tropical bread baskets that give the Chinese led world government the food resources it needs to maintain and dominate this world government.

    Unfortunately, during this time the African nations will have come of age and having supplied arms and munitions to every side during the long conflict, and having massive stores of resources and with climate change having its deserts turned into lush forests, it will eventually challenge China for dominance and within a year of the fifth world war, will force China into submission and lead the world towards the greatest and most enlightened age of human-kind.
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  • #6
    That's *Miss* Manners to you. Ranger Wickett's Avatar
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    I really thought you were going somewhere Mad-Max-ish with that one, K.

    Creator of ZEITGEIST: The Gears of Revolution. Adventure seven, Schism, now available for Pathfinder and D&D 4th edition.

    Creator of War of the Burning Sky. Available for D&D 3.5 and 4th editions.

    Consider the long now. You live for decades. Enjoy today, but plan as if you're going to make it to a hundred.

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    Pug Boy Kzach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger Wickett View Post
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    I really thought you were going somewhere Mad-Max-ish with that one, K.
    I did!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kzach View Post
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    Once the dust settles from this conflict, North America will be a wasteland...
    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
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    You can disagree with Palin, or think she's a low-life sell-out for pitching softballs to the base, but mistake her for someone stupid and I can tell you which of you is being stupid.

  • #8
    toss my salad iykwimaityd COMMUNITY SUPPORTER diaglo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger Wickett View Post
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    I really thought you were going somewhere Mad-Max-ish with that one, K.
    unlike the real mad max continent of aussie which will continue to move closer to being a desert. no matter what we do.
    FWIW, I'm on the design team and I pretty much find WoW as fun and interesting as banging my head against a brick wall.-- Mike Mearls

    I mean, I never GET any but that would be preferable. --Rel

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